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Super Bowl in Big D: Once-in-a-Lifetime Treat For Some Local Kids


It's funny how entertaining the morning car pool can be with a bunch of 11-year-old boys. The topic of the day was the upcoming Super Bowl. My son started it off.

"Mom, how many days do we get off for the Super Bowl this year?"  Before I could answer with a stunned NONE, the back seat countered, "We only got out of school last year because the Super Bowl was in Dallas."

Another boy chimed in, "Ah, I thought we did not go to school because we were in trouble with the FBI!"

A third begged to differ: "No, Aaron [Rodgers], Clay (Mathews) and Coach [McCarthy] loved us. They just didn't want us having guns at their practice field. We were not in that much trouble."

I was feeling faint, trying to keep my hands on the wheel, and not drive the car into a ditch. My son added, "Mom, you were in Mexico. Who would drive us to school, anyway?" (Love that 11 year old boy logic)

Finally, the 4th boy in car closed out the discussion: "We made so much money on the hot chocolate stand, who could think about school? Bet the Green Bay Packers are missing us. I cannot believe they lost that game [to the New York Giants]!"

Apparently, it seems that over the past 11 ½ months the boys had somehow forgotten the most important part of the story! In fact, the WHOLE reason they had a story to tell in the first place.  So it's time to set the record straight before we begin another Super Bowl Week in Indianapolis.

Winter wonderland

As January 2011 arrived, North Texas was getting gussied up for the world to visit. Neighbor, Dallas Cowboy owner, and sports world icon, Jerry Jones, had our corner of the globe all polished up, the flower beds were planted, and a new coat of paint had been slapped on for our Super Bowl XLV guests. Nothing this big had ever happen in our city (which is saying something, considering we're called Big D)!

That was until the most massive snow and ice storm on record crippled the entire region. This is Texas, after all. We Do Not Do SNOW and ICE! We visit it in New Mexico and Colorado; we don't live in it. I swear, it's as if the entire region had ONE snow plow. The entire state of Texas? Maybe three. We just don't need them. Or so we thought.  

When Super Bowl Week arrived, there were 12 inches of snow and ice on the ground in Dallas. No one went to school or work or anything! Well, except for me: I managed to get to the airport and, yes, was in Mexico when this exciting tale transpired, but I have heard pieces and snippets of the saga for months from boys, neighbors on the street, even total strangers. 

Water mains were bursting and electrical transformers were popping as the Green Bay Packers arrived in Dallas and the Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers colorsSteelers arrived in our neighbor city, Ft. Worth. The two team's players and their fans from the Frozen North truly felt at home in the winter wonderland that Mother Nature had provided. The rest of us - well, we were miserable with no water and no electricity.

Would you be my neighbor?

We did, however, benefit from the misfortune, in one very significant way: the Green Bay Packers became our neighbors for the week. The teams had to have places where they could practice for the big game, of course. The Steelers were training at the fabulous T.C.U. facilities in Fort Worth. The Cheese Heads were all set to take over S.M.U. athletics, except there was this teeny, tiny problem: S.M.U. did not have an indoor football field. There is only one indoor practice field anywhere near S.M.U and it happened to be 2 blocks from my house!

The Packers training in my neighborhood turned out to be an 11-year-old boy's dream come true. School was cancelled for THE WEEK! No one could drive and we were conserving electricity every way we could for our out-of-town guests. When a truck began sanding our sleepy lane, the boys knew something was up. The TV crews started arriving, and then the buses. The Green Bay Packers were on our street! The boys ran towards the stadium, following the bus. They knew the way to sneak in and out of the football stadium, maneuvering under and through holes in the fences. Once inside, they had easy access to the indoor practice arena.

Since we aren't used to cold weather in Texas, the warmest coats some boys own are camouflage coats for hunting. Most stocking hats are bright orange; also a hunting precaution. Now, I don't want you to judge what happened next. Remember, it did not happen on my watch (I was South of the Border).

Apparently the neighborhood boys were hunting snowmen when the Green Bay Packers descended on us (or so they said), so they also had their air rifles (Hopefully, they had on their protective goggles, too).

While Mom is Away ... the boys will play!

I can see the scene unfolding before my eyes. The boys arrived as the Packers were getting off their buses to start practice. The boys were beside themselves with their good fortune. I am sure the Green Bay Packers were wondering about this small army of soldiers in red hats and camouflage coats. Why weren't the kids in school? Apparently, they were all smiles and hellos UNTIL a security officer showed up and escorted the boys off for questioning (probably the air rifles. Y'a think?).

Security allowed one boy to leave and alert a parent (their one free phone call from jail, I guess). A mother came back to claim the bunch and vouch for their good character, telling security that they were good kids who just got carried away, that's all. They were told never to come back to practice (The stuff about the security officer saying he was from the FBI? That was just an embellishment for the story).

Of course, the neighborhood hunting party didn't go away completely. They ended up putting away their air rifles and setting up a hot chocolate stand, befriending the media, and grabbing a few autographs from the Green Bay Packers, too. There was even an unconfirmed rumor that the boys had made it on to TV, in either Pittsburgh or Green Bay (no one knew which). Apparently, the Packers relaxed and enjoyed the local hospitality from the neighbors.

Going to Disney Land!

The Green Bay Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLV. They became "our team": a team we cheered for and talked about this past football season with almost as much gusto as our beloved Dallas Cowboys. I noticed a few Aaron Rodger-style Championship Belt touchdown dances on the 5th grade football field this fall, too. It seems you can learn a lot and have some fun when you are not in school and your mother is in Mexico!

The moral of this story? Indianapolis moms, it is not too late! Book a trip to Mexico for Super Bowl weekend NOW. You'll thank me later!

PS: Just so you know, the trip to Mexico was arranged far in advance with no knowledge that it was Super Bowl weekend or that a major crippling storm would also hit the city!

Gretchen Rose is a wife and mom of a teen and tween in Dallas, Texas. She and her husband are owners of KidzMat, the premier organizational equipment for all youth sports teams.

Posted January 22, 2012