For the past few years my family has made a Thanksgiving Day tradition of driving across Michigan to see the Detroit Lions lose to whichever team shows up to play them. This year: The New England Patriots.
I was happy to join in this time and thankful for the invite. My bargin hunting Mom found some deals on rooms at tidy and modern Holiday Inn downtown, and I arrived late Wednesday night from Denver, (having spent just three days there for work following my Spain trip.) My cousin picked me up and took me a bar by Wayne State University – we caught up and chatted about Detroit, how the media highlights “decay porn” (like my photo below) and the excellent Johnny Knoxville web series Detroit Lives, which I’ve seen in full and recommended to him. After we put a few down I snuck into the room and fell soundly asleep. I awoke refreshed to meet up Mom, uncle and all four cousins at for breakfast at the hotel, along with a crowd of other nice Michigan folks doing the same thing as us.
Speaking of Michigan and sports, I should note my cousin Paul has a very well written Michigan spots blog called the The Big Mitt. If you’re into sports you should check it out. He puts a lot more detail into it than I do my site and has some excellent analysis and regular twitter updates too.
My oldest cousin took his eight year old son around the corner to watch the parade while I caught up with my Mom and uncle, telling them about my trip to Spain and Morocco and also questioning them on how I can start attending classes in Denver again while not sacrificing all my free time and travel schedule. Turns out it’s somewhat difficult.
After the parade finished up we drove over to Ford Field, and while not as large as Mile HighStadium is quite an impressive and modern structure. I didn’t even realize it was indoors, having texted my Mom a week before asking he to bring an extra cap and gloves. (“What for? The walk from the parking lot?” she wrote back.) Sadly my knowledge of Detroit sports consists of road trips to the Tiger games when I was a kid, and seats behind the support posts in the old stadium because the tickets were dirt cheap. If the game ran long we’d have to scoot pronto because my parents didn’t care to walk through the neighborhood to the car after dark.
After some hunting we found a lot a spot in front of this house just awaiting your gentrication. We spend the five block walk to the arena trying to figure out if the lady we just payed $20 for parked worked for some sort of parking service or was just passing by.
Well all the money saved from past years netted us a row of prime Lions seats about 20 rows up, and we even splurged on some $8 beers. The game was pretty intense for the first three quarters. My coworkers who openly mocked me for seeing a Lions game were being proven wrong – they were ahead in the first three quarters, making a jubliant afternoon for all except the Patriots fans who made their presence well well known. There was a fancy halftime show by Kid Rock, but my cousins and I all agreed that we liked his music better when it was rock instead of country or whatever genre he belts out now.
Things turned sour by the by the end of the third quarter the Patriots caught up and were tied with the Lions at 24. One of the Patriots fan, a few rows down donning a Tom Brady jersey, became giddy and was spinning around dancing giving us Lions fans the business. The guy a few seats over next to us put him in his place by screaming “Sit the F–k down F—t!!” It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard that; I’ve heard the same thing said at my friends’ gay rugby games, only with an entirely different playful intonation. As mentioned my beer cost $8 so I didn’t want to “accidentally” spill it on him, so in a more mature manner I planned to take him aside privately and have a courteous discussion on awareness and diversity, but the opportunity was lost as he, along with the rest of the stadium left en masse at the point when the Lions were truly defeated.
The car was still in the lot, so we drove back across the state, my cousin doing his best to dodge the potholes along the road leading out of town. I couldn’t help cracking up when my uncle forlornly asked aloud, “Why should I have to get an alignment just because I want to see a Lions game?” (To my foreign readers- Michigan is a little tight on cash right now so we don’t have much left over at the end of the month for fancy things like basic infrastructure.)
Late evening we arrived at a family member’s farm near Lansing, ending our day with a buffet of turkey, masked potatos, salads and pie, amid more family and friends.
Despite the loss and overzealous fans, I couldn’t ask for a better Thanksgiving Day with my family. And Kid Rock! See you there next year.