Wednesday, February 6

Year of a Million and One Dreams

All of this wasn’t supposed to happen. My dad was born in 1950, and they built Disneyland in 1955. As a kid, my dad would watch all the “Disneyland is awesome” propaganda on ABC each week, and Disneyland became a mythical and magical place to him. But since he lived in New Jersey and Disneyland was in California, and this was the 1950s, he was sure of one thing: “I will never, ever, ever see Disneyland.”

When I turned into an “adult” and I had my own money and time, I decided to spend it on the thing I love most: dirt bikes. When my dad became and adult and had his own money and time, he decided to spend it on what he loved most. I think he’s gone to Disney World in Florida 30 times, no joke. But this year, he came up with an idea—maybe he could tag along with me at an Anaheim supercross and get to see Disneyland? Yes, it’s not really better than Disneyworld, but, this was a way to say he finally got to see it after 57 years of knowing he never would.

We would fly on Friday, do supercross on Saturday, and go to Disneyland on Sunday.

But then a strange, unexpected, wild complication came about. The Giants made it to the Superbowl. The Giants??? The G-men??? The 2008 NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS???? How in the hell did this happen???

The Giants didn’t deserve this sort of attention. Two months ago, I was lamenting over the NFL schedule. The Giants play the Patriots like once every 10 years. What were the odds that they would be scheduled to play them in the last game of the season in the same season where the Patriots were undefeated? The Giants would be the poster children, the ones remembered in history, the ones seen in the background of photos with the caption “The Perfect Season.” What did the Giants do to deserve such this? The Giants aren’t like other New York teams that deserve this treatment. The Yankees have won so much that they deserve any franchise-crippling insult that comes their way. The New York Knicks have become the standard for everything that is wrong with professional basketball. But the Giants? Why did the scheduling gods make them the final Pats victim for week 17?

The G-men played a great game and made it interesting for sure, but the week 17 loss only seemed to remind me of how invincible the Patriots are. Even when you think you have them, they’re really just toying with you. I still had little faith in the Giants (although I did start claiming they were the second best team in the history of the NFL since they were beaten by the best team ever by just three points). I didn’t even talk trash for next weekend’s game against Tampa, even though my old roommate/manfriend Tim is a Bucs season ticket holder. I still had no faith in the G-men.

But they beat Tampa. The next weekend, we were boarding a plane on Sunday in Phoenix, watching the Cowboys march down the field and dismantle the Giants. Then, just before landing, the pilot comes on the radio to say the Giants have won again.

A few days before the next game against Green Bay, dad sends me an email. “Hey, I just realized yesterday that the day we go to Disneyland is Superbowl Sunday! And the Giants could still be in it, too! And the Patriots could make history!

Well, everyone on earth knew there was no chance the Giants would go further. America wanted to see Brett Farve take his shot against the perfect Pats. I saw something during that Green Bay game, though, and I told the HSCGIED now Fiance: “Hey, have you noticed, the Giants look dangerous!? They look like, they look like they can move and score at will. It looks like they can make things happen!”

Then they won. The Giants were going to the Superbowl!!!!! Awesome…except they Giants were going to become the Pats last victim. AGAIN.

I thought this would make the Disneyland trip even better, since now Dad and I would get to see our favorite football team in the Superbowl. Dad, though, wasn’t thinking that way. He had waited his whole life to see this park and he didn’t want anything to screw it up. And honestly, the Giants were just gonna’ get blown out anyway. Why would you want to see that?

On Friday he made his declaration: he wasn’t interested in watching the game. This should be a shock but it’s not if you know my dad. My dad is not a risk taker. He’s not a multi-tasker. He is robotically on point, on time, on schedule and does not deviate from set plans. And he always, always sets a plan.

I’m pretty much the opposite, in the same way we all try to do things differently from our parents. I think a lot of my motivation to work seven days a week, to never rest, to work at any and all hours of the day, and to not get mad or upset about it—is a knee-jerk reaction to my dad doing the opposite. I don’t plan anything, I just take it as it comes and try to do as much as humanly possible. To me, Superbowl and Disneyland in the same day is a golden opportunity to make the greatest day ever. To dad, it’s two conflicting things on the same day.

Much as we expected, it didn’t take long to get through Disneyland. We have seen most of that stuff in Disneyworld, plus it was raining and cold (welcome to sunny Southern California, dad). By 4:00 pm, there was only one thing left to ride—the Monorail. And that was the thing my dad wanted to ride most when he was a kid in the 1950s seeing Disneyland on TV. Turned out the Monorail was down for maintenance, and they told us to come back in two hours. The Superbowl would now be at halftime. The world was basically telling us “leave this park and watch the game.”

It took some convincing, but I finally got dad to go over to ESPN Zone, which was about a 5-minute walk away. Tom Petty had just finished up the halftime show, and then we saw it was 7-3. We had a game. Maybe I could convince dad to stick around.

Of course every table was full. I wouldn’t give up. We had to put ourselves in position for something to happen. So we went to the bar—standing room only—knowing full well that no one was going to leave right in the middle of a close and historic game. But we had nothing to gain by leaving. We stood next to two Australian women who were on vacation and heard about this big game. They had no clue how this American football thing worked. “Excuse me, but do you know why they keep stopping?” asked one, much more used to rugby and Australian Rules Football, which just keeps on playing, like soccer. I did ask them if they had ever heard of Chad Reed. They hadn’t.

It was fun to talk to the Aussies, but what it really accomplished was killing some time to keep us in the bar. Then a miracle happened. A guy sitting at the bar had reserved a table, but when his buzzer went off, he decided he liked the bar better. “Anyone here want a table for two?” he said. I snatched that buzzer from him, he told me to say my name was Estrada, and in full CHiPs fashion I did just that. The hostess seated us in the big screen room, which meant we had a full-on perfect view of a GIANT screen, and within minutes of sitting down we watched the GIANTS march down the field and take the darned lead in the fourth freaking quarter. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

A few minutes after that, the Pats marched right down the field and scored again, looking like the team they should have looked like the whole game. Dad and I shrugged and gave the Giants credit for a good game. But this was the way it was supposed to end.

By some miracle, a minute later the Giants were fighting up stream, and then Eli threw what is being called The Miracle Play to be Named Later. By then, Giant fans were standing on chairs, screaming and going nuts—and this was at ESPN Zone in Anaheim, California. When they won, the place went even crazier. And Dad and I got to see it together, only because he wanted to go to Disneyland. A few minutes after that, Eli said he was going to do the same thing.

Hey that was a dream come true.


Anonymous said...

.......I never did get on that monorail, though......


Daniel said...

What a cool story. It was nice you guys got to watch the game together. My wife and I went with some friends to their friends house to watch the game. We had lots of awesome food, we had good company. What was lacking was the TV. Let's just say (in my best Simpson's Comic Book Guy voice) "It was the worst picture ever!!" They use an antenna, which is normal if you want local channels in high def. But I didn't realize they would still have old TV's without high def. I didn't matter too much, we had a great time and the game turned out really exciting in the last quarter. But the picture was so bad that most of the time you couldn't even read the score. When they brought out the chains to measure a first down, you couldn't always tell where the measuring stick was... because there was such a bad "ghost" on the screen there were two! Good time, good game, simply the "worst picture ever." Next year I might ask more questions before I head to the party.

Paul said...

that was a pretty cool story, weege. Congrats for putting yourself and your dad in the right place at the right time!

Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Did you get your invite to the Trail Rider Indy Party? Feb 17th 6pm till???? Acapulco Joe's 365 N Illinois?
ALL the cool off road guys will be there.

Anonymous said...

How dare you say I'm not a multi-tasker! I'll have you know, right now I'm eating a bowl of Disney's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Berry Crunch cereal, while simultaneously typing this angry response and ......OOPS.....DAMN....SPILLED IT!!!


Jason Weigandt said...

Sorry we never got on the monorail. Next time you come to West Virginia you can ride the WVU Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) to make up for it. Now I'll leave you alone so you can turn the computer off and do something else...single tasking.

Mom the toilet's blogged,
Oh yeah? Really? You're sure? You're telling me ALL of the off-road cool guys will be there? Are you reaaaalllly certain? Because I will be at the Houston Supercross that weekend.

Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Yep, with you Texas, this will insure that ALL the cool guys will be in Indy.
Do you forget that just two postings ago your name and the word flamer were used in the same sentence?
Is no one else shocked!?!? Naw, not really.
See all the cool guys in Indy.
I'm just teasing Jason, there will be a sad dark spot where you should be standing. Besides, the party is Sunday night, plenty of time to make the trip.

cpsmith58 said...

Definitely cool that you got to share that with your dad. That's the kind of stuff you never forget, sharing a moment like that with someone special like that. Good for you.

My dad died (at my current age) of heart disease, just like my grandpa and all my uncles ON BOTH SIDES OF MY FAMILY. If you'll excuse me, I gotta go get on the treadmill so that my kids and grandkids can have stories like you do.

See how lucky you were to share that with your dad?

Jason Weigandt said...

My dad has a treadmill now, too.