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Long before we ever knew if BYU would be bowl eligible we bought the tickets. As soon as we found out the Fight Hunger Bowl would be played in San Francisco at AT&T Ball Park we bought the tickets. Who cares if BYU didn’t make it? It’s still a college bowl game! We were going to go and love it no matter what. Heath bought four tickets and didn’t charge his parents for their tickets. It was our Christmas present to them.

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Row 10 on the 30 yard line! Can you say sweet tickets?

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Grandma made these fleece scarves for everyone for Christmas. There are pockets on the side to put your hands. She made mine and hers with hoods too. Parker isn’t a bad little photographer but this is the clearest picture he got of us.

The drive into the city was a little nerve wracking I will admit. I hate going into the city. Hate it. I sat in the back with my eyes fixed on the fiery sunset hoping my peripheral vision wouldn’t notice the crowded freeway. A woman tried to move over two lanes at a time. Heath honked just as she was about to sideswipe us. She sheepishly waved and mouthed an apology. My heart raced even after trying every anxiety reducing trick I could remember from my class. The black silhouettes of trees and rooftops against the rich orangey red sky held my attention.

Scenes flashed through my mind of the six weeks we lived in the city. I remembered the streets and ironically could have guided Heath to our destination if I needed to. We lived in corporate housing a block or so away from AT&T Ball Park. It was odd to stand in front of the venue ready to go inside. I took our boys past that very spot at least four times a day. There was a playground on the other side that we went to twice a day.

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Once inside the park my anxiety reduced and pure excitement took over. Even though there were a lot of people I wasn’t concerned. We were at the bowl game and it was awesome!

Game tickets are never cheap. It was very impressive to me to realize that a portion of each ticket sale went directly to the local food drives. I doubt any other bowl can say the same. Not even the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. It’s just the name of the bowl. Not to give anyone chips! And the Rose Bowl is not to beautify local cemeteries or cheer up local hospitals with roses.

A family sat in the row ahead of us. It was at least two sisters plus husbands and children. They took up the whole row. Cute family. One girl had a BYU sticker on her face but her younger sisters didn’t have stickers. The one girl looked to be about Gwen’s age. She acted a lot like Gwen too. She kept staring at the sticker on my cheek and trying to pick off her older sister’s sticker. Heath and I both dumped everything out of our bag twice trying to find the extra stickers we thought we brought.

By some stroke of luck we found them. It made the little girl’s night. Once she was finished peeling it off and replacing it multiple times she finally settled down on her mom’s lap and eventually fell asleep.

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One problem with our seats was it was a little hard to see. It was a tough angle to see when the teams were closer to the other end zone. The big screen didn’t really help. I’m not used to going to games live so I really had a hard time seeing. Usually the big screen helps. Only this time I felt like everything seemed tiny and blurry on the screen. If the players were close to where we were sitting we had the UW cheerleaders and their signs blocking most of the view. Heath and I both agree that maybe a couple rows higher would have been better. I can’t complain though. The whole experience was awesome!

One particular UW fan was talked to by security twice and the police once. I never paid enough attention to him to see what trouble he was causing. I think he was just being kind of a jerk of a fan. A few security officers sat between the cheerleaders throughout the last half of the game keeping an eye on the guy!

Heath was sitting next to a dad and his two adult sons. From what I understand they bought the tickets to enjoy a bowl game. The dad chose to cheer for BYU while the sons cheered for Washington. They bought their respective shirts as well. They had a blast. Since they weren’t really fans of either team they were easy to sit next to. Beer and all. Near the end of the 4th quarter when it was obvious BYU couldn’t make a comeback the dad flung his complimentary seat cushion like a Frisbee across the stands. It was funny but still, we paid $80 in t-shirts and a program to get our cushion. One of the sons yelled for someone to throw it back. Nobody did. 

Heath has a way of making friends with everyone around him. He was chatting with all the UW fans on the street telling them his parents were visiting from Washington and that he graduated from UW. He would spout off football facts and statistics that would impress the guys sitting next to us and the BYU family in front of us, or even the BYU family sitting behind us. Fan loyalties don’t stop him.

That all being said, the ultimate bowl game story happened at the end of the night. BYU lost. The final score was 31-16. It’s no fun to have your team lose but what are you going to do right? It’s a game! We went to have fun and we had a lot of fun. The fans all kept to themselves, regardless of team affiliation, as we hiked out of the park. That is until we got to the stairwell that led to the street.

We were a tiny handful of the sea of people walking down the stairs to the street. Most of whom were UW fans. Not a big deal. I wasn’t worried. Even when the chanting started. Honestly, I felt a smidge of jealousy. It would be fun to join the chanting and enthusiasm after winning. But my team lost.

Fan: Whose house?
Fans: DAWG’S HOUSE!!!
Fan: Whose house?
Fans: DAWG’S HOUSE!!!

This continued about seven times before the ringleader stopped the chanting question. He probably made it to the street and naturally stopped there. A couple steps above Heath a man laughed loudly and yelled out

Man: Polygamy’s a *****!
Heath: So is ignorance!

We reached the end of the stairs and opened the door to the street. A second later the man came out. If there weren’t a bunch of people between him and Heath, he would have been in our faces.

Man: What did you say?
Heath: I said so is ignorance.

A couple seconds of uncomfortable silence followed that felt much longer than a couple seconds. The man puffed his chest out. His face turned red and he was ready to make things physical.

Heath: I went to Washington …
more uncomfortable seconds that felt like years.
Heath tapping his own chest: But I choose to cheer for the classier team!

The guy was deflated. Realizing there was nothing left to say or do, that Heath had won the war of words, the man turned and walked away. I have not shut up about what a brilliant man I have married since! Seriously! Heath has been blessed with an amazing gift to diffuse situations with either humor or wit. He put the man in his place for making a rude comment just to get a rise out of people. And Heath did it calmly with honesty. In my book it was the burn to end all burns. Win or lose this was my favorite moment of the 2013 San Francisco Fight Hunger Bowl Game.

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