I figure my return to my football-themed blog should probably feature a football-themed post.

Super Bowl festivities are in full swing here in Phoenix. Not surprisingly, I can’t afford to go to the game – but I was thrilled when, after pouting about it on Facebook, and old friend came through with a great deal on a couple of tickets to the Pro Bowl. Great alternative – for a fraction of the price we got to go see UOP stadium all dolled up for the big game, and get at least a small taste of what kind of party the NFL can throw.

Connor was my date, because he is the only other one in the family who enjoys football and really wanted to go (he also wanted to see The Academy perform – plenty more posts about that later, I’m sure).  We parked way out in the boonies because it cost less, and we didn’t mind walking on such a gorgeous afternoon.

However when we got to the gate, I was stopped by security and reminded that I couldn’t take a purse into the game. At that moment I remembered the new policy requiring all personal items be placed in a clear plastic bag, a la airport security.

Crap. I was wearing my cute little red Coach shoulder bag that I’d gotten for Christmas. It was tiny, but still against NFL regulation.

“I’m sorry but you can’t bring that in. You will have to take it back to your car.” The security guy handed me a clear, Cardinals-branded ziploc bag. Little did he know my car was at least a 15 minute walk away, and if we took my purse back we’d miss the Academy performance, which – let’s be honest – was probably the main reason Connor wanted to join me.

I looked at my sweet boy, who was ready and willing to turn around and walk back to the car. And I thought, what’s more important? This fun, impromptu afternoon with my teenage son, or this bag?

“Come here,” I said to Connor, motioning to a concrete barrier nearby. He followed me over, where I proceeded to empty my small purse into the plastic bag. I then rolled up my little Coach bag and stuffed it in a small crevice under the barrier.

Connor looked at me, surprised. “Mom, are you seriously going to leave it there?”

“Yup,” I replied. “We’ll see if it’s there after the game.”

IMG_1851Connor’s face lit up. I earned some serious street cred with that move. I really didn’t think twice about leaving it – I wasn’t going to hike for over half an hour to put this tiny bag in my car, and miss all the pregame festivities that we’d busted our tail to get to on time. Not to mention – the quality time with my teenage son? You can’t put a price on that. Losing that bag would be a small price to pay.

We walked back to the entrance, where the security guard looked suspiciously at my plastic bag, thinking I’d rolled my tiny purse up and put it inside. I explained that no, that was my wallet – and subtly nodded IMG_1862toward the barrier, where you could barely make out a shade of red peeking out from beneath. He nodded knowingly, and cleared us to go inside.

Connor and I had a blast. Yeah, it’s totally NFL light, but it was a fun, festive atmosphere and it is cool seeing all the superstar players on the field at the same time. Connor saw the Academy perform twice, and we made it in for all the pregame hoopla and fireworks.

We left halfway through the third quarter, knowing we had a long drive home, and Connor still had some homework to wrap up before school the next day. We joined a small but steady stream of fans exiting the stadium, and as we passed through the fences covered in purple and IMG_1885white Super Bowl XLIX skins, of all the people we could have passed by – my eye was caught by the very same security guard who had made leave my little Coach purse behind.

He smiled. “Hey – last time I checked, it was still there,” he said.

No. Way.

I thought for sure there were legions of bad guys stalking the lots, waiting to prey on ill-informed women like me who had to hide their purses and hope they were still there when they left the game.

IMG_1945Connor and I went out of our way to walk back to the deserted entry gate, and located the cement barrier. We crouched down, and much to our surprise, saw a glimpse of red – my bag was still there!

Shoutout to good karma and the realization that evil isn’t always lying in wait around every corner. It was the cherry on the top of a very special day.