In keeping with our plan to continue our quest, Michelle and I decided our next step would be the NFL Draft. It would be
a moment of glory.
If this was a movie "We Will Rock You" by Queen would have been playing as Wee Michelle and I got out of the taxi at Radio
City Music Hall, where they were holding the NFL Draft. This was day one and it was 6:00 a.m., but we were pumped. We were
in our Dolphin Gear and were ready to proudly display it in the faces of the other fans. It had been a solid four months since
the regular season ended, and we were itching for some football.
"Dolphins SUCK!" shouted a passing Jets fan. At least this loser didn’t have to prove he could spell "JETS" like
all the others. Maybe he couldn’t. And so it begins: "Take it easy, tiger, I don’t recall the Jets winning the
Super Bowl this year," Wee Michelle yelled back. That shut him up and he kept walking. Despite being short (she barely comes
up to my shoulder and has strict rules about what shoes I can wear in her presence), she can be pretty intimidating.
We lined up behind 40 or so yawning sports fans and waited. And waited. And waited. Things were supposed to work this way:
According to the NFL website, there would only be tickets
available the day of the draft.
Fans should NOT, they repeat, SHOULD NOT, show up and
camp out the night before. They would only be turned away empty handed.
Fans are strongly advised to line up early on Saturday
and wait patiently for the doors to open.
We did that. We did exactly what they said.
While waiting … waiting, … waiting … in line, we met some extremely devoted football fans (and you thought
WE were devoted). One guy drove all night from Georgia to see who the Falcons would pick. Another guy, with a giant block
of cheese on his head, told us that he used his vacation days from work to come all the way to New York City for his beloved
Packers. And, of course, there was the guy who loved the Jets –
we decided he loved money more because he spent the entire time everyone was waiting in line trying to sell t-shirts. Loser.
As we waited in line we realized that again, this was turning out to be an amazing experience. It was early April, so it
was still pretty cold. We were in the shade, so it was about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the city. But the energy of
the crowd kept us warm and it was going to be SO worth it! All eyes were on the entrance for two solid hours, and for those
two solid hours no sign of anyone who looked official.
9:30. Finally! A tall gentleman in an ugly navy blue suit stepped out of the door and looked us over. Based on the applause
he received from the crowd, you’d have thought he was a famous ex-football player, but that was not the case. People
started scrambling to firm up their spots in line. Tired fans got up off the sidewalk, breakfasts were finished and empty
coffee cups were tossed in the trash. The hundreds of Draft-Audience hopefuls were now standing at full attention.
The man was a security guard and he looked up and down the line. Then he went back inside Radio City Music Hall. He chose
to ignore the questions being shouted at him. Michelle and I looked at one another and didn’t say a word. We both had
a bad feeling about things.
"BOOOO!!!!!" yelled the crowds of people waiting. We continued to stand there, while listening to a chorus of "This is
ridiculous" and "Who was that guy?!" A minute or two later the security guard appeared again with back up – he had two of his security buddies with him. A few people in the front asked him some questions
and this time he had answers. In what turned out to be the largest game of "telephone" known to man, the security guard’s
answers trickled their way through the line.
The man in front of me and Michelle said, "He said we had to wait until 11:00 and then they’re giving out wristbands!"
Michelle and I dutifully passed the information along to the guy behind us and then we got comfortable for another hour and
a half of waiting.
Somewhere around 10:30, rumors began to fly through the crowd like bats out of hell. I swear you could swat at them with
your hand! Apparently, a group of fans had walked by and flaunted their brightly colored wristbands, which they supposedly
received while camping out the night before.
Wait just a damn minute. They camped out?!?! Everyone in the line was confused, irritated, appalled and itching for answers.
How was this possible? Weren’t they supposed to wait and give out wristbands the morning of the event? This Morning?
At Eleven? The crowd was getting upset and just needed something to happen in order to give them a glimmer of hope that they
hadn’t just wasted an entire morning. (Or in the case of the Cheese-Head an entire week’s worth of vacation!)
At that point, the security guard in the ugly suit reappeared and insisted that everybody line up on the other side of the
The mad dash began. People sprinted across the street and some even tried to run up the block a bit in order to get a spot
in line closer to the front. Not to be outdone, I put my long legs to use and was able to run ahead to secure a great spot
in line for us while Michelle gathered up our things. When we got settled across the street, I walked over to the security
guards to see what was up.
I am not shy. I had every intention of batting my eyelashes to get us some answers. Although the guys liked the attention,
they couldn’t do anything to get Michelle and me into the building. They said we had to wait for people from the NFL
to come and nobody was getting any wristbands until then.
Just as I got back to Michelle and our spot in line, the crowd started to run. This time, diagonally across the street
to the front of the building, where supposedly someone heard they would be giving away wristbands. They were wrong. The trek
to the entrance got them nowhere. Michelle and I stayed put.
At this point, it was major chaos. People were running everywhere. People were dodging cars in the middle of traffic. People
were screaming at security guards. We didn’t know what to do. We saw our dreams of a perfect day at the NFL Draft dissolve
We needed to go back to what always helped us out before. We needed a game plan! We were going sneak in to the NFL Draft.
Don’t you know who we are? We’re The Michelles: so in true football fashion we devised the following chart:
Michelle was X.
I was O.
The security guards were xx.
The building was oo.
My plan was to loop around to the guards and distract them with some more questions and, let’s be honest, a more
serious form of flirtation, while Michelle would cross over behind them and slip in the door. Once inside Radio City Music
Hall, she would double back to the main entrance and give the sob story about how her friend was outside and had forgotten
her wristband at home. Michelle would point at me standing outside. The people at the door would look out to see me just as
I shed a tear and pathetically wave at Michelle. The door people would take pity on us and they would let me in and Michelle
and I could go on with our perfect day.
In a split second, our entire plan fell apart. Just when Michelle was beginning her sprint towards the building, she ran
right into an enormous gentleman with a megaphone who walked out and blocked the door.
Michelle stopped dead in her tracks just as she saw his angry ‘don’t even think about it’ look. She slowly
turned around and walked back over to me.
"Ladies and Gentlemen!!!" screamed the giant into the megaphone. Everybody stopped running. You could hear a pin drop,
it was so silent. "I am sorry to inform you that all the wristbands were distributed last night to camped out fans and there
are no more at this time!"
He didn’t wait for the crowd to respond. He went back inside as the eruption began. There were people out here who’d
been there for over six hours! He may have been a giant, but I guess if he hadn’t gone back inside - I don’t want
to think about what would have happened to him.
Michelle and I just stood there. Stunned. We watched as the barricades were called in.
Our perfect day - ruined.
Our brilliant game plan - foiled.
Our egos - totally deflated.
Michelle and I hated feeling the way we felt that morning. We dragged our heels over to Fifth Avenue to catch a taxi back
downtown. We couldn’t even get a taxi. We were wallowing in defeat.
What would The Dolphins do? Well, they’d keep on fighting for that Super Bowl ring! And fighting is what we decided
to do. Instead of giving in and giving up, we were going to suck it up and learn from it. We were going to keep trying and
keep going. We needed a new goal.
We met Dan Marino. We got autographs. We got on TV. The disappointing showing at the draft was a mere setback. We would
use that as a stepping stone to greater things. A learning experience, if you will.
A cab stopped right in front of us. Things were already looking up.
We vowed right then and there, to NEVER be shut out again! Michelle and I wanted it all. We were going to reach for a new
goal. One game a week. Each week a different experience. Something new, something exciting and something that's going to make
a great story one day. The countdown to the season has begun and we're going to be ready!!