Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dream a (weird) little dream...

Memorial Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas: Future home of the NFC Championship Game?

I had a dream so vivid and clear last night that I still remember it here at work a few hours later. If dreams come in High-Def, this one definitely cost extra on my dream-cable subscription. Not only was it clear, but it had tons of details that are both random and also strangely applicable to life in America today as a football fan, only the details are completely bizarre and random in the traditional peculiar way of dreams.

The basic premise of my dream was that the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals were playing a football game of some significance in the small Kansas town in which I went to college: Manhattan, Kansas. This would be weird enough to be playing an NFL game in a college town in Kansas, but at least Manhattan is home to a Big 12 school with a stadium (Wagner Field) that can hold over fifty thousand people and houses big college games each fall. However, this dream was even odder in that they were playing this game in Memorial Stadium, the old football stadium built in the 1920’s with a maximum capacity at it’s apex of only 20,000 people and a stadium which today looks more like an ancient ruin than a sports venue. At the time I was going to school there in the late nineties, the stadium was merely a glorified park, and the most intense games that took place there were pickup games of ultimate Frisbee. I haven’t been to Manhattan in years, so it’s possible that it’s been renovated or used for events since then, but in my memories, it was pretty much not a stadium anymore and is DEFINITELY the least likely place for a significant NFL game to take place.

However, in my dream, the Giants and Cardinals were going to play a game there. In the annoying way of dreams, I was never provided with details as to how or why it was decided that hosting an NFL game in Memorial Stadium was a good idea, but despite this aggravating lack of explanation, the game was going to take place. In real life, this would be a logistical nightmare, as the amount of people crowding a small Kansas town for an NFL game would cause unspeakable gridlock and parking would be impossible, however, in my dream my friend Doug, my wife and I decided that we would drive to the game, even though it was less than a mile away. There was plenty of parking and the streets were practically deserted. We found parking right near the stadium and walked right in. We arrived late to the game, because I was insistent that I balance my checkbook before we left for the game so we didn’t arrive at the game until midway through the second quarter.

When we did finally arrive at Memorial Stadium, it was full but not overflowing. Another odd thing that I noticed when we arrived at the game was that the entire crowd was decked out in Denver Broncos gear; this was odd for two reasons. Reason #1: The Broncos were not playing and Reason #2: In eastern Kansas when little children utter the words Denver Broncos their parents will wash their mouths out with soap. That is to say, the Broncos are not a popular team there, so the idea that the townsfolk would show up anywhere in Broncos gear is a highly unlikely proposition.

The stadium was not packed and it was relatively easy to get to our seats. We even moved up a few seats to be closer to the field, although we didn’t have the best seats in the house as we were sitting behind the end zone. When we finally showed up to the game (with me being happy because my checkbook was, in fact, balanced) the score of the game was Giants 10 Cardinals 9, but the Cardinals had the ball inside the 20 of the Giants and looked about ready to score. The game was in a delay when we arrived and although the details were sketchy on the precise details, the gist of what I was able to discern from my dream is that it was in a delay because an Arizona player had just made a big play to get their team into the red zone (that’s inside the 20 yard line for you non-football fans) and to celebrate this big play, he had released some type of iridescent sparkly dark red liquid all over the field, so the game was being delayed to clean up the mess. The mess was nearly cleaned up when we got into our seats, and the referee was explaining that there was a penalty against this Cardinal’s player for excessive celebration. After the penalty was called Tom Coughlin, the coach of the Giants, angrily rushed out onto the field and declined the penalty because he said, “Players should be allowed to celebrate.” At this point, I remember yelling out loudly, “Man, I love Tom Coughlin!” (A few points of clarity from me now that I am awake, I do NOT believe players should be allowed to celebrate by littering the field with iridescent goo, I cannot imagine that Tom Coughlin would decline a 15 yard penalty at any time but especially when his opponent was 13 yards away from a touchdown, and finally I do not actually love Tom Coughlin.)

After all the penalty declining and iridescent goo clean up was completed it was third down and eleven, for some reason. And no, that doesn’t make sense, but if you’ve read to this point, you will have to concede that making sense was not a high priority for this dream. Kurt Warner dropped back to pass and the Giants sacked him and he fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Giants who ran the ball back eighty yards for a touchdown. At this point the entire stadium erupted in cheers, as for some reason a stadium full of people from eastern Kansas who were decked out in Broncos gear were apparently all Giants fans. After the extra point, the lights went out in the stadium, and the glow from the street lights that stayed on created a strange glow on the field, which I realized was not a field at all, but was actually more like a wrestling mat type surface. I noticed this odd fact, but thought nothing of it. At this point, I realized what a great photo opportunity I had, so I turned to the guy behind me to ask him to take a picture of my wife and me. The guy behind us was in a tussle with a toddler at first, but he agreed to take my picture, so I had to wait until he got the child under control which he quickly did. After the commotion died down, I went to show him the button he would need to press in order to take the picture, but as I went to do so, my alarm clock went off and the dream came to a screeching halt.

So that was my dream, and much like Pharaoh needed Joseph to translate his dreams about the sheaves of wheat and the fat and skinny cows, I feel the need to understand what this all means. In real life the Cardinals and Giants are both playing this coming weekend, although not against each other. Does my dream mean that they will both win and end up in the NFC Championship? I doubt it, as I think the Panthers will defeat the Cardinals, but wouldn’t it be weird if it ended up that they DID play each other in the NFC Championship game? Why was the game in Manhattan, Kansas? How come they were playing on gym mats? Is memorial stadium going to be used for an important NFL game in the near future? So many questions, when in all likelihood, I just had a weird dream after eating too much Peppermint Popcorn before bed. I don’t know, but I can say without a doubt that this was the clearest I can remember a dream, even if it makes ZERO sense.

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