• Genevieve

10. Football Game Delays Flight 2016

Updated: Aug 10, 2018

Facebook. A lot of us live day by day checking facebook for pictures, likes and messages of postings we have made. In 2016, there was a posting that read "I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff". Yes, that is 100% how I have been living my life. Reading that particular facebook posting, I finished packing my bag to head off to visit my daughter, not in her hometown of Ireland, but in Morocco. For 10 years, Morocco was on the wish list of places to visit and now here I was, ready to head to the airport to catch my standby flight from Seattle to Morocco via Amsterdam.

With my planning folders inside my carry on luggage, I was ready to walk out the door to begin this new adventure. It was 2016, the American football playoff series was well underway. The Seattle Seahawks were playing the Minnesota Vikings in Minnie.

My husband was going to be my chauffeur and the timing was a little tricky. He is a huge Seahawks fan and had been watching every game religiously during the season. That day was a game that counted. It was a game of win or go home. My husbands plans were to leave at around half time, quickly drive 20 minutes to the airport, drop me off then return home to finish catching up and watching the game to the end. So far, the Seattle Seahawks were down 6 - 0. Not how my husband was anticipating this game. It was a bone chilling 6 degrees below freezing in Minneapolis where the game was being played, and by now everyone was thinking that the home team had a great advantage with the freezing temperatures. We rushed out the house keeping the radio off, and made our way to the airport in our normal 20 minutes. I was dropped off, said our goodbyes, and off I went through security. After the usual security luggage and x-ray checks, I boarded the train which I was taking towards S gates. The train stops where I wait for most of the passengers to step off the train before I get off. The gentleman beside me does not move.

“Are you headed back to the main terminal?” I ask him.

He looks at me and says "No, I am headed to Gate S 11 flying to Japan."

"This is your stop then." I say " Follow me."

" Thank you. I am running late and really do not know my way around this airport,” he replies.

" Not a problem," I say as we get on the escalator, "You still have plenty of time. Your flight is not boarding for another 5 minutes and you will have at least 20 minutes before they close the door. S terminal is small so you will not have to rush."

" Thank you so much for all that info. You must travel a lot. Travel is such a great experience. Actually the best education and life's experience." he says.

"Yes, I have to agree. I have always had the smallest house and used car just so that I could travel. I too agree that travelling is the best education of history, geography and culture one can have. That is how I raised my daughter."

"Where are you headed off to?" he asked.

"I am meeting my daughter in Amsterdam then we are spending a week in Morocco," I reply.

"Wow, what a great experience” he replies

We arrived at the top of the escalator, I pointed him in the direction of Gate S 11 where his flight was to leave from. He looks at me, says thank you with a beautiful relaxed smile and then gives me a big bear hug.

"Happy travels to you and enjoy the time with your daughter," he says and walks off to his flight.

I am again reminded that there are wonderful people in the world and that being helpful to a stranger is always a good gesture.

With a few hours to kill, I headed up to the Sky Club lounge. All television screens at the Seattle Seatac Airport, home of the Seahawks, were tuned into the big game. The second half of the game had started. The air was thick with anxiety and disbelief. The game score is now 9 - 0 and Seahawk fans were in first stages of depression. I took a seat. The game was being played on three monitors with an additional monitor displaying all the flights that were boarding. For thirty additional anxious minutes , the football was tossed, hiked and fumbled. Early in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson, throws a short touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin and Seattle Seahawks score a touchdown. The room exploded with cheers, screams and nervous laughter. What followed was a fumble by Vikings Adrian Peterson which set up a field goal by Steven Hauschka. Another three points are scored. After taking a one point lead, Seattle Seahawks had a chance to win.

My flight showed up on the flight board but my name had not been cleared yet to indicate I had been assigned a seat. Oh dear, my moment of panic begins. Getting to Amsterdam was a must since our flight to Tangiers, Morocco was just a few hours after my flight arrival into Amsterdam. What to do? Patiently I waited then decided at the 2 minute warning of the game that I needed to head down to the gate one floor below me to listen out for my name. Off I went to a very crowded gate area. Luckily for me, there was a TV set suspended from the ceiling and it was playing the playoff game between the Seahawks and the Vikings. As anyone who follows football knows, two minutes can be another ten minutes in actual time.

I decided to patiently wait, but my thoughts got thrown back to the day before when all seemed to go wrong for us at home. Uranus had been in retrograde. The energy was not good and the disruption patterns around us had just gone nuts. We had had our "everything happens in 3's" for the day. Our computer went crazy, the towel bar came apart as my husband reached for it to dry off from his shower and our motherboard panel on our garage door decided to stop working causing our garage door to stop half way up as I was backing out. The car bent the bottom frame panel of the Garage door forcing us to use the manual open and close procedure. Nothing disastrous, just an annoying extra step for a first world problem. I had hoped for better energy on my travel day to Amsterdam.

With these thoughts in mind, I went up to the gate desk and asked if the standby passengers had been cleared yet. The answer was an unsettling one. "We are paid load optimized so we will have to wait." That is never a good sign. That means even with empty seats available, there is cargo that was put on board that weighs down the plane and an airplane can only carry so much weight in the air. Until the Captain finishes crunching the numbers and finds out how much left over weight is available, standby passengers will have to do just that. Standby till their name is called. Nothing I could do, so I headed back over to the tv monitor where Seahawks and Vikings were playing the last minutes of the game.

Seahawks were leading by just one point. 10 - 9. The ball is in the home field advantage, 3rd down and 4. Our gate agent then announces that our flight will be a bit delayed as passengers (football fans really) have asked to stick around for end of this crazy football game. The gate agent proceeds to say that the boarding will start and all those wishing to board can do so. All other passengers can wait till the game is over. Die hard fans are not moving, their eyes are glued to the TV set. They do not want their team headed back home on a one way ticket for the season. Hands are clasped in a miracle prayer, mouths are moving saying "come on, come on" and the moment by moment play just lingers in the air for minute after minute. It's down to the last 24 seconds, Vikings have the ball and it's the 4th down at yard 21. Seahawk fans are sick knowing that a field goal or a touchdown will be the end of the season for them. As we stared at the TV monitor, the screen freezes. All in unison we yell at the TV screen "NO WAY" and look around for an answer from nowhere.

Nervous laughter erupts when finally the screen unfreezes and we are back in the game. Home team looks like they are going for the field goal when from across the S terminal, a large explosion of applause and jubilation comes pouring into our ears. Our whole gate area of passengers looks around, a few people are heard saying "They missed the field goal." Missed a field goal? How can that be possible? They are at the 21 yard line. That's like missing your mouth with a spoonful of wonderful delicious mouthwatering chocolate cake. Our previous frozen moments make us wait while we watch the counted steps taken from the ball, two steps back, two to the side, whistle blows, kicker looks at the area between the field posts, looks down, takes a frozen cold breathe, the hike is made, ball positioned under holders hand, and the kicker takes his three magical steps into a foot contact kick with the ball. There goes the ball, hooking left and out of the scoring area. We erupt into an extatic celebratory moment of disbelief of what we knew was to come. But seeing is believing and there it was. A 21 yard missed field goal. That kicker will be haunted for life by that one. History shows that the Seahawks won their fifth straight wild-card game and advanced to face the Panthers in the Divisional Round.

At this point I am still watching the passengers board the flight and I am now wondering if I will be making the flight. Looking over in the waiting area, there are several other standby passengers doing the same thing. Waiting and hoping. Just as the last few passengers are nearing the final passport and ticket checking at the gate, the gate agent starts calling out names. I know I am number three on the list. Two people are called. My heart drops and skips a beat. Please, please, just one more. Please, please, please I keep whispering to myself. Then, as in an answer to a prayer, my name is called out. I walk over to the desk. The gate agent asks if I want a window seat. Yes, a window seat would be fantastic. Some days are just better than others. Today was one of those better days.

Our flight in the end was only delayed by a few minutes. Seattle Seahawks fans headed to Amsterdam were celebrating and excited knowing there would be one more game to watch in the playoff season.

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