Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meet (I mean Beat) Me in St. Louis

On Saturday afternoon, Jim and I headed west to St. Louis to see my Saints play the Rams. It's always fun to see the team play in person, and since it was within driving distance, we thought we should seize the opportunity. Though the trip was fun, the game did not turn out as we had hoped, as the Saints allowed their opportunity to slip away. Darn it!
It was cold, wet, and gray on our drive, but thankfully, not snowing.
Our first glimpse of the Gateway Arch.
We went up in the Arch several years ago when the children were young. It's a great view from the top, and I remember a discussion as to whether we thought they might exercise the Budweiser Clydesdales in Busch Stadium. Probably not.

Just as we arrived in the city, the Saints posted this picture on Twitter. The Who Dats have arrived!
I had asked for an 'arch view' room at our hotel. It was a beautiful room, and did indeed have a spectacular view. That's what I call a view of the Arch!
Fully stocked mini bar. Which we did not touch, by the way. Electronic sensors charge you when you pick up the beverage.
We even had tv in the bathroom mirror. Jim was watching a little Toy Story.
We had another beautiful view of the Arch at dinner.
And equally beautiful tiramisu for dessert.
We relaxed by the lobby fireplace,
and successfully took a selfie after dinner.
Sunday morning dawned gray and cold, as shown by the views from our window.
Just for fun, I tried the panorama mode on my iPhone.

Since the game was scheduled for late afternoon, we decided to go to church. Instead of a cab, the bellman offered the hotel courtesy car, which was a stretch limo. Not our usual way to arrive at church.
We attended Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown St. Louis. It's an old church in the inner city. The sanctuary was built in 1869, and it is still beautiful. They are committed to staying in downtown St. Louis, and are especially proud of their homeless ministry, called The Bridge, which serves 3000 meals each week.
We had a connection to the associate pastor, who had served on the staff at Newburgh United Methodist Church, where my brother once attended. The crowd was small (about 25 people, 4 being visitors), and the service was relaxed and inviting. We were warmly welcomed despite our attire, which did not represent the home team. :) (Yes, I wore my jersey to church. It's not the first time.)
Since we arrived early, I was able to take a panoramic shot of the sanctuary. I love the balconies along the sides and back.
We walked back to our hotel from the church, and passed the library, which had this flag flying outside. I looked it up, and found that it is the city of St. Louis flag. I thought the fleur-de-lis was a good omen for us. I was wrong.
Back at the hotel to get ready for the game, I took another panorama.
It really was a pretty room.
There were LOTS of Saints fans in town, and they were sporting the usual (or unusual) attire representing the Who Dat Nation. This guy had a super bowl jacket and hat that I thought was especially snazzy.
This boy scared me a little bit.
'Dat Girl' came to join the ring hat guy. I think they were friends.
This is some kind of joker/jester guy. Maybe he's a character I should know? Also a little frightening, but you gotta love team spirit!
We got there early, of course, and enjoyed the pre-game warm-ups.
This is the punter/kickoff specialist Thomas Morstead. You might recall that we made friends with his parents when we were at the Superdome last month. :)
There's our Drew.
Warming up,
getting focused,
and leading the pre-game chant.
and getting a handshake from the coach.
There's Jimmy Graham.
The Saints are announced and take the field.
The Rams get a little more razzle dazzle for their intro.
Drew waits to get this thing started.
Coin toss.
One more stretch...
and we're ready to go.
Except we weren't. Ready.
A couple of throws to the wrong players, a fumble, missed kicks, missed tackles, missed blocks, and sloppy play put our team in a deep hole.
There was a young dad sitting next to us with his little boy, about 5, who came to the game as a Saints fan. His dad, who was wearing a Rams sweatshirt, told me the little guy insisted on wearing a gold shirt, and waited for the only one he had to come out of the dryer so he could wear it to the game. The dad said the little boy talked all the way to the game about how the Saints were going to beat the Rams.
The poor little guy was really quiet after the first half, and didn't even want to tell me the name of a favorite Saints player. I told him that sometimes your team wins, and sometimes your team loses, but they're still your team, no matter what. We Purdue fans know that lesson well.
I'm superstitious, so in the second half we changed seats, put the camera down, watched on the screen, watched on the field, eyes closed, eyes open, head down, do the hokey pokey, but nothing worked.
Coach Payton even had a little chat with the referee. That didn't work either.
The offensive coordinator's face says it all. Not. Our. Night.
Game over.
Shake hands.
Get outta town. Singin' the Saint Louis Blues.
The scoreboard tells the story. And look what they're doing to my quarterback.
Since we know that our team's still our team, and since we know how to win AND how to lose, we found a nice place to have dinner and drown our sorrows in prime rib. Now that's a hunk of meat!
A night-time view of the Arch as we walked back to the hotel after dinner. I should say we walked until we happened upon a cab, which was a much better idea on a cold night. The driver even told us about one of the Saints players who was in his cab on Saturday night.
On Monday morning, we looked out our window to see this. I'm pretty sure it was written AFTER the game. Even Rams fans weren't betting on the Rams.
Our last stop before heading home was Crown Candy. It is St. Louis' oldest soda fountain, and serves lunch, ice cream treats, and, of course, candy. It's like time stood still.
And I guess it did if you notice the headline in the paper box outside.
The candy counter.
The Crown sundae. Yum.
One last look at the Arch, and we're on our way home.
So long, St. Louis.

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