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It's the wrap on Detroit - and we even saw a fight and were called "stupid" for traveling to see our Owls

Dec. 31:

First, I have to give credit to the Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and other scribes who blog daily about FAU. It isn't easy to do. I found it hard trying to write a blog that would be interesting to readers, while tactful enough for the Internet.


The trip - from beginning to end


The Detroit airport, or at least the terminal I came in on and the path I walked to the executive sedan, was not very busy. What really irked me about the airport is that it wasn't decorated with Motor City Bowl banners at all. If you weren't an Owl or a Chip, you didn't know there was a game going on.


The drive to the hotel from the airport was awesome. I'm a huge sports fan, so seeing things like Joe Louis Arena, Ford Field and Comerica Park really excited me.


The team hotel was nice... very nice. In fact, it was so nice, and the players were always walking around looking for something to do, I thought they weren't focused enough on the game. I'm glad I was wrong.


For entertainment, the players went ice skating, played in the snow and hung around in the lobby. There was a mall attached to the hotel, but I didn't go roaming around too much.


On Christmas Day, the hotel had us locked in, figuratively speaking. There was only a pizza place to eat outside the hotel, so the $28 meatloaf at the hotel restaurant was the way to go. And the state prohibits alcohol sales, so that put us in a bit of a crunch.


Dinner was nice; player's families included the Matlocks, Roses, Sotos, Paris' and the Bonners. Alumni included Leigh Slowiak and her husband Jim, both Owl Club members and avid Owl supporters, Bruce and Brian Silk, and their wives, all FAU alumni from the 60s (I love speaking with alumni from that FAU time period. They have so many great stories), and I saw Ted and Tom sitting with Katrina as well, even though they weren't part of the "fan dinner."


The next day is well documented on the blog, so I won't go into too much detail. Although I will add a few things that didn't make it in to the blog... or that I didn't have time to write about after the trip.


I ended up going to a casino. And I lost $100 in blackjack. But I am going to justify myself by saying this:

I went up $150, and I said to myself "one more hand." So I threw $50 down....

I was dealt two aces. So what do I do? (especially since the dealer had a 7 showing) I split the aces - now my ante is $100 for the hand, but I'm sitting pretty with two aces. My first hit was a two. Well, that stunk; I had a 13 against a dealer 7 showing. Next card - another ace. So, I split those. Now my bet is $150 (what I've won so far), and I was dealt a 3 and another 2. So I lost all three to the dealer's 17, and from there, I lost the rest of the money quickly.


Leaving the casino and crossing the street, then waiting outside the hotel where the MCB pep rally was, a gentleman came running out of the hotel chased by four security guards who were much larger than him.


I thought about getting a picture, but I would have had to dig into my jacket...on my belt clip...and he might have thought I was getting a gun. So I didn't get my camera phone. But this guy was F*ing this and F*ing that all up and down the hotel sidewalk. He even kicked something and the security guards laughed.


Well... that made him even matter. So now five security guards vs. one angry fella who just got booted from the casino. The angry fella finally left, but it was entertaining...and a bit scary.


After the pep rally, we walked back to the team hotel and found some Owl fans on the way that followed us. The young man in the family was a member of the FAU band, so we sang the fight song once.


Someone at the bar graciously bought us shots? I don't know who he was. But he was sitting alone at the hotel lobby bar, claiming he was from Tampa. So he asked what we were doing up here, and we pumped up our chests and boldly said "we are here to see our Owls!" He laughed and called us stupid for traveling to Detroit to see FAU? But he said it with the FA-Who? kind of tone. He did admit it was "cool" that we made the trip though.


So when we asked why he was up in Detroit... he held out his chest boldly and said "I just met a girl last week at some party in Florida and she said she lived up here. So I told her I would come and visit and I'm here. She knows I'm up here but since I arrived, she still claims she is 'getting ready.'


When we returned to the bar five hours later after the game, he was still there... no girl. Who's the stupid one?


On the way to the game from the hotel, Dirty Mike, FAUALUM05 and his two friends, and two other alumni we met at the FAUNAA pre-party at the hotel walked about one mile on icy sidewalks. No one fell, but I thought for sure I was going to.


As we got closer to the game, people were scalping tickets. And then we arrived...Ford Field literally appeared from behind a building.


Ever watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Seeing Ford Field reminded me of the scene from the movie where Chevy Chase sees the "family Christmas tree" in the forests and a gold light shines down from above and a song starts playing.


Yep, that's the feeling I got.


Outside the stadium: ALL CHIPS. ALLLLLLLL Chips. And one Spartan. But all Chips. Why? Because FAU fans were already inside. The alumni and the players families were already seated, and FAUALUM05, Dirty Mike and I seemed to be the last ones to get there... 20 minutes before kickoff.


(side note: obviously we know when to enter into a game unlike the other folks at Lockhart who would still be playing beer pong! J LOL)


The game was amazing. The fans were great. And the Chip fans that entered into our section quickly left after our final fourth quarter touchdown.


I met one "fan" from Detroit who wants to go to FAU and loves Rusty Smith. He was about 10 years old. When I asked him why he wanted to go to FAU, he said "because I love Rusty."


And that's where we left it. I gave his dad my business card and I'll update everyone if I get an e-mail from the dad. I'd love to hook him and his son to come to FAU games and to FAU for an education.


The post-game celebration on the field was very emotional. I'm not going to lie to you... and for those of you who were in 'Nawlins last year, you know this too. I got on the field and gave coach a hug and tears started to come down my cheek.


The players were jubilant, the coaches were excited and there's nothing that can be said to put that feeling into words.


The walk home from the stadium with Dirty Mike and his friend from FAU was awesome. We sang the fight song once or twice and I think "We Are the Champions" came out of my mouth, but I didn't know all the words, and without Paul Metcalf, Jarred Torres and former prOWLer Director  Bobby Johnson singing with me, it wasn't the same as 'Nawlins.


I went to bed at midnight so I didn't stay for the player's post-game shin-dig at the team hotel. But the FAU NAA did a great job of setting everything up and everyone should get a membership to the FAU NAA so that the membership money can be used to do more events like that. (OK I'll admit, shameless plus, but all alumni should dip into their pockets and pay the $25 or $40 to become a member so events like that can happen at next year's away games).


Only time will tell what this win will do for the university. Will our applications for admissions go up? Will more people join the Owl Club and FAU NAA? Will "better" recruits come our way?


The tradition of success continues and I'm glad that I could be a part of it.


Tradition in the Making...One Alumni at a Time,



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