#NFL100Memories – 9/100

Today we have another guest piece by an NFL and Chicago Bears Super Fan who resides at GiveawayHQ!

Make sure you give her a follow on Twitter @clairedabear85. Definitely worth it folks!

Sharing my passion – By Claire Ball (aka Clairedabear)

I have been very lucky, I could of picked to tell a story about going to the states to see games both home and away, also watching here in the UK at home or at venues but I have chosen something different… so here goes.

Still to this day 11 years on this memory of a game still gives me a physical reaction when I tell it. Having been an American Football fan since 1986, I’ve always loved the sport and been very passionate about it.

One of my favourite things to do is to introduce other people around me to the sport with the hope that I can ignite the passion in them. So I’d like to tell the story of how I hooked one of my friends….

It all started 2008 the second game in the London international series (I attended the first game on my own) I decided to book an extra ticket for a friend as their birthday present, the tickets were of course the Club Wembley Seats this time round.

Back then the tailgates were much more exclusive and a raffle was held to allocate tickets and I was lucky enough to be a winner and get a pair. So my friend and I travelled to Wembley and how wonderful to see lots of different teams fans travelling peacefully and friendly to the same event. I know of no other sport of where this would happen, really friendly and all inclusive.

We had a great time at the tailgate and talked to some wonderful Saints fans who had traveled from New Orleans despite what had happened with hurricane Katrina and not only themselves but their team being made homeless (now that’s commitment). So I encourage Jon to support a team and told him there was five teams that were strictly off limits anything other than these were fine. Since this was a Saints game Jon said as it’s his first experience it would only be right to support them. He bought a Colston jersey and still has and wears it to this day.

We then get to go through and enter through the George Best doors for Club Wembley. We have some nice food, sitting in nice seats with great views and drink some pricey drinks. I explained the rules of the game to Jon in very simple terms and how the scoring works, but forget to talk about safety’s as these rarely happen in the game and didn’t want to overload him and give him to much to digest what with it being his first experience (and don’t you know it a safety is one of the scores, doh!).

We get flags on our seats, then proceed to get into the game. He quite enjoyed the cheerleaders “for some unknown reason” so a good game is put on by both teams, but this is the part that gives me goosebumps… it was last few minutes of the game and the Saints were behind, Drew Brees pulls off what can only be described as a Miracle:

He hefts the ball down the field with moments to spare as the crowd of 80 thousand plus spectators watch on… (our seats were as far away from this happening as possible in fact right down the other end of the field) each and every spectator appears to hold their breath and stand on their feet… by some miracle it is caught in the corner of the end zone. By this time no matter who you supported the crowd went wild, an utter eruption, new fan or old, big or small, home, away or neutral, the feeling was electric JON WAS HOOKED. He becomes a newly passionate NFL and Saints fan forever more.

To this day we continue to go to the International series games in our team colours and are proud to rep them here in the UK.

The following season, the Saints win the Super Bowl and to get there they had beaten the bears in a gritty game….. (I’m not bitter at all on this matter) .

He only had to wait a season and a half to see his team win the Super Bowl. I’m still waiting 33 years on DAMMIT (again, not bitter at all)!

But hope springs eternal.

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