So my friend (I'll call her Speechy) and I were taking a walk last Wednesday and I asked her what her plans were for the weekend. She had a few goals: drink a pumpkin beer, buy her Halloween costume, and win Luxury Box Suite (LBS) tickets for Sunday's Steelers game. She had entered a raffle at her workplace and they only sold 50 tickets, so she had pretty good odds. I really hoped she would win too, since I haven't missed a home game since I moved back to Pittsburgh, but I didn't have the cash flow to buy a ticket (I naturally assumed she would invite me if she won!). I woke up on Thursday and watched the news, as I do every morning while I'm getting ready for work. The weather forecast said it would be unseasonably cold on Sunday. I thought," Wow, that stinks b/c it's a night game. Oh well, we won't feel it b/c we'll be in the box." And then immediately tried to un-think it - I didn't want to jinx her chances of winning!!!
As I'm sure you guessed, Speechy's ticket was pulled, and she won the raffle. She called me after work and I screamed when she told me. It was the most exciting thing ever - I had never been in a LBS, I was going to get to go the game, and really, winning anything is exciting! Of course, these tickets were the best prize ever. Speechy won 4 tickets, so she invited me and two of our other friends.
I knew Sunday was going to be the best day of my life. I couldn't wait to tailgate with my family and the whole tailgate crew. My dad has had season tickets for about 35 years now, so we're old hats. We're in the same location for every game, we grill yummy food and drink lots of beer. When the weather gets colder, we have a fire barrel to keep us toasty, and the home game that's closest to Christmas we celebrate the holiday with lots of singing and a tree that we hang beer cans on. Anyway, the tailgate was fun, as always. Speechy came down early to play, and we rounded up people to play flip cup around the world's smallest table. We also had my sister's lethal jello shots.
Finally, it was time to head into the game. Our anticipation was out of control - the four of us were so excited, we kept taking ridiculous pictures of us: with our tickets, walking to the stadium, etc. We got to go in a special entrance, which was amazing. Waiting to get into the stadium always takes forever and is a mad crush, so it was really nice to be in a quicker line! Then we were in a little lobby and took elevators up to the box level. The walkway where the suites were located had lots of Steelers pictures (past and present). We immediately saw tons of service people, waiters/waitresses, etc. who were very friendly and took kindly to the fact that I stopped every three steps to take pictures. This picture below is from the balcony/walkway overlooking the private box suite bar/restuarant.
Then - we arrived at the box. We pushed open the door and it was beautiful! First (and most importantly) we had our very own bathroom!! Anyone who's ever waited in the ridiculously long lines at any type of sporting event can appreciate how exciting that was! There was a small lounge area (a few chairs and table) and a buffet set up in the kitchen area. The rest of the people were already in the box, and they welcomed us and told us to help ourselves to food and drinks. Eek! We were so excited. We grabbed seats and I was awestruck by the view, by the boxes surrounding us, by the entire thing, really. We went through the buffet, got drinks and just sort of took it all in. We were pretty overwhelmed.
Since we were the last people in the box, we couldn't get four seats in a row, but we had two in front and two in back. My original seat was nice, but I couldn't see the entire field (I could actually only see a tiny sliver). They have glass on either wall so that you can see through the boxes on each side and to the field, but the glass had some sunglare on it, so it wasn't super easy to see out of. I watched the view on the scoreboard for awhile, and then one of the men in the box told us we could move over to the other side and we would see better from there. So we did, and it was MUCH better! This picture gives you an idea of what we could see from our new seats. Regardless, the view was amazing! I'm lucky enough to be spoiled b/c I sit so frequently in my Dad's seats, but the view was still pretty good. The weather was actually beautiful, but I can only imagine how nice it must be to sit indoors in the boxes during the freezing cold weather games!
The next exciting event was a visit from the Steelers mascot, Steely McBeam!! Yes, the mascot is super lame. The Steelers went 75 years without a mascot and then felt the need to create one for the anniversary celebrations. Like I said, lame. But, it was still exciting to see Steely's big yellow head in the LBS next door and try to coax him into visiting us afterwards! He did, and it was hilarious. Steely is super tall, very squishy, and carries a foam steel bar. We took pics of all of us with Steely, of each group of people in the box with him, etc. I'm just including a picture from when he entered the box so as not to be too repetitive!
During halftime we went to visit one of my colleagues who was in another LBS. Her hubby gets tickets to some games, and they wound up having last-minute seats for this one. His boss's wife was super nice, making us drinks (they had a wider variety of food/etc. than we did) and chatting with us. We stayed longer than we planned - they were on the exact opposite side of the stadium. On the way back from their LBS, we stopped at one of the many, glorious dessert carts in the hallways. They were unbelievable, stocked with the most lucious treats ever! One of my friends treated us to dessert and a yummy shot, and then we finally made it back to our own box.
We watched the rest of the game, and unfortunately, the Steelers lost to the Giants :( We could have played better and won, but I'm not dwelling on that, I swear! Overall, it was an amazing experience and I'm so grateful to my friend for inviting me. I will definitely never forget it.
The only other thing I have to say is that I don't think I would want to watch every game from the LBS. There's just something about being in the stands with all of the rest of the fans, surrounded by like-minded people, waving my terrible towel, and screaming my lungs out that can't be beat. All of that is kind of muffled in the LBS, and a lot of the other people in our box did not seem like they were huge fans. I think a lot of wheeling and dealing probably happens there, but beyond that it doesn't really have the energy of the rest of the stadium. And I definitely think my friends and I were most appreciative of the opportunity to be in the box - we were thrilled to be there, and the others seemed to take it in stride.