What happens when your original weekend plans go pfffft? You set out to create a new plan, right?
Sometimes, all it takes is a quick check of your favorite Follows on X to get the old brain spinning.

I live in San Diego County, a continent away from my favorite New York Giants football team that I’ve rooted for since the mid-1960s.  Yes, I’m that old…which explains my @PopPopBriGuy handle on this and other apps.  

Anyway, I’ve developed a knack for making last-minute plans that turn into lifelong memories.  Back on September 4, 1993, an overcast day ruined a beach plan.  Instead, I took my two oldest children to Yankee Stadium, bought tickets on field level, and proceeded to watch the Yankees’ one-handed pitcher, Jim Abbott, pitch a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.  

Friday night, I started thinking of what we could do this weekend.  Then I see a post from LPG-NYG, one of the top (if not the top) Giants fans.  For those who don’t know, Joe is all about charity, giveaways, fund-raising, and just plain helping people out.  This post showed tickets to Giants-Cardinals at meager prices.  Knowing it’s a mere 5-hour drive to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ, I had to look at tickets for myself.  Sure enough, there were plenty of great seats available. Now, to test the waters…

It’s already passed my wife’s bedtime, but my daughter is still up.  In today’s world, I do what comes naturally.  She’s in her room upstairs.  So, I text her, “Come here…we have to talk!!”  She’s not one to shy away from command like that, and as I’d hoped, she thinks she’s in trouble for something.  As she arrives downstairs, her first words are, “What did I do?”  I spun my iPad around and said take a look at this.

She sees the tickets, looks at me, sees what the view would be from Section 128, and gives me a surprised but approving nod.  Together, we take a look at potential airfare.

The cheapest flights were $45 from San Diego to Phoenix.  But the return trip would mean we’d have to leave the game before it’s over…something I never do.  She’s not a big fan of flying anyway since we do cross-country flights 2-3 times each year for family and holidays.  So we both agree driving is the better option.  Now, to plan the approach to convince Sally this coming Saturday morning…

Saturday mornings are my time to put on the coffee and make breakfast.  While cooking, I leave my iPad open to the tickets page and put it at her table spot.  She looks at it, looks at me, and says, “Are you serious?”  I smile and give a very slow nod with a grin.  Sally says, “What time do we have to leave?”  YES!!  We’re in!  I then give her the details: on the road by 6:15 a.m. gets us to the stadium by 11:45, figuring we’d need at least one stop for gas.  Then plan for the game over at 4:30 pm, on the road home by 5 pm, home just a little after 10 pm.  Piece of cake trip!  We’d done similar drives from DC to NY many times.  I give her an extra delicious breakfast…then book the tickets.


Sunday comes, and the drive goes like clockwork.


It looks like we’ll be right on schedule to get to the stadium at 11:45.  Plenty of time to hunt down License Plate Guy and thank him for the idea.  We cross over into AZ, and my car clock moves forward one hour.  Wait what!?!  I start recalculating, and now I am worried we’re only getting to the stadium about 15 minutes before the game starts.  What does a born New Yorker do at such a realization?  Yes, I speed up.  I’m staring at the car clock…how could I have missed a time zone change?  I look at my cell phone, which still shows an hour earlier than the car.  Time for a quick poll of phones in the car.  Yep, we’re all still on California time.  I asked Sally to Google it.  Daylight Savings Time puts CA and AZ at the same time.  Whew!!!  OK, we are back on schedule. Dang, car clock!

New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals
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As we pull into parking, the first thing we notice is that 8 out of 10 people have Giants gear on.  No kidding.  This was MetLife West.  In essence, we’re at a Giants home game. And that would show itself later in the game.  Our tickets are on the “Visitors” side of the stadium.  There’s more Giants Blue than Cardinals red throughout the stadium.  My daughter is dressed in my Super Bowl XLII Championship T-shirt and matching ballcap (a nod to this stadium that hosted the greatest upset in Super Bowl history).  I’m sporting my blue #89 Mark Bavaro jersey and an NY ballcap.  We head into the stadium, and it’s game time.

The first quarter ends, and the Giants are down 0-7.  They’re not doing much, and the Cardinals seem to be doing whatever they want.  Okay, the game is young, and plenty of time is left.  Uh oh…Josh Dobbs runs it in for the Cards, 0-14.  Then a Daniel Jones pass goes through Saquon’s hands and into a Cards’ defensive back’s stomach for an interception.  Jones forces him out, but the Cards get a field goal, 0-17.  By this time, my wife is getting very concerned that the 5-hour ride home is going to be miserable.  The half comes to a very sad close at 0-20.

The only noise you hear is the Cardinal fans.  I’m moping a little bit.  But it’s still a fun place to watch a game.  The Cardinal video graphics and big-screen cartoons keep you engaged—time to go meet License Plate Guy (LPG) two sections over.

New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals
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I find (LPG) and get a chance to say hi and thank him for all he does within the Giants fan community and for putting the idea in my head to get to this game.

We both agree that “It’s been tough so far.  But it can only get better.  And it will get better.”  Time for the second half.  But first, I have to get to the men’s room.  


Oh no, there’s a long line waiting to get into the men’s room.  The second half starts, and the Giants have the ball.  Bam!! Three quick plays and the Giants score.  Daniel Jones runs it in…and I’m just finishing up in the men’s room.  UGH!!!  I head back to my seat.  No sooner do I get back than the entire section turns to me and says, “You can’t stay! Go back to the bathroom!” They were led by my wife and daughter!  I sit anyway.  The Cardinals throw an interception…but wait…interference on the Giants.  This isn’t helping my case to stay in my seat.  The Cards score and go for two.  Now it’s 7-28.  There’s a text string going on with my family and siblings back east.  My sister chimes in, “Go back to the bathroom, Brian!”  They almost got me to leave…

But Daniel Jones and the Giants continue to move the ball.  Jones is completing pass after pass to Waller, Slayton, Saquon, et al.  And then I noticed the offensive line gives Jones the time he needs to make the throws.  The Giants score again, 14-28!  I get a reprieve and can stay in my seat…well, stand in my row because no one is sitting anymore.  The third quarter comes to a close, but the Giants fans can feel it…comeback time!

The Giants finally get the Cardinals’ offense off the field without scoring.  Giants take over; Daniel Jones continues his hot passing and spreading the ball around.  Rollout, pass to Saquon, who dives for the pylon…touchdown!  21-28, and the Giants fans are going nuts throughout the stadium.  The Cards get the ball, and all you can hear is “DEFense, DEFense!” The Cards go three and out again.  The Giants get the ball.  We are all now believing a Giants touchdown is inevitable.  The crowd screams, “Let’s go, GIANTS!” The Giants bench players are waving towels to tell the crowd to keep it going.  Jones brings the team right down the field with another beautiful leaping 33-yard grab by rookie WR Jalen Hyatt.  A few plays later, after a Jones rushing TD is called back, Jones then hits Isaiah Hodgins for the game-tying score, 28-28.  


The Giants’ defense has risen to match the offense by this time.  The Giants crowd is so loud the Cardinals have two false starts in a row.  The Cardinals go nowhere, and with a little over two minutes left in the game, the Giants get the ball.

The Giants move right down the field, get in field go position, and turn it over to Mr. Automatic Graham Gano, who completes the scoring, Giants 31-Cardinals 28.  


What a comeback!  What a game!  What a memory!  And it was the happiest 5-hour drive back to San Diego we’ve ever had.
Yep, memories are made with last-minute plans yet again.  

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