Mrs. Poolman and I took off Friday afternoon for the last Gator home football game weekend of the season. We stayed Friday and Saturday night with Mrs. P’s younger sister. When we arrived, we picked her up and went to Outback Steakhouse where we met up with other sister in law, brother in law, a nephew and a friend of his. Nice dinner. We beat the dinner rush crowd. Monday is my b-day. I don’t usually like any kind of fuss, but the sisters in law brought a couple of thoughtful presents and a tiramisu dessert, so all was very good.
We were off early Saturday morning with nephew Billy for the final tailgating session of the year. We had no trouble finding a spot in our usual area, but others did. I witnessed one minor altercation that brought up an interesting question.
In the section of campus where we tailgate, there is no organization or supervision. People park wherever they want, on a “first come-first served” basis. There is a group who fairly frequently tailgates very near us. They send a couple of people to “set up camp” fairly early. These “scouts” take yellow caution tape and tape off an area to park an additional six to eight cars. This is in a section of campus where tailgating is very popular, and parking spaces are at a premium. Later in the morning or afternoon, depending on the game time, the rest of their group wanders in and parks in their “reserved” spots. Saturday morning, another couple of tailgaters were looking for a parking space. One passenger got out of their car and lifted the caution tape to park in the “reserved space.” One of the guys who was already there started yelling at them and told them they couldn’t park there because he was saving it for his family. They exchanged some words, and eventually the “interlopers” drove off to find a spot elsewhere.
I just watched the whole thing. The guy who was saving the spaces, “Dave”, came over to talk to me, and made a “Imagine the nerve of that guy,” kind of comment. He was surprised when I politely said, “To be honest, I think the other guy was right and you are wrong.” Surprisingly, he didn’t get angry. We had a very nice conversation, but I explained that I thought he was being very greedy to rope off that many parking spaces when there are so many people who are trying to find places to park. I told him that I didn’t think anyone would object to saving one or two spaces for later arrivals, but they had cordoned off an extremely generous section. If I had not found another space nearby, I would also have just lifted the tape and backed into one of his spaces.
You see this kind of thing a lot, at theaters, graduations, Christmas religious services, etc. You see a row or block of empty seats, but when you try to sit down, one person sitting in the row says that they have “reserved” that whole section for their family. My opinion is that it is a matter of degree. Saving one or two extra seats or parking spaces isn’t a big deal, but having one “early arrival” staking out a claim to a large section of seating or parking at what is expected to be a crowded event, is unreasonable. It annoys the heck out of me, when I’m the one looking for a seat, parking space, etc. What do you think?
In any case, the game went well.
On our walk to the stadium we were joined by a couple hundred musicians, which was pretty cool. The introduction of the senior players before the game was actually quite emotional. Florida State didn’t put up much of a fight.
We left with about 5 minutes left in the game, so we could beat the traffic and get back to Jacksonville. However, I understand from listening to the radio in the car, that the post-game celebration was extensive, with a full stadium staying around to applaud Tim Tebow and the rest of the team. Sorry we missed it, but by leaving five minutes early, it actually put us back in Jax more than an hour earlier than we would have been otherwise.
Back to work tomorrow. It’s been a nice five-day break.