Drove up to see the parents on Thursday evening... I left at about 2:45-3:00pm, and got in sometime around 7:30pm. Not bad, if only because of the snow, the traffic, and the stop or two I made for food.
Dad and I both woke up well before our alarms, and ended up leaving the house by 3:45 am Friday morning. The Wawa by our house was closed-- amazing, we thought it was a 24/7 store-- so we went to the next Wawa on our route. At 4 am, we saw roughly ten people in Eagles jerseys. Everyone going to the same place.
We make it to Broad Street at 4:15 am or so... and find a mob scene. Traffic, horrible parking (most of the close lots were closed), and it was still pitch black out. Dad was on the cell, furiously trying to get in touch with Gary Goldsmith and his friend's son, who were supposed to meet us at the stadium. At that point, we felt that if Gary got in first, perhaps he could save us some seats.
As we walked from our car to the stadium, it became very clear that there were not hundreds, and not thousands, but quite possibly tens of thousands of people standing in line. Drinking. Yelling. Screaming E-A-G-L-E-S-EAGLES and "Fly Eagles Fly" and God knows what else, over and over again. More beer bottles and broken glass than I have seen collectively in my life, quite possibly.
I look at the line, which is stretching back to Citizens Bank Park (in other words, a three stadium-long line, which might have a mirror on the other side of the stadium), and suggest we get moving to the back of the line. Dad sees a few people milling at the front, and insists we try to see what's up front. Cutting in line. For shame.
We immediately get pelted (almost; drunks have notoriously bad aim) with snowballs. Curses, chants of "asshole," as suddenly we have entered Vietnam. We are ducking the incoming fire, weaving in and out of cars with others who had had the same idea, just missing people by the tens who are pissing on the cars in front of them... just... not fun. We make our way forward to see a mass of people.
At which point it becomes a mosh pit. No one is moving-- not really-- so people start swaying. All of the sudden, Wing Bowl has become Lollapalooza, involuntarily. Rumors that the doors are already shut, that we're not making it in, unsuccessful attempts at calling Gary... things are not looking good at this point. I haven't even begun to mention the combination of fluids on my shoes, creeping up my jeans. Have I mentioned that, after the Wing Bowl, I was to meet one of my co-workers for the very first time, and I was looking (for me) relatively sharp? Easily, the most overdressed person for miles around.
Needless to say, the male to female ratio was staggering.
People start moving, a fence gets pushed out of the way and/or broken down, and we gradually start to move forward. It becomes apparent that security people are frisking people one at a time, which accounts for the slow speed. We move forward, with more bodily contact than I ever could hope for, and never wish to encounter again, and get through.
At which point my Dad nearly slips and falls, as if on a banana peel in a Warner Brothers cartoon. Seems the security boys made everyone drop their beers before moving forward. A venerable lake of beer bottles, beer, urine, snow, and again, God knows what else, nearly took down my father like he was Luke in the goddamned trash compactor.
It is 4:55 or so, and we are only just entering the building.
At 5 am, the doors have shut, and while we were lucky enough to make it in... Gary and his friend were shut out. Oh, yes. Them, and (depending on who you believe), between 5 (at least) and 25 THOUSAND other people. We would later find out that the first person in line got there at 6 pm the night before, and that the crowd had become surly and/or unmanageable by midnight.
All this, mind, for fat people eating wings.