I have had some pretty cool opportunities in my lifetime. From being on stage with Regis to having Carolina Herrera and Prabal Gurung help me select dresses from their collections, I’m a lucky girl. When my parents and I had the opportunity to attend Taste of the Lions last Tuesday, we jumped at the chance.
Okay, so the Lions might not be the best team in the NFL, but they’re number one in our hearts! It is the first time the Lions have hosted this event, and we all left hoping it wouldn’t be the last. It was thankfully a beautiful, warm evening – no need for a coat to cover my dress! We hadn’t been to Ford Field in a couple of years and had never really driven around the stadium. It is such a nice stadium, and still almost looks brand new. Driving between Ford Field and Comerica Park with the Renaissance Center in the distance was pretty awesome with the sun shining and the trees in full bloom. I’d like to take another spin around it and just look at the stadium. If Michigan was like this year round, I’d probably never think about moving to California again.
After our car was whisked away by valet we waited our turn to hop on a golf cart and be driven down the tunnel. I’m not much of an adventurous person, so the golf cart was kind of like the first amusement park ride I’ve been on since I was five. I’ll admit I was a little scared, but pretty excited too. I wouldn’t mind doing that again. Then we walked into the event. We were handed a map and menu and Mom and I had our picture taken by Hour Detroit Magazine (please put our picture in J) After buying a football for the players to sign, we headed into the locker room. It was so cool to see the locker room that I’ve seen on TV a million times up close and personal. Some of the lockers were decorated with jerseys and helmets, though most were empty. There were plenty of drinks, as well as a charcuterie spread provided by Forest Grill. The only thing was that it was pretty dark with only blue neon lights. It would have been nice to actually see what we were doing, even if the blue lights were pretty awesome and added to the ambiance.
Mom noticed coach Jim Schwartz standing not too far away from us. He was super nice, happily taking a picture with us and signing our football. Then we saw former Lions player Lomas Brown, as well as Tom Lewand, the Lions’ president. Shortly thereafter we spotted Dan Miller, the voice of the Lions and Fox 2 sports director. I’ve been a big fan of his for years since I started watching the Lions pregame show. It’s actually what first got me interested in football and turned Sundays from normal days to ones filled with football from morning to night. I tried not to get all fangirl, but I’ve pretty much always wanted to meet Dan and was so excited he was there and I finally got the chance.
We were told there would be other players in the locker room, but we never saw any before being ushered up to the main concourse where you’d buy food if you attended a game. It was all set up with a silent auction, tables with players, and tons of food. This food was not the standard hot dogs and nachos you’d pick up at a game. Instead it was gourmet food from the area’s best restaurants. Since I have so many food allergies and most of the food was not Laura friendly, I actually didn’t get to try anything, but Dad was more than happy to eat a lot of what was available. From the polenta from Bacco to the beef brisket, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread from Lazybones Smokehouse to the banh mi from Levy Restaurants to the pulled pork and macaroni and cheese from Slows BBQ to shrimp and grits from The Sardine Room, all of the food was a huge hit with Dad. He particularly enjoyed Billy Simms ribs and beans (Billy Simms was even there!) and Town Tavern’s macaroni and cheese.
We were all tired before desserts opened, so we went home. Plus all the walking on the bricks and concrete made my feet (and Mom’s) throb with pain. I was surprised as my feet almost never bother me even after being stuffed in five inch heels for hours on end. I’m sure Zingerman’s Bakehouse treats were excellent as always, and I was rather disappointed that I couldn’t try Treat Dreams ice cream, as the owner even recognized me as a blogger earlier in the event. Hopefully I’ll get to try their ice cream which I have heard many great things about one day soon.
Dad might have enjoyed the food the most, but Mom and I enjoyed meeting the players. We went from station to station meeting them, having them sign the football, and taking pictures. They were all so incredibly nice. One told us we looked nice, one asked if Mom and I were sisters, one told Mom to throw the football to him than said she should join the team. Many asked if we were having a good time, and they all seemed pretty much as happy to be there as we were. This is what you hope for when meeting famous people, but you can’t be sure. The players exceeded my expectations and made the night stellar. Right as we were about to leave Dad pointed out Reily Reiff, so we walked over to get an autograph and picture. Mom was just going to let me be in it, but he said she should join us and was really super nice. He was one of my favorite players that we met.
But most of us were there to meet Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Having bought VIP tickets, we were supposed to meet them in the locker room, but that didn’t happen. So for an additional charitable contribution, I got to go “In the Huddle” and meet them. Which basically means I stood in line, so I could get them to sign the ball and take a pic. It was a bummer that Mom and Dad couldn’t at least stand in line with me, even though they didn’t pay (we had already spent a lot on the event and were told this was included in our ticket price), as Mom and Dad are far bigger football fans than me. But, Matthew and Calvin were both really nice. And while I was standing in line, two people recognized me from being on stage during the Regis shows! They thought I was a part of the show instead of just an audience member. I guess I am a little, kinda, sorta famous after all.
All in all, it was a lovely event that benefitted Eastern Market’s charity to stop hunger in Detroit. We met a ton of really nice people, Dad left a happy and full camper, and it was so fun to be out and about in a wonderful stadium all dressed up and cheering on a team that helps keep me sane through winter. Even when I do finally move away, I think I’ll always be a Lions fan. I’m hoping this event brings the Lions luck this year and they’ll make it to the playoffs . . . or maybe even the Super Bowl!