The guy replacing me for my shift was late, so I skipped going home from Foot Locker and went directly to the stadium. Still, I was greeted brusquely by NFL staff upon arrival.
"Kickoff is in an hour!"
"Indeed," I replied excitedly as they herded me into a room full of other Foot Locker employees. "No wonder my co-worker was so late," I observed to them. "Are we having some kind of convention?"
We had some kind of meeting that didn't seem to have anything to do with shoes at all, and soon I was ushered out onto the field. The field! Admittedly this is perhaps the most brilliant advertising promotion Foot Locker has ever done ... but what about the legal liability, like if I get crushed by a player or something? As the stadium filled, my dread only grew worse. I was going to be surrounded by, like, hundreds of fans, all ready and willing to throw a foam finger and poke my eye out. It seemed a rather cavalier regard for my career goals too ... what hope for Foot Locker management would I have if I contracted athlete's foot or turf toe?
If I get carted off of the field on a stretcher, Corporate was getting a sternly-worded email in the morning. (It would actually be second order of business: I forgot to drop Golden Tate from my fantasy football team yesterday, and Rob Bironas is on a roll.)
When one wears a Foot Locker uniform in public, work expectations are extremely high as well. At one point I took a break and got a plate of nachos. And as I pointed out to a hippopotamus toed woman her Crocs were bad for her posture, people bearing foam fingers at the kiosk yelled at me the whole time -I was eventually forced to flee in serpentine fashion back to the field. Electrolyte deficient as a consequence, I really appreciated the free Gatorade I found there -my NFL sanctioned souvenir official Seahawks pennant set me back almost fifty bucks, and I was now totally broke. But this prick with a number twelve on his shirt kept cutting in line. That guy was a total asshole.
"See we sell shoes, right? But can you imagine wearing lockers on your feet?" I explain conversationally into his sternum. "They really should call the company Foot Shoe. Don't you think?"
It's awkward enough, but he just stares at me, right? It's at that moment I realize why: I have nacho cheese on my uniform! Needless to say, the Foot Locker Home Office would be very displeased what with the game being on high definition television and all.
It took me twenty minutes in the bathroom mirror to get that stuff out. It was very tenacious. When I was done, I decided I needed more electrolytes and returned to the field for more Gatorade. (I also forgot my Seahawks pennant on the cooler, and hoped that shifty number twelve guy didn't steal it while I was gone.)
How they recognized me under my foam finger-proof welding mask I couldn't tell you, but the crowd cheered as I emerged.
-And when I raised my arms in appreciation for their warm adoration, they went crazy.
Nothing compares to a live NFL experience.
Hockey is so cool.