Can I tell you about the happiest day of my life? It isn’t what you expect. It isn’t the day I met my husband. Nor is it the day we first got together, the day he proposed, or the day we got married…though I have written quite a bit about that day.
No, the happiest day of my life was New Year’s Day 2007 in Glendale, AZ. I was at the University of Phoenix Stadium witnessing the greatest football game (if not the greatest sporting event) of all time between Boise State and Oklahoma.
My brother was a red-shirt freshman at Boise State. All year long, it was fun watching Boise win game after game and we were so excited for him when they made the Fiesta Bowl. I still remember watching the game that clinched it while I was up visiting my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) family in East Grand Forks and immediately calling my parents to start making travel arrangements to Phoenix.
Plans were made, flights were booked, and next thing we knew, we were staying in the gorgeous house of my mom’s friend, and whooping it up New Year’s Eve with thousands of football fans on Mill Street as we watched drunk Vanessa Carlton entertain.
The next day, getting to University of Phoenix Stadium proved to be a bit of a challenge with all us back seat drivers, but once there, we whipped out the beer and the obligatory Tostito’s chips and just soaked it all in. We apparently parked in the middle of a bunch of Oklahoma fans, but everyone was just there to celebrate and have a good time, so we made fast friends with everybody around us.
When the game began, I was shocked to feel like Boise had the game in the bag. I mean, they were KILLING Oklahoma in the first half. How could Oklahoma ever come back from that kind of deficit in a bowl game? Boise was the Cinderella team and Oklahoma didn’t stand a chance.
That is…until the second half.
I spent most of the second half biting my nails and until that hook-and-lateral pass at the very end, I was certain our team – my brother – would be robbed of the sweet victory we so deserved. When we saw that pass though, nothing could bring me down. Oh wait…you know what could bring me down? Adrian Peterson coming out of nowhere (he had been rendered useless most of the game) in overtime and scoring right away for Oklahoma. I sat down, just totally in despair.
But then it all changed. Right in front of my eyes, on the 20 yard line (which was right where I was sitting, a dozen rows up) came the most beautiful two plays I have ever seen. You all know the story. You all know what happened next. I know you do. But let me tell you – the two plays to win the game in overtime were effing incredible. And they happened RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY EYES. Halfback pass? Check. Statue of Liberty pass? Check. Elation? Check.
There aren’t words to describe how happy I was. I immediately jumped up on my seat and started scanning the field for my brother. He saw all of us and we were screaming as loud as we could. I don’t know how long I stood there and screamed – but it was long enough for Ian Johnson to make the greatest marriage proposal ever to his girlfriend right in front of me. I screamed through that too.
I stood on that seat and laughed and screamed and cried for what may have been at least an hour and was just so happy. I don’t know how any day can ever top that one.
Certainly things of more significance will happen to me. I’ve gotten married, I’ll probably have kids and watch them grow up and all of that moving and emotional crap. But I don’t foresee anything even coming close to the happiness and the pride I felt the day I watched Boise kick ass in the Fiesta Bowl.
As a side note, every Sunday in the fall, when I watch the Vikings play and cheer on Adrian Peterson, I always have a little smile and think, “dude…Boise State totally kicked your ass…”