Experiencing the NFL

As you probably heard or saw, Super Bowl XLV was in Arlington, Texas at Cowboys Stadium. Well, what you may not know is that Arlington is a smaller city in between Dallas and Fort Worth. Even though it’s smaller, it is home to the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and the original Six Flags amusement park and thus draws many, many visitors every year. In the past few months, it has hosted two of the largest sporting events held each year, the Super Bowl and World Series.

Well, because Dallas and Fort Worth are so close and basically the area is one big mass of civilization, both of these larger cities got involved in hosting the big football game and its festivities. Fort Worth hosted the AFC Champions and ESPN while Dallas hosted the NFC Champions and the NFL Experience.

Thousands of volunteers were needed to make all of the festivities happen. My mom and sister volunteered as Fort Worth Ambassadors and then all of us volunteered at the NFL Experience in the Dallas Convention Center. It was a fun time, but I’m sure the severe winter weather we experienced last week dramatically affected attendance.

The first day I went, my sister and I helped out in the kid’s area called the Rush Zone. We managed a game where kids could run through a series of blocking dummies and tackle one at the end. It was fun for the kids and hilarious for us to witness. After four hours of it though, it gets a little old. The area had other games too for younger kids with miniature goal posts for kicking and full-size pads and helmets for trying on.

The next day, we were in the big exhibition hall with the grown-up games. First, we were stationed at The Drive, a game where participants attach themselves to a bungee cord and run as hard as they can. Most of the time they dove at the end and got whipped back by the bungee. This was also very fun to watch especially since most of our participants happened to be kids and their parents.

We spent our last hour at The Crucial Catch. This was a throwing game with big baskets at various distances for people to throw footballs to. I was a ball boy collecting the balls that people threw and tossing them back.

While at this game, the NFL Network came over with Kurt Warner, a former yet great NFL quarterback. He mingled with the fans and threw a few passes. He made it in every basket, all thrown right in a row. After I threw a ball back to one of the kids he had throwing with him, he complemented me on my pass.

When our shift was over, my sister and I walked

Wilson's display demonstrating how a football is made

through the rest of the experience, which was huge. There was a section with all of the sponsors and their massive displays and activities. There was a museum or exhibition of Super Bowl memorabilia, a display of Super Bowl rings, an entire exhibit hall full of gift shop, a display of the Lombardi Trophy and so, so much more. We had spent all of our time at the games area and didn’t realize how big this thing really was. There were lots of photo ops and an autograph station and performance stage. The NFL Experience was really big!

This was the 19th NFL Experience, so if you’re a Super Bowl, football or NFL fan this is a must do next time the Super Bowl comes around. I’m sure each year it gets a bit bigger and better. Maybe I’ll have a chance to volunteer again if Super Bowl 50 comes back to North Texas.

I guess my next NFL adventure will be next week when I go back to Cowboys Stadium to help restore the sponsor displays where the bleachers were added for the big game. At least that wont be volunteer.

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