Saturday, October 2, 2010

First UVA Football Game

I had the opportunity to score two cheap seats to a UVA football game. Elena loves sports, and we'd always talked about going to a game...the Stadium, Cavman, cheerleaders, the Jumbotron, the marching band, treats to eat, THE WORKS. And then I got thinking about it...

It's going to be HOT.

I don't have a close parking space.

Strollers are allowed...but only small ones. I'd have to bring a lot of E's gear.

There are a lot of STEPS in that stadium...steep ones. *gulp*

And, there's only one of me.

The Game Prep:

1) I called parking and transportation. When I was a student at UVA, I had a job with P&T so that's to my advantage. They run an Accessibility Shuttle Bus, and it runs all game. The regular buses only run during peak times--hours before kickoff, close to halftime, and at the end of the game. Cars with handicap placards can park for free in the Accessibility lot (ahem--that's accessible to the Shuttle, not within close distance to the Stadium). It helps that the Accessibility Shuttles are the swankest buses around...and that the woman who drove E's Birthday Bus knew we were coming, and was excited to see us.

2) Found out about our seats. Before I scored the cheap ones, I called the ticket window to see what seats were available for us so that I didn't have to carry E up skinny flights of steps (without a handrail), while carrying the rest of our gear. The lady mentioned some huge price. Then she mentioned she had discount tickets--but they were further up. I lit into her--basically, I have to pay more because my child is disabled. That was NOT okay, since there's no way I could possibly safely have access to that section of seats. I was offered the accessible seats for the same price as the nosebleed section. I told her thanks and I'd think about it. Turns out the tickets I got (my friend has season tickets) were literally up two steps, and the rest of the way was up ramps. PERFECT! The dude watching the stairway even helped me.

3) Our seats also happened to be close to the bathrooms--including a private family sized bathroom.

Going to a sporting event, when it's just me and E, is a tough job. Even though a lot of ball parks/stadiums have ramps, the distance one has to cover is amazingly large. E is a tough girl, but right now, if you gave her all the time in the world, she could have made it to our seats--but it would have taken FOREVER. Realistically, it probably would have taken her at minimum of 40 minutes (at her best pace and endurance level), while I made it pushing her in about 6.

Because I want E to be as independent as possible, I bring as many mobility options as I can. Normally this means a stroller and crutches. I also carry a backpack with water, juice boxes, and snacks. Because we wanted to do it up at the game, I also brought a bunch of pom poms, and our cheer banners. Since I'm not going to leave my daughter unattended, this normally translates into me carrying EVERYTHING AT ONCE if I have to go up stairs. E weighs nearly 30 pounds, and doesn't really help me hold her. It's exhausting. Then do it all again when she has to go to the bathroom, which seemed like every 20 minutes (I did keep her constantly drinking, as it was nearly 90 degrees out).

E Cheering on the Hoos

Too Darn Hot

Halftime "Shade Rally"

E and "Uncle K" cheering to the finish

Did we have a good time? Of course we did!! I just wish getting around was EASIER. Does it get easier?? I certainly hope so...

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