The Meaning of a Place

So there we were–my wife and I cuddled up on a bench right out side Mile High Stadium.

Yeah, that’s right, I said it: Mile High Stadium. Even though it’s not the same one that I watched growing up as kid, it’s still Mile High to me. You see, my parents grew up in Colorado even though I did not. But that didn’t stop us from watching the Broncos on the late game (East Coast TV, that is) every Sunday. Elway was our hero. You see, architecturally it is just a stadium. But to us, Mile High was sacred ground, no matter how many Super Bowls they lost.

So where was I, oh yes, on the bench. You see, being a student in architecture school and working part time doesn’t give one much liquid assets with which to by tickets to, say, the U2 concert a few days ago. So, I took my girl and we did the next best thing: we rode our bikes over, got cozy on the bench outside, and listened to Bono wail on classic U2 songs.

We were just settling down as they played one of my favorites, Elevation. Then, out of the blue, a man approached us. He was not old, but not young. “Hey, uh, I don’t want to get in trouble or anything, but I have these tickets. And well, I just want someone to enjoy the show.”

“Oh, we don’t have any money,” we replied.

“Thanks okay. I got them from a promotional thing, but I can’t go. You guys just have them. I want someone to enjoy them.” I couldn’t tell if there was a tear in his eye or not. Perhaps he got stood up? Perhaps . . .

My wife and I look at each other. Really? Could this be possible? Surely they are fake tickets. But we took them anyway, thanking the man profusely. I thought: we’ll just see what happens at the gate.

Giddy as all hell, we lock up our bikes and march nervously up to the gate. After two quick scans, we get an unceremonious “go ahead.” No way! This can’t be happening! And we enter the arena with U2, massively giant stage construct and all, thundering the mile-high air with uncanny resemblance to their studio albums despite their age. We get to “our” seats and, lo and behold, we have duplicate tickets with someone else! Oh no! We were so close! As we stood there trying to make sense out of the situation, our duplicate ticket holders simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “welcome to the show!”

And as U2 started closing out their set with “Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Kill Me,” I couldn’t help but look around and realize that we were here in the flesh: Mile High Stadium. Sure sure, it’s not the original, but what a sight it was! People stacked up on the top nosebleeds seemed to hover directly above me. The crowd on the inner circle standing where the Broncos themselves tread! Oh what a site!

So to whoever you are out there: thank you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience Mile High Stadium, the place of my Pop Warner youth football dreams, in extraordinary fashion. We could not have asked for a better introduction.

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