Ever since we first met the Christmas Ape last spring, he’s become a regular hanging around the TSW HQ TV, especially around game time. So when it came time to head to Arizona for the Steelers-Cardinals game, I couldn’t resist bringing the little guy with me.
Sure you can read what the real Christmas Ape said about Game 4, but what does a weekend of travel, Terrible Towels, and one stuffed Ape really look like?
After Ben Roethlisberger’s accident last summer, Ape is always sure to buckle up for his own safety, as well as keeping an eye on the driver’s speed.
Six hours on the road felt like forever, and Ape could not wait to check into his room at the Wigwam Resort…
… and test the firmness of the bed singing, “Four little monkeys jumping on the bed, one feel off and broke his head. Momma called Freddy Fu and the doctor said…”
… and throw his feet up on the chair…
… and stash his flask in the mini-bar fridge for later.
Once he was all settled in, it was time to take his favorite towel and head down to the main pool and check out the ladies in bikinis with TheStarterBoyfriend.
Finding no luck at the pool, Ape thought maybe he’d do better with single moms dropping their kids in day care. (Plus, they had free bananas at snack time.)
Evening came, it was time to get serious and head to the rally up at Harold’s Corral, so he grabbed his flag and hitched a lift.
Because nothing says
manly ape-ly like a ride in a Steelers purse satchel.
By the time Ape and company arrived at Harolds, the line at the bar was immense…
…which gave him time to browse the items being offered up in the silent auction benefiting The Mel Blount Youth Home.
Of course it was when Ape was pondering the true value of a signed Alan Faneca jersey, that he missed Mel Blount himself walking by the table. He took too long to grab his camera and was left with nothing but a shot of some Hall of Fame ass.
While he may have missed Mel, there really are few things better than a good towel wave. It was then, well into his third drink, that Ape wondered that despite Douglas Adams being British, if it was at all possible that Adams took the running gag about towels from Myron Cope.
Ape tried out this this theory on the oldest man in the bar, (a man so old that the person holding the camera refused to use the flash as not startle him with the magical lightning), but he was more concerned with finding a chair with a cushion and what he called, “dark beer”. No one ever figured out what to serve the man, since it was a Bud or Bud Light type of joint.
Cutie at the end of the table was less than amused by Ape’s pickup line that ended with, “Lemme show you why they call me ‘Slash.'”
Knowing that he had full day of football ahead of him, Ape was sure to order the healthiest thing he could find on the menu.
The rest of the night was a blur. Motorcycles. More booze. Loose women. The kid with the pink tongue stud working the Circle K on Cave Creek Road who wouldn’t let him use the bathroom, but showed him where “out back” was located.
Eventually he made his way home to the Wigwam, where some enterprising Steeler fans had hijacked a few of the golf carts and were driving around the grounds chanting the phrase that was on the Ape’s favorite button. It filled the Ape with pride and he wanted to run after the guys on the carts, but after an evening of consuming all things fried, there was no way he could run three miles an hour without puking. He just smiled and waved, hoping that they’d be up for more of the same after the game.
Just before he entered his room, he overheard few more fans laughing and comparing the weekend to, “Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Fourth of July, and my birthday all in one.” When he closed his eyes to finally sleep, he thought to himself that they might be right, if he only knew what a birthday was.
The next morning, a testy and hung over Ape had a small fit once he realized that had left his Steelers temporary tattoos at home. One cappuccino and two MAC eye shadows later, Ape felt properly ready to tailgate.
So it back into his carriage and out the door to the University of Phoenix – Hey isn’t that place just online? How do they have a stadia? Can an Ape get a degree online? – Stadium.
Ape and some blowhard.
Meeting Kordell Stewart.
Beanbag toss, which as far as Ape could tell, had nothing to do with football, but seemed to at every tailgate. Free beer is always good though.
Making new friends and sharing haircare tips.
Big world, little Ape. Especially when standing in line for the Port-A-Potties.
Everywhere, Steeler fans. Hours had gone by and you could count the number of Cardinal fans without using all twenty toes.
Double fisting the last of the vodka-lemonades before Ape headed into the venue. He was nervous. What if they didn’t let him in? He eyed security warily.
Success! Inside! And even more Steeler fans!
Even an open-minded Ape has to admit that fondue in a pro-sports arena is pretty gay.
After everything, this was the moment that Ape had been looking forward to the most. Nothing is as satisfying as placing one’s hairy ass into one’s own seat.
Before Ape knew it, he was surrounded by some of his best friends he had never met.
Even those all the way in the upper deck.
These two however, would prove to be less than friendly. As seen here, their drunk tushies watched the game entirely on the Jumbotron and rarely turned to watch the play develop on the field.
And so the game went, painfully tied 7-7 after three quarters.
The was the moment before Ape went, well, Ape. The moment before Big Ben threw right into double – maybe even triple – coverage in the end zone. A game that had been filled with penalties, dropped balls, and sacks slipped into the hands of the enemy.
Final score: Cardinals 21, Steelers 14.
The Ape was upset by the loss, he headed to a local sports bar to catch the evening game. He knew he was among his own when he saw that they maintained a display of game-used college helmets placed in order the current AP standings.
Well, maybe in the current order. Ape didn’t remember UCLA remaining in the top fifteen.
A little air hockey to beat out some aggression.
Greasy food to distract from the memories of an offensive line that did not show up ready to play.
Where was the fifth glass in the set? Surely they could have made a glass for Super Bowl XL at some point. Ape made a mental note to check eBay when he got home.
After the food, the booze, and the air hockey, Ape finally found solace blowing his allowance at the OTB.
The next morning, a tired Ape meandered around the hotel grounds not wanting his vacation to end.
No where on the trophy did it say “Lombardi”, but he figured it was impressive enough. Two trophies. Two Arizona Cardinal quarterbacks to beat the Steelers.
Tickling the ivories in the lounge, Ape was hoping to make up for his losses on the greyhounds in tips. Just don’t ask him to play, “Welcome to the Jungle”.
Ape went over Sunday’s game in his mind while playing a game of chess. He had already lost his bishop and his rook when realized how many starters the Steelers were missing.
He paused and looked at the queen. How long was Hines Ward out for again?
Soon it was time to make the long drive home to Los Angeles. Even though the Steelers had lost, Ape felt very satisfied with his trip. Did he meet other fans? More than he had ever seen outside of Pittsburgh in one place. Did the team look that bad? Yes, not other than the O-line which has been weak all season, nothing that alarmed him too much. What about Ben? What about him? At least he wasn’t Griese bad.
One quick stop on the way back, because who can resist a giant map carved into stone.
Finally home, where a lucky Ape belongs.