When Aaron Wetland was anointed a Seattle Seahawks fan at the age of 5, his father promised him before every season that they would go to the Super Bowl should their beloved team ever get the chance to play in one.
No matter the cost.
Ten years later, the Seahawks have done just that, and John has held true to his promise, purchasing two tickets to Super Bowl XL in Detroit at $2,600 apiece.
The two flew out to the Motor City on Friday morning.
"I told Aaron it doesn't matter if you're 8 or 80, we're gonna go," John said. "This is the fulfillment of both a dream and a promise."
When it was clear that the Seahawks were Super Bowl-bound, blowing out the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game, John was already on the Internet, tracking down tickets.
John found several packages offering tickets along with hotel and airfare. When one package purchase fell through, the price of tickets had gone up $1,000 and he eventually bought a package with seats at the 30-yard line in the upper level of Ford Field. At face value, the tickets were priced at $700 each.
"We're taking a big dip - more like a plunge - into the savings," John said. "Fortunately, God's blessed us and we haven't had to put ourselves in debt to do it."
John did say, though, that these tickets are Aaron's new car.
"When he's 30-years-old, he wouldn't be driving that car anymore, but he'll always have the Super Bowl."
Aaron, now 15, says he's taken some ribbing at school for the fact that he's going to the game. His Spanish teacher, Mr. Rohde, wished him good luck on the trip, adding, "You got ripped on the tickets," while his friends said to him, "Aw, you suck."
"But they're just jealous," Aaron said.
John and Aaron made sure to load their suitcases with plenty of winter clothing, not to mention their Seattle Seahawks gear. Aaron will wear his Shaun Alexander jersey and spike his hair, coloring it green and white to match the Seahawks' colors for the game, while John will wear his Bryce Fisher jersey.
Aaron will also have a "Go Seahawks!" sign, big enough that he needs to completely outstretch his arms to hold it.
While in Detroit, they'll check out the "NFL Experience" at Ford Field and visit the Renaissance Center, where the ESPN crew has set up shop for the week.
John, who grew up in Seattle, recalled when the city first landed an NFL franchise in 1976. There was a big buzz in the city and John, 14 at the time, took part in a contest to name the team, though he can't remember what name he suggested.
He moved to California when the Seahawks started up, but he's always rooted for them, often attending 49ers and Raiders games when Seattle is in town.
Ironically, his favorite baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. But you can be sure neither he or Aaron will be showing any love to Pittsburgh this Sunday.
John and Aaron hope the game is close, and of course, they want their Seahawks to win. But even if they don't, they know the experience will have been well worth the trip.
"To be one of a few thousand people in the world's biggest event," John said, "and the excitement of just being there. It's pretty special."
Your ticket to the Super Bowl
Super Bowl XL: Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburg Steelers.
When: Ford Field - Detroit, Mich.
When: Sunday, 3 p.m.
TV coverage: ABC, KXTV Channel 10.
Halftime entertainment: The Rolling Stones.
Things to do today
• Buy snacks like tortilla and potato chips today. Some stores may sell out of these items by the time the Super Bowl starts.
• Prepare snacks ahead of time so as to not have to be in the kitchen during the game.
• Stock up. Get enough supplies that you won't have to make another trip to the store during the game or half-time.
• Order pizza hours or even a day in advance. Robert, who preferred not to give his last name, who works at Pizza Guys in Lodi, said that people ordering two large pizzas should order them about an hour ahead of when they would want them. They will be busier than usual on Sunday. Also, people can do a delayed order and place their order today to get it at the desired time on Sunday.
Where you can munch or party
• Rosewood, 28 S. School St.
All-you-can-eat buffet with baby back ribs, barbecue chicken, baked beans, potato salad and other items. Bar opens at 2 p.m.; buffet opens at 3 p.m.
• The Office, 14088 E. Highway 88, Lockeford
Barbecue, chili, meat and vegetable trays, two TV screens, $5 domestic pitchers, all day
• Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant, 10400 Twin Cities Road, Galt
Showing the game on big screen TVs
• Rafters Saloon, 17271 Bruella Road, Victor
Potluck at halftime, drink specials all day.
• The Water Hole, 246 N. Cluff Ave.
Snacks, happy hour drink specials during the game
• Woodbridge and Clements Feed and Fuel, 18939 N. Lower Sacramento Road, Woodbridge, and 18938 E. Highway 88, Clements
Regular Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• Jazzy J's, 1800 S. Cherokee Lane
Seafood gumbo meal for $25. Two big-screen TVs and three other TVs.
• Pizza Works, 100 W, Turner Road
Big screen TV. In-house special on large pizza, four salads and soft drinks, for $19.72 between 5 and 8 p.m.
• Cactus, 18961 N. Lower Sacramento Road
Free hors' d'oeurves in the bar.
• Lodi Beer Company, 105 S. School St.
Happy hour and appetizer specials all day in the bar, $2.50 pints. Three flat screen TVs.
Super Bowl ads: A preview
If "The Bus" pops a tire and the Seahawks fail to soar, at least sports fans will have Super Bowl advertisements to keep their attention.
Here's some ads to look for:
• Budweiser, a perennial favorite among Super Bowl commercials, has taken out nine to 10 spots.
• Careerbuilder.com reportedly will have a spot with a follow up to last year's "I work with monkeys" ad.
• Gillette is expected to use Super Bowl Sunday to counter rival Schick with ads touting Fusion, a five-blade razor.
• Godaddy.com, whose racy ads made a splash last year, is a likely candidate to have a few ads this year.
• Visa and McDonalds reportedy are foresaking commercials during the big game to concentrate on the Winter Olympics
Other ad notes:
• Thirty-second ad spots are reportedly going for $2.5 million.
• Yahoo Inc. will feature on its video home page, at http://video.yahoo.com, links to this year's Super Bowl ads, hosted at MTV Networks' ifilm.com. There will be a delay from when the ads air but the first of the ads should start appearing before the game ends, said Ethan Fassett, Yahoo's product manager for video search.
• ifilm is making the ads available at http://www.ifilm.com/superbowl, where ads from last year's game are currently kept.
• If you're looking only for the Budweiser ads from Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., Maven Networks Inc. has developed an application that'll automatically retrieve new ads during the fourth quarter. There will even be a button to transfer the video to Apple Computer Inc.'s iPods.
If you're not up to watching the big game - or even the commercials - chances are that many places that are usually crowded will be more empty during the Super Bowl, leaving you a window to go out and shop, dine or do some other activity.
Here are some alternatives:
• Go to the movie theater. Lodi Stadium 12 has movies playing start. Cost for a matinee (before 6 p.m.) is $5.50.
• Go shopping - especially at department stores and boutiques.
• Gotta Crop is having a three-day crop that goes through Sunday. The spots are already filled, and about 20 women will be there.
"We'll have women here scrapbooking while their husbands are watching the game," said Marianne Alvarez, co-owner of the shop.
For information, visit http://www.gottacropshop.com.
• Go wine tasting at the many local wineries. The Lodi Wine and Visitor Center is hosting "Wines of Lodi" until Feb. 8. Tasting is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; cost is $1 per tasted, and featured wines are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel. Many local wineries are open on Sundays from 11 a.m. or noon until 4:30 or 5 p.m.
"Absolutely - we will be open," said Kelly Mettler, of the Wine and Vistor Center. "We will be pouring a great selection of wines, Cal-Italian varieties. It should be a great weekend."
She added that there are many options for those who aren't fans of the teams playing in the Super Bowl.
• Get out to a Stockton Thunder hockey game. The Thunder will be playing at noon at the Stockton Arena against the Bakersfield Condors. It's "Souper Bowl and Family Day." Tickets range from $7.25 to $23.25. For information, call 373-1400.
• Go grocery shopping, but avoid half time, as many people will flock to the stores to restock their game supplies.
• Get some studying done. Go to the Lodi Public Library. Sunday hours are 1 to 5 p.m. - right during the big game.
• Get out your winter gear and go skiing or snowboarding. Dodge Ridge near Sonora will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the new Half Pipe for snowboarders has just opened. For information, call (209) 536-5300. To get there, take Highway 108 east toward Sonora. take Pinecrest Lake Road exit and turn right on Dodge Ridge Road. Bear Valley will also be open. Take Highway 12 east to Highway 49, then to Highway 4 east. For more information, call (209) 753-2301. Kirkwood will also be open. Take Highway 88 toward Jackson and travel about 97 miles. The lifts are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, call (209) 258-6000.
• Go bowling. Pacific Avenue Bowl at 5939 Pacific Ave., Stockton, has open bowling on Sunday until 6 p.m.
• Go out to eat. Restaurants that are usually busy should have plenty of seating.
- News-Sentinel staff