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He told us that the box office closed at 4 and that we would probably have to get tickets at a Ticketmaster or some other facility. Just out of curiosity, I asked him if the Chargers/Chiefs game was playing there. He called on his radio and awaited for a reply. (Now, you would figure the security detail would know if there were going to be 50,000 screaming fans coming within the next hour, but he was unsure.)

The message came back over his radio that the game was being played in Kansas City, not San Diego.

You could probably imag-ine how my friend and I felt, especially since he nearly had to drag me to the game. But I didn't get mad. I thought about it and decided that there could be much worse things in life than showing up for a sporting event that is a thousand miles away.

I pulled out the invitation to the cigar night and studied its map. Turns out it was to a local sports club that belonged to one of the Chargers, so we went. (Of course, we got lost for another 45 minutes before we found the place.) It resembled one of those large lecture halls you find at an Ivy League school, with a huge 40-foot screen. The cigar bar was in a glassed-off area in the rear.

For 20 bucks, I got two cigars, a buffet dinner and a Jack Daniels sampler--and that included taxes and tip. It was about what I would have paid for a seat alone at the stadium. My friend doesn't smoke so he got a couple of beers and joined me in the cigar lounge. In the end, I enjoyed it and had a better time than my friend because he wanted to see the game in person. As for me, well, I was happy with my stogies and I didn't care who won or lost.

We had a good laugh over the whole experience. We also paid a hell of a price in laughs from our friends at work. Javier didn't tell his wife what happened. I think she would have divorced him. In the end we all had a new tale to tell. But next time your buddy wants to take you out of town for a game, check to make sure the team is there.

Michael Zaccherio
Ridgefield Park, New Jersey

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