Two other fathers from our area and myself took our 11 and 12-year-old sons up to New York and attended yesterday's NFL draft. As a parent and a football fan, it was a great experience that I hope my sons will remember it for a long time. We took the train up on Friday night and after checking in to our hotel (hotels.com found one across the street that had only opened the day before) we went out to see where we would have to wait on line early Saturday morning. A security guard informed us that people were already lined up waiting for wristbands that would guarantee admission and this was at 8:30 PM Friday night. We joined the line of about 500 people and waited 5 hours to get the wristbands which were like gold and given out individually starting at one minute after midnight. There were rumors of people offering up to $300 for them but we weren't selling ours. While waiting on line, people would come and go and bring food back from the local pizzeria and sharing with complete strangers to pass the time but it was a party-like atmosphere with fans of every team present. Luckily the weather cooperated so the time passed quickly. There were college students from Rochester who came down after finals, a Jets fan from Albany, Eagles fans from Maryland and of course Cheeseheads from all over. Once we got our bands, we went back to the hotel for some shuteye. The next morning those that hadn't gotten wristbands (or didn't know) waited in a different line that stretched around a few city blocks. We got breakfast and toured the NBC facilities before getting on a separate line for admission at about 9:30. We waited for an hour or so while they checked bags and made sure that everyone in our line had the requisite wristband. The time passed quickly with fans (mostly Jets, Eagles, Pats, Bills but few Giants fans) of other teams joking and irritating each other. The name Mike Mamula came up a few times for example. Once inside the wristband was exchanged for a ticket for a reserved seat and a gift bag. The bag had a radio embossed with the NFL logo that picked up FM stations and both ESPN and NFL Network that that broadcast on two different stations inside the Hall. They had TV screens simulcasting NFL Network and ESPN booths selling NFL merchandise. During breaks, NFL Network was bringing fans up to the stage and asking them trivia questions for prizes and broadcasting in house to the audience. My son a sixth grader at a suburban Philadelphia school was called up to be asked a question by Doug Jolly, the Jets Tight End. Wearing a Patriots T-shirt and hat (I'm a native Bostonian) he got a round of boos when they asked him where he was from and which team he supported. Neither Philadelphia nor Boston got a lot of love up there. He got the question right (What year was Frank Gifford drafted, 1950,51,52 or 53?) with a little help, wink nod and they gave him a prize of a full set of Topps cards and an autographed hat. They asked him who he thought the Patriots would draft and he replied Tye Hill or Manny Lawson. The funny part was that at the same time, the Rams were getting ready to draft Hill and about 30 seconds after Jason made his guess for the Pats, the Rams drafted him. The best part about being on stage was walking past the orchestra pit with all the teams' tables and seeing the ESPN broadcasting team up close while they were on the air broadcasting and seeing it up close. The interesting part is that once a team made it's choice, it was electronically sent out to all the teams and they reset the clock to 15 minutes, even before the Commissioner made his announcement of the pick. So when Paul Tagliabue was announced the selection, the clock was already down to under 14 minutes for the next team. A few times, they let it slip before the announcement and started showing either the player or highlights before his name was announced. They showed Jay Cutler in the waiting room so everyone knew he was the selection before announcing it. After the first round was over and our assortment of Eagles, Patriots, Rams and Panthers fans were happy, we left and took the train home to catch up on some sleep. For any football fan, it is a great experience and while TV captures part of the experience, being there is a lot more fun.