Yesterday was the start of the Scottish Football Season for Aberdeen fans, with the first competitive game of the season at home to Kilmarnock. Last season, Aberdeen were giving out a free under 12 season ticket with every adult season ticket bought. As I was taking a season ticket as usual, I thought I’d take the U12 one, in case Matthew or Daniel wanted to come along. Matthew wasn’t (and isn’t) to interested, but Daniel wanted to come along, just to see what I got up to when I went to football ( http://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/football-crazy/) He only came to a couple of games, but it at least got him started.
Yesterday, he was unsure. Initially he said he wanted to go. I said to tell me by 1230pm as I’d walk to the park and ride (its about an hour’s walk, and the bus leaves an hour before kick off (2pm yesterday)) It was a go from Daniel. Then at 115pm, he says he’d changed his mind! It meant I couldn’t avoid taking the car. But just as I was getting ready to go out, he said he’d go. He was dressed and keen to go out, so given it was 140pm, it was a bit of a rush to make it to the park and ride. I think part of his reluctance was the fact we’ve had long walks to and from getting the bus to games in the past. But using park and ride meant taking the car, getting on a bus after a 30 metre walk, then getting dropped off right at the ground. Its a great service. We were there at 230pm. Early enough to soak up the atmosphere and excitement, but close enough to kick off that he’d not lose interest.
Daniel was excellent. His seat is immediately in front of mine (there are a lot of season tickets around where my friend and I sit, so it was a bit of luck getting one so close by) and it was a good view of the pitch. He was excited, and knew what was going on. He sat still as the Kilmarnock team was announced, but when it came to Aberdeen, he would bounce on his seat as each player was announced. He asked which end Aberdeen would be shooting at, so when the game kicked off, he was glued to the Kilmarnock goal! He was quiet, which was no surprise. He was surrounded by people he didn’t know, it was noisy and it was colourful. He was obviously watching the play though as his head was moving, following the ball.
As the game progressed, he became slightly agitated, but continued to follow the game. After a while, he wanted the toilet. Just as I was about to lift him over the seats to go, Aberdeen scored. His excitement was amazing to see. His face was beaming. He’d seen the first goal of the season, and was thrilled. The second goal didn’t get quite the same reaction, but he was satisfied with the fact we’d scored again. Josh Magennis’s missing of a sitter when it was 2-0 confused him though. “Is that 3-0 now?” He couldn’t believe it hadn’t gone in either. Kilmarnock’s goal had him worried. I think that was down to the fact I’d said we’d all bounce on the trampoline if we won the game! We saw the game out though, and we left with Daniel happy.
There was a spring in his step as we left, although a lot of that was down to us just having to walk 2 minutes to get the bus back to the car! He wasn’t so tired though as a result. The park and ride is a great service, as it meant Daniel would be more awake, and would enjoy the game more, so it was a success from that point of view. He was certainly calmer and followed the game more. Did he want to go back? Next game is against Celtic, and the thought of playing the biggest team in the league excited him. I might get tickets for the family stand (you can move your seat if you want to on a game by game basis at no cost) as the Celtic fans stand making it difficult for a little lad to see the goal to our right. I’ll be popping round to Pittodrie this week then to do that, then in 2 weeks, it will be game time again for me and my aspie!