On Super Bowl Sunday, a few minutes before 7 a.m., I park in a crowded dirt lot behind Avaya Stadium, home to the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team. I’m carrying a black and gold card that reads, “I can make a difference at Super Bowl 50,” which I received a few weeks earlier at an orientation. It’s meant to inspire us during what promises to be a very long day. The morning is clear and beautiful; the mood is upbeat. Many of the ushers, janitors, and food-service workers assembled here have been anticipating the game all season.
But first, we have to get a seat on the bus.
“This is worse than Disneyland,” says a man to my right after we’ve been waiting for 30 minutes in a line a quarter of a mile long. “Somebody needs to put this on YouTube,” says another. An older woman is the first to raise her voice. “This is how they treat the 99 percent who gonna serve the 1 percent!” she shouts. “This is shameful.” A few cheers ring out. By the time we’ve made it to the front, the mood has begun to wilt.
Once on the buses, we ride about 20 minutes to the Santa Clara Convention Center, where we quickly pass through security and receive our game-day IDs.