Good morning everyone! This morning I’m coming to you from my parents’ place in Geneva. Yesterday after some last minute packing and tidying up, we hit the road sometime in the late morning. First we dropped the dogs off at ‘summer camp’, then we made it into Geneva sometime in the early afternoon. We hung around the house for about an hour, letting Rod get settled in, then we got dropped off at the train station. There were three other people waiting at the platform wearing hockey jerseys. “This must be the Blackhawks train,” laughed the conductor as he slid open the doors.
Marissa and I made our way to the top deck and sat in the back. “Look at how many people are drinking White Claw,” Marissa remarked. I glanced around the train, mentally counting the opened cans of White Claw, and sure enough it seemed like it was in the dozens. “I don’t get it. There’s barely any alcohol in them, why do people like them so much,” Marissa continued. A group of young kids our age sat near us. They were also drinking white claw. “No laws when you’re on claws,” I mumbled under my breath, trying to get Marissa to laugh.
When we arrived in the city, we had about an hour before the game started. The plan was to find some place to eat along the way, but as we got closer to the United Center we decided to just head in and find our seats. Stadium junk food was starting to sound good anyway. I hadn’t been to the United Center in a really long time, but back in the day when I was a much bigger Hawks fan, it used to be a bigger part of my life. “I remember working on homework here while watching the games,” I reminisced. “My dad’s work had a skybox, and when they weren’t using the seats to entertain a client, I would go.”
There’s a really fun energy walking around the united center. Marissa, expecting to feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed, noted how exciting it was to be around the fans, and even though there were over 20 thousand people there, you didn’t really feel packed in. Entering our section in the upper balcony, I could feel my heart skipping a beat seeing the lit up ice rink, house music blaring over the speakers. Marissa turned to me with her jaw dropped. After finding our seats, we ventured out to get some food and drinks. We followed the winding hallway until Marissa stopped in her tracks. “I smell nachos,” she said with the intensity of a hunter tracking a wounded animal. We ordered chicken nacho grande. Just as I was asking “is it going to be enough food,” the lady behind the counter handed me the upside down hockey helmet filled with chips, meat, and cheese. “OH, alright then I think this will be enough,” I said answering my own question.
It was a wonderful game. Chicago and Columbus were tied throughout the whole game, but Chicago took them in the first minute of over time - which was really the best of both worlds. We got to see extra minutes of hockey, but it didn’t keep us there very late.
After the game, Marissa and I wandered around the city. The excitement of the hockey game left us in a nostalgic mood. We recounted our third date where I took Marissa into the city. “Not only was that my first time going into the city without my family, but that may have been my first time going anywhere without them,” remembered Marissa. “Could you imagine if I was deranged,” I laughed. I took Marissa into the city for our third date. She took the train from College Ave, and I jumped on at the Wheaton station. We wandered around the city all night, finishing the evening sitting in Millennium park. We still debate if that would’ve been too soon for our first kiss, which would happen on the next date, but that was definitely the first time we both thought about it.
Marissa and I took the 11:40 train back. We both fell asleep slumped over in the back of the train. My head shot up at 12:40, and I hurriedly dug out my phone to check where we were. Marissa’s phone alarm went off. “Perfect timing,” she said. We waited for an Uber from the train station back to my parents place. For a few minutes, we could here coyotes screaming in the distance, and they suddenly stopped. Marissa and I bided our time by trying to howl back at them. After about fifteen minutes, our Uber arrived. “You know I just came from the United Center, ya’ll should have just ridden with me,” he laughed. At least we got in a good nap on the train.
When we got home, we heated up a plate of Aurelio’s pizza before sailing off to bed.
This morning, we’re about to pack the car and head home. Our evening hanging out with Grandpa and Grandma, walking around in the city, and watching the Blackhawks play was the perfect ending to a busy week.
Thanks for reading, and hope you have a relaxing weekend too.