Good morning everyone! Happy Friday to everyone out there. My dad and I just checked out of our hotel, and now we're barreling down the Stevenson expressway. I'm blogging on the go, courtesy of this journal entry's sponsor CradelePoint. I'm obligated by my sponsor to let you know that my Internet speed is 60 Mb/s down, 20 Mb/s up, which is unironically competitive with my Internet at home.
Yesterday was a wonderful whirlwind of a day. Maybe those aren't choice words for a manly outing of football, beer, and barbecue pork, but it was a wonderful time. Marissa and I got into Geneva around noon. We were a little sad about dropping the dogs off, but we were happy to spend some time setting up their bed and toys at the kennel they'd be staying at while we were away.
We got into Geneva around noon, and my mom greeted us at the door, signaling we had an opportunity to have some fun and sneak up on Rodney, who was well occupied with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a new Blippi episode. We saw us from the corner of his eye, and immediately smiled. We spent some time hanging around the house, cuddling with Rodney, and resting from the long car ride. "I'm finally off duty!" my mom laughed.
About an hour later, I said goodnight to Rodney and Marissa, then jumped in the car with my dad. We checked into a hotel, then made our way over to the planetarium parking lot where we'd be helping out at a tailgating event. We helped set up some tables in between drinking beer, then Pat the residential competitive BBQ expert borrowed me for some smoked meat related activities. Donning cloth and latex gloves and wielding a meat knife, I helped Pat "bust up" five of the most savory smoked pork bellies I've ever witnessed, then as he set out the sides, I sliced some smoked sausages. "Cut them at a 45 degree angle," Pat instructed. "For some reason they look prettier that way."
After cutting the meat, I grabbed a plate and joined Philip, Jeremy, and Kip by the fire. They were chatting with a stranger who had wandered over to heat up. You'd think they would be talking about football, but instead they were discussing the fire pit. "These are online," Kip explained. "It's basically just a fire pit, but for some reason it costs like \$200".
"Nah, it's special, it absorbs the smoke or something," our new friend chimed in. I shrugged my shoulders and turned to Phillip. "I burn stuff in my grill all the time, I don't feel like I have a big issue with smoke," I said.
With about a half hour before kick-off, we started to wander over to Soldier Field. As night fell, it started to get colder, and I was already regretting my decision to leave my winter coat behind. "I googled it," I said defending myself earlier. "It's not even going to get below freezing tonight - you all are going to be too warm."
Yesterday was my first time in Soldier field. It was much bigger than I expected. It took us a while to find our seats, and we seemingly wandered all over the stadium. But at last, we settled in, and I was able to take in the football game from some pretty prime seats right behind the goal line.
Watching an NFL game in person was a notably different experience. You can pay attention to any number of things going on that the TV cameras miss - the blocking on the offensive line, the body language on the bench. And in moments that would normally be filled with commentary and opinions - like a bad call - all you have is the roaring and hissing of the angry crowd. In the first half, the Bears were flagged with a "block from behind" call, and as the replay played on the jumbotron, the crowd erupted with anger seeing the safety barely lay a hand on him.
Jeremy and I waited in line during the third quarter to go to the bathroom. On the way there, I bought a new Bears hat. As I was standing in line, two guys in Cowboys jerseys got into a confrontation right next to me. "The Cowboys suck, the Bears suck, they both suck!" he yelled inches from the other guy's face. "This league belongs to the Patriots - the Patriots are going to win every year!" As he yelled, surrounding fans shouldered and elbowed him out of the bathroom. "Shut up idiot! was faintly heard from one of the stalls. As the angry fan yelled, the other Cowboys fan raised his hand and announced, "on behalf of the Dallas Cowboys, I apologize for that idiot." All of us waiting to use a urinal chuckled.
While I was in the bathroom, Trubisky ran in the ball for a touchdown. The replay played on the jumbotron. I was content that for the first time this season the Bears were beating a decent team by three touch downs. And they held it together for the rest of the game - in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, the stadium started to slowly empty. We stayed through the rest of the game, then made our way outside the stadium and walked back to the hotel. Still a bit hungry, Jeremy and I continued on to pick up some white castle. We brought back twenty cheese sliders, but only made it through about four of them while watching Robocop in the hotel room before we had to turn in.
I had a great time at the game. I'm grateful I had the chance to have some great barbecue, see the Bears beat down the Cowboys at beautiful Soldier Field, and bond with friends and family as a new football fan. And to add to that, I have a new Bears hat and a set of Bears towels that I can't wait to hang up in my kitchen by the sink.
Today, we're going to recoup at my parents place, then later head back into the city to stay with Adam and Sam. Tomorrow is Marissa's art show, so more adventures in the city.
Hope you all have a wonderful Friday. Bear down, and see you next Sunday when we play the Packers!