Fair weather fan Dan here. Or so I am told this week by a number of people. So be it.
Apparently I have a huge issue with my manhood and am perhaps from another planet. I made the conscious decision NOT to attend this weekends BIG GAME at Soldier Field. You should hear the cries of derision from friends and family who know I am a Bears Season Ticket Holder.
I went last weekend and had a lot of fun. When I got home I collapsed from exhaustion at my house in Madison at 7.30, smelling like smoke, with cracked lips and cheeks.
You see, once I explain to people what I have to do to attend a Bear game they usually take it a bit easier on me. It is like they think that all I do is drive down there, enter the stadium, watch the game and drive home. It is hard to explain to people how difficult it is to actually attend a Bear game due to several things. In all, probably one of the worst NFL experiences next to FedEx Field.
I have to leave my house by 4.30 to get to Chicago by 7 or 7.30. The traffic is random, even on a Sunday morning and I have to leave time to be sure that I get to the pickup point for my friends on time. Why so early? Because the lots open at 8 (four hours before game time) and for the better part of the last two decades, the tailgate has been the best part of the game. The parking “attendants” (that is being nice calling them that) move traffic in asinine ways all around Soldier Field. If you don’t get there right when the lots open up you are hosed.
After Sundays game, it took me a total of four hours to get home. For those who are mathematically challenged, that is being away from home a total of fifteen hours. And that was WITHOUT significant traffic. Sometimes I have been away for up to TWENTY hours if I had bad luck on the Kennedy and felt like crap for several days afterward. It is brutal, and the dish is served even more cold if you toss in the crap winter weather.
On top of this, I had plans with my family to have fun in the Dells. Who knew the Bears would be in the NFC title game?
So when you fill people in on the hows and whys of going to a game at Soldier Field, they are usually a little more sypmathetic to my plight. This goes WAY back to when they were deciding what to do about remodeling Soldier Field. I was praying that they would do the RIGHT THING and put a new stadium with a retractable roof right where Poplar Creek Music Theater used to be. Endless parking for tailgating. Easy access to and from I-90. Everything perfect. But no, the Chicago way wasn’t having any of that.
As I have gotten older, I have attended fewer and fewer Bear games, and what I went through last week simply adds fuel to that fire. I will probably only go to the opener and one or two other games a year. I would rather either watch it on TV, or if we suck, I will just ride my bike.
So, this Sunday, I will be sitting at home watching this one by the fire, with a pile of wings and a couple of beers. I will wish I was there. Until the second the game is over, then I will be glad I am here.
Cross posted at FRT.