An IM exchange yesterday with Carla, whose beau is a Michigan alum.
So. How was your weekend? Did you have a good turnout at your party?
it was actually lovely. the party was great fun.
i already know how your weekend was.
Yes yes, mine was delightful, but I'm attempting to show a modicum of class.
No. That was just hysteria from sleep deprivation talking, boss.
My notes from the road follow.
Day 1: Friday
Bubba and I take in the Illinois prep football semi-finals, where we see Morris easily handle Crystal Lake South before moving on to the championship this Saturday, which I'll watch via the Internet. Morris running back/safety/linebacker/returner/kicker John Dergo is the stud to watch. He has 2200 yards rushing and 41 touchdowns this year. So far.
Malnutrition notes: We drank Maker's and Captain Morgan's out of the trunk of the rental car. I smoked a cigar and ate a "meat sandwich" of indeterminate content.
Exhaustion notes: Having awakened at 4:30am in Seattle and flown to Chicago, we drove from Crystal Lake to Ann Arbor after the game. We got three hours' sleep Friday night.
Day 2: Saturday
Munching on White Castles, we wind through Ann Arbor while blaring the "Buckeye Battle Cry" CD I've had since I was a kid. We pay $30 to park, a new Football Weekend record. We drink and throw the football, then walk through the acres of RVs to the Big House. Although at 111,000 plus it holds a few thousand more fans than Ohio Stadium, the worst seats are vastly better—the merits of a bowl shape. The concourses are wide, the bathrooms abundant. And trough urinals sure do make for fast friends. The sight-lines (from the seats, not from the urinals) are god awful. I'm 20th row and can't see the near half the end-zone because of people's heads. That's what you get for using a Michigan engineer, I suppose—probably the same modestly endowed gentleman who drops his pants and waves at me after Michigan scores. The game itself is a thriller, featuring Troy Smith engineering two touchdown drives in the final seven minutes to lead my boys from behind. I have excellent views of both drives, especially Antonio Pittman's final score. When he pointed in triumph at the stands, he was pointing straight at me.
Troy Smith's stats for his two starts against Michigan: 723 yards and 5 TDs. He'll never have to buy his own drink again.
I need to mention the Michigan fans seated behind us, who were great fun to commiserate with during the ebb and flow of the game. We met when the Buckeyes took the field and one of the guys tried to embarrass Buckeye fans by chanting pariah Maurice Clarrett's name. I turned around and yelled back "Chriiiiis Web-ber!" It could have gone either way, but to his credit, the guy just laughed, shook my hand, and said "You win." And then three hours later, he did it again.
After the Ohio State kicker missed an extra point, then made a 50 yard field goal, the same guy yelled, "What are you, far-sighted?!?"
Exhaustion notes: No rest for the weary, as we head south for Cincinnati immediately after the game. We pause in a Damon's in Lima to take in Bubba's Clemson-SC game. I am getting downright woozy.
Malnutrition notes: I smoke two more cigars, eat a half-dozen Sliders, and toss down about two dozen buffalo wings. My colon lodges its first protest, which I drown in a half bottle of Maker's.
Day Three: Sunday
We somehow awaken in Cincinnati. Miracles do happen. Since both the Bengals and Colts have black head coaches and white quarterbacks, I'm unsure who I'm supposed to root for. Tony Dungy's slightly lighter skinned, so I go with him. The game's been bumped to 4pm, which means I can watch the Steelers suck at 1pm, so I buy a TV at Radio Shack. We find parking and, after bribing the lot attendant with promises of brats, tailgate. This is delightful. In the shadow of Paul Brown Stadium, I'm drinking, eating brats and watching my boys suck on TV. Next thing I know, I'm in my seat watching the game. Truly, it's the next thing I know; I have zero recollection of walking to the stadium or finding my seat. Thank you, Bubba. I hope you didn't have to carry me fireman-style. What I see next terrifies the holy bejeezus out of me, as Payton Manning plays my Steelers next week. He dissects the Bengals, leading them to touchdowns on their first five drives. His passer rating at halftime is perfect. The halftime score is 35-27, en route to a 45-37 defensive classic. Paul Brown Stadium is lovely, and its fans louder than most. Who Dey?
Speaking of attention whores, Chad "touchdown dance" Johnson scores a touchdown, runs to a cheerleader, flips off his helmet so SportsCenter will show his face, and mock-proposes. Yawn. Do it during a victory.
Exhaustion notes: with a drive to Green Bay looming tomorrow, I yield and go to bed early. I get a whole six hours sleep.
Malnutrition notes: Nutty Bars make their first appearance. I eat about 12. I finish off the pizza from Giordano's in Chicago that's been sitting in the trunk since Friday night. More cigars, brats, wings. I start the second bottle of Maker's and dip into Bubba's rum. Caramelized onions are surprisingly easy to make on a hibachi.
Day 4: Monday
Do we ever fly through Indiana. I pass the Indianapolis airport, from which I departed on a one-way ticket to Washington more than a decade ago, thereby completing a round-trip of sorts. This is where one life ended and another began. I think about Maddie and our life together a lot, about my summer alone in Bloomington. Whoop, I'm in Chicago. Pay attention. Chicago passes without incident, and soon we're 100 miles north of Milwaukee, driving to what is surely the end of the earth. I put on the Music of NFL Films cd Katrina gave me a few years ago, back when she was cool. Lombardi is talking. Perfect. I haven't been to Lambeau in six years, and man has it changed. The exterior doesn't look like it does the footage from the 60s anymore. It looks like...well, Safeco Field. Which is lovely, but it ain't old Lambeau Field. We tailgate with some Packer fans. One tells me that he's going to the Ohio State game next year on September 4. "Jesus!" I say stupidly. "What tune-up game are you going to?" It's his alma mater, Northern Illinois. Nice job, John. Soon we're in our box seat, another Football Weekend first, protected from the bitter cold and having cocktails and nachos brought to us.
On my way to the suite, I stumble into the players' wives' lounge. I know where I am even before I see the sign. I'm amidst the finest collection of women I've ever seen, each positively dripping ice. They look me up and down like, well, like I'm stinky and lost. Deanna Farve is there. I resist the temptation to bother her.
Exhaustion notes: Thanks to my letting Bubba make the flight arrangements, we have to check in at O'Hare, 200 miles away, about five hours after the game ends. We catch a nap in the 20 degree car and get our butts back to Seattle. Fellow passengers report that we snored obnoxiously the whole way back.
Malnutrition notes: Vegetables sneak on to the menu, as we grill kabobs and stew. I don't know if it's nutrition related, but right before we drop off the rental car, I get the most voracious nose-bleed of my life. An hour later, it's still gushing. This is nearing a crisis. I can't get it under control, and all my best efforts have failed to get blood out of my beard. We worry that I won't be allowed on the plane or worse, that I will be, and that the altitude will cause something even ghastlier to happen. It all works out, though, and my vampire-who-just-killed look keeps people from looking at me. Bonus.
Miles flown: 3400
Miles driven: 1535
Times sex mentioned: also 1535
White Castles: 16
Nutty Bars: 12 pair