Friday, September 28, 2012

My football weekend began...

...inauspiciously yesterday when I ventured down to Lane Tech on Addison to see the 4:15 game between Roosevelt and Clemente, followed by the Westinghouse - Payton game at 7:15.

I arrived safely, at about five o'clock or so, but there was no sign of a game -- anywhere. Sure, there were still some students milling about (and nice-looking kids, too; never mind what you'd heard during the strike), but no football teams, no buses, no fans -- nothin'.

What the heck was going on here? Could the Tribune have gotten it wrong? Say it ain't so!

I had intended to catch the second half of the first game and the first half of the second (maybe the whole thing if it was any good), have a hot dog (or two) and just drink in the whole Lane Stadium experience. But, alas, it was not to be.

I was tempted to ask one of the students if there was supposed to be a game there, or not, but was half afraid they might call the cops on me or something. Officer, there's an old bald man bothering people in the parking lot!

So I returned to my car, gathered my thoughts and did what any sensible person in this situation would: I decided to go get something to eat. (After all, it was five o'clock.)

The good news is I found a brand new Meatheads on Western between Roscoe and Belmont. Over a darned fine grilled chicken breast sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise (I'd had a cheeseburger at Charlie Beinlich's the day before), just the right amount of french fries (not too many) and an iced tea, I answered my wife's text:

Getting a speeding ticket

with one of my own:

Wild goose chase. On my way home.

I had decided that it wasn't worth waiting around two hours for a game that might not even take place. Did the strike cause this fiasco? Did the Tribune steer me wrong? Why was the universe conspiring against me?

When I got home, I explained my misfortune to my wife, and she recounted her experience getting stopped by some pesky state trooper for driving 89 miles an hour on I-94. "I couldn't have been driving that fast!," she insisted.

"Didn't you notice that you were passing everyone?" I asked.

"Not really," she replied.

"Well, I have to go check the computer and find out what went wrong today."

And the answer was that Clemente forfeited the game to Roosevelt, 2-0. Can you imaging its namesake, Roberto Clemente, ever not showing up for a competition?

So what did that mean, was the second game going to be played after all?

Turns out, it was; and Westinghouse upset Payton, 28-6.

But, despite what F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, there are second acts in America. And next week, there's a game at Lane on Wednesday between Dyett and Bronzeville (whoever they are) at 6:30. Whoops! That's the night of the first presidential debate. How about Thursday? Well, Payton (again) plays Bulls Prep (where do they get some of these names?) at 7:15. Nope; got a meeting that night in Evanston. Wait a minute! Kelvyn Park plays Roosevelt at 4:15. Yep, that's the ticket!

But that's next week. Right now, I have to focus on tonight's game: Bolingbrook at Lincoln-Way East. Should be awesome!

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