Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I started following high school football...

...because it was easy. I live about two miles from Loyola Academy, above, and would ride my bike past the stadium once in a while on Saturday afternoons. I'd check out the scoreboard from the parking lot and if it was a game, I'd stroll in (for free) and watch the second half. It would only take about 45 minutes or so. (If the score was lopsided, I'd just continue on my way.) Either way, no big deal.

Those were the days.

Like any habit, I began following the Ramblers (where my brothers went) and Glenbrook South (which my sons later attended), and I'd watch the entire game.

Eventually, I'd see Loyola play someone like Gordon Tech (or Glenbrook South play Maine East) and see the home team win by some crazy score like 40-0. And I thought, Why bother? Meanwhile, there would be a good contest -- like Lincoln-Way East - Bolingbrook, or Wheaton Warrenville South - Maine South -- being played somewhere else. And I would think, Why not attend one of those games instead of this crummy one?

And that's when it started getting complicated.

I began driving all over the Chicago area: down to Frankfort and Bolingbrook, out to Naperville and even Maple Park (where?), and up to Algonquin and Crystal Lake. My friends and family would just shake their heads and say to each other, "Mike has a problem, you know." (I won't tell you what my wife said to me when I drove down to Champaign a couple of years ago to see the finals.)

Clearly, it was becoming a sickness.

Now, as we head into the semifinals, it turns out you need a ticket ahead of time to attend the games. Sheesh!

So this morning, I called my sister in Naperville and begged her to drive over to Neuqua Valley tomorrow and buy a ticket for Saturday's game against Mount Carmel.

"Come on, Joanne, I'll do anything! I'll even watch your grandchildren some time!" (And I hate kids.)

After she finally agreed, I hung up and took a look at Benet's Web site. I quickly called her back.

"Hey Jo, you gotta do me a solid. Go over to Benet and buy another ticket this afternoon in case Neuqua is sold out."


"Come on, don't do it for me. Do it for Dad. He's looking down on us right now!" (I knew that would work.)

"But then you'll have two tickets."

"I don't care. I can't take the chance of getting shut out!"

"Oh, all right."

Looks like I've hit rock bottom.

As for my sister, she's a good sport, even if she is an enabler. (I wonder what she'll say when I ask her to sell the extra ticket I don't use?)

Oh well, it's off to Loyola to get a ticket for that game.

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