Thursday, February 05, 2009

Any Given Sunday

When I left the land of the free and the home of the brave, I told my family and friends that I'd miss football and driving on the interstate the most. I was right on both counts. After growing up in a country where basketball is practically a religion, and after being a fan of Michael Jordan and the Bulls long before I lived anywhere near I-90, you would wonder why I ended up watching more Bears games than Bulls games live.

Of course, it was difficult (to say the least) to get Bulls tickets in 1998 - the last year of the great Bulls run, but then again, it was fairly easy to score a pair after that. While the Tim Floyd era was mostly forgettable, the Bears, during that time, didn't exactly manage to conjure Super Bowl images in your head.

I usually drove from the NW suburb where I lived to the loop and parked near the Metra station, where every game day buses are available to take people to Soldier Field. Now, watching a Bears game at Soldier Field is something that you can experience in not too many places on Earth. The NFL's regular season is played from September to December. Soldier Field is an open air stadium. Sitting on Lake Michigan. When the wind blows in from the lake, on any given December Sunday, in the Windy City, you can bet your freezing ass you will feel it.

The last time I watched the Super Bowl live (on TV, I am not that blessed) was in 2000. I was in the Twin Cities with friends from Chicago, ready to drive back home after helping one of our friends move. That night, we watched Kurt Warner lead the St. Louis Rams over the Tennessee Titans. I don't remember the score anymore, but I remember the Rams winning it after a Titan fell short of the endzone in the dying seconds of the game. Before that season, Kurt Warner, who led this season's NFC champions to the Super Bowl, played in NFL Europe, and Arena Football. Before that, he was stocking shelves at Hy-Vee.

So, last Monday, I watched the Super Bowl live on TV for the first time in 9 long years. While in the previous years, I had to be satisfied with replays on primetime, after following the game during the day on, I decided to take a leave from work that day and watch football instead. I figured that that would be a lot easier to do than getting a car (much less driving in anything resembling an interstate in this country). One out of two ain't that bad at all.

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