Irish Beat Badgers at Soldier Field

Saturday was a gorgeous day to attend a football game at Soldier Field. Low 70s with sun and a nice breeze. Uncle Chris hooked us up with 4 tickets to the Wisconsin/Notre Dame Shamrock Series contest.

It was an 11am start. I got on the Blue Line from Bucktown just after 9am. One stop later, my train stalled for 20 minutes because they were doing work on the tracks. Blood-boiling feeling, not knowing whether to bail on the train or wait it out. I waited it out, for fear of that moment when I hop off the train and the doors close right behind me and the train departs. Transferred to the Red Line at Jackson and it was a sea of red Badger fans, aside from the gleeful Delaware tourist who doublechecked he was heading the right way to Wrigley Field. He was going straight from the airport to his first ever Cubs game on the occasion of a buddy’s 40th birthday. I’m sure he had fun.

I got off the Red Line in Chinatown and walked over to my cousin Tommy’s on Wabash. My short walk was long enough to to witness a party school bus full of Wisconsin fans yelling “Fuck you!” at a group of ND fans on foot and the Irish fans returning middle fingers and FU’s in kind. Good college football stuff.

Tom’s gf Hannah welcomed me with a Bud Light and a couple follow-up tall boys of High Life for the walk to Soldier.

An officer asked me to toss my High Life, but they were cool about it. Even saw another officer advise an ND coed that she and her friends could either ditch their half case of Miller Lite or they could try to “deep pocket” the cans. I enjoyed the term “deep pocket” and the officer gave me a smile and a point when I expressed my appreciation of the phrase. We had 4 tickets for 5 people but we worked that out and made our way inside. We stopped at the South end zone behind the band and the student section and sipped Bloody Mary’s for a spell. Great energy from the ND students.

The game was a defensive battle – an entertaining one. ND pulled away at the end thanks to an incredible kickoff return TD by #25 (which stirred echoes of Rocket Ismail) and the defense turning it up at the end to pull away.

After an incredible day of football, we polished off a big pickup order from Ricobene’s: pizza, chicken parms and, of course, breaded steaks.

Not sure there’s a better sandwich in the world, for my money.

All in all, a 10/10 Chicago Saturday.

Then, as it happens, the Bears ruined my lazy Sunday. Oh well, they all can’t be winners.

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