Friday, April 08, 2005


My beloved Illini made the men's college basketball final four. I knew that L's sister and her husband had tickets to the two rounds of games in Boogie. They had very graciously offered the first round tickets to me several times. However, I did not want to discuss those tickets with them because I was afraid I would jinx the Illini. Once the Illini beat Arizona (see a couple of entries ago), I knew that I would have absolutely no choice but to go to Boogie.

As (bad) luck would have it, L was actually in San Antonio during the final four game. Therefore, my buddy K got The Call to see if he could slide down to boogie for a few days. He and his wife have three small, rambunctious children. Therefore, he needed to minimize his out-of-town time. This meant an early morning trip to the suburbs on Saturday to roll down to Boogie, and an early Sunday morning trip back. Should have been no problem for a person with the sense to go to sleep. I, of course, realized Friday at 10:00 that I needed to clean up before L came home from San Antonio. Thus, did I get about three hours of sleep on Friday night.

We were in Boogie by noon on Saturday. A combination of law breaking and light traffic made for great travel. We had lunch with L's parents, stopped by L's sister's house, then rolled downtown for the game. Stupidly, we thought it would be like a Bulls game. Orderly, ordered, and with parking available close in. In fact, it was much more like Mardi Gras. It took us about half an hour to get *away* from the dome to find a place to park. It took us another half hour to get a couple of oil cans of beer for pregame festivities. At that point we had noticed two things. First, there were a lot of redneck, hillbilly, asshole Louisville fans, and second, there were really long lines headed toward the dome. We decided we had better go wait in some line, just in case.

The drunken, redneck, hillbilly Louisville fans made themselves evident to us as we stood in line waiting to get into the game. The first stuck his face in mine and started chanting "OVERRATED!" Now, I have to say that generally you wait until you are actually playing (and beating) a team before starting this chant. This is a good sign that this inbred hillbilly redneck may have not been from the Louisville Scholars Academy. He cleverly followed that up by saying that the Illini played a weak Big (11) Ten schedule, and that Louisville was "Big East, baby!" Now, this was really funny, since after the Illini ended their season for them, the Cardinals are Big East, but they played in Conference USA last year. Conference USA is a much worse conference than the Big East. When I pointed this out to him, he got all red in the neck and wandered off to bother some other Illini fans. Oh, by the way, the line we were in led to nowhere. It was a fenced in line that went for a block and simply opened on to a street. Oh boy.

L's sister and L's dad had both told us we needed to keep an eye out for Sister T. She is the principal at the high school that L and all her sisters went to. K and I agreed to do this, then promptly forgot it. What are the odds we would run into this nun in a crowd of 47,000? Keep in mind that K and I were both exhausted (already), excited, and giddy from our beers. Thus, when we stumbled out of the faux line and almost ran a nun over, I felt compelled to ask her if she taught at High Style Academy (name changed to protect the innocent). This nun was in front of us, and she glanced back at me and said "yes" very curtly. She was already headed in the other direction. Not to be deterred, I asked her if she knew L's family. She glanced back and curtly said "yes." She did not stop run-walking though. I yelled out to her that I was L's husband. The nun waved, without looking back, and broke into a jog. K and I are pretty sure she had somewhere to be...

K and I found another line to stand in. I was starting to feel like we were in the Soviet Union, where people would stand in line to buy things without knowing what was being sold. The rationale was that if it was worth standing in line for, it could be resold if you didn't like it. Anyway, K and were trying to figure out why our line was not moving. There were rumors that 45 minutes before tip off the doors had not yet opened. Then, as we slowly, slowly moved forward we realized that people were climbing a fence. Apparently line controls had been set up, but there was nobody there to control the crowd. It was a dangerous situation, with people trying to climb these fences. Eventually the crowd lifted the fences and passed them backwards into the street. It was total chaos and very dangerous. K and I both miracuously were at our seats for tip off.


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