As regular readers know I am not allowed to write about pool, so I never do, even when I must forebear from linking to great matches like this one from the 2010 Mosconi Cup in which Darren Appleton makes not one but two spectacular shots. Half-table draw (translated into English, "screw") is tough enough, never mind from nine feet away. For the second one, watch from about 33:00 when he gets badly out of position after hitting a side pocket point and then...well, you can see for yourself. My point here is that the shot above is not a pool picture, it's a football picture. NFL fans will understand.
I'm off to the Chicago-Dallas game today, thanks to TOP reader and photographer friend Michael McC. (check out his neat new Paris 2014 calendar). I'm taking my friend Cynthia, an expatriate Bears fan who lives and works in Wisconsin and yet never wavers from her Bears loyalty. This brings her in for quite a bit of persecution because she never thinks the teasing is funny...she takes every bit of it completely seriously. Which of course inspires more of it from everyone, from her co-workers at the hospital to her son-in-law, who according to her is raising her grandchildren in the wrong religion. And she's never been to Soldier Field before in person. As an added bonus for her, they're even retiring Ditka's jersey tonight at halftime. This should be fun.
I am prepared, except that I do not own warm footwear*. So unless I lose both feet, I will be back tomorrow with some very interesting news.
In the meantime, GO BEARS!**
[UPDATE Tuesday a.m.: Despite taking 4 1/2 hours to get to the stadium, we, and the Bears, had a fabulous night...we walked into the stands literally as the ball was being kicked off, and the Bears played as if they were charmed...long drives and a score on every possession, no punts and no turnovers. Amazing. The crowd loved it. The Bears won going away. It wasn't even as close as the final score.
All the more amazing in that it was just cold as billybejeezus. I had on an undershirt, shirt, fleece jacket, heavy down parka, a scarf, two hats (the outer one a Bears hat borrowed from Cynthia), my hood, ski mittens, long underwear, flannel-lined jeans, two pairs of heavy wool socks, and shearling boots, and Michael kindly supplied chemical hand-warmers—and I still wasn't dressed warmly enough. I had to go inside for a while after halftime to warm up. At the end of the game when the people in front of us left and deprived us of our windbreak, and Michael left to beat the crowd out of the parking lot with five minutes left and took his lap-blanket, I started thinking of poor Rob Hall sitting on top of Mount Everest freezing to death in 1997. I still don't know what the temperature was, but whatever it was, it was a lot colder than that. Thanks to the wind, I mean.
I didn't take a single picture with my iPhone. I had Siri giving me directions to the stadium, and the inch-by-inch drive took so long that by the time I got to the game the battery was kaput.
But that didn't spoil the evening. Far from it. Just a wonderful experience. It was great to see Michael again (more knowledgable company at a Bears game would be hard to imagine, and we talked photography a fair bit). And about the game, what can I say? Winter Bears in the heart of beautiful downtown Chicagger***—pure old-style Murcan football, as good as it gets.
(Thanks to Michael)
*I also do not own a pocket camera, apart from my iPhone 4S. It's because I can't justify the high cost of one of these just for occasional use. Tonight will mark the first time I ever deliberately took just an iPhone to a photo opportunity. I'll let you know how that goes.
**Every team I've ever rooted for has had a rivalry with the Cowboys.
***Although not known as a tourist destination, Chicago really is one of the most beautiful cities in America, especially in the wintertime and especially at night.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Jayson Merryfield: "Honestly, I'd rather read about pool on here than football. The world is already awash with football news, analysis, anecdotes, and opinions. Pool though...that's a fun world to digress into."
Mike replies: Sorry, you will never read a word about pool in these precincts. The readership will not stand for it. Of course, you might occasionally see a photo essay or hear about what I did on my day off. But nothing about pool unless it's entirely coincidental.
Steve Smith: "'They're even retiring Ditka's jersey tonight'...Translation to English please!!"
Mike replies: I'm just a casual football fan, but I'll do my best: Mike Ditka was a member of the 1963 Championship team, founding coach George Halas's last Championship, and later returned to coach the team to its only Super Bowl win so far, in 1985, an event and a team which is still remembered with great pleasure in Chicago. Coach Ditka is still widely recognizable nationally, has been lampooned on Saturday Night Live (a satiric variety show), and continues to do commercial endorsements. Teams "retire numbers" to honor particular players; the idea is that the number 89 will be forever identified with Ditka and no future players will be allowed to wear it.
Ironically, Mike Ditka came very close to running for the Senate from Illinois in 2004, and it's widely believed that if he had run, he would have beaten the person who eventually did win the Senate seat...one Barack Obama.
The Bears have a small problem with retiring jerseys...they're one of the oldest teams in the NFL and have retired so many numbers that...well, they're running out of numbers. So they've said that Coach Ditka's number will be the last number ever retired. They'll have to find a different way to honor future stars such as, quite possibly, Alshon Jeffery, who last night made the most spectacular catch I've ever seen. It was magnificent in real time, take my word for it.
Bears fans, how'd I do?