Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Packers/Bears, Soldier(sz) Field and South Loop

Many Chicagoans are in on the joke and exaggerate the "s" with a "z" sound at the end of words and titles... many are the joke. For some reason, Bear fans like to add an "s" to titles of places that have no "s" and drag out the word with a "z" sound. Like going to the Jewel(sz) Food Store. So, welcome to Soldier(sz) Field on a sub zero night, Monday December 22nd, 2008.

With this end of the year being the gloom and doom that is and was, there are certain constants in Chicago which make living in Chicago, with all it's warts (read: taxes and fees), so addictive. One constant is Packers/Bears... at Soldier(sz) Field. Although a lifelong Chicagoan, I'm a Packer fan. That's a long story you can hear when you hire me some day. Regardless, this is still an energized event with mostly good willed fans that I look forward to twice a year like clockwork. No matter how busy we are, friends get together in some nook of the city for Packer/Bears. This year we witnessed it live.

Departing from the Ravenswood Brown Line stop.

These days attending a Packers/Bears game means train ride on the "L" from Ravenswood through the North Side and ending in Chicago's resurgent South Loop. I hop off the Roosevelt Red Line stop, walk around the corner to Wabash and Eleventh Street to meet up with a buddy at his loft condo for a couple "warm-up" nips. Then it's a short walk across Lake Shore Drive to the Museum Campus and Soldier(sz) Field.

Are you ready for some football?

The South Loop is now a destination neighborhood with a cadre of restaurants, bars and retail. Not to mention the lakefront and museums... Millennium Park and Grant Park are walking distance too. Chicago's top professional areas for law, banking and finance are walking distance or a short commute. It offers residential living in hip lofts, modern luxury condos and town homes. I still find the best area to land is within a few blocks of Roosevelt either north or south of the anchor Red Line station. We "enjoyed" the college game day atmosphere of the Wabash Tap after the game.

On this night, however, we were interested the experience of attending a brutal game in equally brutal weather. For some reason this is part of being a Chicagoan for many.

From wikipedia:

"Bears 20, Packers 17 (December 22, 2008) – In the coldest game in recorded Bears history, the Packers traveled to Soldier Field, where a victory against the Bears would have ended their playoff hopes. The Bears had to rally from a 14-3 score at the half. The Bears were able to score after a turnover on a Packers punt return. The Packers were on the verge of finishing a game winning drive when Mason Crosby's kick was blocked by Alex Brown pushing the game to overtime. The Bears took the first possession in overtime and won the game on a 38-yard field goal by Robbie Gould."

Outside the Space Ship.

This Bear Fan was sympathetic to my friends for hanging out with me.

Average Bear Fan

Coldest Bears' and Packers' Game ever. Didn't feel a thing.

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