As Friday rolled around Lucie returned to work, attending a massive Pharma conference leaving me to fend for my self for the next four days as she would leave the hotel around 7am and not get back till 8pm. For Friday night Lucie was invited to a work dinner so I went in search of something to do that evening.
I was never really one for mosh pits when I went to gigs but in recent years shows from the Offspring and Sum 41( I’m well aware that these are bands that most people my age stopped caring about when they turned 15 but I still love them) have shown me how much fun it can be with the right crowd. This led to me getting quite excited when I discovered Flogging Molly (An American Irish punk band) were playing in Chicago and there were still tickets, they definitely play the type of music to jump around, dance and mosh to. After successfully negotiating the metro system to the pretty impressive Aragon ballroom venue I worked my way to a nice spot quite near stage. As the first song started a mosh pit formed instantly by me and it turned out i was not adequately prepared. I am quite a big man at 6′ 4″ and 14 Stone but I was no match for the 5 man mountains who were orchestrating the pit, imagine 5 huge, shirtless, sweaty, drunken Irish men jumping around causing mild whiplash to anyone who crossed their path. At one point one of them stood in the center encouraging people to come at him for an entire song while people charged at him only to bounce off. It was madness. To be fair everyone involved was having a bloody lovely time and it was one of the best gigs iv been to for quite a while.
On Saturday the weather was beautiful so I decided to check out some of Chicago’s beaches, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with them being lake beaches in a big city. It turns out they were fantastic, the water was so clean and clear there was no seaweed and the water didn’t leave you covered in salt. I loved it and just about managed to avoid any sunburn.
I walked along the waterfront for a couple of miles before walking back through a massive stretch of parks, after strolling around a very pretty and secluded lily pond I unexpectedly found myself in a zoo which came as a bit of a shock and for a while I thought I had somehow accidentally broken in. Turned out the zoo was free and is situated in the center of the park without any clear entrance. For a free zoo it was surprisingly large and I saw loads of animals the highlight of which being a polar bear playing with a ball in the water. He was having lots of fun and looked so much like a kid playing that it was easy to forget that he could literally tear off your head.
After vacating the zoo I managed to find a pub that was showing the champions league final which felt very odd to be watching at two in the afternoon but was very enjoyable mostly due to a very animated and increasingly angry Italian man.
As some of you will be aware I love table football and the discovery that there was a little tournament being held in Chicago got me incredibly excited. It was billed as a beginners/novice competition followed by an tournament for the bigger boys (and girls) and they run them every week. I found the venue (a pub) and slightly nervously approached the group around the table and after some introductions started playing some casual games, some of these guys were pretty darn good. Of the 16 people taking part i was about middle of the pack with 4 or 5 of the participants being regulars who came every week but were not quite yet at a level that was deemed to high for beginner tournaments. As the tournament started for we were randomly matched up into pairs and rather fortuitously I was partnered with one of the regular guys. We formed a pretty solid team and after a couple of straightforward victories and a very hard fought win we found ourselves in the semi final, it was best of three games with each game being first to 5 goals, the first game went to 4-4 things got pretty darn tense and we managed to score the winner, after a quick high five with my partner we started the second game, getting off to a brilliant start we went 2-0 up, then 3-0 up they pulled one back but then we got another to make it 4-1. We were one goal away from the final I was so excited, I was so nervous I…
completely bottled it.
they scored 4 goals in a row to win that game and then comfortably beat us 5-2 to win the match and knock us out. Despite absolutely falling apart at the end It was really really fun and its definitely kicked up my interest in trying to play more competitive Foosball, even if it is just a glorified pub game.
Lakes, beaches, fountains, parks, zoos, gigs, foosball, theaters and insane horse ballet, Chicago is AWESOME.