Archived Story

Chicago: a sports writer’s journey, part 2 [UPDATED]

Published 11:00am Tuesday, June 28, 2011 Updated 10:19am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Part 2 of Chicago: a sports writer’s journey.

As I woke Wednesday, I could hardly hold back my excitement. We were going to the University of Notre Dame. I fell in love with the school growing up and had always wanted to visit their campus.

My wife, bless her soul, was willing to drive the extra hour and 45 minutes past Chicago so I could fulfill a childhood dream. We left at 10 a.m. to make the 1 p.m. tour of the historic campus.

My wife and I threw on our seatbelts, turned the GPS on and hit the open road toward South Bend. As we drove further and further away from the Second City, we realized about an hour into the drive that our arrival time to the campus was set at 12:56 p.m.

I looked at the GPS and was confused because the directions we had gotten online suggested the drive was less than 2 hours, but what we didn’t realize is that the magic East Coast timezone line was somewhere in the vicinity.

I got tunnel vision and kept trying to press a little bit more speed out of our car without scaring the life out of my wife. I finally gave up hope of making the tour after running into road construction near South Bend.

We decided to have lunch near the campus and wait for the 3 p.m. tour.

When we did arrive, I was in awe to walk the campus where several famous athletes had previously walked. Thoughts of Joe Montana, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown and Alan Page wandered through my mind as an architecture student showed us the dormitories.

I was amazed to learn about how the campus was created (They have their own brick. Seriously. It’s called Notre Dame brick.) I learned of their many non-sports related traditions at the University.

I was in awe as we walked to the Grotto, through the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, past the Golden Dome, ‘Touchdown’ Jesus and eventually to the football stadium. It wasn’t the all-inclusive view I thought it would be, but it still was very captivating and made the trip worth the drive. That was, until we went home.

The time change put us in 5 p.m. rush hour in Chicago, where people love bumper-to-bumper traffic and driving on the shoulder.

The scary ordeal allowed me to enjoy driving by U.S. Cellular Field, where the hated Chicago White Sox play.

At the time, the White Sox had just lost a game to my Twins and it felt nice to walk around with a Twins shirt and ball cap in hostile territory.

After finally escaping the hectic highway, we went to our hotel in Chicago to spend a quiet evening relaxing after a long day.

On Thursday, we didn’t do anything sport related (very disappointing). My wife and I viewed the planetarium and walked several miles.

With the lack of sports for most of the day, I decided that we should try to make our way to former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka’s restaurant.

After an hour walk, we arrived at the beautiful steakhouse to only be told that it would be an hour. So, I took a picture of the awning and we went to TGI Friday’s.

Friday we spent most of the day at Navy Pier. I tried to push to go to the United Center, but my wife gave me a look that told me “enough sports.”

We bid adieu Saturday to the wonderful city of Chicago, leaving with a relaxed feeling, but also a true appreciation for small town life in Fergus Falls.

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