Report on FSU @ Notre Dame, 11/10/2018I drove to Chicago on Friday November 9, and met a good buddy of mine from law school who flew up from Tampa. We planned this trip in June 2018. I had it on my mind to make this trip for about three-years. I was having second thoughts with the weather.My buddy texted me at 5:30 a.m. Friday to tell me he was on the plane and was surprised that there were quite a few Seminole fans on his flight from Tampa.I arrived in Chicago on Friday about 11:15 a.m. As a Midwesterner, I have some familiarity with Chicago but am no expert. I suggested activities and let my buddy decide which to do.Friday Events:Event #1: View some of the outdoor exhibits outside The Chicago Art Institute, such as “The Bean,” and the giant faces that light up, smile, and then spit water at you.Event #2: Tour The Field Museum of Natural History. We were here about 3 ½ hours, and only had time to see the following sections:
We barely scratched the surface of this huge museum, and by closing time, I had so much stimulation from all the meaningful historical exhibits we saw, the little bit of gray matter in my cranium was worn down.On Friday, we saw many people wearing FSU gear downtown Chicago, and a few people wearing Notre Dame gear.Event #3: We had dinner at Morton Steakhouse. My buddy said this was a famous Chicago restaurant. I don’t know how he knows as this is the only 2nd time he was here.Event #4: My buddy said he never took a subway before, so I gave him a lesson on how to do it. We hopped on the Red Line to Chinatown, and took a very brief but cold tour of parts of Chinatown. Next morning the first item on the local news station was that someone was shot inside a car on the Red Line at the Chinatown train station at about Midnight, a bit under two hours after we left Chinatown.
- Evolving Planet: Tells the history of the development of life on earth starting with the soup of life and progressing through all the major extinctions which in some manner all seem largely to have occurred due to climate change Dinosaur Exhibits. There have been 5-mass extinction events in natural history. Three of five mass extinction events are believed to have be attributed to climate change, including the largest mass extinction event thought to have occurred when excessive amounts of CO2 were spewed into the air by volcanic activity.
- Mummies: Included were Egyptian and Peruvian mummies.
- 3-D Movie, Secrets of the Mummies
- Indigenous people of the Americas
What struck me as much as anything is the number of panhandlers holding out cups, and others scoping out people like us who looked lost in the city, ready to give information how to get somewhere in exchange for a few bucks or for your pocket change. In a full-employment economy it is shocking. Some are obviously disabled. Some are able-bodied, and articulate. I’d like to give my pep talk I give to some of my clients who are underemployed. The aggressiveness of the panhandlers reminded me of the folks who walk up to you in Jamaica, but at least those folks are trying to earn a living by selling you stuff, even though you don’t need their trinkets. I don’t recall encountering panhandling to this degree in Chicago ever before.
The other thing that amazed me is how many young people there were downtown, and going to Chinatown. This may be a testament to how age has caught up to us. Or a testament to how people our age sit on their hands rather than do things. We actually saw many young women walking alone in downtown Chicago. It’s what I tell my daughter to not do, at night. And with two young athletic women being ambushed and killed in Iowa this Summer and Fall I equipped my daughter with pepper spray. Another story.
As I drove my buddy to Midway Airport for his flight out, he pointed to a huge tent city set up alongside the interstate just outside downtown. In a full-employment economy our country still has issues with homelessness.------------Gameday morning: We went up in the Hancock Tower. The view here is better than the Sears Tower. Again, many people downtown are wearing FSU gear in Chicago Saturday morning; a few were seen wearing Notre Dame gear.-----------------Gameday 1:35 p.m. train: We boarded the South Shore Line passenger train in Millennium Station to South Bend. It is surprisingly economical. It was roughly $28.50 RT. A city bus is chartered by the train line to take you from their train station at South Bend Airport to the game, and the bus will bring you back from the game.There are a few people drinking alcohol on our car, but mostly it was a sedate group, and even those imbibing are fairly sedate. About half those on-board the train were commuters traveling to points along the way. Most of the football fans on the train in our area were FSU fans.
Gameday, South Bend: We stopped at a tent and bought bratwurst for dinner. The gameday food was bad, and was not warm. The bratwurst tasted strangely like hotdogs. The buns were not warmed so they were about 29 degrees F. The meet was only modestly warmer than the buns.
We walked up to the stadium where we bought tickets from a scalper for $70 per ticket. We were on the 30-yard line on the Press Box side, probably 15 rows from the top. I think Notre Dame charged about $215 to the original buyer of those tickets, plus a required donation. I thought we got a great deal on tickets.
There were a lot of FSU fans at the game, but not in our seating area. I would guess that the overall no-show rate was maybe 10%, which is amazing given the weather.
It was the coldest game I ever attended. And, I attended some cold NCAA games. Most of me was fine, but my feet were freezing. You are only as warm as your coldest part. My arms were shaking from the cold because my feet were freezing. If I had to do it over again I would have worn boots, not running shoes.
Comments on teams:
FSU’s offensive line mostly played better than they reportedly have played. I think they gave up two sacks in the second half.
FSU’s QB and receivers seemed to be from different teams; they are not on the same page. The receivers repeatedly dropped balls, but then it was cold. Notre Dame seemed to have no problem with receivers, but that seemed to be more because FSU’s cornerbacks are short, and do not generally look back to defend the ball as it approaches; Notre Dame used their tall receivers to their advantage, throwing at least 3 or 4 fade routes for TDs over FSU’s short defenders.
FSU has an inadequate running game. ND had a running back Dexter Williams gain over 200-yards. You need a running game when you play in the Midwest.
Notre Dame has a good running game, and their passing game was great. I don’t know how Notre Dame blew holes like they did through FSU’s defense. It looked to me FSU’s D-Line or Linebackers must have missed doing their assignments. Notre Dame didn’t seem to have to come out on long runs and put a hat on a linebacker. There just seemed to be no linebacker in the area on Dexter Williams’ long runs up the middle.
The bus people said they were sending only one bus to pick up passengers for the train, “because we don’t have as many people go back to Chicago from the game, as go to South Bend to the game.” That was a dumb explanation, that made no sense. We took an overcrowded bus from the stadium to the airport train station. Our bus driver got a radio call to come back after he delivered us, to pick up more people. There were four-bus loads of people that were brought back to the train. We waited quite a long time on the train for people coming back from the game. One couple next to us said they couldn’t find the bus (which almost immediately filled up when we got on it), and so they took a taxi from the stadium to the airport rather than risk missing the train.
We arrived back in Chicago at Millennium Station well after 3:00 a.m. There were one or two janitors cleaning inside the station. We walked up to the Millennium Station to exit the station, but we were locked in the train station. The janitor told us she had no key, and if we want out we have to call the police to unlock the gate, which someone did.
A few of us explored the train station for another exit. Someone propped open a door before our arrival that was an exit to an underground parking garage, and from there a few of us found an open stairwell to the street. I saw a Chicago Police Dept. Paddy Wagon swiftly driving to the front entrance of Millennium Station.
Chicago is not the “City that never sleeps.” Even the panhandlers disappeared. The city was quiet as we walked to our hotel.