Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Night Madness

The date was Sept. 11, 1995. Three friends and I drove to Chicago for the Packer Monday nighter against the Bears. Due to Chicago traffic, we got to the game a bit later than we wished - we walked through the stadium’s gate right at kick-off. One of my friends - the one who got the tickets - is handicapped (paraplegic due to a collision in a high school football game).

We weren’t sure where to go as the Section and Seat numbers didn’t make sense according the usual stadium arrangement. We showed our tickets to an usher - he shrugged. “I have no idea where those seats are,” he said. We walked on. Saw another usher and asked again. We got the identical response. We continued on thinking, “This can’t be this hard!” We approached an area that - per our deductive reasoning - seemed like it should be the spot. Again, nothing. By this time we were getting rather angry.

At last found an usher who, again, couldn’t help us. This time I went GONZO! “What the bleep bleep is going on here!? We’ve got four $75 tickets and nobody knows where the bleep our seats are!” I yelled. I actually yelled more and louder than that and I did not say “bleep.”  The usher said, “One moment, I’ll get my supervisor.”

At last a helpful person appeared. She said, “Oh my. No wonder you’re having such difficultly. Your seats are not in the stands - they’re on the field!” She escorted us to an area where we actually entered the field from the south endzone tunnel. Because of my friend’s handicap, they let him wheel right up to the fence behind the endzone. For us, they had metal folding chairs. We were thrilled to finally have found our seats and were amazed at how good they were! Four Packer-clothes wearing cheeseheads under the south endzone goalpost crossbar!

To make things even crazier, the very first play from scrimmage we saw was happening, oh, about 110 yards away. The longest play in Packers history occurred just as we rested our butts in our seats - Brett Favre to Robert Brooks for a 99-yard touchdown! Man, did we go nuts. Four (just a little) drunken cheeseheads celebrating under the goalpost in front of 60,000 fibs. What fun! [No. 8 on Favre highlight reel below.]

The weirdness didn’t stop there either. Do you remember that mullet-headed goofball who jumped out of the stands and caught the extra-point ball as he fell into the tunnel? That happened right over our heads too. When it was national video, I could see us sitting under the goalpost. I was the only one of us four who saw this nutball. I turned to my buds and said, “Did you see that?!” They didn’t and had to wait until the next morning to see it on TV.

Well that was one great night I tell ya. One of us four got a little out-of-control by game’s end (despite your expectation, it was not me!). Not only was the Packers victory at Soldier Field a hell of a lot of fun, but we were also very fortunate to have made it out of there alive.

Here’s hoping for a Packers’ repeat performance in Chicago tonight.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Keep Smiling!

Good friends of ours - and friends to many of you - have had a year unlike any other. Saying it’s been a bad year is unjust - it has been a terrible year. The kind of year that you would think twice about wishing upon your worst enemy. As friends, we hope to do our part by showing love and support, but we're always wishing we could do more, and short of being a neuro or colorectal surgeon, there’s little we can do but wish for rapid and painless recovery.
However, we had an idea. Why not do something that we KNOW will improve the life of another and do it in their honor? There’s got to be some healing power in that, right? In the past year, we’ve donated to many different charities in order to help many well-meaning friends reach fund-raising goals [a noble and selfless endeavor to be sure!], but we’ve neglected a charity which is dear to our heart - SmileTrain (
Unlike many charities that do many different things, The SmileTrain mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate.
Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain, and heartache.
The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.
SmileTrain’s mission:
  • To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
  • To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.
And do it until there are no more children who need help and we have completely eradicated the problem of clefts.
So with that mission in mind, we are pleased to make a donation of $50 to SmileTrain with our friend's rapid recovery in mind. $50 is enough to cover the cost of the medications used in the procedure. It is our hope that it will brighten our friends’ day knowing that somewhere, someday a person will be able to grow and proudly display a full, thick, well-groomed, waxed curly mustache on their fully developed upper lip! (A little inside joke to close this solemn message.)