America 2019: Day Fourteen (Friday 31 May)

In every town, in every place
There’s a boy who’s trying to take a chance
And dance and find a way to run away with her heart
In the back of an old Ford truck
In the bar, just looking for love
In a pair of—oh my—blue eyes, let them fireworks start
That American country love song
Ain’t ever gonna quit playing on and on, and on

                                                                                                                              – Jake Owen


Friday 31 May

Quiet start to the day, big ending. I must admit that I drank far too much beer and not enough water with Zeke and Matt at Arrowhead, and I paid for it when waking up this morning. Took me some food, coffee and a headache tablet to bounce back.

We took care of some more shopping today, mostly in downtown Naperville, where Nathan made some purchases at the Apple Store. The weather was fantastic, warm and sunny, so we took the opportunity to go for a walk along the overflowing Naperville River on the aptly-named Naperville River Walk, passing the impressive Centennial Beach pool complex that is already in full swing for the summer.

Lunch today was with Ivana at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in downtown Naperville. Similar to Giordano’s, Lou’s specialises in the iconic Chicago deep dish pizza. In this city, as far as deep dish goes, you’re generally one or the other, and given that I mostly eat Giordano’s, I felt like I was crossing to the dark side. Anyway, I ate pasta and thoroughly enjoyed it. Always fun getting to delve into politics and other such things with Ivana.

Fed and ready, we rolled around to Mike’s house later in the afternoon, dressed in our Chicago White Sox best. There, we were joined by seven other people – some of whom I knew previously, but mostly new faces; all good blokes – and headed downtown in two cars to Guaranteed Rate Field for the Sox vs. Cleveland game.


Nathan, Kat and I were lucky enough to have Indiana Mike drive our Durango down. This was apparently to guard against him drinking too much because it’s his birthday tomorrow – happy 35th, buddy – and he has a 6:30am tee time over at Arrowhead. The Durango seats six grown adults comfortably, two by two by two. Anyway, we arrived at the Rate with a good few minutes to spare and did some tailgating out the back of the Durango with cans of Bud Light and giant pretzels. I love how American liquor laws allow you to drink all the way across the parking lot.


We had plenty of time to drink cold beer and get to know those who were unfamiliar faces because the other car, driven by Scott, didn’t follow Mike’s instructions and ended up sitting in traffic for the longest time.  We missed the top of the first inning waiting for them outside the stadium, and the visitors hit a home run during that time.

Maybe not a good omen to start and my record of 5-0 all time was looking pretty shaky after like two pitches, but things improved drastically for the Sox after we took our seats in the Goose Island outfield section. Thanks largely to some shocking fielding and general skill errors by the Indians, the Sox rallied for a 6-1 victory AND THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE! Hard to believe that as disastrously bad as the White Sox have been in the last six or seven years, that I’ve not seen a loss. Talk about the Aussie Bump!

So, the plan was to go to Brooke’s softball game in the morning at 9:00am, but there’s absolutely no chance that’s going to happen. Not when I’m writing this at midnight. I figure a good night’s sleep and we’ll hit Miles’ All-Star Game tomorrow at 12:30pm. Much better scheduling.

Fun day!

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