Over the recent May Long Weekend, four Rebels headed down to Chicago for two matches pitting combined sides from the OAFL and the Chicago Australian Football Association against each other. On the Friday morning Monty, Screech and Chesta struck out on the drive down to Chi-town, and Captain Morgz set out later in the day on his way from work in Montreal. The trip down was pretty uneventful throughout Western Ontario, but things picked up once the boys crossed the border into Michigan. A quick stop to stock up on booze at the Duty Free – beers and 100 proof vodka - because of course only the best vodka comes in 100 proof – and they were on their way again.
Somewhere around Ann Arbor, Michigan the guys decided to grab a quick bite at a place called “The Roadhouse” which brought blood rushing into Monty’s loins due to his ridiculous man-crush on the late, great Patrick Swayze. This joint had a custom grill and smoker the size of a bus and smelled so good you had to believe that if the cow had known it would smell that good it would have been ok with its fate! The Roadhouse also offered a wide variety of beers, in as many sizes of which only the largest 22oz was considered as an option. After having ridden in the passenger seat for about an hour and a half without knowing that his seat heater was on, a sweaty overheated Screech eagerly grabbed for his beer and took a big sip...and.....BUFFALO!!!! Monty promptly updated his facebook/blackberry status of the news of the trips first (of many) Buffalos. Meanwhile Chesta, giggling, shot a video of Screech knocking back the coldest 22oz Buffalo of his life. Shortly after the boys headed on their way again, some a bit more tipsy than others!
The rest of the trip down was mainly accompanied by a soundtrack put together by Chesta consisting of a number of Lonely Island tunes such as Rocky, Threw It On The Ground and Mother Lovers (aka Frenchy’s song). Approximately 10 hours after leaving TO the boys arrived at the Downtown Holiday Inn Hotel in Chicago with only a couple detours due to traffic and one missed turn because of the SPS (Screech Positioning System), the latter of which became a common occurrence during the weekend. The boys checked into the hotel room and commenced with their preparation for the impending games the next day, in other words crushing beers and drinking 100 proof vodka. Monty was the first into the vodka pouring a big glass over ice taking a sip and passing it to Screech proclaiming “Hey this is pretty good,” so Screech took a sip....and.....BUFFALO!!!!!
With that brief pre-game behind them the Rebels headed down to join the rest of the OAFL players who were assembling in the restaurant of the hotel for the jumper presentation. The jumpers and bags of swag were handed out while the guys all downed pizza and more beer, again ideal preparation for the games the next day. Morgz arrived around 8.30pm after having flown into Chicago O'Hare International Airport around 7pm and jumped the "L" train south downtown to meet up with the boys. The hotel was only a block from the station but our fearless leader still managed to walk right past it. After a few BBM messages, he found the team.. got his jumper and customary shot and got stuck into some pizza and beers. The Rebels contingent now in full effect from our fearless President to Modest Captain to Waterboy/Runner to Dustin Diamond's little brother. 'Presidential-Cousin Mike' even journeyed down to meet the boys and impressed everyone with his speeding ticket.. Booked at 175km/hr and just a fine!?
After some beer and pizza we headed up the room and got into some more beers, shots and everyone got dressed to go out and hit the town. Everyone was excited and despite the fact it was pretty early when we headed out and we must have hit about 4 bars in the first hour on the hunt for some Chicago talent. Monty was keen on hitting up a famous Chicago blues bar and we went to one was famous, but had a private party so that wasn't happening. We then went to Racine St and hit up another bar for the free Kamikaze shots, the only real highlight of this bar was Morgz chirping the guys playing pool about how pathetic they were. After a chat with one of the waitresses, we headed to "Blue Chicago" on North Halsted Street not far from Wrigleyville in the northern part of downtown Chicago. The bar was great and if it wasn't for lack of talent we probably would have hung out longer. The only real talent belonged to 50% of a dyke couple, who gave Morgz absolutely nothing before Screech decided to have a crack despite being warned he didn't have a shot in his Canadian Tux... aka "Double Denim Double Denim Double Denim".
We spent an hour or two at "Blue Chicago" then headed off in search of another bar before finding a Mexican restaurant for some kind of tacos or burritos. Mike had gone home "tired" (the official new word for drunk as hell) and Screech made out with the Mexican frog on the counter, despite the claims from the staff of "Amigo, leave the frog alone! Amigoooo!" - insert Spanish accent here. Screech then decided to bet Monty he could shot some kind of hot sauce, then allowed Monty to squirt it into his mouth. Why we still don't know and despite denying it later he ended up spitting it out mid-squirt onto his denim shirt and crying about it for hours afterwards.
From here memories are a bit vague from the story teller but we hit another pub, Morgz ate some random chicks chip (french fry) she went ballistic but Morgz still didn't get kicked out. A lot of jaeger shots were consumed, and meanwhile Chesta was in the corner crying. At some point we ended up back at the hotel room... Probably a little earlier than expected but it was for the best. Screech was already home on the floor when Morgz came in a body slammed him. Unbeknownst to Morgz, Screech had sore ribs and was sleeping on the floor because....? Why were you on the floor, Screech? Mike was on the couch and there were 2 empty beds! Last text message received from Screech at 12.05am said "Irish bistro down the street" - we called bullshit on that one...
Anyways, Screech cried then Monty cried (everyone cried except the Skipper) after Morgz and the Prez had a wrestle off and Monty had to tap out 3 or 4 times. Once Morgz was puffed out, Monty did his best to throw him across the room with pretty good result. Fortunately the TV didn't fall! He then got Morgz in a pretty decent hold, until he got bitten... I mean who bites?!? Apparently Morgz does when there is nothing else he can do other than tap out.. Morgz passed out within about 5 seconds of hitting the pillow and Chesta only lasted about 25 minutes before moving to the lounge room floor questioning his sexuality. Apparently Morgz put his arm over him and he ran out of the room scared! Morgz woke up with a bed to himself and wasn't complaining one bit.
The next morning we were up pretty early, around 9am and headed out for a walk around town. We headed due west out of the hotel up Harrison St. Screech argued with Morgz for the first 500m or so that we were heading due north on Canal Street. Morgz argued that we were heading East towards Lake Michigan and turned out to be correct despite having never been to Chicago before. This constant banter about the SPS now had really become one of our favourite chirps for the rest of the trip... Screech 1 week in Chicago vs. Morgz 0 time in Chicago on the subject of directions - Screech proved useless.
We continued up West Harrison to State Street which is the main / centre street of Chicago and headed North. We had a quick chat to a police offer who recommended hitting up a restaurant called Ronny's for some breakfast. We continued up State Street for about 5-6 blocks then took Lake Street West to Ronny's. The breakfast was a bargain, the story teller had 2 eggs (sunny side up), Texas toast, steak, hash browns and a corona for all of eleven bucks.
From Ronny's we headed North up Clark St towards the one of the many famous Chicago river / canals to take some photos. After not long we bumped into some friendly girls named Laura and Joelle who were also out taking photos and just hanging out. They joined us for a walk for about an hour or so and it was on the walk that the soon to be famous "Chicago Dead Pigeon Plank" took place. We walked East along Wacker Drive along the river then south down Michigan Avenue towards Millennium Park. The rain threatened and we ducked for cover at one point for about 30 seconds but otherwise it was pretty good. We were only a block from Millennium Park when we ran out of time and parted ways with our new friends and headed back to the hotel to get ready for footy.
Getting ready didn't take long. Morgz crushed another couple of beers and had his footy bag (empty Budweiser box) ready in no time. While Mike was debating whether to come to the footy or hit up a White Sox game, we pretty much headed straight out to the game following Screech's directions - which were immediately questioned. Despite having an iPhone with maps he still took us a few blocks west which he also claims wasn't his fault. We turned up the footy and all 3 of the playing Rebels (Chesta still not ready to go with injury) had to get ready pretty quickly as we were playing in the first game which was the seconds team. The ground was pretty ordinary and the weather a little overcast but the game was underway pretty quickly. The game consisted of 4 x 15 minute quarters and we were short for numbers. Screech didn't help matters as he last around 43 seconds into the first quarter before going off "hurt". Some highlights of this game, despite Screech rolling around in the dirt, were Morgz laying a bloke out on the baseball diamond and a big goal from the captain in the 3rd quarter to give the team a sniff... The game ended in a loss of around 4-5 goals with Morgz and Monty were running riot in the back half before Morgz went off in the last quarter with a strained groin. Disappointing loss but we had a pretty ordinary start.
The Prez and the Skipper were both asked to play in the next game but Morgz declined with the groin soreness. Monty signed up, expecting to play a quarter and ended up playing about 2.5 quarters and doing pretty well! Highlights for this game were Monty getting a handball (YES!! A handball!!) to a bloke who immediately got cleaned up and Monty going back into a pack only to get a corky. Both events were called by Morgz on the boundary to Screech who both enjoyed both had a good laugh over Monty's "misfortunes". After the game there was a quick presentation of BOG's with Morgz winning BOG in the first game. After we headed back to the hotel to get showered and chill out a bit.
The game plan of the whole group was to catch a bus up north to Wrigleyville about 8.45pm to a bar called Brownstone's Tavern which was one of the sponsors of the "United" team. A lot of the guys were eating in the restaurant downstairs from the hotel. Having eaten there the first night the Rebels rebelled and went out to Giordano's Restaurant on South Franklin St, right by the Willis Tower, for some world famous "deep dish" pizza that Chicago is known for. Despite there being numerous tables, we had to wait about 20 minutes for one but finally were seated and met out Russian mail order bride server, who giggled and agreed at everything everyone said.. Especially Monty with his "Captain Major Sir George Windy, founder of the Windy City who's statue is on top of that big building because he's famous" random comments which were very amusing. So we ate a meal then jumped a cab and headed north back up to Wrigleyville and hit up Brownstone's Pub which was $35 all you can drink. It took Morgz about 5 x ATM's to realize his expenses cheque hadn't cleared so he was pissed off but still managed to be fed free drinks by Monty, Will and Chesta who had all bought the $35 wrist bands. It was lucky the drinks were free because Morgz got buffaloed a ridiculous amount of times in a short period! Overall Brownstone's Tavern was pretty fun and was good to mingle with a lot of the other players, from both the OAFL and other side of the border.
After the Brownstone Tavern we headed with a pretty decent sized crew to a bar / club called "Cubbiebears". Where this bar was is unknown, iPhone photo maps don't help and the writer was way to buffaloed to pay attention anymore. The bar was pretty good and had a live band with a hot chick singer... There was a decent crowd and a few birds around but it was straight all out assault on the fillies from the Aussie contingent from the OAFL. Pretty typical really but some good laughs and everyone had a good time. At some point in during the night Morgz allegedly passed out at one of the tables - no surprises there if you've seen him out the last couple weeks. The night may or may not have ended in another bar but at some point Screech, Morgz and Chesta made their way back to the hotel and Monty was already there.
The next morning Morgz was up pretty early considering, around 9.00-9.30am and the day was a beauty!! Blue skies and about 20 degrees.. We didn't waste any time getting our shit together and heading out to check out some more sights. We headed straight down to the lake shore area and hit up the Buckingham Fountain which stars in the beginning of the 80's TV show "Married With Children". From there we walked thru Grant Park up to Millennium Park, past Jay Pritzker Pavilion to the Cloud Gate, affectionately nicknamed "the bean". This sculpture made of stainless steel is about 66 feet in length and reflects the sites of Chicago's skyscrapers in mirror like fashion. Everyone was pretty captivated by it, especially Morgz who spent about 30-45 minutes walking around and under it taking photos. Meeting three cute french girls at the end didn't help us to drag him away!
After the boys dragged Morgz away from the "bean" we made our way down to some walls with faces and water falling from them then headed off to find some brekky. After a quick feed and Screech trying to steal a $1.25 newspaper from a homeless guy, we made our way back to the car and headed out of Chicago. Safe to say we crammed a lot into less than 3 days and were all satisfied with the amount of sites seen, beers consumed and just all round good time had. The weather was fantastic to us, a little drizzle the first morning for 30 seconds but otherwise just great, despite the forecasts of rain and thunder!
The drive home wasn't super eventful. Monty was solid and drove the whole 10 hours with Morgz riding shotgun pumping out the tunes. Meanwhile Screech and Chesta passed out on and off in the back. We finally arrived back to Monty's about 11.45pm Sunday night... Ready for the next party! Lucky Monday was a public holiday!!