Chicago, a Sports Town


As mentioned in a prior post, it’s important to me to hit all the historical sport’s landmarks, as it’s one way to connect with a good memory from my childhood. And Chicago has a ton of these venues.

We drove my Soldier Field the first day but did not stop. There was no reason to do a walkabout since I care little for the Bears. Of course, Brian’s Song (1971) was a classic, and I cried much when I saw that movie. Really like Gayle Sayers. Other than that, we kept on going.

Today, we hit Wrigley Field and the United Center. (Oh, and yeah, we did drive by the White Sox’s stadium on the way into town the day before, but there was no significance in that structure other than seeing it at 70 MPH.)

Wrigley Field

As (sovereign) luck would have it, the Cubbies were in St. Louis, so I could not go to a game. The Reds were in town. The Tigers were in town. But not the Cubs. I had no interest in the first two, but it was crucial to me to snatch a leaf from the outfield wall at Wrigley.

Not this year.

Yet it was good to walk around the field, go into the over-priced gift shop that is contiguous to the famed stadium, and take a lot of pics at various points-of-interest, i.e., the many statues, including Harry Caray.

It was refreshing, sentimental, and inspiring in that I loved being where the lovable losers have played for decades, since 1914. One of the curious things was how the apartment complex across the street built bleachers on their roof so folks who could not get into the stadium, or didn’t want to, could watch the game from the “across-the-street” outfield.

Man, I love America.

We did get to make some tech-contrived Cub jerseys with our names and favorite numbers on our backs. My number is four. Not sure why. We then took pics of them rather than buying them because I’m not a true Cubbies fan.

Preferentially, there is something about wearing a jersey with my name (or worse, someone else’s name) on it. I don’t like the “spectator connotation” to life, especially something as unimportant as sports. I’d rather be on the “field of play,” and my game is the gospel.

United Center

Michael Jordan was one of my biggest heroes as a kid. He lifted this unregenerate child, who was looking for anything that was different from what he had, from the dysfunction and into the realm amazing-ness.

And I enjoyed Dean Smith as a basketball coach. I first saw the Tar Heels play Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the 1968 championship game. They were defeated soundly, but they made it to the big game in the (not-so) big dance. From that point forward, I followed the Tar Heels.

Until Jesus came into my life. Now, I follow Him.

He’s better, FYI.

There used to be a statue of Michael outside the United Center until they decided to consolidate their offices with the sport’s complex. So they built this beautiful office building on one side of the stadium so the Blackhawks and Bulls admin and execs could be on site.

Rather than moving the statue, they left it where it was, which is now a vast hollow lobby area that is between the offices and the arena. There is also an over-priced gift shop in this area. That was nice.

Other than that, there was nothing to see. It was free to enter, and the upside is that I got my inner-vicarious-hero-fix on.

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About RickThomasNet

Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking. In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).