Friday, August 10, 2007

Dodging Johnny and Going Under

Last weekend was a bit of a crazy one. Allow ole Ace to spin a tale or two that I hope will bring at least a chuckle.

I took last Friday off from work for a much needed day of fun and frivolity. Stop 1 on the Tour of Fun was a trip to historic Wrigley Field, to see my team the Mets take on the Cubbies. And, since I'm a glutton for punishment, I brought along 3 of my Cub fan friends. This undoubtedly assured me that the Mets would get annihilated in this game. Day started early with a trip to Irish Oak for lunch, a tasty little Irish bar less than a block from the game. We got off to an inauspicious beginning when the waitress began taking our order, I looked over at one friend and said "Lady's first". The waitress replied then that I should go ahead. oooooooo, burn! After a couple frosty beverages and a delightful corned beef sandwiches, we were on our way to the game.

Now let me tell you about Wrigley's bleachers. For quite some time, there has been a reputation of being the hip, party spot to be in the ballpark, filled with handsome lads and lovely lasses. Sounds like the place to be right? Well, I'm sure it was that way at one time but now it is a pretty big mix of the above mentioned hipsters and a collection of other people wanting to be around that group. My only request to my crew was I didn't want to be sitting next to old women or shirtless old guys, which seems to happen to me every time I go.

So we go in nice and early and get some pretty solid seats in the right center field section. Since the bleachers are first come first served, it makes sense to get in pretty early. I'll be damned if right in front of me sits a very grouchy older lady, who asked me not to put my foot on the bleacher. OK, now maybe the bottom of my shoe isn't the cleanest thing in the world, but people WALK ON THE BLEACHERS ALL THE TIME!!!! I told her to calm down but beyond that didn't get too grouchy back with her, which turns out to be a good thing. Why you ask? Well, fast forward about 4 or 5 innings into the game.

3 dudes come and sit down in an area that has enough open space for maybe 1.5 people. They are 2 rows in front of me, 1 row in front of grouchy lady. They are your typical spam-tastic young twentysomethings equipped with the cool gear of nipple rings and tattoos. They are likely overserved although really they weren't too out of control. For some reason, one of the guys takes a small plastic bag like you get at the supermarket and chucks it onto the field in the middle of the game. Security is over in an instant and point out the guys friend and tells him he is getting kicked out. Everyone around starts pointing out the dude who actually did it and the whole trio gets run out of the park by security. Everyone chats about it in our section for a little bit and then get back to watching the game.

About five minutes later, the main security guy comes up behind me and tells me I'm being ejected because someone 4 rows back said that I was the one who actually threw the thing on the field. Of course I objected as did my colleagues but he didn't really seem to buy it, the guy's blood was running hot. But then the grouchy lady stepped up and told the guy that she saw the other dude throw it and that I definitely didn't do it. At this point the guy settled down and basically just disappeared and we watched the rest of the game in peace. Very bizarre happening but the lady could have totally sold me out so that was cool she stepped up. This allowed me to witness an exciting victory by the Mets in the 9th inning in the 10000 degree heat.

After the game, since we're gluttons for punishment, 3 of us jumped in the car and drove down to Indianapolis to see a Seven Mary Three concert. This was a pretty fun show because one of the band's super fans was seeing them for the 100th time - wow! That's dedication. Despite the venue set up being weird with tables attached to the front area of the stage, it was a pretty good show. We were literally right next to the speakers and I was closest to them so I'm pretty sure I lost about 40% of my ability to hear. There were a couple of show highlights, especially the playing of Flagship Eleanor and the band bringing up the aforementioned superfan on stage, giving her some cool gifts and generally just proving they are a good group of guys. Back home after the show and I rolled in around 4 am, crikey I'm too old to be doing this.

Speaking of old, I decided to do a triathlon that occurred last Sunday. For the uninitiated, a triathlon consists of swimming, followed by biking, followed by running. Who the hell thought up this thing? And who are the numbskulls who participate? This intrepid reporter wanted to find out. So, I wisely chose to do absolutely no biking or swimming training and a modest amount of running, primarily due to my busy school schedule. Let me tell you a bit about my swimming skills, I like to describe it like this: I could probably save myself from drowning, but don't count on me being able to save anyone else. Luckily, this is a very short triathlon consisting of a 250m swim, 6 mile bike and 2 mile run. I start in the water and am doing ok, we have to do 5 trips down the lane and back. So I make it down and back once and I'm ok, but on the way back down for lap 2, my arms just get tired as all hell. I start to really struggle and am doing my best just to make it all the way down. Great, 30% of the way there and I am DONE.

Well, I'll not pretend that it was pretty. For part of it I just did a little back stroke to give my arms a rest and took a short breather at each turn. It was ugly, where you get the sympathy encouragement from onlookers and fellow competitors, or as one of my friends like to say, "it's like watching a monkey try to f* a football". It was actually so ridiculous it was kind of funny, overall I was 102 out of 117 in the swim.

But I struggled through it, jumped out of the water and made my way to the bike. Luckily, since I was pretty much done with my arms, the bike was uneventful. I wasn't flying but was ok, finished 88th out of 117 and moved on to the running. Now I'm not professional runner but I usually do OK. But getting off the bike and starting to run felt like lifting 100 pound lead weights every step of the way. I am happy to say that I did not walk once during the run, unlike many of my colleagues and finished 55th out of 117 in that portion, doing slow 9:40 miles.

So, all told, I finished in under an hour, which wasn't the end of the world. One of my neighbors does several triathlons a year and finished almost 2 minutes behind me! Oh, did I forget to mention that he got a flat tire on his bike about halfway through the 6 mile bike and had to run it the rest of the way through the course? Lol, yeah, he's pretty good!

Anyhow, it was a fun experience and I'll probably do it again next year. But I will spend a LOT of time training before doing it again, that swim was a horrible thing. And I believe that is enough blogging today for ole Ace!

Until next time.



Nadine Hightower said...

That was good of the old broad to do that. Those 20somethings were trying to pass the buck off on someone else.
you know you should be a bit proud of yourself for the finish. You'll be better prepped next time. Lesson learned.

And hang on to the thoughts about teachin' have to try it! Maybe you'll be "That Cool" teacher all the kids like to hang with. That's way better than being the guy who teaches 2nd grade and all the parents wonder if he's gay!!
I've been reading right along...but I lurk too...Sometimes I just don't have time to comment!

Big Okie Hugs!

ventl8r said...

Back in my running days (HA!) I did do a 5k and hated every minute of it. I was almost bested by a group of speed walkers and a 5yo.

Rat bastards.....

Ace said...

I agree with you Nadine that the security guy was probably just trying to see if he could get me to fess up.

Thx for so many comments, good to hear from you!

Ace said...

Tree, I remember reading your blog about the 5k and the training you did. Obviously you're not doing that these days - any plans to pick it up again post-partum?