Hockey Night in Chicago

How one South Sider celebrated the return of the Cup to Chicago
Share |

Monday night started out innocently enough. I got off work at the coffee shop in Beverly (on Chicago’s far south side) and rode my bike east on 91st Street to the Metra station. I was headed to Ukrainian Village, on the near northwest side, to meet a friend for a drink. My plan was to take the Rock Island Line downtown, then pedal the couple miles remaining to the bar. I love riding but I’m in no shape to ride the whole thirteen or fourteen miles. Somewhere in the back of my head I knew the hockey game would be on and thus chose a bar where the TV is only on a few times a year—for the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl and not much else.

The bike route from downtown Chicago to Ukrainian Village mostly runs along Milwaukee Avenue. It’s the most heavily used bike lane in the city, sometimes dubbed the Hipster Highway. Not only am I out of shape but my bike was built for comfort, not speed. Dozens of cyclists blew by me like I was standing still. That was all right. It was nearly 90º out and I was in no hurry.

I got to the Rainbo about a half hour early. I’d heard there might be a flash storm coming and asked Matt the bartender if I could take the bike inside. He had no problem with that since the bar was nearly empty at 6 p.m. Halfway into my first vodka-soda we could feel the wind and rain whipping around outside without even seeing it (the Rainbo’s only window is a diamond-shaped porthole in the front door.) The storm was gone as quickly as it had come. My friend John walked through the door a few minutes later. We talked about the movie he’d just finished making and what he was gonna take up next. We talked about the chances of some studio picking up the TV show idea we’d worked on a year before. He bought the drinks since he was currently flush, while I was barely managing to pay bills every month. Matt said he felt bad for the late-shift bartender, Kenny, who would be relieving him at 8 p.m., because the bar would be dead until the hockey game ended.

Around 8 p.m. John had to leave for another engagement and I decided to bike to a place on Western to meet another friend for another drink. The Blind Robin was full of red-black-and-white jerseys, their owners’ eyes glued to the flatscreens above the bar. The fans made bad-sex sounds in reaction to what was happening in the game while Rae and I talked about my impending marriage and her impending divorce. When the game ended we watched the exultant crowd around us rather than anything going on on the TV screens. It wasn’t our joy, but at least we could enjoy the sudden happiness of others. I walked Rae and another friend home then got on the bike for the ride south.

When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 I had to drive my cab through the madness of their fans’ celebration. This time around I was content to read reports about meatheads throwing bottles at the police on Twitter. Heartening to know that masses of long-suffering bros had found a cause to rally around. I saw the occasional cop car fly by as I pedaled south, but for the most part, the people in the neighborhoods I was riding through didn’t seem so concerned with hockey. I passed warehouses and darkened buildings. A lot of places were still without power from the brief but violent storm that had whipped through the city several hours before.

At 18th Street, in a fit of alcohol-inspired nostalgia, I decided to stop at Don’s Grill for a cheeseburger. Don’s is one of those old-fashioned all-night diners where you can only sit on stools bolted into the floor and the counterman takes your order, then turns away and fries it on the flat-top for you. I used to live down the street and still stop in from time to time. The three or four other patrons didn’t seem especially jubilant about the Stanley Cup, or anything else for that matter. I ate my burger and onion rings, paid, and got back on my bike.

My plan had been to get on the southbound Western Avenue bus when I got tired but no buses passed me. So I just kept going. At around 61st Street, I felt the bike chain slip. Somehow a bungee cord from my bike rack had wrapped itself around the base of the back wheel and had popped the chain off. I managed to free the cord but could not get at the chain, because my bike has a mudguard that completely encloses the rear wheel. I didn’t even have a Swiss Army knife on me. I took the #49 bus to its terminus at 79th Street, watching my bike wobbling on the bus’s front rack every time the bus hit a rut or pothole, which, on that stretch of Western, happens often.

I was still about three miles from home. I decided to walk rather than waiting for another bus. The Dan Ryan Woods—something between a city park and a forest preserve—lines Western Avenue from 83rd Street to 91st Street, so I didn’t cross paths with many people. A homeless person sleeping, surrounded by all his belongings in a bus shelter, was the only one that left any impression. I wondered whether he knew or cared about the Blackhawks. Mostly it was broken tree branches blocking my path. It was about 12:30 a.m. by now and I was pretty wiped out. This was the most exercise I’d gotten in years.

Hardboiled Coffee, where I work afternoons, was at about the halfway point of my walk home. I had keys, so I decided to try to use the tools there to fix the chain so I could pedal the rest of the way. I dug through my wallet and found a four-digit number I thought was the store alarm code. It wasn’t. The alarm kept blaring as I punched the same wrong numbers in over and over. It kept trilling as I called Gregg, the owner, and left a panicked voicemail, and as I dug through my wallet and finally found the correct password. The alarm went mercifully silent but I was covered in sweat in the darkened shop—there was no electricity on for blocks and thus no fans or air-conditioner on here—the alarm was the only thing still working. I had just gotten the mudguard off when the cops arrived.

After convincing them that I did indeed work there—one was a morning regular, which helped—I went back to the bike but it was no use. I’m no mechanic and whatever that bungee cord had done was beyond my abilities to mend. I put the bike in the back room, locked up the store, and started walking south again.

My t-shirt was soaked in sweat, my hands were covered in axle grease, but I couldn’t resist the urge to check on the Stanley Cup celebrations via Twitter. I read reports of smashed storefronts and packs of marauding bros in Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville as I walked up the quiet, tree-lined streets of Beverly to my house. Had I walked further south on Western to the Cork & Kerry and the other sports bars down that way, I’d have seen my share of ugly post-championship hangover, but I was thankfully spared all that. The only celebration I witnessed was the dog barking like a maniac as I unlocked the door. He does that every time I come home, Stanley Cup or no Stanley Cup.

The next morning I woke up late, aching all over from the alcohol and the unplanned exercise. I walked to work and told Gregg about my little adventure. He didn’t even get the voicemail I’d left him til he woke up in the morning. Good thing it wasn’t an actual break-in. Beverly Bicycles, a couple doors north of the coffee shop, fixed my chain for free. Customers came in and wanted to relive the glory of the game. I nodded along with them, but for me the memory of the night the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2013 Stanley Cup would have very little to do with hockey.


Share |

Comments

Carpet Cleaning Urbana
Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Best Welding Helmet

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. cold press juicer

Wow, cool post. I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real hard work to make a great article... but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though. Seguro Viagem Internacional

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. creative content guide

garage car repairs reading | Strollers A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. gach op tuong | como dejar la cocaína You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. online bass tuner I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. makeup courses dublin | ear candle

callus
Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work.

When your website or blog goes live for the first time, it is exciting. That is until you realize no one but you and your. Free Amazon Codes

Awesome article, it was exceptionally helpful! I simply began in this and I'm becoming more acquainted with it better! Cheers, keep doing awesome! designer women's pumps

ezüst tisztítása | bromo tour from surabaya Actually I am not habituate to reply a comment on blogs but this blog caught my attention and roofing company roselle I am compelled to write a comment here to express my gratitude to you. I would like to appreciate for this awesome work. https://bengkelcnc.com | modular office furniture

NECTAR Sleep | http://importersafrica.com/increase-your-childs-capabilities-by-coloring-with-coloring-pages/ Very nice blog and articles. I am realy very happy to visit op internet geld verdienen your blog. Now I am found which I actually want. I check your blog everyday and Curso de alongamento de cílios try to learn something from your blog. Thank you and waiting for your new post. InMotion Hosting | party decorations

Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our. anti aging cream

Bộ đập chuột bằng gỗ | bayrampaşa arçelik servisi Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. life in your 20s I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful. bootstrap 4 css | roofing company wood dale

Jessica Johanna Suotmaa | bromo tour I researed valuable information on this point as open g guitar tuning I am working on a class project. Thank you posting Diwali Wishes In Hindi useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task. lodge tax return australia | csgo accounts

Awesome article, it was exceptionally helpful! I simply began in this and I'm becoming more acquainted with it better! Cheers, keep doing awesome! Padman Film download

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated. play subway surfers on pc and mac with bluestacks android

landscaping richmond hill
Greenbay Northern landscaping is located in Richmond Hill we provide service anywhere from Newmarket to North York including ;Markham, Maple and Vaughn.

Drumstick leaves omelette | transgroom I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. Grillz I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that garage door repair Aurora Co I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often. Wedding Dresses Brisbane | Smart Health Support

how to access the darknet | Write Name with Arabic I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. bstock liquidations marketplace therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. Dulux Acratex Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work. Formal Dresses Brisbane | How to Retire to Thailand

i never know the use of adobe shadow until i saw this post. thank you for this! this is very helpful. Play Online Street Fighter

new market landscaping
Greenbay Northern landscaping is located in Richmond Hill we provide service anywhere from Newmarket to North York including ;Markham, Maple and Vaughn.

2018 Toyota Rush Redesign | thietkewebchat.com I researed valuable information on this point as I am working on a class project. SCR888 Thank you posting useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task. love nikki unlimited diamonds | WebThangLong

csgo websites | http://hypersecuritysolutions.com.au A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches Stars Biography after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. animal care | Italy and island of La Maddalena Italy

Bios chip apple | blast fit I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving note buyers us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. Machetes | Limousine Service Miami

Kitchen Cabinet woodbridge
Mana Kitchen is proudly serving the Toronto, Woodbridge and the nearby areas since the last twelve years with the innovative and trained team of interior designers. Moreover, our installers and administrative teams share advice and compare ideas regarding every single project. We believe that the best teacher is experience and our team uses this to deliver the best kitchen design and custom cabinetry

Really I enjoy your site with effective and useful information. It is included very nice post with a lot of our resources.thanks for share. i enjoy this post. BUY BEST KNIFE

mana kitchen design
Mana Kitchen is proudly serving the Toronto, Woodbridge and the nearby areas since the last twelve years with the innovative and trained team of interior designers. Moreover, our installers and administrative teams share advice and compare ideas regarding every single project. We believe that the best teacher is experience and our team uses this to deliver the best kitchen design and custom cabinetry

orea courses | situs bandar bola terpercaya Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. شركه نقل عفش بالدمام I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful. WebThangLong about Desgin Web | Machetes Colombia

best pool cues | canadian doctors directory Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. slinger truck I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! real ig followers | mehandi designs simple

Audi mot reading I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job! Airport Transfers London

im blog
Incredible posting this is from you. I am really and truly thrilled to read this marvelous post. You've really impressed me today. I hope you'll continue to do so!

travel washing line | Clinique Dark Spot Corrector Reviews I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. sales funnel In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it. Winnipeg Magician | animated short film

buy dress online | tuzla evden eve nakliyat I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! pendik evden eve nakliyat I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. florists shrewsbury | fashio

microsoft office | agencia de marketing digital I found your this post while searching for some related information idm free download full version with key on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information. Investimentos | casino bonus

Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts. This site seems to get a good amount of visitors. online marketing

aurora landscaping
I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!

refurbished top handle chainsaw
Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.

refurbished top handle chainsaw
You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts. This site seems to get a good amount of visitors. Hero Homes Mohali Sector 88

I am impressed. I don't think Ive met anyone who knows as much about this subject as you do. You are truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. Really, great blog you have got here. tactical gear

Hero Homes Mohali
Extraordinary article with astounding idea!Thank you for such a significant article. I truly acknowledge for this awesome data.

I’m going to read this. I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing. and also This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives indepth information. thanks for this nice article... voyance par telephone

Reap and Sow Marketing | boke A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading Zahnarzt Drewitz It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. real estate licence ontario I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one. Bali water sports package | natural cure of cancer

sharing tours Italy | hamilton tickets I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent streaming box good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work. https://www.intakt-reisen.de | Imported Tile

RealStew | Best Ecommerce Developers in India I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have games o3 generator you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. http://www.mannadanmark.dk/ | coupon

I’m going to read this. I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing. and also This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives indepth information. thanks for this nice article... READ MORE

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. smm panel

book pr firms
Incredible posting this is from you. I am really and truly thrilled to read this marvelous post.

Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts. This site seems to get a good amount of visitors. Ajax movers