blueollie

Picking Soldier Field tickets…

Of course I love going to football games, and I have tickets to the Illinois vs. South Florida football game this September. Now I’ll see about a couple of Bears games and perhaps a couple of Colts games as well.

Lucas is a nice place to watch a game, but when I go there, I frequently take my wife’s nephew and roommate; that affects my choice of tickets. This year, I am planning to make at least one game with a friend and get somewhat closer tickets for that game….unless I can somehow swing Patriots at Bears without having to take out a second mortgage. 🙂

But for this post, I’ll discuss the Bears and Soldier Field. Soldier Field has limitations, namely concourse space is too small and there aren’t enough bathrooms in the non-grandstand sections. IF you have anything resembling a full house AND if you want to make it to the bathroom during half time, don’t even try the small end zone bathroom areas (the ones behind the grandstand are a better bet). Now about sightlines and view from the seats:

Here is the view from the 300 level club (quite nice, IMHO, though you are up a bit)

The club sections (200 and 300 level) open early and feature a couch/easy chair section if your guest doesn’t like the weather.

These ARE pricey for most games though.

Now this is the view from the Media Deck (200 level, I sat here a couple of times)

Note: the concourse is heated by overhead heat lamps; that can make for crowded conditions in cold weather. This matters if you want to get to the bathroom in a timely manner.

Now for the end zone sections (I sat in the 200 level for one game; never sat in the 300 level)

The sightlines aren’t that bad; but bathrooms are tiny and hard to get to. (yes, I am an old man)

Now for the 400 level grandstand. I sat here for 2 different games: row 2 and row 33 and yes, there is a difference. Now the sightlines are outstanding; no problem if someone tall sits in front of you. And the steepness of the stands discourages fans from going up and down unnecessarily.

Though I enjoyed both games: the rows 30 and up (I sat in row 33) are ok if you REALLY want to be in the stadium for the game and don’t mind the players kind of looking like ants. You do get to see the receivers breaking open and things like that.

The lower rows (I sat in 2) are good seats, IMHO and, generally, much cheaper than the media deck and certainly a lot cheaper than the club seats. I’d have to guess that rows 1-10 of the 400 level grandstand to be the best value.

I can’t talk about the 300 level grandstand or the 300 level end zone, or the lower levels (100). (I’ve sat lower level for the old St. Louis Rams and for the Kansas City Chiefs). I can’t talk about the 200 level club yet.

But based on where I’ve sat, I’d rank them this way:

If I am with my wife:

1. 300 club
2. 200 media deck
3. 200 end zone
4. 400 grandstand (lower rows, say 1-10)
5. 400 grandstand (upper rows..ok, she said she won’t do that again. )

If I am with a robust football fan:

1. 200 media deck
2. 300 club
3. 400 grandstand (lower rows, say 1-10)
4. 200 end zone
5. 400 grandstand (upper rows; and yes, it is worth it to me to “be at the game in person”)

August 11, 2018 Posted by | NFL | , | Leave a comment

What I find offensive about Laura Ingraham’s “immigrant” statement and Trump’s NFL protest statements

Let me make this clear: if you don’t like me because of my race, I am ok with that. Your loss..and it isn’t as if I lack for friends.

If you prefer the atmosphere of one culture to another, be it classical (white) small town “Americana”, or suburbia (e. g. Morton) to something more diverse, fine. People are going to prefer some atmospheres to others. There is nothing wrong with that. Personally: I wish baseball and football had a bit less of this “canned, marketed faux-patriotism” as part of the entertainment (and I am growing tired of hearing “American Solider” played at baseball games; ironically one of the things I liked about the Far East Network Armed Forces radio station that I listened to in Japan is that they played a VARIETY of music; some C & W, some “soul”, some Jazz, some rock and roll)

But hey, it comes with the territory; no entertainment experience is tailor made for me, nor should it be.

So, let’s get to the Ingraham statement (video here)

“In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Ingraham said on the cable network.

Ingraham added: “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like,” she said. “From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically in some ways the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal and in some cases legal immigration.”

“foisted upon the American people”….”None of us ever voted for”…

Who in the hell are you talking about? If you YOU don’t like the brown skinned immigrants, well, that is your right. What offends me is that she is conflating HER views and the views of her audience with the views of “the American people”. Ms. Ingraham: you are only one person, and your viewers, while American, do not represent even a plurality of Americans. Evidently, American institutions such as the military understand this. I am sorry that you do not.

Now to President Trump and his tweets:

It isn’t his call as far as to how to pay or not pay the players. And as far as “the fans”: NFL fans are not monolithic.

Yes, this is from an October 2014 game and this was in response to what happened in Ferguson. There were no National Anthem protests, but some Rams players did a “don’t shoot, hands up” gesture upon entering the field. And this banner wasn’t the only one; other fans took another banner around the concourse to…mostly cheers.

Of course, the old St. Louis Rams fans were a diverse lot but so are NFL fans in general. I have no problem with the fans debating the merits and appropriateness of the National Anthem protests (though frankly, I’d be in favor of doing away with the National Anthem at sporting events; there is nothing inherently patriotic about home runs, touchdowns or 3-point shots.)

What I find offensive is that people like Donald Trump and Jerry Jones appear to “think” that there is only one legitimate side to the issue at hand. They are completely wrong.

As to what I think, this is a nice summary of how I see it:

Workout notes: 3 mile walk after lifting: usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10..went well), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, incline: 6 x 150, decline: 10 x 165, military: standing 10 x 50, 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 90 (new machine), rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 (dumbbell), 10 x 110. Abs, plank, etc.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | NFL, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Random thoughts (all over the map)

I am nearing the end of summer break and am going over the diagrams for a paper that I’ll be submitting in 3 week’s time. This means: finishing research, starting on my next project, preparing for class, taking a look at search committee stuff, etc.

Though I have been paying attention to politics, I find much of the discussion to be depressing.

On one hand, the Republicans have gotten their people, including those conservatives that do not like Trump, to trust only conservative media sources (e. g., Fox News). So many really believe, say, that Trump is doing better than any past POTUS over the past 40 years (in terms of GDP growth) ..and this is based on, well, one strong quarter of growth being extrapolated. Of course, the growth might well have been due to businesses preparing for the trade wars and a one-time bump.

But try getting them to even read a graph, much less accept that it is a true one.

But being “sure” is not limited to “their team.” I know that issues are complicated and have many facets to them. Nevertheless, so many, including those who vote the way that I do, are just so “SURE” of things.
When one wants to “speak the truth” one has to actually KNOW “the truth” and few are experts on ANYTHING much less experts on everything.

I just find it astonishing that I have so many doubts about things that I’ve thought hard about, and so many others appear to have no doubts at all.

Sports: I still am in “baseball” mode but I just made my annual purchase of football magazines. I’ll be coming up with predictions soon and, of course, I plan to make a few games. I have season tickets for Illinois but hope to make a few Illinois State games, and perhaps a couple of Bears and 3-4 Colts games.

I did read about Texas football getting ready to make a 175 million dollar renovation to their football stadium. Yes, no tuition funds or tax payer funds will be used..and yes, the University of Texas has that kind of fund raising power. This means that, well…the kind of win/loss records we have seen over the past 5 years is unacceptable: 8-5, 6-7, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 = 31-32. Contrast that with, say, Iowa: 8-5, 7-6, 12-2, 8-5, 8-5 = 43-23.

But doesn’t Texas have more money, a bigger stadium, bigger following and bigger drawing power than Iowa? Well, it might just be that the money might actually be counter productive at times. After all, big donors EXPECT to have some say in the program right? But said donors don’t necessarily know all that much about football. Big money can be a two edged sword.

Well, more on football later.

And there is still quite a bit of baseball to play and, who knows..perhaps some Cornbelter playoff ball too?

Workout notes: weights then 5 miles of walking.

weights: 15-15-10-10 pull ups, incline: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, decline: 6 x 170, military (standing dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, Hammer machine: 10 x 140, rows: dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 x 50, 10 x 110 machine. Then the walk: 5K on the track 1 easy (13:36, 13:01, 12:15 (38:52), 40:41 for 25 laps.The faster miles were 1 on, 1 off, but the last 2 laps of mile 3 were done hard. Then 2 more outside.

Later: yoga, got 2:15 of plank before class. Did abs; this was one of Vickie’s harder routines.

August 9, 2018 Posted by | baseball, college football, economy, NFL, political/social, politics, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:

January

February

March


April

May

June


I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)

July

August

September

October

November

Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

December


December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Browns give, Bears happily receive, win 20-3

Game highlights:

So, as far as the snowy game itself: total yards were close, 258-253 Bears, though the Bears went into a “run out the clock” shell in the 4’th quarter with a 20-3 lead. But the key stat was turnovers: 3-0, with the Browns losing 1 fumble in the end zone and throwing 1 interceptions, one in the end zone. There was also a key penalty where it appeared that the Browns ran in an interception for a touchdown, but one of their linemen lined up offside!

(via: Bears Instagram account)

The Bears stopped the Browns then had a nice drive for a touchdown; a botched snap/hold threw off the timing for the extra point, which was blocked.

In the second quarter, the Browns were thwarted on one drive with an interception in the end zone. But they eventually got the ball back with just over 30 seconds on the clock and had a nice drive for a 48 yard field goal, which BARELY cleared the bar.

A key turning point happened in the 3’rd quarter. The Bears threw an interception which was run back for an apparent touchdown, but one of the Browns linemen lined up offside. The Bears took advantage and drove for a touchdwon, using screen passes and a nice 16 yard run.

The Bears took advantage of a good punt return to set up another touchdown drive (again, lots of passes to the running back) and had a 20-3 lead.

Still in the 3’rd, the Browns drove and hit a medium pass; the receiver slipped down near the 10 but wasn’t touched down. He got back up and ran inside the 4, where he was stripped of the ball while going down, and the Bears recovered.

That basically took most of the wind out the Browns’ sails; the 4’th quarter saw the Bears mostly burning clock and one more Browns interception.

Social
I was worried about getting there. Roads were terrible, and there were a couple of accidents on the southbound lanes of I-55. But, though the trip took 1 hour longer than normal, we ended up in our parking area by 11:15 and made it in time for the National Anthem and kickoff.

Afterward, we ate some Indian food (stayed at the Essex Inn…a good idea)

There was steady, light snow, but temperature wise, my feet got cold an my hands did, at times. I will get some warm boots for next football season; my boots are waterproof but not insulated; even double wool socks didn’t keep my feet warm. The rest of me: fine.

December 25, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | Leave a comment

49’ers give the Bears the boot 15-14, but a fun time anyway.

I am probably the world’s worst football fan. This year, my NFL teams have lost every game I’ve watched in person. But the scores were 20-17, 23-16, 20-16 and 15-14. And yes, I enjoyed each because I like hard hitting, well executed rock-em, sock-em football.

This time, Lynn was my “victim” (as she was for the Bears vs. Packers).

The game: The 49’ers scored on their first drive (field goal) and took a 3-0 lead; they were to fail to score exactly 3 times: twice on punts (and gave up one touchdown on a punt return and one “called back” long return) and gave up one interception (which was spectacular)

Otherwise: while the Bears did score a touchdown that was set up by the interception (nice TD pass in the back of the end zone), the 49’ers rolled over the Bears outgaining them 388-147 (ok, the punt return skewed that a bit) and possessed the ball 38:47 to 21:13. Basically they would run on first down, not make much, same on second down, and then hit a medium pass over the middle to keep the sticks moving.

It was 14-9 at the half but the 49’ers kept driving and driving and eating up clock. They had only 3 drives in the second half and two ended in field goals; the first drive was 8:19 long. The final drive ate up 5 minutes and ended with 4 seconds left in the game.

A key play was a long pass completion on 3’rd down with 2 minutes to go; though the Bears still lead 14-12, fans started to leave! I’ve never seen that before.

Part of the drama was the 49’er kicker was cut by the Bears at the end of the 2015 season.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks a game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Chicago. The 49ers won 15-14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Socially: Lynn and I went to Mercat restaurant after the game and sampled stuff. That was a lot of fun: eating sampler plates and chit-chatting away. We always have good conversation. The walk through the park before and after the game was fun as well; we visited the Logan Statue in the park beforehand.

My photos:

Great company!

The skyline from the Logan statue.

The entrance

Early action.

TOUCHDOWN BEARS (2n’d quarter, set up by the interception)

Late action. This is the start of the game winning drive: SF 8 to the Chicago 4; key play was a 33 yard pass with just over 2 minutes to go. Then the Bears had to start to use time outs.

After dinner in the Mercat, we walked back to the car and saw the supermoon. This shot does not do it justice.

What a wonderful experience, even if “my” team lost.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

Football weekend: Illini overwhelmed by Northwestern, Colts can’t finish vs. Titans.

It was another “double” football weekend: this time I got a college game on Saturday and a NFL game on Sunday.

(Northwestern Student Newspaper)

Illinois got overwhelmed by Northwestern 42-7. But the Illini came out and played hard and were actually up 7-0. They stopped NW’s first drive, drove it for a touchdown (quarterback keep did the damage), and then got a spectacular interception to stop NW on drive 2; I thought “hey, maybe…”

But reality took over: the next 3 quarters saw NW put up 14 and the Illini 0: still it was only 14-7 at the half. A strip sack recover pushed it to 21-7 in the 3’rd and then a pretty 79 yard run (to the Illini 1) followed by a TD plunge put the last nail in the coffin. The last quarter saw more dominance and the game ended with NW inside the Illini 10 (after another interception and return); they handed the ball off to a defensive tackle for the final 2 plays of the game.

I feel bad for the players; they really are trying but our best players are young, and even most of the young ones (not all) are those who might play in, say, Conference USA. We do have a few that will probably develop into front line Big Ten players though; we need to add to those via recruiting. I’d say that we are 2 seasons away from reaching, say, 6-6.

Northwestern at Illinois highlights:

Illini good plays:

My photos:

Fall foliage as the Illini band parades by (shot from the upper deck)

Barbara and I took Jacob. It was cool before the sun went down, then it became cold.

Pregame: Illinois band.

Shot from the press box: it was kind of empty. If you look at the left hand 30 yard line and then move up to the entrance just below the upper deck overhang then move right a tiny bit: there we are!

Early action.

Pretty sunset..as the sun went down on the Illini’s chances in this game.

It was very sparse toward the end. Few stayed the entire time.

Titans at Colts

Via: ESPN

Here, early on, it was a battle of field goals; the Titans got the first two, and then the Colts. Interceptions kept the game close; the Colts got a TD to take a 13-6 lead.

Second half, the Colts got the ball and kept it for 9 minutes and kicked a field goal; it was now 16-6 and looking good.

But the momentum shifted when the Colts fumbled a bad pitchout in their own end of the field; that set up a Titan touchdown. Then a 70 plus drive by the Titans put them in the lead 20-16 and, though it was only a 4 point lead, the Colts became punchless. That is how it ended.

Titans at Colts highlights:

My photos:

This ramp leads toward the Verizon entrance at Lucas Oil Stadium. A year ago, Barbara entered this ramp (not thinking anything about it) and was allowed in. I tried to enter and was told to go around the corner (perhaps 100-200 more yards) and go up the steps. I was puzzled..and the person at the entrance said that this entrance was for club seat ticket holders and for the “elderly and handicapped!” (he let Barbara through but not me).

I almost collapsed from laughter …and every since Barbara has taken the ramp and left me to trudge to the steps.

So, this time, I gave Barbara a hard time and this is how she responded…

Jacob, his roommate Bryan and Babs read for the game.

The roof was open (first game there when it was); I was worried that I might be underdressed. But it was warmer in the stands that I thought it would be.

Yes, I bought a Colts stocking cap.

The Colts enter the field.

That is one large flag.

There were quite a few empty seats early: (not usually the case at Lucas)

It was only 20-16 with 2:50, but the Colts have not finished games all season long. The fans were gone though, in my mind, the game’s outcome was still in doubt.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

And I drag Lynn to a Bears vs. Packers game…

Ok it was dry for the walk over but rained during the game. Still, a poncho kept us dry and we were bundled up.

The game: The Packers won 23-16, though thanks to a botched snap/hold on a late field goal attempt, the Bears got the ball back with 1 minute to go and had a shot to tie it.

A key moment came in the 2’nd quarter (2:30 into the video; score was 10-3 Packers) when the Bears receiver made an excellent run after catch and dived for the end zone. He was ruled out at the 2 (first and goal at the 2) but the Bears challenged the call, claiming that he hit the pylon with the ball before going out of bounds.

Call was reviewed..and showed that he lost control of the ball just prior to hitting the pylon. Hence the ball went out of bounds in the endzone..”touchback” and the Packers ball at the 20 versus the Bears having it at the 2.

Overall, the Packers got just enough offense with their backup quaterback and a receiver running as running back. And they sacked the Bears quarterback several times.

An action shot via the Bears Instagram account:

kickoff. Yes, there were empty seats.

We were about where the arrow is: 2n’d row of the upper deck (442, row 2). GREAT seats..the best I’ve had in Soldier Field so far. This shot was retweeted by EmptySeatsGalore on Twitter. Shot by @RobDemovsky:

Some action.

More action

Some shots of the stands…it was rainy.

Yes, there were some unsold seats up in the upper corner of the upper deck:

Lynn and I in our ponchos.

Lynn and I before going in..it wasn’t raining as yet.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

The joy of blocking on social media and one appeal of Trump (it is nowhere near enough though)

Well, work has its challenges, and decorum (and just simply doing my job) forces me to be more polite than I’d want to be; it would be unprofessional for me to go off on someone, even if they “deserved it” (e. g., being completely in the wrong but unwilling to entertain the thought that it might be true).

And what does Trump do: he goes off on people…and once in a while, he goes off on someone I do not like.

Ah…sort of a guilty pleasure, no? But it is a poor quality in a POTUS…in addition to his utter lack of qualifications for the job.

But one way I do engage in that fantasy: on social media, “dumbsplainers” get blocked on the first, or sometime the second warning. And yes, often these are liberals, but not always.

One example: there were some empty seats for the Bears Packers game this year, and the Trumpchumps were trying to tell me that this didn’t happen in previous years; this year’s empties were due to their “boycott the NFL”.

So I found an Instagram photo from the 2016 game (during the game) and SHOWED them..yes, there were empty seats in that game. And this year, Aaron Rodgers was out. That felt good.
And if the Trumpchump can’t accept that I will block them.

(yes, the game was going on, and it was close the whole way).

Workout notes: Sunday: 2 mile “fast walk” (25:30) before a Bears vs. Packers game
Yesterday: weights; usual PT, pull ups 5 sets of 10, one set of 5-5 on the new bar, bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 50 (first with thick bar dumbbells), 20 x 40 standing, dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10)..yoga later (slept in)
today: 10K walk outside.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | NFL, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

The NFL protests: disappointment

When I first saw the NFL protests I was hopeful. After all, the NFL fan base is very diverse and I thought that we might finally get some meaningful discussion between different types of people. Yes, I knew that a large subgroup of fans would be upset; there is a reason the NFL does the “canned showy patriotism” stuff.

But, alas no such luck.

Even among some who believe in freedom of speech: they claimed that an employer has a right to enforce PR actions of their employees (I agree with this) but then go on to say that the protests are deeply unpopular with “NFL fans”.

This misses a key fact: not all NFL fans feel the same way.

No, I am not talking about liberals like me; I know that I am in the minority.

I am talking about the large African American fan base; the NFL needs them too..and can’t afford to alienate them. That is probably the main reason you haven’t seen a major crackdown, aside from the Cowboy’s owner (who even agreed to a compromise “kneeling before the anthem and joined the players in doing that).

In short: same old stuff; people refuse to look beyond their own statistically small bubble.

Here is one poll which shows that the country is split.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | | Leave a comment