Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Early Trip to Indy in August

It all started early Tuesday morning, a ritual that I had been performing for about a week driving to work paid off. I was eager to win tickets to the Chelsea/Inter Milan soccer match in Indianapolis, a part of a tournament in the USA that included 7 European squads - The Guinness International Champions Cup. The XM radio station devoted to soccer was giving away tickets for a few weeks, but I had not been able to catch a giveaway for the Indy game when driving to and from work. The offer finally came and I was the winner. Now, who to go with me?

I immediately thought of fellow soccer fanatic Kopfy, but a call to him was not answered. Once I got to work, the reality of trying to find a person to give with me to Indy on a short two day notice had become a b it more worrisome. A co-worker's husband is a college coach and wanted to go, but he was under a prior obligation of attending a coaching seminar, and as I awaited his decision if he could go, Kopfy got back to me with an energetic confirmation that he would like to go. Later Tuesday night, the coach was out and Kopfy was in. Two vacation requests later, I had 2 days off and was ready for a quick trip to Indy.

Tom was running late on Thursday morning, but we had plenty of time. He was coming in from Cleveland and was only about an hour late. We got on the road and I was happy to see the new highway construction on 24 from Toledo to Fort Wayne was complete and wide open all the way to 469/69 in Fort Wayne. This makes the trip from Toledo to Indy about 4 hours. Very nice.

We arrived in Indy ahead of rush hour and we parked in the lot adjacent to the convention center early enough where we could park in a corner and right near the exit. We headed to the stadium, and not knowing where will call was, we proceeded to walk all the way around the stadium to find it. Chelsea was giving away free flags, which was nice but Tom and I are both Tottenham fans, so Chelsea is kind of the bad guys in our world. Tom grabbed one, so I did least I would have one souvenir from the trip. After a brief snafu at the will call where they only had one ticket for me, we soon had everything straightened out with both tickets in hand. We now needed to find some food and a bathroom.

The Slippery Noodle is right around the corner from the stadium and turns out to be a very large pub/restaurant. We started with 2 Black and Tans, although the Tan was not the traditional Becks, but a substitute that Tom said would be called something other than a Black and Tan. Not being a big drinker, it tasted fine with me and I do like Guinness. Once again our timing was perfect, the place was just starting to fill up and did not take long to do so.

I asked the waitress what was good on the menu, and she referred me to the Whiskey Burger, which as incredibly good. I had not eaten all day and had already downed the first drink and then my first of 3 Newcastles by the time I got the burger, so it was the best damn burger I have ever had. Tom ordered a chicken cordon bleu sandwich that he said was good as well, but he could only eat half of it.

The game started at 8pm and sometime after 7, we made our way to the stadium. After 4 beers, I was quite toasty. If Tom had ordered one more round before we left, I do not know if I would be remembering any of this right now. The streets of Indy at this point were shrouded in Chelsea blue. At least 5 of every 6 fan was a Chelsea supporter and 4 of every 5 of them was wearing an ugly blue Samsung jersey. It was going to be a home game for the Blues.

Lucas Oil stadium is quite the spectacle. The roof was open and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. Our seats were in the lower section in the corner - not too bad at all.

Surrounded by a growing sea of Chelsea Blue, we waited for the start of the game. The guy and his son in front of us were from Chicago and were at the Gold Cup championship the week before. I think the boy was a Chelsea fan. I am obviously still a bit...inebriated.

By this time, Tom was already finishing beer number 5 and you would not even notice.

The game turned out to be a mismatch as Chelsea totally dominated and Inter Milan seemed like they did not want to be there. It turns out that the Italian league teams are just now breaking camp and getting into shape as there season starts a few weeks after the other leagues. Still, Inter looked slow and not at all creative. It was a cool night and the stadium was actually air conditioned even with the roof open.

That idiot with the Chelsea scarf...him and his mates stood up and blocked our view every time Chelsea entered the offensive half of the field. The hispanic guys behind us yelled at them to stop standing up, but they still persisted for a bit longer. Tom said they asked him in Spanish if he could speak espanol, and he replied he could. They probably stopped talking about us in Spanish after that.

Chelsea won 2-0. Oscar's goal was a good one, a long shot from outside the box. Their second goal came on a penalty kick. The foul actually occurred outside the box, but the crappy ref awarded the PK.

Below was my attempt to try to get a photo of the shot...

The second half was clouded by the Ref's horrible decision to award a Red card to an Inter player about ten minutes in. This set the stage for the remaining 30 minutes to be very boring. Chelsea decided to not go for any more goals with any intensity and Inter was just as bad with 10 players as they were with 11. While at our seats, Tom had bought two more beers, both Guinness Black. Beer Count: Tom 7, Jerry 4.

The attendance for the night was 41,000. Not too bad for a friendly with two European teams in the middle of america. To Chelsea's credit, they brought on all their stars to play in the second half that were not in the starting line-up including Torres and David Luiz. The hispanic guys behind us saw our flags on the ground under the seats and tried to take them while Tom was at the restroom. After telling them they were ours, they still proceeded to take the flags. I actually took them away and held them until the end of the game. I may have come close to being beat up, but did not really care at that point. Those were our crappy Chelsea flags.

After the game, we were in no hurry, so we dropped our flags off at the car and headed a bit further into town to the bar at the base of the Omni hotel. It is a nice and roomy bar where the televisions were showing the LA Galaxy/Real Madrid match. We plopped down at a table with a couple from WV that were Inter supporters and another guy wearing a soccer jersey of a Mexican team (I think). He had no clue the game was in town and was in the bar to get some food. Tom chatted up with them while I drank another beer, my fifth on the night, followed by an iced tea. Tom had two more for the final tally: Tom 9, Jerry 5.

We headed back to the car and plugged in a Red Roof Inn on the north side into the Garmin. I either missed a turn or the Garmin was just off its game. We eventually, somehow, got to the Red Roof Inn sometime after midnight. There were two workers, one older dude training a younger woman. An energetic and lively conversation ensued about how she was young enough to be the same age as Tom's daughter (early 20's), and how she would like to take her  kids on vacation to Las Vegas when they turned 21. I think she said her oldest was 2, so she has plenty of time to save up.

With our bed secured, we headed back out to a nearly empty Denny's to get a late night meal. The waitress was happy to sit us in a secluded section and dipped into our conversation about Nazi Germany, assumingly making up a story about wanting to get a tatoo of a swastika. Whether or not that was true or not, I have no clue. Tom continued to flirt with her the rest of the evening while I concentrated on my 'Moons over My Hammy'. When I mentioned I wanted grits instead of hash browns, she gave me an odd look, which I easily took as not to order the grits. Damn...Tom could not remember her name that night and now I cannot remember it now. He did get a picture with her as we left.

Back at the hotel, we prepared for a good sleep. Check out was not until 12pm, so were planning to take full advantage.


  1. The boy was an Inter-Milan fan. He also liked Dimatir Berbatov.
    Her name was Breeyana.

    And that is one awesome picture of the penalty kick.

    1. Oh yeah, it's Bass or Harp, not Becks, for Black and Tans. And the other name would be Black and Amber for Guinness mixed with a golden beer. I had two Guinness Black Lagers each half of the game, making my total 10.