So I took a trip to Chicago on Saturday morning, riding the Amtrak from Indianapolis to Chi-Town’s Union Station for a weekend of Windy City Madness. The plan was to meet our resident legal expert “Booter” early Saturday, find an appropriate sports bar and watch football all day, culminating in the USC-Ohio State contest that night. Then Sunday would be made famous as the first time Phillips had ever stepped foot inside the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
As I stepped off the train in Chicago at 10:30 a.m. Central time, Booter was there waiting, having arrived just before me on his train down from Milwaukee. We briskly walked, luggage in hand, to the Tilted Kilt at 17 North Wabash, and grabbed two seats at the bar. We parked our bags on seats next to us and settled in. We had tentative plans to take off to another location at some point during the day but nothing solid. Those plans never materialized. We sat at that bar until kickoff of the Buckeye-Trojan matchup some eight hours later.
Here’s something you have to understand about our day at the Tilted Kilt: We basically became friends with the entire staff. Our lovely waitresses and Chris, the extremely hung over bartender who helped attend to us, all seemed to be loving our company. We talked sh*t, joked around, got a few free drinks, the whole nine yards. It sort of became a running joke that we had needed to move in to the restaurant because none of our friends in the city would step up and give us a place to stay.
We watched as Central Michigan pulled one out against Sparty, Michigan shocked Notre Dame (and only Notre Dame, since everyone else on the planet knew the Irish sucked) and UCLA snuck by Tennessee (much to UCLA-alum Booter’s delight). We yelled at televisions for most of the day, sometimes getting riled up, but never going into “obnoxious guy at the bar” mode. Unlike, say the 250 Notre Dame fans in attendance, who cursed everything from the officials and Charlie Weis’ “gunt” to the Virgin Mother’s obvious hatred of all things just and right. Seriously, they were the definition of far too vulgar.
By the time the USC game kicked off, I was pretty well marinated. A combination of at least eight beers, two shots of Jameson and a Car bomb in the course of eight hours when you haven’t slept much because you were up at 3 a.m. to catch your train, will do that to you. Around that time our two lady friends, Opperman and Schrank showed up to join us and (hopefully) revel in the glory that would be a Trojan victory.
As the first half progressed and USC looked fairly anemic, I got a tad riled up. I dropped an F-bomb or 14, usually garnering a laugh from Katie, our lovely bartender (pictured above) at the time who, according to her (and anyone with eyes), has “the best boobs on the planet.”
The game continued and midway through the second half with the score 15-10 Ohio State, things were getting desperate. Each Trojan failure garnered more despair for yours truly. I was careful to never go over the line though. I would occasionally tap the bar, or swear under my breath, but nothing even close to what the throng of at least 50 Buckeye fans would yell every time Terrelle Pryor tossed another errant pass.
With about nine minutes left in the game, Dan Herron took a handoff on second and four from the USC 35-yard line for a short gain, barely getting a first down. In a moment of weakness I yelled “F*ck you!” at the television, less than thrilled since the game was not going the Trojans’ way. A passing manager at the bar who we hadn’t seen all day immediately turned and barked “You know what, you’re out of here.”
Completely confused I asked if the beefy gentleman was joking, or completely batsh*t insane. He didn’t find that funny either. Booter, who had been playing darts with Opperman and Schrank, approached the bar and asked basically the same question I did. The entire waitstaff looked at the chunky manager as if he was crazy, considering we’d all become friendly. He didn’t like being questioned by his staff, or two patrons who had dropped nearly $300 during the course of the day, so he called over two bouncers who reluctantly informed us that we’d have to leave.
As they escorted Booter and myself out, everyone we passed apologized and claimed to not know what the manager’s problem was. The two bouncers were very friendly and both said they thought it was complete bullsh*t that we were being tossed. They shook our hands and wished us a pleasant evening.
As we left and walked towards the “L” to head towards Opperman and Schrank’s apartment crazy stuff was running through my head. As far as I knew there were less than nine minutes left and Ohio State was driving for a clinching score in a big game. On top of that I had just been tossed from a sports bar for swearing. What the hell had the world come to? Ohio State was going to pull out a big win and there was no emotionally charged cursing allowed at 11 p.m. at a sports bar where the waitresses are dressed like slutty Scottish school girls? What planet was I on?
Dejected and depressed, I tried to get reports on the game from my Blackberry, but the updates weren’t coming that fast. Then I had this exchange via text message (copied directly) with Dr. Chuck (my dad):
Dad (mobile): DID YOU WATCH THE SC GAME?
Me: No, I got thrown out of the bar for swearing. Please tell me we won.
Dad (mobile): We won 18-15
Me: SWEET I dropped an F bomb at the bar we had been at since 11 am and a manager thought it was grounds to throw us our with 9 mins left.
Dad (mobile): WAS THE BOUNCER WEARING AN O ST TEE SHIRT???
Apparently I was laughing so hard and in such amused bliss by the news that I forgot to respond with a “Shockingly, no. He was just a d-bag who hadn’t gotten laid in a while.”
To recap, this is what was running through my brain in the midst of all this:
1. Ohio State had shown up to play against one of the best big game teams in college football and was on their way to clinching the game.
2. I had just gotten thrown out of a sports bar for swearing.
3. I have seen basically every moment of every USC game for the past decade and was going to miss the end of this one.
4. My new Blackberry’s sports updates suck.
5. My father has now mastered texting and even knows that all-caps equals excitement.
6. A true freshman quarterback had gone into the Horseshoe, looked average all game, then busted out an amazing, insane, game-winning drive with a badly bruised shoulder.
7. I missed it.
So yeah, I was thoroughly enjoying my time at the Tilted Kilt, then I got thrown out and missed Matt Barkley’s nationally televised Bar Mitzvah because a douchey idiot manager apparently doubles as an officer for the language police.