Game Day. What do I wear?
This morning I wished I knew more about football. Three players and their extremely nice coach got in the elevator with me. Because I watched Last Chance U and had learned the game day jacket and tie tradition I figured out quickly, they were players. The jackets and the fact they looked like earthquakes. They could not have been more gracious with this annoying Paddy. Good luck whichever team!
The concierge at the DoubleTree recommended Peggs for breakfast. I googled Pigs relentlessly for directions. I found the place eventually. These accents.
Peggs: They gave me the worst seat in the house. It’s a hopping local breakfast favorite and I just beat the waits. My omelet was delicious, the coffee passable and the very young staff couldn’t have been nicer.
More books bought today. I talked a bit with Jim Linty working the counter at Idle Hours Bookstore, another grand little spot. Jim, of Polish descent, helps out his daughter out at her store weekends. I unnecessarily bought The Boat, first edition, the basis for Das Boot, the greatest and most accurate submarine movie ever made. Never realized it was based on a book. Someone has to keep these independent bookstores breathing.
I chatted for a good stretch with Elisa and Phil Kukirlski while waiting for the game shuttle from the Hotel. Again, coincidentally, they were well traveled in Galway. Phil is a 1970 grad but it was Elisa’s first home game. They were kind enough to verse me in game day events and traditions and walk me the right direction for Touchdown Jesus.
Phil, retired from journalism in Rhode Island, versed me in the history of ND and how marketing and football turned around the fortunes of what was a lesser school. Elisa proudly told me about their world traveler daughter Tina, Executive Director of Art21 in NYC, and Tina was previously a curator at The Whitney. Tina is also an executive for Art on the 21st Century on PBS. I will give it a watch. I think I got the details right.
One of the game management crew informed me on the sly that ND don’t well against teams that wear red. I called my bookie.
After watching the team and band arrive to the stadium, I took a walk around the impressive Snite Museum since it was right there. The Mexican/Mayan/Olmec Dragon and the Goddess exhibit were worth a peek as was the hall of old masters. I found the Lynch Fragments pieces oddly appealing. University College Galway has faded posters of the doors and bars of Ireland and a couple of old Boomtown Rats flyers.
I’m so well rounded. I’m all cultured and sporty today.
Pre-Kick Off: AC/DC and Dropkick Murphys blaring through the stadium speakers and some eejit jigging around dressed as a leprechaun. I’m all in! How much does that poor little gobshite of a leprechaun get paid? Tell me it’s not some destitute student volunteer.
OK. Let me retract on the “I’m all sporty” claim. I got antsy and left before the second half. All in all a delightful experience but I wanted to put more miles on the clock.
Kyle Loopy, a 25 year old local, stopped me to talk as I walked back from the stadium. He told me to always remember him and assured me of two things.
1. He’s the nicest guy I will every meet.
2. He’s got the dumbest fucking name in the world.
Noted Kyle. Next beer is on me.
I walked the two miles from the stadium, back to the parked Escalade, then drove the 240 miles to Peoria, IL. Part of this leg I traveled on Historic Route 66, historic in that it has not been repaved since 1966 judging by the look and feel of it. It was a gray, rainy drive but I got to see a lot of open countryside again, via the back roads.
Random song that picked me up when I hit a four hour driving wall: “Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
I last minute checked in online again at the Holiday Inn Express, Peoria at 11 PM. I’ve no particular reason to be here besides the fact its further west.
With limited, late options available I did some fine dining at Prime Steakburger, home of the #1 Rated Zagat Milkshake. Not a lot of Zagat voters in the joint that I could make out. I smell like a deep fat fryer.
Very good burger though.
Hotel: $145 Expensive Hotel Day – Peoria must be popular on Saturday Nights. A few dollars off on Hotel Tonight.
Now that Indiana is in my rear-view here are my film and book favorites set there:
Crimes in Southern Indiana (Short Stories. I avoided Southern Indiana after reading it) &
Underground Airlines (not to be confused with the also excellent Underground Railroad released the same year)
A History Of Violence (Viggo Mortessen’s best role)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Natural Born Killers
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
A Christmas Story
I’d be remiss not to mention Hoosiers but its a bit too nice for me. It was called Best Shot back in Ireland. We’d have thought Hoosiers was about a vacuum cleaner salesman or something. Dennis Hopper should have been nominated for Blue Velvet in 1986, not this! Now that’s my kind of film!