She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Football games against Cincinnati are some of my favorite football trips and memories. I'll share a few with you.

First, we go back to the late seventies. A hastily arranged trip to Cincy to watch the Cards play UC by me and several of my frat brothers. A night game and the plan was to go watch horse racing at nearby Latonia Race Track (now Turfway) that afternoon and then to the game. Five guys, one car, two cases of beer and a bucket of chicken. We arrive at Latonia fairly smashed and "the Fish" hits a exacta that pays over $400.

More beer and we arrive to tailgate 45 minutes before kickoff. The smell of brats in Nippert Stadium is overpowering as we enter and each guy has two or more. Louisville wins, Crazy George nearly gets into a fight in the parking lot after the game and Barry decides to drive us home on US 42 instead of I-71. Five guys taking a "potty break" behind an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere and almost running out of gas before finding a open station on Brownsboro Road.

A night halloween game in Cincy and the group Sonja and I go up with decides to dress up in costume. Jim and Lou in clown suits. Sonja and I wearing masks...( I'm George Bush and she's Jimmy Carter). Bellowing at the crowd "Four more beers!" with my mask on while in the stands. The stares. Every one deciding to spend the night in the Travelodge near campus after the Louisville win. The desk clerk asking if we wanted the two rooms for the night or for an hour. Me pretty much crawling into Jim and Lou's room at 6 a.m. and begging for aspirin.

Tailgating in the parking lot on a clear, crisp afternoon and tossing the football around with a bunch of kids. One of them Denny Crum's son. Coach sitting in a chair, watching, smiling and talking with passerbys as I make sure and toss several touchdown passes to his son. Coach coming over to sit with us at the game and giving us a brilliant, rambling commentary on Louisville's offense. Me offering Coach a nip from my bottle of Maker's that I'd smuggled in. Coach declining.

The bus many and so much fun.

Getting off the bus at UC parked behind a dorm and drinking for three straight hours before managing to get in Nippert. Losing Chris during the first half, going to find him at halftime and eventually seeing him with a whole pizza, propped up against a trash can, munching and talking to a beautiful blonde in a UC sweatshirt. Buying beers for the three of us and not making it back to the seats until the fourth quarter. That blonde telling us that she'd like to take us back to her apartment and do some pretty wild things with us. He and I declining and going back to sit with our wives. Watching Linda cook bologna on a grill after the game behind the dorm and dozens of people lined up holding pieces of white bread to get slices of burned sandwich meat fresh off the grill.

The bus trip with the "broccoli lady". Stopping at Montgomery Inn Boathouse after the game, polishing off a rack of ribs, watching her stagger around the room carrying a plate of vegetables and then listening to her deliver an impassioned, obscenity-laced and inspirational speech over the bus P.A. system on the way back to Louisville on why we need to buy UofL women's basketball season tickets.

"Those f'cking Lady f'cking Cards are f'cking great and you f'cking need to buy f'cking tickets, f'ckers!"

Sitting in the snow one year at the UC game in Nippert with the late Don French, while the majority of the bus riders bailed out and went into a dorm lobby on campus and watched the game on TV. Don and I finishing all the "airport" bottles he smuggled in and then several of us getting lost on the way back to the bus.

Having to enter Nippert Stadium one year through the Shoemaker Arena because of construction and seeing (then) coach Bob Huggins in the hallway. Walking over to him, shaking his hand and then delivering a rambling, dis-jointed speech to him about BIG EAST basketball while he warily eyed me and was probably wondering what the hell were all these UofL fans doing in his basketball arena...They fired Bob several months later. I can't help but think he was glad to get out of there...

Me and MArkie-MArk grilling tons of meat for the bus riders, using two antiquated charcoal grills on a gravel road 13 blocks from the stadium during a tailgate and giving most of it away to college students. The bus driver almost knocking over a fire-hydrant while trying to park and the memorable frozen pound hunk of hamburger we cooked and subsequently gave away to a guy who put it between two buns and ate it in front of us....juice rolling down his chin and all over his white sweat shirt. He said it was the best burger he ever had. We think he was just stoned and hungry.

Last year at Paul Brown Stadium, meeting former UC basketball great Herb Jones supervising a concession stand booth and talking his ear off for the entire second quarter. Leaving the game, encountering three Cincinnati policemen and getting into a bargaining session with them...trying to buy their white uniform hats. The officers good-naturedly playing along and offering to give us a golf-cart ride back to where the bus was parked. Sonja's memorable parting comment..."No, that's OK. He's drunk and needs to walk it off."

Had me some great fun on the road at UC football games. My kind of town.

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