I've been putting this off for a while because the wound is still fresh

I love my routine game-day walk to the Horseshoe. It usually starts off innocuously enough and then builds, as I approach the screaming, undulating scarlet blotch of a stadium, to a helicopter-whipped "Fall of Saigon"-like mix of chaos and revelry tinged with threats of impending dread & violence (I embrace chaos & revelry, but try to avoid those other 2). Naturally, this tumult teeters to a steaming head before a BIG GAME like we had here last week. Here's a little view from my shoes:

Even Alana's patrons and servers--a crowd not particularly known for their rah-rah attitudes (can you blame them?)--seemed to be feeling it

Cue the Sonic Youth song--It's all about (a mostly teenage) riot control outside of the Varsity Club

I'm not much of a tailgater, but I got my gaiter on last week to catch up with a few members of my family who came in for the game. This flatscreen/satellite dish set-up made things pretty easy

ESPN's Gameday guys were right in front of my usual seats (I sometimes get to use the family's 50 yardliners, but I have no complaints with these, that's for sure). Lee Corso looks even more like Mel Brooks in person!

Some idiot kept making this arcane finger arrangement in front of me even during important plays,even in the tense moments during the tight game's 2nd half. I finally determined it stood for "please throw stale, low-quality, stadium-sold popcorn at me" & thus I complied.

Contrast this sad, dark photo of a closed-down Alana's at midnight w/the sunny, hopeful scene depicted at the beginning of this blog entry, and you'll get a taste of how the "arc of the evening" went for me (I'm trying hard to view the pretty little planter as a good sign for the rest of the still-young season)

Except for an inconsequential over-grilled piece of chicken gobbled at the tailgate party--between hiccups of laughter at an overinflated Charlie Weiss & a thoroughly deflated Notre Dame team comically blowing another game on a flatscreen in front of me-- this was basically my "dinner": peanuts and glass after glass of straight bourbon at Dick's Den until the place closed and I was sufficiently anesthetized for a woobly flop into a forgetful, dreamless sleep. Of course, the next morning, regret ruled my day.