There’s no surer sign that you’ve become an old man than when you embark on a weekend baseball excursion, and call the party over before 1 a.m. the first night and head to a Burger King.
So here we are: I, Dylan Goforth, admit that I am old. It’s been nearly 48 hours since I got back from the trip and my back and knees are still sore from the drive back from Chicago, and my stomach still hasn’t adjusted back to normal food after three days of nonstop ballpark food.
Two friends and I took off on our little journey last Friday, hitting up Kansas City, St. Louis and then Chicago on a sort-of “Mid-Life Crisis Tour.” We’re all in our 30s now, and due to work and family, we don’t get to see as much of each other as we used to.
After the last weekend, I think we’ve possibly hit our yearly quota. When we left from Tulsa, we had grand plans. An old friend of mine lived in Kansas City and we had a hotel just a few blocks away from the Power and Light District. Dreams of partying all night as we did in our 20s dangled in front of us.
Surely, we thought, we can go hard like we used to for at least one night.
Nope. Actually, our all-night plans ended almost immediately when my buddy from KC informed me he couldn’t stay out past midnight because he had his daughter the next morning. OK, no problem, I told him. We’ll party on in his sted.
I hope he never reads this, because what really happened is that as soon as he left, so did we. We hit up a Burger King (dubbed the Whopper Bar, so you can tell your friends you were at the bar all night without shame,) across the street from Power and Light.
We Ubered back to our hotel and realized we were in bed before 1 a.m. We consoled ourselves by pointing out that we needed to leave early the next morning to make it to St. Louis in time for that game, and our plan was to leave immediately after and drive to Chicago so we could spend all day there.
We got to St. Louis early enough the next day to check out the Arch (but not go up in it,) and then to see Jon Hamm (Don Draper on Mad Men) waltzing around downtown before the game.
If you know anything about old Don Draper, you know he was a man who was not afraid to booze it up without shame. The same can not be said of our little group, however. One night after our Whopper Bar experience, we all decided not to drink any in St. Louis, instead opting for water and soda. Real cool, guys.
At this point, we were still holding onto the idea that we were going to tear it up in Chicago, even though I think we all knew in the back of our heads that this was not going to happen.
I don’t think we should shoulder all the blame for the pathetic display I’m about to describe to you. As soon as the Cardinals game ended, we hopped in the car and took off for Chicago, with an estimated time of arrival of 2 a.m.
(Side note: The driver in our group is adamant that only Phillips 66 gas is good enough for his new Ford Explorer, so that led us to a place called Fairmont City. As we pulled up to the gas station, we were passed by a guy on an ATV popping a midnight wheelie like he was in a DMX video.)
So anyway, we got to Chicago (actually a suburb called Villa Park) at 2 a.m. with an 8 a.m. wakeup call. I won’t speak for the rest of the group, but when I woke up Sunday, it felt like not only was my body rejecting the idea of any more alcohol or ballpark food, it was rejecting the very idea of human existence.
But still, we carried on. I won’t recount for you what our downtown Chicago parking experience was like (bad,) but I will say that we made it downtown in one piece.
We also made it to an unseasonably warm game. It was so hot (we sat in the left field bleachers, a place shade hasn’t touched since U.S. Cellular Field was designed) that we had to alternate innings — two innings watching the game, one cooling off in the breezeway.
At this point all my friends were texting me with suggestions for where to go out after the game. We were staying at the Intercontinental (Thanks, Priceline.com!) on Michigan Avenue, so the possibilities were endless.
So were our excuses, it turns out. We hit up a Gino’s pizza, but even that didn’t happen without misstep. Who knew there were two Gino’s on the east side just miles apart? Apparently everyone, judging by the reaction of our Uber driver, who mocked us for requesting a ride from one Gino’s to another Gino’s.
I will say that Gino’s was probably the highlight of the trip for me. I was looking at that beautiful deep dish pizza and I was picturing all the things I’d eaten that weekend. Like, there was a debate in my mind if this thing was going to actually kill me.
But while I wussed out for most of the weekend, no amount of fear is going to keep me from pizza, so I ate way too much. Actually we all did, which is why instead of going downtown and doing something cool, we hitched a ride to a movie theater close to our hotel and watched Straight Outta Compton.
By the time the movie was over, we all looked at each other with the realization that it was now after 10 p.m., and if we were going to get out of Chicago at a healthy hour, that meant getting up at 6 a.m. So goodbye dreams of ripping up Chicago, hello cramming three people into two hotel beds.
Hello 6 a.m. alarms going off.
Hello 12-hour drive back home.
Hello literally six hours of nothing on either side of the highway except corn.
Whatever, it was worth it. I think, as a group, we’ve decided that the next stop of our Mid-Life Crisis Tour will be the Run The Jewels concert at Cain’s Ballroom in October.
If three days of not really partying on our baseball trip doesn’t hammer home the fact that we’re pathetic old men, just wait till you see the three of us at a rap concert.