Happy hump day. Its gonna be a long three more days, but I can make it. I worked a day shift today, then back on Cold side tomorrow. Friday and Saturday, I am working garde mo middle. Which basically means I help prep for anyone in the weeds and during service I jump between hot and cold side, plating both hot and cold apps. This station has been in place for quite some time, but for the past few weeks, we haven't had anyone to work it, because Aaron, the third garde mo cook, was at a bachelor party then getting married. So, the pressure is off of me, I just have to bust ass and listen to whatever anyone says, something I'm getting good at.
Sunday Morning, around four, I start my journey home. I fly to Chicago at 6, then I'll be in Indianapolis at 10. It'll be the first time I've set foot in my hometown in about four and a half months. And at 12 O'clock sharp, I'll stroll into Lucas oil stadium. It's been a year since I've sat in her seats, basked in the sunshine with the roof open, and seen my boys take the field. From the looks of it, it could be a half strength colts team that takes the field, but hey, with number 18 at the helm, I have few worries.
The colts are undefeated at home. The mighty undefeated chiefs are coming in off of a bye week and will be well rested, but this colts team will be out to prove to its home fans that there is no slump this year. Our back ups will be raring to go, jacked up by the opportunity to prove themselves on the big stage. And Peyton, in his relentless pursuit of perfection, will have fine tuned the offense to ensure that the Indianapolis colts stay on the trail of a tenth straight playoff berth.
When I got home this evening, I turned on my computer, and eventually went to nfl.com to check my fantasy team. An ad came up in one of the windows. As I watched it, I smiled. A tear rolled down my face and it really hit me. I'm going home.
Without a doubt, one of the best feelings in the world is the journey to the game. Back when I lived at home, it went something like this. Put yourself in my shoes. Sunday morning, wake up, shower, put on your jersey. It's 11 30, and the game starts at one. Your sister is still in the bathroom straightening her hair at 11 45. You're losing patience by the second. You grab the keys. You tell her to hurry up. You sit in the car for a few minutes and she comes out. You turn on the colts pregame show as you pull out of the driveway. Bob Lamey. Gotta love him. You get on the interstate. You turn off Bob Lamey and switch it to rap. Your sister starts laughing maniacally and saying stuff like "OH MY FUCKING GOD!" You remain calm. Then, as you make the curve around downtown, you see it. You see the roof of Lucas Oil Stadium sliding open. You see the house that Peyton built. And it hits you. You're going going to see the greatest athlete of an era. You grew up watching this team struggle. You watched the 36-0 losses. And now they're on top. And you witnessed every step along the way. First hand.
Then you move to New York and don't get game coverage on the local CBS network. The team you love seems so far away. You can't handle that any more. Your other teams across a fucking ocean for Christ's sake. You listen to your team's games on the internet. You can't watch. You can only imagine the ball being fired across the field to an open receiver. You can only imagine Freeney spinning inside the lineman and catching the quarterback off guard. You're miserable. But your team is thriving. You're team is in the Super Bowl, and you're helpless to see them fall to a Saints team that frankly wasn't that good. They had balls and capitalized on colts mistakes. You're crushed.
Then, A year after moving to New York and four months after moving to wisconsin, you get off work from a busy dinner service at a fine dining restaurant after Midnight on Saturday. You go home, and pack. You don't sleep. How could you? You're done packing and it's two. You make a sandwich, and you call a cab. You go to the airport, and your flight leaves at 6. You stop in chicago, you're obviously wearing your Dallas Clark jersey, and still bragging about 07 when the colts beat the bears to anyone who comments on your choice of attire.
Then, while asleep on the plane, you jump out of your seat, the stewardess has just called for tray tables up, you're starting your descent. Your nose is glued to the window, Then, you break through a layer of clouds, and you see your city. You see the Speedway, and you see the highways. You're looking for it. You know you'll have to see it. And you can't help but get the chills, when you do. Its a beautiful October Sunday and the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium is open. It's gone as fast as it arrived, but you'll be reunited shortly. Touchdown. You drive home from the airport. You lay down for a power nap. You wake up, it's 11 45 and your sister is still straightening her hair. But you know what, you're fine with it this time, because you realize it's all part of the experience.
Did I mention there's a puppy waiting for you?
Hell, NFL.com should just follow me on Saturday/Sunday. I'd make a hell of a lot better commercial than some drunk Sconnies (Wisconsinites) in a bus and a few geriatric Patriot fans on a boat somewhere.