I’m safely back in Chicago sitting on my couch not watching Game #5 of the World Series because it is not even necessary and despite my Tiger’s loss, I couldn’t really be any more happy. After 600 miles in our Lincoln MKX rental, three major sporting events in 28 hours, two stops at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, a bunch of other food that I shouldn’t have eaten, beers, rum, Bloody Marys, wine, freezing cold temperatures, Ugly dolls in photo bombs and so many other things… I am content!
This whole thing was an amazing experience. When I booked my hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn on Brush Street blocks from the stadiums in Detroit I hoped for a sports weekend and a life weekend beyond compare. In my vision the Tigers would be up 2-0 as we went to the games at Comerica on Saturday and Sunday but the fact that they weren’t only subtly changed the whole energy. In fact maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be after all.
Sometimes you here people say that you can’t really go home again. I beg to differ. Being in Detroit over the last few days could not have been any more precious to me even if the Tigers had closed out the World Series in four games as champions instead of getting swept. To me it’s about the experience more than the result. We had experiences that were valuable to me and I am all too lucky to be with a partner who can understand that my journey is of great value even if it does not strike a direct personal cord with her. I can’t thank CJ enough for forgoing a typical Halloween weekend of costumes and fun. Instead she got to freeze her ass off on Saturday night in Comerica Park. Do it again on Sunday night in the rain (although on that night we got some extra help from our little friends). Sandwiched in between those were four hours in a warmer and considerably louder Ford Field. I am so lucky in so many ways.
So what made it so special you ask?
Maybe it was the first sandwich at Zingerman’s as we waited in line for an hour in front of a young girl from Ohio who was scouting U of M’s Medical school and had heard that the line was worth the wait? Maybe it was arriving in Detroit on the night of a World Series game and walking around town stopping at a dive bar named Bookie’s for a rum and coke served by my native Detroiter co-worker from Chicago who went home for the weekend to work at his buddy’s bar? Maybe it was walking to Greektown and eating Gyros at Pegasus at 1:00 a.m after the first Tiger’s loss? Maybe it was sitting at Pappy’s at 10:oo am on Sunday morning with a bloody mary chatting with a guy who just dropped his daughter off at the Detroit Opera House for her Nutcracker rehearsal? Maybe it was being in Ford Field as the Lions came from behind and pulled out the only Detroit win of the weekend? Maybe it was a mid-afternoon dinner at Detroit Seafood Market enjoying crab legs with a server that looked surprised that his downtown restaurant was so busy on a Sunday afternoon? Maybe it was that we luckily had seats in one of the worst sections in the stadium in theory but in reality we were the only 500 people out of 42,000 that were sheltered from the rain based on wind and the overhang situation? Maybe it was my 5-Guys burger and fries at midnight after the Game #4 loss? Maybe it was watching Discovery Channel at 1:00 a.m in bed as we fell asleep on Sunday night? Maybe it was that second stop at Zingerman’s for Monday lunch instead of settling for a roadside Panera? Maybe it was CJ napping on her lumbar supported, heated seat from Battle Creek to St. Joe?
In fact it was actually all of those things that made the experience way more than the result. In the old days I might have been despondent as a result of the Tiger’s loss but nowadays it just isn’t as big a deal as it used to be. I loved the event. I loved the experience. I loved the time together and I truly love and am content to be who I am in the moment whatever that moment delivers.
In a strange way I fared even better with the game #4 loss than I would have if they had won. You see the tickets I bought for the World Series cost me a good few bucks for all three games. It was luck that I sold the extra tickets for the Saturday and Sunday night games at enough of a profit that it underwrote a pretty good portion of our expense to attend those games. Monday’s potential game was another story. With the Tiger’s being behind, bad weather and desperation in the mix, the tickets to Monday’s potential game were worth way less then we payed for them. As a result of the loss I can get a full refund at face value from MLB. I would have gladly lost a few bucks to see the Tigers advance to a game #5 but the silver lining is definitely there.
I live in a city where opportunity and and big weekends come on an all too often basis. Our restaurant is full almost all the time. People are at a fever pitch on a routine Tuesday in August. We all have the chance to make good money pretty much every night of every week. Being in Detroit this weekend made me realize in many ways that this was the Holy Grail for them. Parking places that were $100 on Sunday were $5 on Monday morning. Hotel rooms that were $500 on Saturday night were totally empty on Monday. Vendors were selling World Series merchandise at full price on Saturday, 2 for 1 on Sunday afternoon and at 4 for 1 on Sunday night. The opportunities just aren’t there and it oh so pains me to see it in a city that longs for better times and that I love so well. But in the end equilibrium will reset itself as it always does. Those who are used to having opportunity routinely will continue to take it for granted. Those who see it only once in a great while will treasure it and maybe even take advantage of it a bit too desperately.
Detroit folks have that perseverance gene built into their genetic makeup. Down but not forgotten. Beaten in the battle but still ready to fight the war. Friendly, hopeful, opportunistic, and at times desperate but not despondent. What a weekend in my old home town. So many special experiences. So simple yet so valuable.
I couldn’t have hoped for any other outcome and even if I had it wouldn’t have been any better…
My $1000 worth of tickets at face value would have been worth $5000 if Verlander was pitching in game #5 with a World Series win in the fold. They would have been worthless if that game had been played with the Tigers down 1-3 on a cold rainy Monday night in Downtown Detroit. As it is now I get a face value refund from MLB as I said above. It’s a break even or a slight loss and I’m totally fine with that. What an experience…