The notion of getting season tickets for the Bears appeals to me intellectually. In reality, season tickets for the Bears would mean enduring a harsh climate in the latter part of the season as there is no roof at Soldier Field. Then I thought about what might be a better idea. Season tickets for the Blackhawks AND season tickets for the Lyric Opera. Both are near my workplace. Both are of interest to me. Both have civilized patrons (I work in a major train station and the Hawks fans are very well behaved in the building and out in front while they wait for the bus to United Center and, well, headbutting and rudeness doesn't seem to occur to opera fans). Both offer a huge spectacle. And I can't afford decent seats at either venue.
I have enjoyed fourth row seats at the Lyric Opera and it is magical. I have endured upper balcony seats at the Lyric Opera and while I enjoyed the music and the show, the seats up there are particuarly narrow with no leg room. I saw "The Barber of Seville," with terrific Nathan Gunn in the role of Figaro, attending with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. All three are thin and my sister is not at all tall. We all complained bitterly about how uncomfortable we were. If you are in the fourth row on the main floor, the seats are comfortable and there is enough leg room and you are swept into the performance. I could seriously scrape together enough scratch for a season of upper balcony thrills at the Lyric Opera and while I might not enjoy it as much as the main floor, each opera features world-class singers, costumes, and sets and each would give me a lovely memory plus some leg pain.
I have been to just one Blackhawks game -- at the old Stadium -- and someone spilled a beer down my back. I don't know how much a season ticket is but I wager it is more than I can afford, even up in the rafters. I might not even mind being up in the rafters so much as the venue is newer than the opera and probably not as cramped. I don't think hockey offers quite as lovely an experience as the opera but it can be poetry in its own way.
When I was a younger woman, I had friend who would buy a pair of Lyric Opera season tickets so she could bring a guest to each performance. As they were season tickets, the people sitting next to her were always the same. I accompanied her to the final show of the season and at the end of the opera, the woman next to her said, "It was a lovely season," got up and swept into the crowd. The opera is the most civilized arts performance one could ever hope to attend.
Having seen the polite (opera patrons, Hawks fans) and the less than polite (Cubs fans, people attending the Taste of Chicago, suburban louts -- daily commuters and visitors -- who probably don't realize that manners are for use every day in all situations and not just for people who can do something for them), I am seriously thinking about saving and saving and saving and tackling a season of nothing but hockey and/or opera. Both would be great! Until that time, I can sit and dream of what those sitting next to me at the United Center would say at the end of the season. In the perfect world between my ears, I can dream that it would also be a lovely season.
My sympathies to the family, friends, and fans of late Chicago Bears great, Dave Duerson. As soon as I heard of his suicide at age 50, I wondered what would become of his brain. As it turned out, so did Mr. Duerson. He had sent text messages to family members asking that it be donated to the Center for Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University, which studies Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. He is the first ex-NFL player to request that his brain be examined upon his death. I was very moved to hear he had asked that his brain be donated for study, a final act of respect and concern for his fellow players, past, present, and future.
Read Alan Schwartz's article about Mr. Duerson and CTE here: