First, we found a place to park. Minor miracle.
Once we hit the sidewalk, and the light rain, we decided we were starving. Every place in sight was packed with Final Fouriegners. Every place but Einstein's. Probably because they serve bagels and sandwiches which contain very low amounts of alcohol.
Might also be because it takes 5 people to make two sandwiches at a time and Einstein.
Regardless, with our needles off of empty, we headed to the concerts.
With just a few minutes to make the walk, we hustled our collective bustle through the throngs, scurry scurry fast so we wouldn't miss anyth-
"Hey look, a fountain!"... wouldn't miss anything.
We got there just in time to hear the worst MC on the planet. Let's play "How many times can you scream 'Let me here youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu'." Uhg... this doofus made me glad to see Ryan Seacrest, and that's unforgivable.
Darius Rucker used to be Hootie. As in "...and the Blowfish." Now he's a country music star. I am not making this up. I also am not a country music fan. I would have preferred some Blowfish. Luckily, he did a couple Hootie songs.
During the other songs, I looked around at the crowd, which was pretty big, and a little heavy on the, how should I say, El Trasho Blanco. I'd never been to a country music concert. I was thinking that if this is the country music concert crowd, I'm not sure I'll make a second country music concert.* But after closer inspection, I decided that this wasn't as much a country music concert crowd as a free concert crowd.
Hootie/Darius. Trust me, he's up there. Wearing a ball cap.
Oh, and he's the only black guy within 4 square miles not working security.
The free concert crowd included a drunk grandma directly behind me repeatedly screaming "I LOVE YOU DARIUSH!" Immediately in front of us were the newlyweds. The new groom was sporting a front tooth half eaten away from a cavity gone all China Syndrome. To my right was a teenage(?) girl who sucked on one of her fingers for the entire concert and then told her friend "Rachel, I don't know you". I bet this was good news to Rachel.
Next up was Daughtry (AHHHHHHHHHHH!) (The world's worst MC also enjoyed screeching "Are you ready for DAUGHTRYYYEEEEEEEEEEE?", to which the crowd reflexively screamed ("AHHHHHHHHHHH!"). We can forgive them for this, they don't get out much.
Daughtry is the bald guy.
Daughtry(AHHHHHHHHHHH!) was spawned from American Idol. I don't watch American Idol. I liked Daughtry(AHHHHHHHHHHH!) anyway.
Ok, enough with the (AHHHHHHHHHHH!).
As soon as the Daughtry was donetry, we bolted to Champps ("The extra P is for what our light beer tastes like!") to watch the Butler (Yea!) vs. Michigan State (Boo!) game. We'd stopped by there hoping for some lunch earlier but the wait was well over an hour. (remember where we ended up eating? That's right! Einstein! I'm so glad you're paying attention.) Sierra, the extremely nice checker-inner girl, had a thing for me, or the girlfriend, because she told us if we'd call at 4:30 she'd put us at the top of the list for a table.
We got there about 5:30 and the line was easily 100 people deep... and nearly all 100 were dressed in green and white. And they looked weary. From standing in line. For a very, very long time.
We, on the other hand, knew Sierra. We skipped past the Spartan faithful and asked for our new BFF. She said there was someone cashing out and we'd be seated in a few minutes. Sweet!
This is one of those moments that defines one's character. I looked at the line of green and white and decided that us getting in to what was obviously a Michigan State bar, instead of them, was bad karma. And might get me beaten up.
So, we opted to take our chances and go elsewhere. PF Chang's was right across the hall. Two seats at the bar! Perfect!! What? Excuse me? You can't play the audio of the game? It's not wired that way?? Was it wired by someone who hates you?
Whoosh out the door we went. We landed at Rock Bottom. Packed, but at least there wasn't a line to get in. Nowhere to sit, but half MSU and half Butler mix. Plenty of TVs and audio. If I can stand for 3 hours for free concerts at the shallow end of the gene pool, I can stand for a Final Four semifinal. This'll work.
We had beers within 5 minutes. Great spot by the bar. Player introductions. Couldn't be better.
Then, right next to the girlfriend, a lady gets up and leaves. An empty bar stool! Perhaps the only empty bar stool in greater Marion County. The girlfriend snags it.
Sometime before halftime, the guy sitting next to her decides to go sit with his buds. Suddenly, I have a stool, too!
This, my friends, is karma coming back.
I sat next to 3 juniors from Michigan State, Steve, Jeff, and Logan. Good kids. My only problem with them was this: They exclaimed that the Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy in sports. I corrected them, reminding them that actually the Borg-Warner Trophy is the greatest trophy is sports. To this they replied "The what?"
After a heated, passionate explanation of the history, significance, and beauty of the Borg-Warner Trophy, which didn't penetrate their beer-addled brains, I decided to overlook their small world view.
They were very excited, very passionate and mostly respectful. Until, when the Spartans were down by a few with 5 minutes to go, Steve said "Man, Butler's not legit. We can't lose to these guys. "
5 minutes later they were totally heartbroken when their Spartans fell to the lowly, illegitimate Butler Bulldogs.
That, too, my friends, is karma coming back.
Numbers: 1.4 miles on grass. Achilles was a-killin' me this morning. Lots of stretching seems to have helped.
* I'm not trying to be a snob, here. It actually comes quite naturally.