Simply The Best
With the exception of a few humorous anecdotes, I rarely post about my personal life. Because I’ve titled this site The Fantasy Football Girl, I’ve tried to keep all of the posts about, well, Fantasy Football. This time, however, I’m going to veer off topic. So, if you’re looking for stats from last weekend or tips for the coming week then check back in a bit. This one is for my girls, my city, my team, and the man who helped me to fall in love with all of them.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know that I share a birthday with Coach Mike Ditka. As a child, I remember blowing out two sets of candles each year – one for me and one for Da Coach. It may sound odd, but it was fairly commonplace for this only child being raised in Chicago by a single working mom and a doting grandfather. Because my mother worked so much, my grampa served as my primary care giver. He was a WWII vet, locomotive engineer, and die-hard Chicago sports fan. In fact, when I was in third grade he made me the most fantastic Halloween costume ever. While the other girls were dressed as fairy princesses, I went as the Cubs beloved 2nd baseman, Mr. Ryne Sandberg. Understanding this, you can imagine the “atta girl” he gave my mom when she delivered a bouncing baby girl on October 18th.
It’ll be 12 years ago this December that my grampa passed away. I miss him every day, but on my birthday, in the middle of football season is always when I miss him the most. For whatever reason, this year hit me particularly hard. So hard, in fact, that my best girlfriends in Chicago decided it was time for me to leave my current home in Los Angeles and recharge for a weekend in the Windy City.
About two minutes after landing at ORD, before I could even deplane, I received a call from Amanda. She instructed me to hurry up, get my luggage, and head outside to the passenger loading zone. She and her Honda CRV would be waiting to whisk me away for a weekend of fun… oh and welcome home!
Never one to disappoint, I rushed off the plane and scurried through the American Airlines terminal. While I was riding the escalator down to baggage claim, I noticed a gaggle of girls, huddled together, wearing Happy Birthday Princess crowns, and blowing on noise makers. WTF? Within seconds, I was greeted by Heather, Amanda, Carolyn, my Mom, and my Aunt Ruthie (my Mom and Aunt Ruthie only hung that night – there’s only so much trouble you can get into with your mom and her BFF watching, ya know?) . They were all jumping around, singing Happy Birthday at the top of their lungs, and shaking a skillfully crafted HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIZZIE sign. The lump in my throat began to rise and I knew that this was going to be a weekend I would never forget.
The next 48 hours were a joyful blur of hugs, laughter, red headed sluts, quality time, flower belts, cake soap, yelp references, peruvian corn, mojitos, drag queens, garlic burps, boys with
Puerto Rican Spanish accents, drunken dancing, taxi cabs, frozen pizza, cuddles, bloody marys, tater tots, interceptions, tears, more hugs, and even more laughter. These ladies successfully planned the most perfect weekend in the history of weekends. We scarfed Amanda’s homemade cupcakes at The Blues Bar, got manis and pedis at the fabulous Mojo Spa, dined at the super hip and yummy SushiSamba Rio, gasped and cheered at The Baton Show Lounge, flirted with the locals at Rockit, had an old fashioned slumber party until 4:30am, soothed our hangovers at Silver Cloud (they have brie burgers, people!), watched the Bears embarrass themselves at Pop’s, and started counting down the months/weeks/days until we’d all be together again.
The most perfect moment of the weekend, one that seemed to define my entire trip, occurred on Saturday night approximately one third of the way through The Baton’s spectacular review show. For those who don’t know, The Baton is the longest running and most prestigious show of its kind, featuring the very best in female impersonation and entertainment. What exactly does that mean? It’s a drag show with lots of glitter and stiff drinks.
After a group number to Shirely Bassey’s “Get the Party Started,” an awe inspiring rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” and a jaw dropping portrayal of Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time,” came the most memorable performance of the evening. From behind the rhinestone and sequin curtain stepped a Tina Turner look-a-like, wearing an enormous fur coat while dancing and lip synching to “Simply The Best.” About 30 seconds in, just before the chorus, she dropped her coat to reveal a completely bedazzled Brian Urlacher jersey turned mini dress. With the blink of a heavily made up eye, the entire room was on its feet, cheering and screaming YOU’RE SIMPLY THE BEST, BETTER THAN ALL THE REST!
This number brought down the house. It was the quintessential combination of all things expected and unexpected. It was knowing that #54 is out for the season, but loving our sh*tty team anyway. It was understanding that tomorrow morning we’d all have pounding headaches, but ordering another round regardless. It was feeling relieved to be home, but acknowledging that I didn’t have a Chicago address anymore. It was being surrounded by the women who had become like sisters to me, women I shared a history with, women who knew my grampa, who held and supported me at his wake, and who understood why birthdays were so important to me. It was, well, it was simply the best.
Thanks you ladies… for the weekend, for your friendship, for your support, and most importantly for your Bears tickets! 🙂