There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.
Well, fuck. The ‘Cats are at it again.
Yep, per the Chicago Tribune and I’m sure a thousand other blog and news outlets, Northwestern will return to Wrigley Field for a November 7, 2020 matchup with the wisconsin fucking badgers, of all teams.
Reports had long suggested that Northwestern would return to the ballpark on Addison and Waveland to which it has no attachment other than “Hey, we’re kinda close-by, want to try and make 10 million people care about a care who they already don’t root for?” by 2020, against a non-”guaranteed sell-out” opponent like Maryland, wisconsin, or Penn State, and if you’ve spit out your coffee either at this egregious run-on sentence or the idea of Northwestern acknowledging that some of its games might be non-”guaranteed sell-outs”, know that some of us are screaming into the ether along with your laughter.
I didn’t bother reading the press release where Jim Phillips and Tom Ricketts assure us of things like
- brand partnership
- Chicago’s Big Ten Team
- two-way football
- like a bowl game
You know what else is “like a bowl game,” you jabronis? The actual fucking bowl games to which Northwestern has pretty consistently gone under Pat Fitzgerald! Goddamnit, why this insecure need to invent another fucking bowl game?
To clear one thing up that just hopped into my head [shut up, this isn’t an organized rant, I’m not Thump], let’s distinguish the “historical losers” thing that’s long differentiated Northwestern and the Cubs: Northwestern sucked because of actual, legitimate forces that kept them from being a good team.
The Cubs humped a table leg for 70 years while promising fans they were reaaaaally trying to lose their virginity, and finally paid a nice hooker a few thousand bucks to break the streak.
Man, fuck this so hard.
Northwestern has now taken a home game, in November (which I understand is because the Cubs will definitely be winning their 4th World Series since the fall of the Ottoman Empire by then), when all the trappings of Ryan Field’s mystery grass and lakefront wind make the 10,000 empty seats howl with the ghosts of Joel Stave interceptions past, and given it away for hundreds of thousands more on the bottom line.
And it’ll be a success, of course. Gameday will come and make a few jokes about the last time Northwestern played at Wrigley. I’m sure Joe Madden or someone will be the guest picker. Tom Ricketts will float more bullshit about how attached he is to Northwestern. And Northwestern will probably lose to wisconsin by two scores.
But, as we still purport to be the “fan voice,” we’ll remind you that while the optics are nice, we’re not really in it for the optics (except for NU’s uniforms, which are the best in the Big Ten and if you disagree you can sit there and be wrong). Twenty thousand fans at Ryan Field or 45,000—I don’t give a shit. I want to sit in my seat for which I pay more than I can afford, watch my alma mater for which I marched in the band*, and enjoy my home stadium.
Please don’t tell me in the comments “it’s about the money, MNW.” I am full well aware it is about the money. But God, it would’ve been nice to see (1) this never happen again, but (2) it happen against a team with a non-Chicago alumni base, and (3) not giving up a good home game to do it.
So, to review, in this quixotic quest to make others reaaaaally believe that Northwestern is Chicago’s Big Ten Team (seriously, it’s been 10 years. The ones who are, care. You’re not convincing anyone at this point), Northwestern has given up another home game, will likely be playing in front of a 50-50 crowd (no, wisconsin fans will not be “tired” of cool stadiums after playing in Lambeau that October, they will travel and buy tickets and drink beer like they always do), and will get a couple extra puff piece on College Gameday before everyone forgets that and they get their shit pushed in on national television.
Fuck it, my rage has already turned into resignation.
Because once again, we get the middle finger. The 30,000 faithful on Saturdays don’t matter, because we’ll keep buying tickets and keep showing up, and the University can keep tilting at the windmill of the “Chicago casual fan.” I’ll be back a week later to watch us pound Matt Viator-led Illinois, who are on the second year of their rebuild, and we’ll all move on with our lives and talk about how it was “soooo cool” to see “two-way football!” at Wrigley Field, and how yeah, we lost by 25 and paid a small ransom for our usual tickets and got seated behind one of those fucking poles somehow, but history!
The “Chicago casual fan” doesn’t exist. Once again, the guys in the skybox have sniffed their own farts, deemed them Chanel No. 5, and begun to waft it down to the peasants. Synergy! Brand ingenuitovation! Take a deep whiff of that bullshit.
The only difference between this situation and that old saying from Texas -- well, they have it in Tennessee, too? We’ll get fooled again. Every fucking time, because we love this stupid game and care, for some reason, about a school to whom we are a row in a spreadsheet and a $50 yearly donation.
College football, folks. Fuck Wrigley Field. Have a great Thursday. Go ‘Cats.
*By the way, the NUMB gameday experience fucking sucked. You got up even earlier to sit in traffic on the bus ride down to Wrigley because lol it’s the North Side of fucking Chicago, wandered around awkwardly in the cold and play “Go U Northwestern” for the Gameday crew and then for some random bros on the street who were likely Illinois fans who just were trying to find a warm place to get shitfaced before watching Mikel Leshoure obliterate Northwestern’s run defense, and then you had to practice the anthem with the worst fucking “Star Spangled Banner” singer in the world, that fucking Blackhawks asshole, who just goes off and does whatever the fuck he wants lyrically after telling your director he’d totally make sure to keep it in check. If I can afford to this game and that wannabe Pavarotti is doing the anthem again, I’m taking a knee just to protest that bullshit.