Sunday, August 1, 2010

How great was July?

Q: What were my weekend highlights from July 2010?
A: A Beer, A Dude, A Pig and a Bear.

It's kinda odd how my July began this year. The "4th of July holiday weekend" was easily the most ho-hum of the month. It wasn't even a three day weekend for me (as it was for most, but I worked Monday July 5). Although, in its own way Sunday July 4 was great as MySister (who also didn't really want to go to any picnic or fireworks party) came over to see my newish HDTV to have a mini movie marathon. She brought over Swedish fish, we had dinner from Panera, all was great.

After receiving annual "you should go with us!" invitations from friends I finally got to go to Barrington Brew Fest. It was a jewel of suburban adventure. Also, it was a perfect display of Metra knowhow. Walked over to the Des Plaines Metra Station to take the train to Palatine. Off to meet up with more people to have a, you guessed it, pulled pork BBQ sandwich at Durty Nellie's before hopping back on the train bound for Barrington. The Brew Fest is held in the Barrington's Metra stop parking lot. Once the 4 hours of sampling the local microbrews we went back home via the Metra. This time we stopped at Mount Prospect on the way home to have dinner at Blues Bar. The night ended with the final leg of my Metra voyage back to The City of Destiny. For those of you scoring at home, that single $7 Metra weekend pass funded the Des Plaines - Palatine - Barrington / Barrington - Mount Prospect - Des Plaines itinerary.

The weekend following was my vacation to Louisville. I won't bore you again here with the events of that weekend. Since there's ample info on the other blog I write.

Last weekend wad the 3rd Annual Pig Roast. You might have already seen the pictures from it, but have you seen the video?

Finally, yesterday July 31, the month got closed out with another nice venture. A few friends and I went to Bourbonnais, Illinois. This is where the Chicago Football Bears of the National Football League's North Division have their training camp. The team held a public practice on Saturday night, free of charge, for its fans. It was the second straight year we went to "Bearbonnais."

From the outside, it's rather low key - glaringly apparent from the stark signs on the road leading up to the campsite:

Those signs could be for Jellystone Park for all you know.

Once inside, there's a little more of the over the top Beardom you'd expect to see like giant inflatable objects and words not normally in "Bear Font":

As for the actual practice?
It's difficult to to evaluate.
For one, it's very early in the training camp - maybe it gets more intense as the season draws closer?

The crowd wasn't nearly as large as it was last year. Of course, last year was the Debutante Ball introducing Jay Cutler to the drooling masses. This year, after a interception heavy Bear debut, the feeling was a little more reserved.

The highlight, and I use that term loosely, of the practice was when the quarterback crew came over to where we were seated to practice shuffle passes (I like the below picture, with new assistant coach Mike Martz monitoring):

But the fun isn't about seeing Bears up close. It certainly isn't seeing the many minutes of large men stretching while laying on their backs.

The fun is realizing that football season is about to start. The fun is getting in a car with friends to make bold, if not sarcastic, predictions about the upcoming year. And the fun will be watching this team throughout the year with friends. I for one, can't wait until the team tries to run that shuffle toss play.

We also saw the defense practice.

I didn't get a picture of a D-Line pass rush drill that featured a very angry #97 Mark Anderson head slapping linemen dummies. It was a move that I thought had been outlawed since Deacon Jones left the league.

The last picture I have to share - Rod Marinelli:

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