My friends Jessica and Dan were kind enough to invite me along when they wound up with an extra ticket to today’s Rose Bowl. The only difficulty was that Northwestern was playing in the Outback Bowl at 8am, and the Rose Bowl was in Pasadena at 1:30pm.
I initially figured I’d just watch the NU game downtown and take the train up to Pasadena after it ended and walk to the Rose Bowl. The problem with this idea was that none of the bars I’d been planning to go to downtown opened until 10am.
So I said screw it, I’ll just go to Pasadena. I can take the express bus to Union Station and the train to Pasadena, and it’ll all be good. I’d make it at about 7:45 for an 8am kickoff and I’d have to fight Rose Parade crowds, but it was totally doable.
I should have known better than to make a plan that relied on LA County public transportation being on time.
I walked the 20 minutes down to the express bus stop and got there at about 6:15 for what was supposed to be a 6:31 bus. With no sign of it at 6:47 and the next express bus not scheduled until 7:31, I said screw it and hopped on a crosstown bus instead.
I eventually wound up on an LA city bus with a bus driver who was either insane, high, or both. He mumbled in misunderstanding if I asked him if he went to the Gold Line, and he literally shut the door on people and took off giggling if they dared ask him questions about the line if they didn’t get on the bus before they did so.
I was very, very happy when someone (talking to him in Spanish and still making very little headway, but at least more than I made) managed to figure out that the light rail stop he was driving up to was at least on the line I wanted to be on, and I could at least get off his goddamn bus.
So I finally got to the Barney’s Beanery in Pasadena at about 8:30am, which was not horrible, all things considered. The game was…the game.
It went badly until I ordered a beer, and then it started going great so I ordered another. I got about 2/3 of the way through the second when the bartender, in the midst of mixing drinks, knocked the rest of my beer onto my lap. And of course that was when it all went completely to hell for Northwestern.
Clearly, the lesson for whatever game I wind up watching next year is that I need to make sure that a) I start drinking at kickoff, no matter how early it is, and b) do said drinking from a sippy cup.
Anyway, it was heartening to see an entire bar full of Ohio State fans having a post-parade, pre-game beer cheering for Northwestern to beat Auburn, and all of them consoling me as I was banging my head on the bar after that stupid fake field goal failed at the end of OT.
After that I blew off steam by walking to the Rose Bowl (a considerably longer walk than I’d anticipated). I actually had quite a bit of fun for a game that I was very minimally invested in, though it probably helped that I was sitting with a bunch of rabid Ohio State fans who were really, really entertaining.
I promised my friends who got me a ticket to this game that I’d get them tickets to the Rose Bowl the next time Northwestern made it, a promise that got a slightly bigger laugh than intended. But they gave me a ride home, so I forgave them that.
All in all, it was a damn fun day and a great way to kick off the year, despite that ridiculously frustrating NU loss. We’ll get ’em next year.