This past weekend I was lucky enough to live in the right
city at the right time, as per usual. The 2015 NFL Draft left New York this
year for the Windy City, and the streets of Chicago were revamped into what was
dubbed Draft Town.
While I can’t exactly call myself a football fan, I went
partly so my dad could live vicariously through me and experience the draft.
Raised as a Chicago Bears fan, I donned my Chicago Coach Ditka shirt and went to go check it out.
Having no expectations for Draft Town, I wasn’t quite sure
what to expect. I went on Saturday, which was the last day of the draft. While
people wearing various teams’ jerseys beside me hooted and hollered, I observed
from afar, not having a clue as to what was going on. Despite not understanding
anything around me, the atmosphere was upbeat and the weather outside was
flawless. I found myself enjoying the how happy the crowd was.
Sports fans galore were in their element as they walked from
apparel tent to beer tent to Hall of Fame tribute. ESPN had its own station and
were live broadcasting straight from the event. Select players were signing
autographs and a music concert was scheduled to end the event later that night.
Grant Park was the perfect location for Draft Town. It was
amazing to see what the NFL Draft did with the space they had. The sprawling
arrangement included all sorts of different tents and even participatory games
for visitors to play. Draft Town was extremely family friendly, and it was
entertaining to see all the kids walk around in amazement, many of them die
hard football fans.
At times I felt like I was taking up space that the true
football fans of the world could have used. Not that it was overly crowded or
packed, but I felt guilty that many people who had the ability to look at the
Hall of Fame display and identify all the players weren’t there and I was. But
then I would remind myself that I was there for my dad and that seemed to
justify my presence at the NFL Draft.
While I’m not completely sport inept, when it comes to
football, I’m pretty clueless. It’s ironic because my parents are huge football
fans and we used to spend every Sunday with half the neighborhood at my house
watching the game. You would think I would’ve at least retained something…
I did observe something quite spectacular at Draft Town
however. The casual, subtle nod given to anyone that was representing the same
team as you was exchanged over and over again between strangers. In order to
blend in with my fellow football fans, I decided to give “the nod” the ol’
college try. As I saw a man passing by with a Bears jersey on approaching my
general area, I cocked my head back and pulled it forward ever so subtly. At
this point, my sunglasses on my head fell off and I shot to the ground trying
to save them because they’re my favorite pair. Well I didn’t get a chance to
see if he exchanged my nod, I did save my sunglasses. If that doesn’t sum up my
feelings towards football, I don’t know what does.