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Saturday, Sep. 24, 2016

Windy City weekend

Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 10:07 AM

Derrick Rose drives to the basket during the Bulls' 113-106 win over the Toronto Raptors Saturday evening. I was just lucky enough to capture this shot from my seat in the third level of the United Center.
From 2 a.m. Saturday morning until 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, I was enjoying some time in Chicago. Yes, it was only 38 hours and, yes, about 14 of those hours were spent sleeping and driving around the city. Nonetheless, it was glorious and refreshing.

Four buddies and myself jumped into my 97 Buick LeSabre Nadine Jr. Friday after work and started our trek. A mere eight hours and three stops later -- including a visit to the "World's Largest Truck Stop" and a chat with an Illinois State Trooper -- we were in the Chicago suburbs. Thanks to some GPS confusion, construction and my lack of driving skills, it took another half hour to find our host's South Holland home, where we shared the basement floor.

In the morning, we were treated to Dunkin' Donuts and MaltoMeal cereal -- I truly felt like I was back in college minus the Dunkin' part -- before meeting up with two other friends to play some basketball before watching basketball that evening.

With temperatures in the 50s, a bright sun and a nice breeze, the weather was perfect for a few games of four-on-four. After my team lost the majority of the games, we cleaned up and headed to Juliano's for authentic "Stuffed" pizza. This stuff was hearty! Buffalo Chicken and Hawaiian were are choices for those pizzas, while we also tried a thin crust one.

From then, we GPS'd our way to the United Center, home of my beloved Chicago Bulls. They were taking on the Toronto Raptors, the favorite team of the three Canadians with us. My roommate also wore an old Vince Carter jersey to bust my chops, but I made up for that with new Carlos Boozer threads! It was nice to be able to point to my jersey when one of my favorite players schooled Toronto's weak excuse for defense.

Chicago native and Most Valuable Player frontrunner Derrick Rose dropped 36 points, 10 assists and three blocks (one of which was the runner up for the play of the night.)

In the end, the home team secured a 113-106 win -- granting free Big Macs to all who were present -- and, more importantly, maintaining their top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Sunday afternoon was spent browsing downtown Chicago and getting plenty of photos from Willis Tower -- formerly Sears Tower -- and Millennium Park.

Most of all, I was doing all these things with good friends of mine.

Despite having a busy schedule and not much rest, I came back with more energy than what I started with.

Have you had a vacation like that, regardless of the distance or duration?

Have you had the chance to see your favorite sports team play (and win)?

Spring is a great season to get out and about. Hopefully, you've either had the chance or will get the chance to do so soon.

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