Monday, May 19, 2014

I've never actually been to the Philippines, myself...

I was astonished to find myself watching the sports report on TV one night last week. Normally I get up and wander away at that point in the news bulletin, returning in time for the weather - but the mention of Soldier Field got my attention. Come November, the All Blacks will be playing the USA Eagles there - a total mismatch, according to the presenter with what seemed to me fate-tempting hubris.
I walked past Soldier Field on a sunny afternoon back in April, happy to be free of Chicago's huge convention centre at McCormick Place and able to breathe fresh air and get some exercise. It was quite a long walk to the Hancock Tower (the black skyscraper with the two aerials), beginning along the lake front, past men fishing for trout in the clear water, past parkland, trees and a police memorial. Soldier Field is a memorial too, to war dead, and the stadium lies behind a gateway of classical columns that looks rather out of place.
The stadium itself is very modern, and huge, seating over 61,000 spectators - good luck finding that many rugby fans in the entire US, I'm guessing - and apart from sport has been the venue for everybody from Martin Luther King to Taylor Swift. General MacArthur once spoke there too, which is today's little link, because I'm pleased to be able to say, of Chicago, that "I shall return."

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