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Sunday, September 19

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Bears Thu Sep 05 2013

An Interesting Way To Tailgate At Soldier Field

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngI've been a Bears fan for as long as I can remember. I have a love/hate relationship with the team on a play-by-play basis. Whether it's Good Jay or Bad Jay, I'm screaming at the television. And I can't stand watching the Bears on DVR because millions of people would know the outcome before me.

I hate it when fans list off their 'credentials', but I find it necessary to give them because after being to numerous games at Soldier Field, I have absolutely no interest in attending another Bears game there ever again. I'll still see them live from time to time when they play on the road, but it would take an incredibly sweet deal to get me to go back.

Sitting through TV timeouts in the stadium is grueling, there's little to no access or information on other games happening at the same time (because everybody and their sister is trying to look up the same info on their phones as me), and video replays are almost non-existent at Soldier Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars are trying something interesting by displaying the Red Zone Channel on one of their big screens this year -- a fantastic concept -- but still wouldn't be enough to get me to Soldier. And the main reason why isn't due to anything above. The problem is getting there and then back home.

If you're going to Soldier, you might as well go early to tailgate. You're pretty much sacrificing the day, so why not get the most out of it? To do that, you have to drive (ignoring people that join their friends tailgate and get to the stadium either by bus or train - neither of which gets you within steps of the stadium). The inbound Kennedy, Eisenhower and Dan Ryan (not to mention Lake Shore Drive) on Sunday mornings is lethal. Copious amounts of Zoloft is about the only way to survive without killing someone or yourself. Multiply that by 1,000 and you get what it's like after the game has let out -- after having to survive the line to get out of the parking lot.

burnham.jpgThen I received an email about Boatgating. What? I almost deleted it before scrolling through the press release and seeing Soldier Field listed as a great place to do this. Then I though about it a little bit more. Sure, it's something that only make sense to do during the warmer days in September and sometimes October, but anything other than sitting on the roadways for seven hours is a worthy alternative in my book.

You would have to sacrifice the obvious in terms of throwing a football and playing bags, along with starting any sort of fire to cook with on a boat, but you can still get the job done when it comes to drunkenness and snack foods. Isn't that the point of the whole ordeal anyway?

It's easiest if you own your own boat, or have a friend who does. You can take off from any dock in the city, and finish things off in Burnharm Harbor, which features more than 1,000 slips, virtually next to stadium. The only traffic you have to worry about is if the Asian carp make it into Lake Michigan.

You can also rent a ride from one of many boat rental/charter companies in Chicago. It may take some negotiating for post-game pickup, but if you want a truly unique gameday experience without the fuss of traffic and parking, there's no better way to go.

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Tailgate is the sports section of Gapers Block, covering all Chicago sports. More...
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