A Nostalgic Lay-Over at O'Hare

As many of you know, I live in Indonesia after spending time in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. I generally make at least an annual pilgrimage to the U.S. to visit family and for special occasions. Unfortunately, I do not have family in Chicago to bring me there. This April/May, I had occasion to visit Utah (daughter's graduation), Houston (grandson #1 already likes to play catch before walking), and Tampa (grandson #2 went to his first baseball game) on a whirlwind 3-week tour. My return trip from Tampa included a 3-hour lay-over at O'Hare. Some thoughts:

I have spent many an hour in airports all around the world. O'Hare may not rank among the best airports in the world but it is still one of my favorites. I remember going there as a kid being amazed (still am) at those massive 747s taking off and landing. The United terminals are so big that I got some good exercise walking from one end to the other psyching myself for the 15-hour flight to Hong Kong. Say what you will, but O'Hare will always be my airport. I might have a different opinion if I had to get my bags, park, check in, or go through security.

I was really excited to see these hanging in the terminal concourse. The Blackhawks had just dispatched the Wild and they were going to best the Red Wings Scum in game one of their series later that evening.


Blackhawks captain welcoming O'Hare travelers

I spent quite a bit of time dropping into the Hudson and CNN shops looking for sports paraphanalia. The Hawks were well represented in the midst of their playoff run following a President's Cup season. Bulls stuff, too. Even the off-season Bears gear was out. There was Cub stuff even in the small kiosks. I had to hunt quite a bit to find any White Sox gear. Part of me wanted to be mad, I mean what have the Cubs done lately for the last 100 years. I have resigned myself to the fact that - due to stadium. location, and long ago TV decisions - the Cubs have a stranglehold on the hearts of Chicago's casual fans and the pocketbooks of its tourists.


Hard to see but there is some Sox gear there. Mainly shot glasses, mugs, and key chains. There were some hats that would only have been a bit big for my one year old grandson

In fact, I embrace the camaraderie - To borrow from the military, we are the Few, the Proud, the White Sox fans. I feel like we are an exclusive club of baseball enthusiasts where casual half-hearted fans just do not make the cut. Anyone else feel the same?

My biggest dilemma was deciding how to use my one meal in O’Hare. I arrived in the early morning but could justify a fairly early lunch having come from the East Coast (it counted as a near midnight snack Indonesia time). In the end, I went with a Vienna hot dog with all the fixings. It was a tough decision but one influenced by the thought of extended hours in a cramped United economy seat. What would you go with?

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