For those of us Cub’s fans, today is practically a Holy Day of Obligation…..Holy Cow, its opening day at Wrigley Field! With the arrival of spring comes renewed hope for a successful run at the pennant race. Come on Lou, it finally has to be next year…….
The Friendly Confines is my neighborhood. I grew up four blocks from Wrigley Field. My dog’s name is Wrigley Sheffield for Heaven’s sake. I am what you would consider a die hard Cub’s fan. That’s why this past October, instead of watching my team in the World Series, I was paying homage to them at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Fourth Annual Trivia Night.
Trivia Night is a fun-draiser (emphasis on the fun….and hence the name Our Lady of Perpetual Donations) where a group of ten lively people (usually five couples) is assembled and your team competes in a trivia contest, against dozens of other teams, with categories similar to those found on Jeopardy, only way harder and more obscure. That part is definitely fun, but the very best part of this group’s participation is that each table devises a theme for their group, which includes costumes, decorations and food. As the More is More Mom® I take this task quite seriously, paying close attention to detail and authenticity. Our themes have included The Soprano’s, Superhero’s, The Cast of Gilligan’s Island and this year…..The Bleacher Bums.
Each team is provided with a round table and ten chairs, but I always require more. I knew that the only way to do justice to my theme was to actually sit in the bleachers. I mean really, where else would the Bleacher Bums sit? Certainly not at a round table. My dream was to build a scoreboard, but the question was how? My initial concept was to build it out of plywood, but it got complicated when I considered how I would make it stand safely. Suddenly I had a stroke of genius……I would make it all out of felt. It was brilliant and quite simple. I purchased three yards of wide width green felt. On my sewing machine, I ran a seam for rod pockets across the top, and down both sides leaving the bottom un-hemmed. I notched out both corners, leaving room for elbow brackets that would connect the side poles with the top. Chuck is a very good sport, and super handy, so we made a quick run to Home Depot to purchase two ten foot lengths of PVC pipe, two elbow brackets, two four foot lengths of PVC pipe, a t-bracket that allowed two inch pipe fittings on either side, and the top notch allowed for a ¾ “pipe to extend to the Heaven’s. This was working out beautifully!
In the mean time my friend Judy and I got together and cut out 93 letters in varying colors of felt, and cut out 16 color coordinating banners to represent each on the 16 teams in the National League. We glued together the pennants, and then I punched two holes in the two corners on one side of each pennant and strung them together with twine, to hang in the wind at the top of the scoreboard. You will note that the pennants are in their final team standings for the end of the 2009 season, save for the Cub’s. I of course have my Cubbies finishing 1st in the National League. Hey, it’s my fantasy…….In the meantime I traced and cut out an additional 126 letters and numbers, and all of the lines for the scoreboard, made a clock for the sake of authenticity, and glued it all in place. Standing this sucker up was like an old fashioned barn raising. With the pipes in place, we made a notch at the very top of the ¾ “pipe, ran the twine across the notch and secured the twine on either side at the elbow brackets. From the top of the ¾” PVC pipe to the bottom, I ran the pennants for the Central Division, by adhering them with double sided carpet tape. It worked like a charm. We laid the scoreboard face down on the ground, attached a clamp-on bedside lamp at each corner (left over’s from the days when my Nick still had bunk beds….I never throw anything away) because the only way to have a Night Game at Wrigley Field is with LIGHTS! We slid a six foot piece of one inch PVC in the slot of each of two umbrella stands (for your market umbrella on your patio), tilted them forward and then slid the two inch pieces of PVC over that for stability and brought them to a vertical position. I couldn’t believe it…it worked! From the very top to the bottom my scoreboard stood fourteen feet in the air. It was a sight to behold.
Part of the experience of sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley Field is the wall of ivy. This was so very easy. On our trip to Home Depot we picked up a sheet of lattice. I purchased ivy garland from Hobby Lobby and intertwined it through the lattice. Making it stand up was easy too. I took the two pieces of the plywood base from a left over decorative round table and slid the lattice through and it stood like a champ! Chuck insisted we pick up chicken wire and we secured it to the front of the lattice from side to side to make the basket that runs along the ivy in the outfield. Because we would be at a night game, I draped Cubs twinkling lights across the front and made a 400 feet sign out of sticky numbers we had left over from a Science Fair project. Seriously, I never throw away anything.
To sit in the Bleachers one needs stadium seating. That was easy. I contacted my local party rental store and rented two 4 foot platform sections and we were off and running. Five chairs up top, five chairs on the bottom……voila, bleachers.
The clincher of course would be the authenticity of the food. My pal Karen is an amazing cook, and coincidentally… a caterer. I decorate, she cooks. It’s the perfect arrangement! We knew ballpark food was in order; pizza (gourmet), nacho’s (out of this world), burgers (to die for), brats (of course), plus your basic popcorn, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks. The piece de resistance…..her homemade Chocolate Malt Cups. Because really, what would a trip to the Friendly Confines be without a Malt Cup? Karen was amazing though. She prepped everything at home, but brought an electric burner and a hot plate to pull together the finishing touches. You can only imagine how good our table smelled. She wrapped everything in authentic wax paper and brought cardboard trays. It was incredible.
Out buffet table was quite lovely. I brought an urn and filled it with baseballs; a sign with the rules of sitting in the bleachers, Cubbie blue and red Mardi Gras beads and lime green disposable cups reminiscent of the infamous Mai Tai glasses. I rented a 120” blue round table cloth, because who wants to look at the ugly table legs? I then covered it with 1 ½ yards of Cub’s licensed fleece (makes a great table topper…and the beauty is that it’s washable!).
With each round of Trivia or “inning” we were able to manually score the game with numbers I had cut out in advance. They were adhered with straight pins. In between each inning we did the wave, and we had a bucket full of squishy balls to “throw back” at surrounding tables. We were completely obnoxious, but we could have cared less, because we were having a blast!
Please note that we are playing the White Sox in a Cross Town World Series…..and naturally, we win! At the end of the game we proudly hang our “W” flag and pose for pictures with Harry Cary. A one, a two, a three…….