The 2011 football season is almost here! It's so close I can almost taste it! But before the season starts, one last look back at the past and my trip to the Seventh Circle of Hell, AKA as Reno, Nevada. Friday September 17th 2010 I fired up the M5 and drove up I-80 to watch the Bears take on the Wolf Pack. Well, we all know what happened in the game action, so I won't bother rehashing that frustrating experience. Instead I'll focus on the "sights" of Reno.
We hiked up to the stadium from Circus Circus (the most depressing and weird hotel I've ever stayed in; the creepy game room would make a fantastic set for a slasher/torture-porn movie), and following the advice on this site, we went to the "Wall" for a little pre-game libation. Excellent place, packed with fans of both teams, good, cheap eats and plenty of quality booze. There were a couple of pleather hot-pant wearing chicks trying to sell something but I never saw what it was. I looked for someone from CGB who said he would be there with his buds in gold, but I never found them.
I attended this game with my son, who wasn't sure if he could get away from his job, so I bought the game tickets and hotel accommodations at the last minute, which explains why we were sitting in Section, 9, Row 28, seats 17 & 18, the absolute worst possible seats in the stadium, but at least surrounded by fellow Cal fans.
Great seats or what?
The odd thing about these seats, the row holds 18 seats, but for some reason there were at least 24 people in that row as the game went on, it was nuts - a stampede to the worst seats? There was a Cal couple nearby with their 6 month-old with them, they had filled their large insulated milk bottle with Jack Daniels, and were happy to share, and as the game went on, we really needed this.
I didn't think Reno was a bad looking place, in fact the topography was quite nice:
But I was somewhat surprised by what I found after the game was over. First off, the Nevada fans who seemed so friendly before the game turned into obnoxious pricks after the game. Yeah I know we lost, do you really have to scream "Cal sucks" or "Your team is as broke as your f-ing state" at me? Classless.
So it being 10:00 PM at this point and feeling pangs of hunger, I did what Rachel Ray always says to do, and asked some of the locals where we should grab a bite to eat. He suggested the Little Nugget for the best burgers in town, which is inside the Nugget Casino, one of the older (and crappiest) casinos on the strip. After walking past the pimps, hos, drunks, methheads and numerous pawnshops maybe I should have been clued in to what to expect, but I wasn't quite prepared for the squalor that is the Nugget. Penny slots, and fat barflys so drunk only their bar stools were keeping them from collapsing. Hey! Dollar shots! At least my trip to hell would be well lubricated.
As we were waiting for our Awful Awfuls (that's what they call the burgers) a shirtless dude bleeding from his head stumbles into the into the casino, and the nerdiest bouncer I have ever seen (headset & red polo) yells at him that he can't come in without shirt on - I guess bleeding from your head is OK. It takes bleeding dude a little while to figure this out, he seems rather dazed - if he played football, he'd be sitting on the bench.
Well, the guy who steered us here was not wrong, the burgers were great, served in a box on top of 2 pounds of fries, these 1/3 pound old-school bad boys sure hit the spot (only $6.23, such a deal!), as we were wolfing them down, the casino was invaded by a dozen or so teenage skate punks in Nevada gear.
My son was so angry at Cal losing the game, he wanted to leave first thing in the morning - I had to make do with instant hotel coffee (shudders). As bad as driving to Reno to watch Cal lose, the horror wasn't over for many Cal fans - CHP was feasting on speeders as soon as we crossed the California line - and every vehicle pulled over had a Cal sticker; doesn't the man have a heart? Haven't we suffered enough?
I insisted that I needed some real coffee so we pulled into Colfax for the Starbucks there. And in a coincidence that only seems to happen in the movies, one of the referees from the game was there as well, and my son proceeded to badger him about a missed holding call. Sure it was a really bad miss by the refs - but one holding call wasn't going to change the outcome of the game. I felt like I was pulling off a pit bull as I said we needed to leave now.
A note from Cugel's son: After seeing another customer talking to three middle aged white guys, I overheard one of them mention that they reffed the previous night's game. I figured this was one my chance to ever tell a ref that they blew a call so I approached them and kindly asked "How about that blown holding call in the 2nd quarter?" The ref, who looked quite dismayed that I dare hold him accountable replied "Well, different people see different things." What a dick, the least he could do was give me some satisfaction and admit to his mistake, but no, instead he pleads ignorance. As I received my coffee I walked out and said "Yeah, well 30,000 fucking people saw it, I don't see how you didn't." Moral Victory.
And when I pulled into the parking lot of my loft in Oakland, the odometer read 60066; coincidence? You be the judge.