Serendipity: Take Two
Well, here goes. How to effectively summarize a weekend that saw a 1-5 team doing backflips in the end zone of the Rose Bowl and an estimated 20,000 ROAD TEAM fans cheering until the final seconds?
The weekend of Planes, Trains, & Automobiles began nearly without a hitch, as I was picked up from LA's Union Station by the ever-cheerful chauffeur Paul. What kept Paul running a few minutes behind schedule? Not the epic singles matches of upper deck flip-cup matches against George, but the comforts of his bed and the kinship of an old high school friend. Fortunately, our little Romeo made it in due time, and we returned to his beautiful home in time to savor the view and take in some breakfast before heading to Pasadena.
After a delicious breakfast of Bloody Marys and omelettes, Paul decided to stir up another round of delicious Bloody Marys. When the bottle produced exactly enough mix for a second round, cheers of "Serendipity!" were made and the weekend's phrase was born. We left in 2 cars for Pasadena only 30 minutes behind schedule, meaning we should arrive at the Rose Bowl by 1:00 ...
... then Los Angeles happened. And you know what they say about the City of Angels, "If the smog doesn't get you, the 2 hours of traffic will." Traffic on THE [insert highway number here] was actually bearable. Then the Rose Bowl exit happened. (Time: roughly 12:45) We sat in a long line of cars, passing security guards protecting neighborhood entrances. Tiring of the crawling line of cars, Paul went on a recon mission (Time: roughly 1:15). The outlook? Another 10 or so minutes. After 15 minutes, we ask a security guard how much further up. The revised ETA? 5 minutes. (Time: roughly 1:45). Finally, much later, we caught sight of the Rose Bowl. Cell phones were down and nerves were frayed. As best we could tell, George's tailgate was on the golf course . Our directions? Turn onto the golf course at the first possible moment, yell for George, and listen for "Who all seen the leprechaun say YEAAAAHHHH!" or other George-isms. (Time: roughly 1:55). However, this last leg of the journey proved to be the most tortuous. After getting passed by an 85-year old man on a scooter and Pam Anderson had her boobs enlarged, reduced, filmed a sex tape, and enlarged her boobs again to boost sales of said tape, we parked. (Time: 6:30 Eastern, 3:30 in Hell). With no time to tailgate, the pre-game MVP of the day was TJ Maarup, who ran his family tailgate by finishing mass quantities of sake-and-OJ (the aptly named Phillips head screwdriver).
After a whirlwind tailgate, the game began. There was a nice flyover, some 40-year-old man tried to yell at the crowd to count to 8 and spell UCLA, and the Irish took the field. We won, and it was great. The story picks up after the game.
With LA-sized traffic headaches to avoid postgame, it was universally decided to return to George's for some real tailgating. What better way to celebrate newfound victory than with a tailgate shotgun? At this point, it was observed that everything was coming up 5's: under the starry skies of Balloon #5, fully recovered from 5 losses, 5 shotgun participants; it was Serendipity indeed. Unfortunately, the speech commemorating this special moment has been recorded in 5 1-second clips due to camera malfunction, but George's VICTORY! is still echoing in the hills (and smog) of Pasadena. After a successful shotgun, some delicious food, and pouring some out for our dead homeboys (the Philadelphia Phillies), we set off for Hermosa Beach.
Not content to cap the celebration there, the return trip detoured to Ralph's to pick up 3 bottles of (what else?) Andre. Dessert, champagne, and a viewing of Knocked Up that lasted until 3:30 capped off the night.
The next morning (actually 1 hour later), our loyal driver Paul was up and at'em to begin a series of 3 trips to LAX. All he asked for in return was a trip to In 'N Out, which we gladly enjoyed under sunny skies and landing 737's.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. Many thanks to George, Paul, Guez, other Paul, and others for their hospitality. If there are any weekend pictures on the Devil's Site (the facebook), please pass them along my way. I leave you with the only photographic record of the celebration:
Peace, God Bless, and Go Irish,
(still getting used to that, but if you don't call me that I will give you detention)