How many members of Bears' upper management does it take to determine a field unplayable?
Apparently about twenty.
And, of course, one Lovie "that's a gooood question" Smith.
He assessed the damage Friday afternoon while sporting a backpack (what the hell does he carry in that thing??) and a clueless look on his face (sadly, even more oblivious than his post-game-day-loss-press-conference-mug).
I still cannot believe the powers-that-be waited mere minutes before the gates were set to open to put the brakes on the Bears Family Fun Fest extravaganza.
Or, maybe I can.
After all, we can also thank the clowns at the wheel of this operation for some questionable acquisitions--take your pick--Steve Fuller--Doug Flutie--Rex Grossman (I still await the Rex/Lovie DNA verification~only a father could possibly make that many excuses for the inexcusable).
Seems everyone with an opinion is hopping aboard this "opening-topic-for-the-water-cooler" train come Monday.
Everyone from local news anchors to seniors chatting in front of Walgreen's seem to feel most sorry for the "chiiiiiildren".
Oh, just imagine how disappointed the generation raised by parents afraid to "let their little Buddy down" must be.
"The Experts" tell new parents that disappointing a kid in the early years can mean developing hurt feelings and low self-esteem down the road.
And, for many of the youngsters expected to be in attendance last Friday night, it was probably the first time they ever experienced the word NO.
NO...there will be no scrimmage.
NO...no cannons of confetti or pyrotechnics at the announcement of your favorite player.
NO...the players will not be here.
NO...so, sorry, the event has been canceled. But, please have some food as we mill about before heading to the parking garage to claim our refund.
Luckily for the parents, that mean ole man at the gate did the dirty work for them.
But, that did not excuse mom and dad or anyone within ear-shot for that matter from dealing with the aftermath.
Now, I don't care if free food was offered, I for one would require an open bar to sit through the moments following the initial shut down of Operation Family Fun.
Imagine the wails surrounding the player-less stadium as parents dragged their shrieking-asses back to the parking lot mere minutes after arrival.
"Waaaa---Waaaa What do you mean THEY are not coming?"
Or, how about a "YOUUUUUUUUU PROOOOOOOOOOOOMISSSSSSSSSSSSSED!!!" ?
Yeah, I'm guessing there were thousands of "those kiddos" in attendance.
Forgive me, but that is not who I really feel sorry for.
Sure, I might feel bad for the kid who was disappointed by not getting the opportunity to check out the idol whose name adorns the back of his/her jersey.
Mom and/or dad probably dropped a Benjamin on that "Bear fan must have" last Christmas as the kid slept with visions of a Super Bowl Victory dancing in his/her head.
Sure hope it doesn't read Olsen or Maynard--talk about adding insult to injury.
Do you want to know who I really feel pity for?
The poor schmuck who worked extra hours or traded a shift in anticipation of accommodating the first Friday in August free from work so he/she could schlep kids who no doubt are very bored.
And, chances are the little moppets really are fed up this summer. Thanks to the economy there is nothing exciting to do as long as a hefty price tag is attached.
For the record, kids old enough to know better do not find Area Farmers' Market or Picnics in the Park nearly as exciting as the stroller crowd does.
When the NFL 2011 season was given the official green light a couple of weeks ago, area kids rejoiced knowing the Family FunFest was back on.
Finally, something fun that mom and dad find affordable.
Bingo...bing the flip O...Bingo. Kids were not alone in their excitement--many parents had plenty of company while doing the happy dance.
How exciting is it for parents to show their kids a good time at a minimal price? Pretty goddamn exciting.
Based on the bumper-to-bumper traffic of motivated parents transporting kids in dire need of a day out into the city along the Drive, it was evident they were not alone in taking the day off or skipping out of the office early.
Bears Fun Fest excitement seekers were not alone in heading to the lakefront for a bit of mid-summer excitement. There was also a sold-out Lollapallooza concert at Grant Park and don't forget the crowds donning pink arriving for the weekend Breast Cancer Walk/Run which only added to the congestion.
No need to consult with Roz Varen~even an idiot can figure out a Chicago Traffic Perfect Storm.
Area traffic cops were more than likely wincing for weeks just thinking about the first Friday in August.
The field was a buckled mess long before the official announcement a couple minutes prior to the gate opening. Yet, they waited until people arrived to break the news.
Most traveling down to Soldier Field anticipated the crazy-assed traffic and buckled their kids in the decorated (Hoot...Hoot!! We're headed to Family Fun Night!!) SUV or minivan around 3ish.
Now imagine the carloads of kids and dazed parents that started out even earlier--the very folk that come from the central and southern parts of our state.
I'm sure plenty traveled for hours from places where there actually IS nothing to do in a good year economically.
Regardless of how far the SUVs and minivans traveled, you can bet that the parents behind the wheel answered the blasted "are we there, yet" question at least twenty times before becoming gridlocked on LSD as they approached one of the various parking lots.
Exhausted from the drive and pre-dawn decorating, it more than likely took the kids' folks at least ten minutes to unpack the car and unfold strollers,give the kids a quick snack, hit the bathroom and finally head to the Soldier Field entrance.
With a glimpse of the field in sight, adults probably gleefully kicked it into gear approaching the entrance only to be told, "Sorry--not happening--not tonight."
Would it really have been so difficult to let the players gingerly walk the treacherous turf and sign some autographs (that didn't require a winning scratch-off card) for the youngsters disappointed in the lack of scrimmage going on?
Instead, management put them on a bus headed south to Kankakee in 5:00 traffic on a Friday night reasoning their schedule needs given the shortened preseason.
The higher ups in the Bears organization do not get the obvious and this proves their complete inability to cater to the fan.
They don't understand that a kid just wants to meet his hero...maybe shake his hand...and really, nothing puts the "fun" in funfest more than a handful of autographs will.
Management does not understand that had those players stayed for a half hour--I guarantee that bus sat in "back to Kankakee traffic twice that long--the kids would have been over the moon and the parents would not have lined up for refunds later.
Simply meeting their idols would have been quite enough.
Many kids and parents camped outside Soldier Field to open the doors last Friday have probably never seen the inside.
Reality tells us for a family of four to enjoy a game during the season, park the family truckster, get something to eat and a sixteen-ounce drink to wash it down they will spend at least five hundred bucks.
And, they will need to double that figure in the event they want a good seat to catch the action.
The powers that be should have taken that into account when combing the field to determine whether the players should have stayed to meet their adoring fans.
Friday night's "Fanfest" is more about PR than a practice scrimmage.
It is a night to reach out to the kids whose goofy parents are willing to shell out money on jerseys...and hats...and posters...and of course, take a day off of a job they are lucky to have in order to take their kid to an affordable event at a stadium they may never be able to take their kid to during the regular season.
They are the same goofy parents who are still trying to figure out what management was thinking last January when they allowed the star quarterback to sit on an excercise bike while there were still fifteen potential minutes left in a possible championship season.
But, the front office does not get this. Instead, they offer instructions on their website for disappointed fans to find info regarding refunds for Funfest tickets and parking.
They do not offer to return any of the time many parents spent feeling pretty aggrivated last Friday night.
And, that is what is really disappointing.