Blackhawks Harris Club and the Cheese-Pretzel Cough

First of all, let me say how awesome the Harris Club at the United Center is. I posted a link (below) for the official brochure, but the finished room and décor is far more warm and ritzy than the computer graphic brochure depicts. Four of my friends were guests of Vienna Beef. They are generous sponsors of many of our Chicago sports teams.
The four of us snubbed the snow storm last night to watch the momentous Blackhawks beat the Dallas Stars in overtime—no way were we going to pass up a chance to see a game in these special seats. And let me tell you, what a place to watch the game. We snacked on Vienna Beef hot dogs, complete with all the Chicago dog condiments, celery salt, pickles and tomatoes. We grazed on Caesar Salad, Braised Ribs, Prime Rib and snacked some more on cheese and pretzels. Jennifer, our waitress, kept us hydrated with cocktails and beer. And we had Bananas Foster for desert. Thank you, Vienna Beef!
Now for the real story.
My small band of four gluttonous drinkers were having the time of our lives. And we were acting like First-Time in First-Class kids. Each time Jennifer brought us a drink we bowed and tipped generously. We joked how terrible it was that some of the people in the $100+ dollar seats, just one row below us and behind a glass partition, felt the need to get up and get there own pizza. Pizza! De-classah….
We weren’t obnoxious and everyone around us had fun with us as well and we all watched the game as fans.
Then, at the end of the first period (around the time I was on my second helping of prime rib with extra horsey sauce), one of the two guys in Blackhawks jerseys to our left coughed. He must have had a little food in his mouth because something came out of his mouth and went over the little glass partition in front of him and landed on two other guys in the $100+ side. It couldn’t have been too gross because the two coughed-on guys turned around to see who threw or spilled food on them. They weren’t too mad. They just didn’t want it to happen again.
The dudes with the Blackhawks jerseys on my side of the partition immediately went into, it-wasn’t-me mode. And none of us in the “swells” section that saw the cough said a word either. It just goes to show ya how we of the upper levels stick together. But we jokey-snotties were soon going to question our communal silence by the second period.
One of the guys in the Blackhawks jerseys must have had a cold or something because he had a real big mouthful of pretzel and cheese and he had a cough spasm that buckshot his whole mouthful of food onto the $100+ers. About ten people below us in various rows stood up and they did look mad. (Fortunately the two gentlemen who were victims of the original cough were out of there seats getting pizza.)
The game between the Hawks and the Stars was just beginning to heat up. Point for point. A few nasty fouls. The tension in the air was great. But after the big chunks of yellow cheesy pretzel were blown from my section into the seats below, all hell done broke loose. From the middle of the second period, until we walked out of the building, the ten people who were affected by the rain of disgorge began pointing to us in our ivory tower. People with radios were called and mad people began lengthy dialogue with the FBI looking United Center security task force. They seemed to be calmed by having someone to talk to. They certainly couldn’t get to any of us behind the glass. And I thought all was well when they were given green “Guest Comment” forms to fill out and return. They were also issued clear plastic bags in which to put their contaminated items into and the bags were then whisked away to what must have been an underground lab in the building for analysis. It was like watching an outbreak-terrorist movie. I think everyone wanted to get examined by a doctor immediately and lynch the perpetrators. Again, thank god for the glass partition.
And then the hats and free beers started coming.
And there it was. These people may have been a little mad, but they certainly wanted free stuff and whatever the United Center would give them if they claimed they were infected with H1N1 or Hepatitis A through Z.
And when the original ten began to get free hats and beers, the people around them seemed to recall how they had been affected as well, like they all had delayed post traumatic spittle memory recall. So then they all began to fill out green forms too and hats and beers followed.
To their credit, the two guys who were originally hit with cough-spew came back with their pizza, sized up the situation, and ignored the grabby gabby people around them and watched the rest of the game like true sports fans.
What happened to the two guys in the Blackhawks jerseys who sat next to us and caused all the extortionary procedures? They were nowhere to be found. They must have ran as soon as the pretzel left one of their mouths.
Since they were long gone and the fact that there was a little bit of orange evidence on the glass in front of their seats, none of us could really cover for them.
But we did put a good word in for the vanishing guys. All of us in the Harris Club who sat around the two fans told the United Center FBI that we didn’t think the guys projectiled any food on purpose. In fact, we were all sure that they were just embarrassed about coughing up dinner so they left. I hope they don’t loose their seats over a cough. Besides, the cough-ees were more than compensated. And most of them didn’t even watch the game after they were coughed on so I felt good about sticking by the guys in ‘our club.”
I loved the show, both on and off the rink that night. But I’ll tell you one more thing: I’ve been to Sox games, and Cubs games and Bears games. I’ve been in the plush seats and the bleachers. I’ve been spit on, puked on, spilt on and kicked and pushed. But everyone gets over that stuff at the games and gets on with it. We’re all drinkin and watching the game, right? This was only my second Hawks game. I was just surprised to see a few spectators acting like they came to sue and get free stuff rather than to see a sports game. I’m just glad they weren’t in my section.

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