Thursday, January 22, 2015


Photo credit goes to Josh!
(Albert left, Hannah right!)
WOW! How cool is it to have the WORLD Rugby Champions to come to play where you live? VERY COOL! I had never been to an All Blacks game before, expense probably was the main reason. I have of course been to quite a few Otago games, I wonder why? ;). So when the All Blacks announced that they were going to play in Chicago it wasn't an opportunity to be missed. Hannah booked our tickets (in a great reasonably priced spot!) I organised our babysitters for the day, the other Kiwi couple Keith and Sonja organised the transport and dinner and we were all set! Fortunately the weather forecast looked pretty frosty for Test day. Thankfully most of the bad weather forecast happened on Friday so Saturday wasn't too bad, just above freezing. 

About a week before I saw some ads advertising 'Meet and Greet' the All Blacks events. I thought about going but wasn't sure, in the end I asked Hannah what she thought and she was keen. So that was that then. Hannah, the girls and I ventured into Chicago early on a cold (think snow flakes and plenty of wind) Friday morning hoping to catch a glimpse of the All Blacks. I didn't think that it was going to be that busy, I mean although the All Blacks are WORLD Rugby Champions, the USA doesn't really know much about Rugby. We arrived at the bar where the event was being held and I think all the New Zealanders in the USA were at the bar waiting. (OK it may be a slight exaggeration, but it felt like it) I think the organizers hadn't anticipated such a big crowd. I was thankful that I went with another adult (thanks Hannah for coming!) to help look after the girls. It was busy and some people did not appreciate not being able to see the All Blacks. I was potentially disappointed to travel in to Chicago and being turned down at the door but I didn't throw a tantrum or ignore the security guy's orders. I ended waiting in line on my own inside the bar to see if I could get in and after being patient I did manage to get in. It was hard to communicate with Hannah in this HUGE crowd inside a big bar so she was only able to go in after the main crowd had gone through. I did manage to get some photos with the All Blacks (I'm embarrassed to let you know that I don't know their names, oops). Michaela and Grace were with me that this point. At random (think God's providence) a lady handed Michaela a brand new All Blacks jersey. WOW the face of Albert when we presented that to him when we got home was priceless. He and Josh were quite sad that they couldn't go into the city with us, their time was better utilized studying then meeting All Blacks. So to bring back a souvenir was quite awesome. 

Hannah and the girls waiting in line
for the doors to open
Girls posing by an Air New Zealand sign!
All Blacks
Kate and Zara
Some of the All Blacks
We got our All Blacks flag autographed!
(Not sure by who, does that count?)
Photo Op with the All Blacks
(Michaela, Grace and I)
After dropping the girls off at Flo's house for the day and night, we drove to Keith and Sonja's to get ready for our day out! Sonja and Keith looked after us very well all day from homemade cake in the car to stopping at a coffee shop and taking us to dinner at a famous Chicago Pizzeria! Sonja's niece and husband also came along which means we had 8!! Kiwi's in one place, pretty awesome! The game was great, perhaps a bit cold. I was grateful though that we arrived early as we talked to some other people who went and they had to wait for ages to get to their seats. Seats, well that was another story, the rows were steep and seats were a LONG way up. We were impressed with the view of the game. I don't need to tell you the outcome, wouldn't want to embarrass my USA friends even more. One observation though, that although the stadium was sold out (60,000) and there was a sea of Black not many were cheering for the All Blacks. Or they were cheering for both! The USA fans made themselves known loud and clear! What a lot of fun, great time with friends (and making new friends), great game and a great dinner out!
Josh and Albert
Mandatory coffee
The Bean :)
See how steep those seats are?
The stadium did fill up, pretty awesome!

NZ flag!
National Anthem, pretty special to hear that in the USA!
Haka, go Boys!
Not a sight you see often in Chicago!
Go Boys, show them who are the world champions!
Our New Zealand table having Chicago Pizza
Handsome Couple I say.
(Notice the lovely jersey?)
PS Various people contributed to the photos in this blog. 

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