Five Guys In Milwaukee, Part I

“Five Guys In Milwaukee,” which appears daily on USCHO during the NCAA championships, is Scott Brown’s travelog of a weekend at the Final Four.

Wednesday, March 26

9:27 a.m. We planned on leaving early, so Tim is at my place already. Im unprepared, which Tim takes due note of as he stands around waiting for me to get myself together.

9:38 a.m. Return to Tim’s for a bunch of stuff he forgot.

10:12 a.m. Meet Frank for breakfast, at a pleasant little diner nearby. Hockey is, of course, the main topic of discussion — which teams are in Milwaukee and why, and which aren’t. They serve an omelet which must have taken a whole carton of eggs to manufacture.

11:28 a.m. Return to Tim’s for the tickets, which Frank and I agree are a fairly important ingredient in the weekend’s activities.

12:05 p.m. Pick up Lee, who still needs to pack.

12:46 p.m. Return to Tim’s for still more stuff. To quote Homer Simpson, “Urge to kill … rising …”

1:37 p.m. After several further delays, which are causing us to grow increasingly squirrely, we hit the road. This can no longer be regarded as an early departure; nevertheless, we’re all happy to finally be going. Bon voyage to us!

3:30 p.m. Witty banter all around. Or something like that.

5:17 p.m. Return to Tim’s for — just kidding.

6:31 p.m. The car crowd begins to weary of one another. I snipe at Tim, Frank snipes at me. Lee ignores us. It’s hell on earth. How blasted far is it to Milwaukee, anyway? 7:25 p.m. We’re there. Frank — the only one who’s been here before — has brought us into town on a route past the Miller brewery. I am astonished at the overwhelming aroma of hops and yeast, and briefly consider asking to be dropped off here. I wonder if its like this all the time. Frank assures me that it is.

8:35 p.m. We’ve gotten into our hotel room. Frank and I are awarded the honor of lugging the computer equipment in from the car, which is parked in the adjoining lot. Despite the fact that the lot is in fact the hotel’s, we are told that it’s eight bucks a night to park there, but that “you do have full in-and-out privileges.” How reassuring: I figured it was going to be eight bucks each time we wanted to drive anywhere.

9:01 p.m. Dave, who got into town early to see the morning practices, gets back to our room and begins to wonder aloud what the heck he was thinking. With the gang now all collected, it’s time to eat.

9:05 p.m. Across the street from the hotel is a little place which Frank claims was once a fern bar. This fact, which has the principal effect of dating Frank, is no longer in evidence. We accidentally sit down in a closed section, drawing the ire — but also the immediate attention — of the staff.

10:22 p.m. Time to hit the town. We’ve been told that the main bunch of bars and clubs is just down the road, and we mean to find out about them. The first semifinal is at noon tomorrow, though, so we’d better take it a little easy.

2:24 a.m. We didn’t take it easy. Ack.