A continuous loop started at the end of an off ramp from Lake Shore Drive. This loop allowed vehicles to turn left onto a road that lead to a multitude of different entrances, parking lots and garages designed for specific attractions. Soldier Field, The Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium and The Shed Aquarium were all accessible from the road I was on.
I had to stop, holding up the only lane of traffic available for the looping stretch of almost and entire mile, to ask for directions more than a dozen times.
Just because someone has a vest that says Chicago police department and a flashlight with an orange plastic attachment on it you should never assume they know anything short of their own name and occupation.
I know a few people employed by the Chicago Police and based on their intelligence and professional demeanor I would have previously thought the Chicago PD was only hiring people of a higher caliber. (That wasn't supposed to be a gun joke, but it kind of turned into one)
After encountering the majority of the officers directing traffic at Soldier Field that day, I would have to say my theory has been thrown directly out the window.
If you are hired to work at a function in a city your presumably live and work in on a daily basis, in an area you've been to probably more than once. I would expect a better response than, I don't know how to get there.
I'd like to say, I am not a sports fanatic, by any stretch of the imagination, but upon working for the Northwest Herald I've taken a shine to shooting sports, particularly football. I have a lot of fun while I'm doing it and I almost always have some great footage to show for it. I'd never been to Soldier Field though and I've certainly never had to drive through that much of Chicago without specific directions on how to reach my destination.
One person told me, "Yeah just go down Indiana until you hit Roosevelt then go right on Lake Shore Drive and do that part where you go underneath. It should be around there."
Great! Why don't I keep driving down Lake Shore Drive and do the part where I veer off the road into Lake Michigan. That should get me just about as far as these directions you've given me.
This wasn't even the worst part of the journey.
I have finally found gate ten and the will call ticket window. Everyone kept telling me I had to find Will Call media. Even the people at will call had no idea what this was, nor did they have any idea where my media pass was supposed to be located.
"Follow this guy to Gate 2, That's where you gotta go." Said the balding man with the grey mustache behind the will call window.
Excellent. I'll finally make some progress, right? Wrong.
Two young ladies stations at plastic folding tables were waiting for me as I approached Gate 2.
"Hi, I'm Jason Pfrommer with the DeKalb chronicle and Shaw Media. I'm here to cover the game."
The girls look at me, completely dumbfounded by the words spewing from my mouth. I might as well have spoken Mandarin. It would have warranted the same reactions.
"Ummm... Yeah, Well what's yer last name." As she clearly stares at the press pass hanging around my neck. My first and last name boldly stamped into the rectangular card within its plastic sheath.
"From-er. But it's spelled with a PF at the beginning."
"Umm... I, like, don't see it. Do you think maybe it's, like, under 'F', or something."
"Yeah, sure, check it. That's a possibility."
"Yeah, I don't, like, have a 'P' or and 'F' You're gonna have to go to gate 14 I think they might have the press passes."
Oh, you've got an 'F' alright, lady... 7 letters, 2 words...
So I go to Gate 14 and ask for my media pass. to a person I've already spoken with. So, I know I'm going to get absolutely no where with the conversation that's about to unfold but I initiate it anyway.
"Hey. The girls at window two said you guys should have my media pass. I was just wondering if I could get that."
"Oh, yeah, there were some people here earlier, but I mean, they're not here now..."
Ok, well that makes absolutely no sense.
"So, you can't call your boss, or someone, and ask where the passes are."
"Naw. Like I said, they were here earlier and now they're not."
"So they left for the day?"
"No. they're probably around here somewhere."
This was the most frustrating conversation I've ever had with a human being. I've had conversations with children who will repeat, "but why?" to everything you say. These conversations were no where near as infuriating as the one I was having with this grown man.
Mind you that was my second encounter with this man. The first one went a little something like this.
Now that no one is reading my extremely long post I'll just go ahead and tell you I didn't get in. Almost a hundred dollars and a whole entire day wasted. Because some incompetent employee at Soldier Field told my supervisor not to worry, they'd have a pass for Jason Pfrommer.
You lied Soldier Field. Rest easy knowing you successfully kept a young journalist from fulfilling something he was really looking forward to. Next time you slip up you better hope it isn't a kid from the Make a Wish Foundation.