Citizens Report American Irish Culture

Danahey on the Loose at 110th Norge Club Ski Tournament


It’s getting close to Groundhog Day, so, being in a winter rut, I decided to celebrate a little early.

While I do live in the northwest suburbs, I didn’t head to Woodstock to pay homage to Harold Ramis’ best film. Instead, I hit the Norge Ski Club’s 110th annual ski jump tournament.

I think Puxatony Phil may have been there, though, on somebody’s hat or maybe as a coat. Since I brought it up, should men who are not pimps or from the 17th or 18th century wear fur coats?

Anyway – and sadly –  I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go with me to stand outside in winter for fun. The fun part being of being alone, though, was everybody seemed reluctant to sit by me on the shuttle bus up hilly streets to the club’s grounds.

The Elmer Fudd hat might have helped with that, too.  But I was dressed subtly compared to the aforementioned fur-bearing types, the guys in hunting gear, or the wannabe Russians, or the guy who is there every year dressed as a Viking – making him the jump’s big, furry groundhog. (Fortunately, I didn’t spot a girl with a dragon tattoo, which would have been too scary Swedish for me.)

Of course, Vikings invaded Scotland and Ireland, where the horned helmeted ones lost the first of their scant appearances in the Super Bowl and brought red hair to the gene pool.

The Vikings may also have brought the special kind of crazy it takes to jump off a mountain on skis to Ireland’s greener pastures. Since it doesn’t get as cold and snowy as it does in Ireland as it does in Scandinavia – not to mention the lack of mountains – the Irish-Viking hybrids took wood intended for skis and made them into hurling sticks. Or so I say.

St. Patrick took those hurling sticks and beat the wee out of all the snakes. He was frustrated as he wanted to fly down the Wicklow Mountains like a squirrel. And squirrels hate snakes.

Squirrels also seemed to be fan head gear at the ski jump, the grounds of which looked like an outdoor St. Patrick’s Day party held somewhere really cold. Besides Chicago, 2014. And with bonfires.

Call it aquavit or call it whisky, it means the same thing. Only at the jump it was shots of Fireball Whiskey, which has become the drink, drank, drunk of choice among the younguns who want their booze to taste like Valentine’s candy.

Which reminds. Had the Packers made Super Bowl Ex-Lax, I was going to market RumCheddar – an exotic mix of the Caribbean and Wisconsin to be chugged ice cold in summer and on nachos in winter.

Being solo, I did not imbibe at the ski jump, which was a good thing, as somebody else who was there said there was a shortage of porta-johns. Plus, being a cold weather wuss, I wore a pair of long underwear, jeans, AND sweatpants, which would have made it a chore to take a leak. Or worse.

To occupy what could have been drinking time,  I took lots of pictures and put them on Facebook, where life truly is lived in 2015. That’s because I am old, rarely Tweet, and like words too much to Instagram.

Alas, I didn’t see much jumping.  There was too much wind at the jump’s launch site. One kid took off and the wind did appear to take him off track, sliding in a way a pre-HDTV picture would when the set failed.

Another skier landed about 18 feet from the bottom of the hill, but after him they took a break to wait for the wind to subside.

I guess it didn’t, and they ended things a little after 3. That’s what a really tipsy guy on the bus back to the Jewel-Osco parking lot said.  He could have said, “I really have to pee.” He was slurring his words.

I hit the road and headed to Best Fest Buddy Tom’s house to borrow his pretty new hot tub that has more than 40 jets and a foot massager –  and to drink glogg.

Before dipping,  I caught a bit of a food show on the Travel Channel where they visited a restaurant in Louisiana called Crawfish Town USA. I only bring it up because in Elgin, a restaurateur is opening a place at the Highlands Golf Course called The Grumpy Goat which will have Scottish decor but a cajun and creole menu.

It was enough to make me think RumCheddar isn’t such a bad idea, after all.




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