I met many friends that year in Green Bay, but made two life long best friends.
A Sports Trip to Remember
“Jessica,” the hotel’s shuttle driver had begun, “meet Rich and Dave. They’re here on a sports trip too and they live near you.”
The driver was friendly—Midwestern friendly—middle aged woman with dirty blonde hair, slightly graying, pulled into a pony tail; I knew she meant well when she introduced me to these young gentlemen, but I was nervous.
I was sitting shotgun; the driver was taking me to the mall and she was taking the guys to Lambeau Field. I turned around and looked the one guy in the eye. I probably didn’t smile, as smiling doesn’t come naturally to me when I’m nervous, but I did say: “Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia and I’m here to see the Packers. I’m a huge Packers fan.”
Dave was the first one to introduce himself: “I’m Dave. I’m from Staten Island. Although I’m a Giants fan, we wanted to come to see the Packers. This is my friend Rich. We try to take a sports related vacation each year.”
Rich then spoke up and mentioned he was from Brooklyn. I could tell Rich was an introvert as well since Dave did most of the talking. Although, it was a ten minute car ride, I enjoyed talked to them. We talked about sports and our love for Green Bay. When we arrived at the mall, I stepped from the passenger side and said to them, “It was nice meeting you! Maybe we’ll catch up again because I liked talking to you both. A pleasure meeting you!” They returned the same sentiments.
I remember thinking the two guys from New York were really friendly, but between meeting my Facebook friend for the first time, meeting Wayne and Janet, and other friends I made at the Packers game, I put the brief interaction at the back of my mind.
The day was warm and sunny. I had just finished an afternoon at the Milwaukee Zoo and was waiting for the bus to head to Miller Brewery. I felt overwhelmed in Milwaukee, but taking in the city through the bus’s window—Milwaukee had an urban beauty to it.
“Hey! Jessica?” I heard a guy scream out; breaking my concentration from the map. I was confused because I didn’t know anyone in Milwaukee. Yet despite the fear that some stalker knew my name, I looked up and saw Dave and Rich.
“Do you remember us?” Dave continued.
“Yes! Dave and Rich, right?”
We began boarding the bus at this point. “So, where are you headed?”
“Well, I just finished visiting the Milwaukee Zoo. I love going to zoos and I loved the Milwaukee Zoo. I’m trying to find Miller Brewery.”
“Oh! We’re going there next too! Hey, let’s go together!”
I sat in between Rich and Dave. I could tell Dave had been to Milwaukee before because he had a good sense of direction in this huge city. Dave was listening for the stops and I talked to Rich. I wanted to get to know Rich a bit more. Apparently his parents own a store in Brooklyn and he helps run the family business. He’s more a Yankees fan, he prefers baseball over football, but was enjoying the trip.
When we got off the bus and entered through the door of the Miller Brewery, we were instructed to go to the auditorium to watch a video on the history of Miller. We had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the movie to air, but time spent with giggling and chatting with both Dave and Rich made it worth it.
The whole tour was fun between crazy antics from Rich and Dave, but visiting a new place with new friends is always exciting. When we were touring how beer was made, Dave noticed I loved photography, and was making funny gestures in front of the glass where the beer was being made. I snapped the pictures and the whole thing was priceless. I never laughed so much in my life.
When we made it to the beer garden, we sat at a table. I am not a fan of beer; I opted for a berry beer, then root beer. The guys had many plastic cups of beer, then cheered our day out. Dave said, “to new friends and many more adventures together!” Our glasses clanked and we exchanged numbers.
We had planned to go to dinner before they went to the Brewers/Phillies game (the game I saw the night before) and I went on my Midnight cruise of Lake Michigan. We had planned to go to this sports restaurant, but with how erratic the buses were, we never did go. We parted ways.
I kept in touch with both Dave and Rich. I still hang out with Dave on occasions when there is a sporting event in Philadelphia or other events. It’s nice that he’ll come from Staten Island to visit me because of our shared loved of sports. It’s nice having someone to bond with when it comes to sports or just traveling in general. I am forever grateful to the shuttle driver in Green Bay that introduced me to both Rich and Dave; I am forever grateful for all the friends I met that year in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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