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Good tickets are rare things. This is a postulate of life. I learned it in the fifth grade when I went with 30 other Peoria traffic safety patrol boys to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Though there were fewer than 2,000 people in the stands, we young Samaritans sat about 50 rows from the field, surrounded by empty seats. The ushers wouldn't let us move. We didn't have good tickets.
You live with this. Good tickets belong to other people for the same reasons other people have straighter drives and whiter teeth: luck, money, inheritance.
And then, the other day, I got good tickets. Or rather, my father did. But I got them for him.
In the middle of a conversation my father mentioned that he'd like to get season tickets to Chicago Blitz games. The Blitz is Chicago's entry in the United States Football League. I asked him why, and he said because he'd tried for years to get good tickets to Chicago Bears games but couldn't.
This was in late July and the Blitz was so new in town that directory assistance had no number for the team. I called the sports desk at the Chicago Tribune and somebody gave me the number the public could use to call the Blitz. I dialed the number and a woman answered.
I told her I wanted two season tickets to Blitz games. She asked me where I wanted to sit.
I asked my dad.
"Fifty-yard line," I told the lady.
"All right," she said. "What row?"