This weekend was one of my favorites each year — Cosa Nostra.
For those that don’t know, Cosa Nostra is an annual (sometimes semiannual) trip that Patty, Andy and I go on. Sometimes we are joined by one or two other brothers, though this trip turned out to be just the three of us.
Andy couldn’t make it to Vegas in March, so he invited us up to Cincinnati this weekend. Seeing as we try to go to a new MLB baseball park each trip, this was a stellar idea.
In order to get our flights for cheap, Patty and I booked our flights into Louisville. It’s about a two-hour drive to Cincy, but Andy’s friend and member of our fantasy baseball league, Will, picked us up from the airport and drove us up.
After a two-hour drive, we met Andy at the Hofbräuhaus German beer hall. We had some great food and a few Munich Weizens as we caught up on recent events.
When dinner was over, we made our way over to watch the premiere of Captain America. It was another solid superhero movie. Not as good as Batman or Iron Man, but ahead of Thor and the rest.
The funniest part of the movie was when I turned to talk to Andy after the final scene. He was sound asleep.
Saturday we woke up around 9 a.m. and Andy took us on a tour of the Queen City. We ate breakfast at a small dinner that served something called a “hot mess.” Sausage, eggs, hashbrowns, gravy and cheese mixed together. It was good stuff.
Now vacationing from Houston, I was hoping to get a break in the heat. Unfortunately, with much of the eastern time zone affected by the heat dome, it turned out to be hotter in Cincinnati. And more humid!
We got tickets to the Red-Braves baseball game that started at 4 p.m. We arrived to Great American Ballpark a little early and walked around. It wasn’t nearly as impressive as some of the other newer parks I have been to, but it was a solid venue.
We ended up getting seats on the third base side — right in the sun’s wrath. Let me tell you what…it was fucking hot. We saw on TV that the temperature on the field at the park was 120 during the game. Yikes.
By the time the first inning was over, we were purchasing lemonade chillers to try and bring our body temperatures down. We got out of our seats in the third to visit the air-conditioned team store and purchase a bit of food.
The Reds broke the game open in the sixth inning. At that point, we were done with the heat for a while, and decided to head out.
Our next stop that night was King’s Island amusement park. It was about a 30-minute drive from downtown. We had decided to go to King’s Island at night, since it was much cheaper to go then. The park stayed open until midnight, so we had plenty of time to hit the rides.
The famous wood rollercoaster was out of service, but there were still plenty of other solid ones. The rides got especially scary at night, when you were flying around in the dark.
Now I did have a minor issue at the park. We rode the Firehawk, which is a coaster that puts you flat on your back and has you facing the ground and going upside down. I couldn’t wear my glasses, so I was basically blind on a coaster going more than 50 mph.
After the ride, I broke into a massive sweat. The scariness of the ride, combined with the heat and having not eaten much since the morning was catching up with me. I felt a little sick to my stomach, but was able to fight it off.
We decided to ride one more coaster before getting food — the Flight of Fear. It was one of those coasters that shoots you from 0 to 54 mph in seconds while you go through a dark, underground track. It wasn’t that bad, but combined with still feeling the effects of the Firehawk, I was in trouble.
Once the ride came to a stop, I started hauling ass outside. I could tell what was coming and had to escape the premises. Patty and Andy had no idea what was going on, until they found near a gate outside the ride emptying my stomach. They laughed — bastards.
After that little incident, I was hungry for dinner. I had heard a lot about Skyline Chili, so I wanted to give it a try. Andy said he hated it, but it sounded good to me.
The “3 Ways” chili is special formulated chili (I tasted some cinnamon in it) topped with a load of cheese and covered on spaghetti. It was fantastic. Patty disagreed, but then again, our food tastes are usually different.
We hit on a couple more rides, including the best, the Diamondback, before heading home.
Sunday morning we got a tee time at a local golf course and signed up for nine holes. Patty and I didn’t feel like bringing our clubs, so we rented them at the course for $10 (actually, he paid $10. The girl ringing us up clearly thought I was cute and gave me the clubs at no charge).
I started off pretty hot and put together a solid round. I didn’t have my new long putter, obviously, and I had a couple of putts lip out. This proved to be key.
Heading to the last two holes, I had a two-shot lead on Andy. The penultimate hole was a Par 3. Andy and I both hit our tee shots a bit right. His second shot went right on the green. I fluffed mine and then had to pitch from under a tree.
I ended up with a five on the hole, while Andy proved clutch, knocking down a 7-footer for the lone par from any of us on the day. It was tied up heading to the last hole.
We gave ourselves one mulligan if needed on the tees. Andy’s second drive was a beaut, putting the pressure on me. After two solid shots, my third shot cleared the green with a pitching wedge. That hurt.
Andy was on the green in three, but three-putted, giving me a chance. I pitched onto the top part of the green, well away from the hole. My first putt put me about 18 feet short of the hole, needing to sink it to finish tied with Andy.
I had confidence, and I put a nice hit on the ball. Andy got scared as the ball broke to the hole and started making its way to the hole. Unfortunately, I missed it by about an inch and a half, giving Andy a three-shot advantage on the final two holes, good enough for the one-stroke victory. It was a bad choke job by me.
Andy finished with a 56, while I had a 57. Patty had a “58” thanks in large part to the “No Greater than Snowman (8)” rules we enforce.
That was it for the trip. We made the drive back to Louisville and Patty and I boarded our plane for the journey home.
Overall, while a short trip, it was another great Cosa Nostra. It’s always great hanging out with my two best friends and talking about the good ole college days.
We’ve already determined next year’s Cosa Nostra will by Houston/Dallas. Michigan (Andy’s team) is playing Alabama (Patty and my team) in the college football season opener at the JerryDome next September. That will be exciting.
• So I can say with all certainty, Cincinnati is never a place that I’d want to live. I’ll say the people there are a bit odd, and I’ll leave it at that.
• Fuck global warming.
• “It’s like I went to church and God told me He didn’t approve.” College football and Nick Saban is the inspiration behind this quote.
• The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy wrote a ridiculous entry in his notebook about why Twitter is stupid, even though he has never used it. My favorite part is where he admits he thought cell phones would be a fad, and didn’t get one until five(!) years ago. SportsGrid had an awesome reaction piece to Shaughnessy’s idiocy.
• Now that Captain America has been released, I’ll be releasing a new Top Five blog — Superhero movie franchises. Be on the lookout for that.
• I will believe the NFL lockout is over when I actually players in camp. Until then, I am skeptical.
• The Cubs actually won three games in a row for the first time this season. That shows just how horrible the Astros are.
• My cell phone battery appears to be on its last leg. It is only lasting about five hours before the battery is flaming out. Takes forever to charge, too. I’m not eligible for an upgrade until Oct. 1, at which point I think I will be getting the Droid 3 (assuming I have a job by then).
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!