Ballhawks were disappointed with the decision to not run plays towards the East end zone which eliminated any chance of an extra point or field goal leaving the
ballpark during the game. (although they did practice field goals towards the East - more on that at the end) I understand completely why they made that decision.
When I first saw the setup and how close it was to the wall, padding or not, someone could get seriously hurt diving, running into, or getting forced into the wall.
But to wait until a day or so before hand to make that decision took away any chance of fixing the problem . The Cubs had already removed a few rows from the
third base area ( north west corner of the field ) , so all that had to be done was remove a few more rows and slide the field Northwest 10-15 feet. Problem was
once the Cubs got the ok for the field placement from the teams and the Big Ten, the foundation for the goalpost was set on the West end. And on the East side
a section of the basket was removed from the wall plus some bricks were knocked out to make room for the mounting of the goalpost. The bleacher wall and
ivy have landmark status so I wonder if they needed special permission for this ? And with the field also now painted , there was now no way to fix an otherwise
fixable problem .
So the game was played one way , offense West only , and no balls ended up on Sheffield. Not sure what all the fuss was about the one-way game, looked fine
to me on tv . The cool thing about the goal post on the brick wall meant there was no way to put up a net like was installed on the West end. So any ball kicked
that way would have ended up in the stands or on Sheffield . Next year , or when-ever the next game is played, the field will be moved , or tilted in a way where
there is the 6ft space needed ( by NCAA rule ) between the back of the end zone and the wall. Of course that means they will also now have room to put up nets so ...
On Thursday prior to the game Northwestern practiced at Wrigley. And from what the security guard told me , about 2 dozen field goals were attempted and 2 made it
out onto Sheffield where passerbys picked them up and kept walking . On game day Saturday , we were not expecting any action because of the new rule . So we were
surprised when Illinois kicker and Cubs fan Derek Dimke decided to make a few practice field goal attempts in our direction .
I was looking through the knothole when I saw Derek come out and place the holder ?(or whatever that 3 pronged thing is called that holds up the football for practice
kicks) near the 20 yard line of the East end. So I made a mad dash to directly behind the goalposts , and on the other side of Sheffield. Moe was the only other ballhawk
on Sheffield, Nick and Jeff were there but took a bad time to go get something to eat... lol. There were hundreds of people milling about on Sheffield " wildcat way "
as it was called , with tents, tables , and stands all over the place.
The first ball sailed over my head , off a semi-trailer ? and into a passerbys hands. The second was hooked far to my right , I never saw it land , and I never ran after it.
The third , right down the middle of the uprights and 15 feet in front of me . I ran through the tent opening , out the other side and tried a basket catch with both hands.
I dropped it ... . I quickly fell on it , got up and ran for safety ... lol. I remember Moe and Rich telling me stories about when the Bears played games there , the bars
would empty after a touchdown with fans running out to Waveland to battle for extra points ... and they would say the guy who caught it never ended it up with it .So for
a split second I panicked....even though there was no reason for it . I traded a few high fives and that was it. I was more excited about catching this football than any
baseball I had caught all year.
And here it is... with a cool Illinois stamp on it
2010 FOOTBALL TOTALS
SEASON KP..... WAVELAND 0 SHEFFIELD 5
SEASON GAME.. WAVELAND 0 SHEFFIELD 0