The Home Advantage

On Sunday Afternoon, September 24, the Chicago Bears took on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Alex and Rita Schank brought the full home entertainment experience outside, with a television set situated in their backyard and Stadium Seating for their neighbors.

“The admission price of appetizers or dessert is well worth it,” said Kathy Martelli, neighbor.

While being in the stadium to watch the game is great, football is a sport that is made for television. All the better if you’re lucky enough to live in Neighborhood 26 and 6 on this Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve been hosting this for 8 years,” Alex said. “Every year we have had great weather, never any rain; but this year has to be the hottest. We have had great attendance each year. This year we have around 38 attending with even a few Packer Fans.”

“A lot of people pass by and beep their horns,” said John Pawelek.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, a car honked as if on cue.

Alex revealed that this event and his annual Notre Game trip are the two events he looks forward to.

“We have an annual family tradition of going to a Notre Dame game, with cousins and second cousins having attended the University. It’s like a big family reunion with 40 to 50 of the family coming and we have a pig roast at the tailgate party,” he said. “One year I went when Notre Dame was playing Michigan State. I had a cap from Michigan State and a Shirt from Notre Dame on and a Notre Dame professor at the game leaned over and said ‘you have one in both schools – right?’ I did. I had one daughter attending Notre Dame and the other Michigan State.”

The yard had canopy covered tables filled with food and of course the covered stadium seats. Neighbors chatted, watched the game and passed around the food. Neighbor Paul Fletge encouraged friends to finish a plate of “bacon wrapped bacon, a cardiologist’s dream food,” he joked.

Alex brings in the stadium seats every year.

“It only takes about an hour and usually a few neighbors help. This year Barry Cianciarulo and Paul Flentge helped out. And when the game is over everyone helps take down and it takes about 15 minutes,” he said.

Alex, a retired Palatine firefighter, carries on a tradition started by his Fire Chief. Each year for about 25 years “He (the Fire Chief) would bring out the bleachers and the TV into his yard in Palatine and attendance would reach over 100. It was well attended by firemen, police, and even the mayor.”

For these occasions, Alex and Rita provide not only the venue but brats and the beverages. The brats are served at halftime.

What are Alex and Rita’s goals for future game days?

“I am waiting to get an 80 or 90-inch TV,” Alex confessed.

The afternoon had a perfect ending with the Chicago Bears winning the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers 23 – 17.

Our parents always told us to get out of the house when it was nice out. They just never thought we could watch TV outside too.

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