The screams of Chicago Bulls fans still rang in my ears hours after the annual Christmas Day game between the Detroit Pistons and Bulls at old Chicago Stadium.
I was 30 stories into the air looking out over deserted downtown Chicago at the Marriott Hotel feeling a little sorry for myself wishing to be in the warm embrace of my family back in Detroit. I was used to being alone on the road as Pistons beat writer back in the day. But that loneliness was different on Christmas night.
It gripped you like a vice. I loved covering the game because the nation was watching and my story would be the main splash in the next day’s Detroit News. As soon as I packed up my gear at the stadium and departed for the hotel I longed for the people that lived on Vancouver Street in Detroit.
Drew Sharp of The Detroit Free Press and Dean Howe of MLive met me in the hotel restaurant before going to our respective rooms. We often were the only table in the restaurant and you got the feeling that the wait staff, cooks and hosts were hustling you along so they could be with their families.
One night after dinner I returned to my 30th floor hotel room and looked east over the city. Wisps of snow blew across East Grand Avenue and I could make out a solitary figure pilgrimaging through trash cans hoping to find food or something warm to wear.
I followed this man for about five minutes until he disappeared into the depths of Chicago’s cold and wind. I stopped feeling sorry for myself.
I had a roof over my head. Heat pumped from the vents in my hotel room and I had delicious food in my stomach. I was still alone, but realized I did not have it so bad.
Northwest Airlines would bring me to my family the next day.
Find Terry Foster Podcast here: