Thursday, July 21, 10:02 a.m.
After sleeping in late Wednesday due to Wednesday’s obligatory late-night stroll down the Las Vegas Strip, your correspondent is tired but ready for the next obligatory visit to the hottest betting capital of the world by the minute.
No, not real bets yet, although that will happen in due course, but purchases. Located just minutes from the Strip — and Allegiant Stadium where the Juventus-Chivas procedural will take place on Friday night — you’ll find the prestigious South Las Vegas Premium Outlets.
(Premium is right in the name!)
After having a breakfast of a burrito the size of a baby’s arm – even in the most mundane things, Las Vegas seems eager to give you the most decadent option every time – we walked in. in the magical world of factory outlets. I really, legitimately didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I thought if I found a nice shirt or something I would think about it, but I really didn’t. need anything in itself.
I was convinced that we could get in and out in a few hours at most.
It was the first mistake. Because shopping in Vegas isn’t about needing things, it’s about generating the need the moment you walk into the first store. I honestly didn’t need, want or think of finding a commemorative hat for my beloved 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, but there it was and it was only $10 – original retail price $35 – and that team was so fun and God how did we trade Mookie Betts, are you kidding me? Of course I will buy it.
We’re still in 100+ degree weather in Vegas, but when you find a brand name wool winter coat at 85% off, you’re rationalizing it on your own. “I don’t need it right now, but I will need it at some point in the future and when that time comes I’ll be glad I bought it at this outrageously cheap price.”
(The smartest thing people do at these outlets is to make it very clear to you what the original price was so that you feel like you’re getting away with something even though you’re probably still pissing you off.)
A Nike Kenya Olympic Running team windbreaker at 90% off? Well, I’d be stupid not to honestly. Designer flip flops for 19.99? How could I not. These are marathon level running shoes, they cost well over $200 and you tell me I can get them right now for 50 smackers? Never mind that I run 5-10 km recreationally every other month, never mind that getting running shoes this good is ridiculously overkill for the amount of running I actually do, they’re cheap and the sole is made of the same rubber they use in Continental tires. I’ll take them, please, and thank you.
(I couldn’t tell you for sure if the fact that the sole is designed by Continental tires is a good thing, but it sure is like that for an amateur like me. If there are runners in the comments let me know if this is a good thing.)
Slowly, but surely, the girlfriend – someone who also literally wanted two button-up shirts and nothing else when we walked in – accumulated bags of “offers“who we’re going to ruin when the credit card bill comes in about a week, but who for now seem to be getting away with murder, they’re so good.
Thursday, July 21, 2:02 p.m.
As we take a break to rest after the first leg of our shopping spree, I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t seen a single person wearing a Juve kit yet. Not only no Juve kits to see, but really no kits of the teams participating in the upcoming games. Damn, I saw some Bayern Munich shirts and they don’t even play here.
I have to admit that I was disappointed with it. From experience I know that Las Vegas is a very eventful city, whenever something big is happening you can immediately tell by walking down the strip. With big ads everywhere, or fun fan experiences for people, that sort of thing. I came to work at an NFL convention once – we were maybe 300 or 400 people up front – and they had the fake Caesar statue at Caesar’s Palace wearing an NFL logo shirt. Yet so far absolutely nothing for the Soccer Champions Tour.
I’m wearing a Juve kit today – mainly because it’s very breathable and the heat continues to be brutal – but also to see if I run into another Bianconeri supporters. I was beginning to lose hope when we walked into a store selling boxing and contact sports gear and were immediately greeted by the person running the store with a “Hey!” It’s my team!
Up came over to greet us Gustavo – who we quickly learned was also Mexican and switched to Spanish – a Juve fan who very quickly let us know he doesn’t support them just because of Ronaldo , as many people assume these days. We had a nice chat about the team, his store, how he got tickets for the game and how we hope the team does this year. Just as we were exiting his store after exchanging information, a gentleman wearing a Chivas Guadalajara shirt walked in.
My people are starting to show up, finally.
Thursday, July 21, 7:02 p.m.
The couple quick two hours became an all day affair. We had no plan, so I thought it didn’t really matter that we spent an entire day in a mall, all until disaster struck.
Here at BWRAO headquarters, we knew Juve were due to arrive in Vegas on Thursday, but we assumed they would go straight to their hotel and rest. Apparently, however, that wasn’t the case as Juve headed straight to the Allegiant Stadium to hold a press conference and have some light training ahead of the match.
I was furious, how could they not let us know? Here we are traveling to the damn desert to cover this game and they don’t even have the courtesy to tell me about… oh, they did.
In an effort to disconnect from work, I turned off notifications for my inbox, so I missed the media briefings to cover this press conference and the training. I missed it completely. It’s your boy’s all-time gaffe to launch my great career as a sports journalist J… amazing.
What if there were no more press conferences? What if the badge needed to be picked up today and I couldn’t pick it up tomorrow? What if I had inadvertently missed the whole trip? With my morale much lower than before, we headed back to the hotel to figure out how the hell we are bringing all of our newly acquired possessions back to Mexico.
Thursday, July 21, 10:02 p.m.
I re-enable email notifications and get more information about tomorrow’s game. There will be other press conferences, of course you can collect your badge on Friday. There “coaching” was 15 minutes from kicking a ball to get B-Roll. Catastrophe averted, but it was a close call, it’s gotta be better than that, I’m not missing a damn thing more, that’s my promise to you, the reader.
“Hey! Nice shirt, Juve!
Second person shouting my shirt off after having dinner and we walk down the strip towards the New York New York hotel.
“Forza Juve! Until tomorrow!”
Third person, in the posh mall near the Aria hotel. We see a drunk blind man wearing a Chivas jersey, this town at least knows about the event. The spirits resume.
We sit completely exhausted from all those walks in the Bellagio casino. There aren’t many places to sit in Las Vegas hotels that aren’t dedicated to gambling, food or drink – a cool little thing they do – so we sit at a Monopoly-themed slot machine. In order not to get out of it, we put in a spare bill and start mashing the spin button without really understanding how the game works. We lose almost our entire bankroll – five whole dollars! — but suddenly the machine starts making all sorts of noises and the screen starts flashing. Rich Uncle Pennybags – the Monopoly guy who apparently has a name? – appears on the screen and flips the number board as he calls us cheaters.
Against logic, it was a good thing – it was the Monopoly Cheats Edition – and our credit amount started to grow and grow. One thousand, two thousand, three thousand credits. It kept going up, it kept blinking, it kept making money noises. Did we just get rich off a stupid Monopoly-themed slot machine around midnight in Vegas? Are we about to be the one in a million? The jackpot is supposed to be 28 Grand, so how much does a Mercedes Benz AMG CLS cost? Oh so much? Maybe a used one?
The counter stopped, it inspired us to keep spinning, we had thousands of credits to our name, but unfortunately we learned that credits are not equivalent to dollars and when all the song and dance of the machine stopped, we had a whole $14.55 in our name.
Maybe not the riches that could change our lives, but we’re 10 bucks in Vegas and nothing can take away the thrill of a few seconds of imagining myself in a brand new German luxury car.
(The girlfriend thinks it was a dumb idea and we should have invested that money, so it’s still earning something on interest. Even with fake winnings, she’s the voice of reason.)
We return to the Hotel Rio by Uber and a Mercedes SUV stops to drive us. Hey, I’ll take what I can get.