Every good bar has its own claim to fame and, for the best, it’s the people who run it. On that measure, we hung out in one of Wisconsin’s finest Sunday morning to watch the World Cup Championship.
Located on the corner of county roads C and E in the town of Advance, Take a Chance doesn’t have a single sign outside noting its name. If you do take a chance and step inside, though, you’ll find co-owner Deloris Maroszek mixing up a delicious Bloody Mary with fresh horseradish she gets from the farm down the street.
Deloris agreed to open up an hour early so we could watch Croatia play France Sunday, which meant she showed up at the bar roughly five hours after she’d closed up the night before.
“What else was I going to do, sit home?” she said cheerfully as she set fresh popcorn in front of us and settled in to watch the game. For a while, it was just the three of us, cheering from a little bar in Wisconsin, and sending messages back and forth to Vince’s cousin Gordana Biškupić Poturić in Croatia.
What a world!
Our friend Robbie joined us in time to see Croatia score to tie the game, and the four of us stood and cheered. Our son Vinnie texted from a beer garden in Minneapolis that when Croatia scored eight people stood up and sang the Croatian National Anthem and then 75% of the crowd cheered for Croatia.
From his apartment in Queens, our son Charlie cheered on the Croatian team waving a new flag he bought “from a smart street merchant.” Our daughter Molly frantically kept up with the score via text message as she was on a canoe trip in Western Wisconsin and unable to watch it live. And, our daughter Katherine watched at home in Los Angeles.
It all made for a lively group text.
As the Sunday regulars made their way into Take a Chance, Vince and Deloris caught them up on the action and Croatia picked up more fans from halfway across the world.
Of course, we’re all disappointed that Croatia lost but we’re still very proud to be Croatian soccer fans.
Shortly after the game ended, I enjoyed this text conversation with Gordana.
She wrote: “Great game. Big success. Tomorrow a Big Welcome for our Great Boys in Zagreb. Very proud!”
I responded: “We are all very proud here too.”
She said: “Love you all. And so glad to share this with you. Great championship. Great emotions. Great unification of Croatia to people all over the world. More to follow…”
From a little corner bar in Wisconsin, and a beer garden in Minneapolis, and an apartment in Queens, and a canoe on the Mississippi, and a friend’s couch in Los Angeles, we agree.