GRANT PARK — The dreams of many football fans were shattered Thursday when they attempted to do the things NFL players do.
A group of Cleveland Browns fans who came to Chicago for the NFL Draft and a friend's bachelor party were the first to virtually race against a 40-yard-long video board depicting San Francisco 49ers safety Antoine Bethea.
Bethea runs the 40-yard dash in about 4.5 seconds. On Thursday, these fans were closer to 5.4.
"Just switch [the digits] here," said Clevelander John Lindesmith.
Angel Rivas of Old Town left work early so he could come to Draft Town right at 4 p.m. He attempted to film his virtual run against Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece, a 255-pound man who can run the 40 in about 4.4 seconds.
Rivas, who is noticeably much lighter than 255 pounds, ran the stretch in 5.9 seconds. He's in the foreground below.
"Considering I'm in jeans and a jacket, that's alright," Rivas joked.
Fans less confident in their speed tried their feet at kicking field goals, a skill regarded among the least athletic in football. Joe Traub of Lake Barrington shanked multiple 10-yard attempts. Among the reasons for his performance: a lack of stretching, and the wind.
"The guy's asking me [to kick] here without warming up, come on," Traub said. "But ultimately the effort was there."
Josh Tobolt, 20, of Crystal Lake played soccer and football in high school, and has kicked before with Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould. He barely made this 10-yarder before drilling a 20-yarder.
"I still have a long way to go," said Tobolt, an Illinois State University student who plans to become a high school history teacher.
Other contests include the vertical leap, including one from a sitting position. After a man yelled, "Touchdown, Bears!" this young fan tried his leap from the couch.
Fans can also jump in this wind tunnel named after Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Walter "Sweetness" Payton.
As many journalists know too well, sports aren't for everyone. Draft Town guests can also compete via Xbox.
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