Monday, February 14, 2011

Whirlyball and My Valetine's Edition: Ten Reasons I Love Chicago

Well, yesterday the ResCov community went and played some whirlyball! For those of you who don't know, whirlyball is kind of a combination between bumper cars and lacrosse, except played with a wiffle ball and those shorter hand-held scoops. You drive around attempting to launch the wiffle ball into a target roughly the size of a basketball hoop mounted at each end of the "court." Here's what it looks like:

It was a great event and fun to socialize with ResCov'ers in a less formal environment. The only downside to the evening was what happened just prior to leaving. So, as many of you know, if there is one sacrosanct part of my life, it is the Sunday afternoon nap. To me, nothing screams (or maybe, "whispers" would be a better verb) sabbath like a good nap after a church service and lunch. However, this was already put in jeopardy after some slow service at Bad Apple (but the food was delicious!). I got home at 3:15, texted TK and Sarah (my upstairs neighbors) to get a ride, and set my alarm to get up in time to get up and leave for whirlyball, which started at 5.

Next thing I know, TK is knocking at my door, and I jump out of bed, throw on my shoes, and get in the truck on my way to whirlyball. So, upon coming home I did some homework, read some books, and went to bed. In the middle of the night at exactly 4:32 am my alarm went off on my phone, and I woke up completely disoriented doing all I could to make whatever was making noise stop making noise. Ahh, the joys of setting your clock to am vs pm or vice versa.

Yesterday as I was leaving whirlyball, I looked over and saw the skyline of Chicago and remembered how much fondness my heart holds for the "city of big shoulders." I have to admit when I first arrived at North Park, the city was terrible. I hated the traffic, I hated the noise, I hated the fast pace. Yet, slowly the tendrils of Chicago began to draw me in. So today, instead of spending time discussing the things I would change in Chicago, in honor of Valentine's Day, here's a list of the things I love about Chicago:
1. History. The city is full of it! Every building, every neighborhood, every street corner seems saturated with history if you are aware and open to it. I have been watching Ken Burns' Jazz documentary and seeing the places downtown where greats like Louis Armstrong played, you are reminded that this city, even in times of terrible racial discrimination, people like Armstrong brought forth beauty deeper than the hate.
2. Cultural events/festivals/concerts/shows. During my undergrad, I sadly missed out on much that happened outside of the Kedzie, Lawrence, Kimball, Foster block (which is to say, basically everything happening in the city besides North Park choir and band concerts...oh, and Midori). However, upon coming back I have been more intentional about taking part in some of the summer fests, CSO, Ravinia (although after all the lawn chairs I have destroyed on my overnight raids over the last week, I don't know what people will sit on this summer; sorry, I couldn't resist one last shot at parking dibs.), Shakespeare Theater, lots of Barrel of Monkeys shows, Millennium Park, Lyric Opera, Old Town School of Folk, and all for reduced rates because of my student discount (or free if you usher at Shakespeare). I don't think I will realize how great this actually is until I move away from Chicago.
3. Differences. One thing I notice when I got home to Duluth is how much can tend to be uniform. In Chicago, things are different: different nationalities, different ethnicities, different opinions, different cultures, different opportunities, different restaurants, differences of every kind. While I'm obviously not free of prejudice, I think diversity and difference is something that has slowly deconstructed many things I thought I knew.
4. The lake. Now, I don't often take advantage of the lakefront, but as someone who hails from the largest freshwater port in the world, it is nice to know in my subconscious that it is there to my east, allowing for at least visions of freedom when I feel confined.
5. Giardiniera (a hot pepper relish). I love giardiniera on hot roast beef sandwiches, although I don't indulge myself very often for basic dietary reasons. Giardiniera gives everything a little zest and pop to turn a bland dish into something great. Chicago loves their giardiniera; it's even served at Subways in the city!
6. People my age. I know this isn't specific to Chicago, but after living in Mason City, Iowa for two years, it is nice to be in a place where there are a large group of 25-35 year-olds doing many different things.
7. Loose traffic laws. I don't mind being able to speed or roll a stop sign without worrying about being pulled over.
8. Resurrection Covenant Church. Now, I know it's slightly cheesy (or egotistical) to say you love your church when you are on staff, but I feel very blessed to be a part of this particular congregation. It's not often you work for a church that you first chose to attend.
9. Chicago Sports. Now, I am not really a Cubs fan (though they are my NL team), a Bears fan (quite the opposite), a Blackhawks fan (although I will cheer for them), or the South-Side-team-that-must-not-be-named, but I like how sports unify the city and how people are passionate about their teams. Baseball season, especially in my neighborhood, is a fun time, even if I complain about the extra traffic most of the time.
10. Parks. They have some great ones. My favorite is still Legion Park by North Park that has been my running route for many years even as I have moved off the North Park campus. Whenever I run, it's like meeting an old friend (and many times you do meet old friends in that park!).

I could now go on to a top ten list about what I don't like, but I don't think I will. Let's stay positive this Valentine's Day!

Today I finished my sermon on loving enemies and praying for those that persecute you. If you want to hear this sermon, you should come to Resurrection Covenant on Sunday at 10:30! Okay, bedtime.


  1. Please! Don't remind me how great Chicago is! (I'm glad #7 has worked out for you.)

  2. You should know that in Chicago it's not a "hot roast beef sandwich." It's just a "beef." Derek used to make fun of old people for ordering that at Mr. V's.

  3. Did you forget it is where your mother was born and raised?