Chicago Sports Inside and Out – The Chicago Sports Maven

Bringing Chicago sports to the world!

Posts Tagged ‘Northbrook’

A Beautiful Day At Columbia College Chicago

Posted by sportsmaven on May 17, 2009

Crystal blue skies, not a cloud in sight.  Bright sunny day, so bright that a strong squint of the eyelids posed a constant reminder of sunglasses forgotten.  An unseasonably cool May morning, a Sunday morning.  The sign on the front of the building read UIC Pavillion, but inside, it was Columbia College Chicago all the way.


Today is May 17, 2009 and my step-daughter, Jessica Dreymann was attending her last official function as a Columbia College student, her graduation ceremony.  As of 10pm this evening, Jessi is officially a college graduate.  Actually, it was as of 2pm, but the celebration took us a few ticks  further on the face of the dial.

Jessi began her college career as a freshman at University of Iowa.  Eager to leave home for the first time, Jessi chose a school that was far enough from home to really experience being on her own, but close enough to come home if she really wanted.  Iowa was a learning experience in so many ways.

The first year of college is a dichotomy of life; you are a student, you are no longer under parental rule.  Iowa was a struggle in many ways for Jessi.  Normally an excellent student, with an impressive run at Glenbrook North High School in our hometown of Northbrook, IL, Jessi was really struggling in Iowa City.  In many ways, it was that first year of struggle that ultimately defined Jessi’s growth and development into the outstanding person she is today.  It is where she came of age, experiencing a giant leap in maturity and independence.  It is also the place that led her to today’s events at Columbia College Chicago, and it little did she know it was the most important experience of her life.

Jessi Dreymann graduated college today.  She graduated in 3 years.  She also graduated with honors.  She was able to accomplish every bit of this while working a full-time job.  Words can’t express how proud I am of Jessi’s accomplishments.  I only know one other person that has accomplished the same, and I’m married to her.  Yes, my wife and Jessi’s mom, Barb DeCesare, set the bar for today’s events.  I’m bursting with pride, inspiration, and joy for the accomplishment of both my girls.

Columbia College Chicago is a special place of higher education.  I noticed the minute I walked into the graduation ceremony at the UIC Pavillion.  From the smart, creative choice of excellent music to the guest speakers ability to provide short, but powerful words of wisdom, Columbia College’s dynamic, creative environment was on full display.  Distinguished honored speaker, author Ray Bradbury spoke stirringly about doing what you love and to love what you’re doing.  The spirit of love was the dominant theme of the day.

My highest compliments and regards to President Warrick L. Carter, Provost Steven Kapelke, and the various leaders of Columbia College for providing an environment for dynamic and creative learning, development of outstanding leaders, and most importantly, the mentoring of tomorrow’s change agents.

From create…change to Yes We Can, Columbia College Chicago ushered in two powerful phrases that define the spirit of Chicago, the destiny of higher education, and the intersection of the two into one magical morning.  After reading this post, you might be asking yourself  “What does this have to do with Chicago sports?”  Nothing at all.  It’s my daughter and I’m damn proud of her today, as I am every day and wanted to share that with my loyal and faithful audience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Top 5 Ways To Make The Pro Bowl Better

Posted by sportsmaven on February 12, 2007

Yes, I was one of the few who actually admit that I watched this year’s NFL Pro Bowl on Saturday evening. As I snuggled up to my 42 in. plasma television with carry out from my favorite Northbrook, IL eatery, Francesca’s (great Italian food, by the way!) I watched what was actually a very interesting and entertaining Pro Bowl game. Devin Hester took the opening kickoff to the 19 yard line where he was tripped up by some sketchy Honolulu astro turf sort of stuff. What a difference a week makes for Hester. Actually, I couldn’t believe that the AFC actually kicked away from Hester on their second kickoff of the game. Come on, this is the PRO BOWL, not the Super Bowl. I suppose you want to turn off the few fans watching by not letting the game’s most prolific returner actually return a kick. The other thing about the Pro Bowl is that it would have been nice to see some of our own Chicago Bears players actually playing in the game (or even showing up, for that matter.)

2007 Pro Bowl

Is RB Tiki Barber retiring just in time? He clearly has lost a large amount of arm strength as indicated by the INT he threw to Ed Reed in the 1st quarter. He is clearly washed up. (well, maybe not so much) Drew Brees injury is the poster child for why many feel that the Pro Bowl is not a good game to play.

So I was happy to see that the NFL actually took most of my Top 5 ways to make the Pro Bowl better, and we, as the fans, will be the better off for that. My Top 5 suggestions were:

1. Play the game on Saturday instead of Sunday. I think they ought to play the Super Bowl on a Saturday too, seeing as it usually takes another full day to recover, whether you are at the game or at home hosting a Super Bowl party. Either way, these games work better on Saturdays, for do we really want to take a vacation day for the Super Bowl? And do we really want to stay up until 10pm on a Sunday night to watch the Pro Bowl (and miss Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and all those other Sunday night staples that are as additictive as crack?)

2. Mike all the players, let the fans hear what really goes on in the huddle. CBS did a great job of doing this, but the mikes they had SUCKED. I couldn’t hear squat when the QB’s were calling the plays. Fortunately, they had the play callers on both sides miked and when they switched to that, it worked brilliantly. Next year, get better microphones so we can hear what’s going on. Also, loved that Dan Dierdorf and Phil Simms were explaining what the play terminology meant. That was the best part of the game in my opinion.

3. Introduce a Skills Competition. This was great to see at halftime of the game. The kicking competition between Robbie Gould and Nate Kaeding was priceless and very entertaining. The other skills competitions I actually watched on the NFL Network. They were entertaining as well, with a strong man competition (# of reps at 225 lbs.) a passing, receiving competitions and a gauntlet competition that was entertaining. How about the NFL Cheerleader Playoffs? In fact, the NFL should require all teams to have cheerleaders next season. Since my Bears don’t have them, here is a shot of what could be:

NFL Cheerleaders 1NFL Cheerleaders 2NE Pats Cheerleader

4. More behind the scenes video. I want to see what a practice is like. I also want to go into the locker room and see what a player has to go through to get ready for a game, what do they do, how do they get ready. Blooper videos are also fun. How do the players spend the week in Honolulu? How about players interviewing players and coaches? How about pulling a fan out of the stands or better yet, having a fan win one of those season long NFL contests and have them call plays for the playcaller for one or two series (10 plays) for each team?

5. Amend the rules for more action. I love what the NFL to the rules for this game. No blitzes, no rushing the kickers, rules promoting one on one coverage, no ruling challenges. That was fantastic. Those rule changes brought out some nice play, some great 1 on 1 challenges (Champ Bailey vs. Donald Driver was pretty good)

Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »