Nothing soothes stomach aches like the beautiful skyline of Chicago. Chicago is known for three things according to the locals. 1) The sports, 2) The food, 3) The waters. So Team GCC figures if we are going to be proper tourists, we have to explore each of the aspects that make Chicago great.
1) The Sports
Much to our dismay, the Cubbies were in New York playing the Mets for a weekend series, and let’s be honest, no one needs to see the White Sox more than once in a season (we saw the Sox play The Twins at Target Field with our St. Paul family, The Kramers). So we figured: go to where the fans go when the teams are out of town: WGN Chicago. WGN, otherwise known as the World’s Greatest Newspaper, has been covering Cubs baseball games since about their last World Series ring, which any baseball fan knows is an impressive stretch. Grove City College alum, Tom Langmyer (class of ’83), was our wonderful host for the alumni event on the 20th floor of the Tribune Tower itself! After a tour around the facilities itself, we were able to take part in an actual story that aired on the world renowned radio station. It isn’t every day that people can hear a story about Team GCC on the air as far away as Australia.
2) The Food
New York, Yes, Florence, Yes, but Chicago can also give those places a run for their money when it comes to food. Our first authentic Chicago meal was with our awesome GCC rep, Ben Becze. He took us to one of his favorite stops: Portillos. The inside of the Portillo’s looked like a garage sale of Chicago sports memorabilia attached to an overcrowded food court. But the food… nothing like a food court. The healthy members of the team treated themselves to the famous beef sandwich and I believe it was finished in record fashion. I wonder if since we were able to eat the 6 inch long sandwich in 10.8 seconds, they would give us free seconds. Odds are against us. Thanks Ben! You have to trust the man that goes to the same place two days in a row! (Sorry, Ben, if your wife is reading this! Haha! To be fair we also saw him working out in the hotel gym in penance for the previous night and preparation for his duties as host)
The other staple to a Chicago diet is the deep dish pizza. Just like Pat’s and Geno’s compete for the best cheesesteak in Philly, (Jamie and Mack are in a heated battle about this one), there are two main competitors in Chi-town for the best deep-dish: Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s. We could only choose one, so we had to go with Lou’s. The Chicago classic filled with extra cheese and sausage only to end with the butter crust. I feel like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off missed out not getting to Lou’s for a pie.
3) The Waters
Chicago, with its history of ups and downs, has always had a constant: the surrounding waterways. Our boat tour guide told us an interesting fact about the Chicago waterways. It is the only river that has ever been reversed and stayed reversed. They did this because in the early 20th century many of the locals would use the Chicago River as their waste basket to the point that water became toxic. This water flowed into Lake Michigan which is ultimately the source for the cities drinking water. They were forced to reverse the river to flow into the Mississippi River rather than the Lake. This waterway is so vital to the city that even the buildings mold to the contour of the river to make a beautiful fluid feel to the city that has always intended on remember its roots.
Chicago for Team GCC was a time to reconnect and refresh. We thank all of you that made our time in the Windy City a memorable one.
PS. Chicago was coined the “Windy City” not because of the obvious winds that come off the lake and the surrounding plains, but because of the city’s inhabitants endless talk about how much they love Chicago to vistors. We can certainly see why.