Chicago junior tennis rallies against decline in sportsmanship

By Erin Barney The world would have forgiven Novak Djokovic if he threw his racquet after losing to Sam Querrey in the third round of Wimbledon Sunday. Fans have understood when Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Andy Murray and countless other pros took anger out on their equipment, and would have given the No. 1 player […]

Pat Summitt’s reach and inspiration seen in Illinois athletes

By Erin Barney Pat Summitt was a game changer. Not just in the cliché sense of the phrase, though. The former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach and winningest coach in Division I history certainly was a pivotal figure. But she transcended the common expression and literally changed women’s basketball. Summitt died yesterday in Knoxville, […]

In NFL Draft Town, the Cheeseheads stand alone … or at least act that way

By Erin Barney Living in Chicago as Packers fans conditioned the Banaszak family to defend itself. “We grew up riding past Soldier Field and giving the finger as a salute,” said Dave Banaszak, 27, the youngest of three siblings. “I trained my kids good,” said Larry Banaszak, 58, the family patriarch. But all fingers remained […]

O brother, where art thou? In NFL with J.J., Derek Watt hopes

By Erin Barney WAUKESHA, Wis. — NX Level gym is one of the few places Derek Watt finds separation from big brother J.J. Watt. In a town tucked 20 miles west of Milwaukee, away from analysts and coaches comparing him to the NFL’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Derek usually can focus on himself […]

Waiting for Goodell: Fans, not just players, need patience at NFL Draft

By Erin Barney Danielle Fait did a lot of waiting Thursday in Chicago. She waited nearly six hours in the car ride from Cleveland to Chicago, another hour for the hotel to let her check in, then three more hours in a line snaking around Grant Park in downtown Chicago for the 2016 NFL Draft. […]

Changing lanes: Track athletes switch to bobsled to prolong athletic careers

By Erin Barney Evan Weinstock still laces up spiked shoes, pulls on a spandex suit and high-knees his way through a dynamic warmup before each race—a routine he perfected as a decathlete. But the familiarity ends there. At the conclusion of his senior season at Brown University, Weinstock traded track and field for bobsled. Now, […]

World Cup of Hockey expected to excite Blackhawks fans

By Erin Barney Champagne dripped from the ceiling. Table tops were used for celebratory dances. Glass snapped and cracked under the weight of more dancing on the ground. The Ogden Chicago, a bar near the United Center, was in a state of chaos on a night last June. But it didn’t matter. The Chicago Blackhawks […]

Figure skating dress design with an edge

By Erin Barney Gail Johnson didn’t fit in with the other figure skating moms. She wasn’t wooed by elegant melodies or charmed by gaggles of twirling toddlers. She didn’t love glitter. Sequins weren’t her thing. But in an effort to save a few bucks, Johnson found herself more closely tied to the sport and its […]