Evanston coach reflects on half a century in gymnastics

By Tim Penman

Four months before his retirement, Chester Jones casually leans over a balance beam and watches his gymnasts take runs at vault inside Evanston High School’s practice area. Jones is relaxed, calling out words of encouragement to each girl in his slight Southern accent after they take turns springing off the board and flipping in the air.

“I’ve coached for almost 50 years,” Jones says. “I have done every possible thing that I could have done to fulfill my life, but it’s time somebody else comes in and starts theirs.” Continue reading

VIDEO: Chicago’s only indoor ice rink gets flood of skaters

By Lukas Voss

The Chicago Park District has nine ice rinks, only one of them is indoors. McFetridge is  part of one of the oldest park areas in the city, originally established in 1920s. The rink has been around since the 1970s and is one of Chicago’s favorite hockey spots. Ice time quickly fills up and also provides for plenty of fun.

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Little League title loss upsets some Chicagoans

By Tim Penman

Chicago residents are disturbed after the Jackie Robinson West Little League team was stripped of its U.S. title Wednesday.

“An adult did something wrong,  not the kids,” said Ray Smith, 27, an audio-visual technician and South Side resident. “To take it away from the kids is absolutely wrong. They won it fair and square no matter what happens,” he said in an interview in the Loop.

The team was found guilty of violating player residency rules by the Little League International tournament committee, which also suspended team manager Darold Butler and placed the team on probation with all victories vacated and its tournament privileges suspended. In addition, Illinois District IV administrator Michael Kelly was removed from his position.

“They won regardless of where they came from,” said Kristine Wuertz, 24, a digital marketing associate from the North Side. “And they did it in a team fashion.”
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Criticizing College Athletes: Fair Game?

By Bennet Hayes

They are, quite easily, the five most memorable words of Mike Gundy’s 10-year career as Oklahoma State head football coach. They are also one of the most direct and public condemnations of criticism directed at college athletes.


In unleashing his now-famous “I’m a man, I’m 40” rant in October of 2007, Gundy took a firm stance against the local media’s negative critiques of his former starting quarterback Bobby Reid. Many have questioned Gundy’s true motives in the years since (including Reid himself), but at least outwardly, the message was clear: 18-to-22-year-old college athletes should be shielded from criticism.

If anything, however, the continued evolution of the 24-hour news cycle in the seven years since Gundy’s diatribe has only multiplied the criticism levied at college athletes.

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For One National Signing Day, Beckman Earns Chicago’s Ear

By Bennet Hayes

Tim Beckman and the Illinois football program are often overlooked in a Chicago market dominated by professional sports. At least for a day, Beckman changed that.

The Illinois coach overshadowed the unveiling of his 25-man recruiting class on National Signing Day last week, with a bizarre attempt to enlist the state’s sports media in his quest to return the Illini to national prominence. Continue reading

Wolves prepare for season-high seven-game home stretch

By Sara Romano

It’s not every day that a minor league hockey team has the opportunity to star in a romantic comedy alongside the likes of Alicia Silverstone.

But that was exactly the case Tuesday morning with the filming of Silverstone’s latest movie “Who Gets the Dog?” in which her co-star Ryan Kwanten plays a goaltender for the Chicago Wolves.

While the Wolves players enjoyed the opportunity to be extras in the film, there was one person who was less than pleased to have his team’s practice routine interrupted.

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Hockey City Classic makes lukewarm return to Chicago

By Ryan Lund

It started hours before the games began, with a souvenir hockey puck that mistakenly pitted Michigan State against “Michigan University,” and continued into Saturday afternoon, as mild temperatures delayed puck drop for nearly two hours.

But while this year’s Hockey City Classic pitted Miami-Ohio, Western Michigan, Michigan and Michigan State against poor ice conditions and an announced attendance of just 22,751 at 61,500-seat Soldier Field, Miami coach Enrico Blasi says that his team would do it all again. Continue reading

Wolves players, coaches in favor of outdoor game

By Sara Romano

Chicago Wolves defenseman Brent Sopel has fond memories of his childhood hockey days growing up in Calgary.

“I grew up with a rink in my backyard that my dad would flood for me every winter,” Sopel recalled. “Growing up in Canada, that’s all we wanted to do. We didn’t want to go to school, we wanted to play on the outdoor rink.”

Capturing that childhood nostalgia is a constant refrain, and a source of the popularity behind outdoor hockey games for both players and fans. Continue reading

Sports talk paradox: as industry grows, on-air talent struggles

By Eric Clark

Broadcast journalists Ben Finfer, Alex Quigley and Mark Carman became victims of the cutthroat nature of the sports talk radio industry in December, losing their jobs at Chicago’s The Game 87.7 only nine months after its inception.

But they still believe the industry is as strong as it has ever been. Continue reading

Puppies, domestic violence focus of Super Bowl ads

By Lukas Voss

Wedged between Cris Collinsworth´s analysis and Katy Perry´s elaborate halftime extravaganza, a 911 call involving a pizza delivery halted the usual Super bowl commercial landscape.

The NFL, in collaboration with NO MORE, a campaign to raise awareness and end domestic violence, used its airtime during the biggest television event of the year to air the first-ever public announcement against domestic violence during the Super Bowl.

Many people were genuinely impressed with the ad on twitter with reactions ranging from being completely floored by its content, to supporting NO MORE in the effort to publicize the issue of domestic violence. Continue reading