By: Franklin Wolfe ’16
Less than an hour after our tough loss to the University of Chicago, the bus is silent. Seats are beginning to recline back and a few of my teammates are maneuvering their way up to the top cots of the sleeper bus in preparation for the 13-hour trek back to the south (and warmth) upon us. While the bright lights of the Chicago skyline fade away in the distance, I have already begun the process of retrospection and have realized that I would not trade these past three days with my teammates for anything in the world (not even another chocolate chip ice cream pizza from Lou Malnati’s).
In just three short days my teammates and I experienced many ‘firsts’. This was my first time visiting Chicago, and hence, my first time feeling the face-battering chill of the constant winds that gives the city its nickname. It was also my first time eating real Chicago style deep-dish pizza, Italian Beef, and Garrett’s popcorn.
The two most memorable moments of the trip for me were our practice at Hinkle Field House and our assent to the skybox of Willis Tower. It will be hard to forget feeling a sudden rush of adrenaline as I walked into the third oldest college basketball gymnasium in the country. It was evident from the plethora of banners hanging from the rafters (including two symbolizing Butler’s recent Cinderella-runs to the National Championship) that this building was not only home to the screening of Hoosiers but was an important piece of basketball culture. Our assent to the 103rd floor of Willis Tower was almost equally as exhilarating. Stepping out into a glass box, over 1,000 feet above Chicago, with one of my best friends Jok Asiyo was something I will never forget.
Although we came to Chicago on a ‘business trip’ and fell short of our ultimate goal, defeating U Chicago, the trip was an unforgettable experience and will prove to be a building block for the Gennies as we transition into conference play. To win in ODAC competition, we must function as a cohesive unit of 20 – and I think we took one giant step in that direction.
Lastly, special shout out to my roomies Andy Kleinlein and Blake Cranor and of course my DAY 1’s in the class of 2016 – Andrew Franz, John Martin, Darren Douglas, and Jok Asiyo.
Later this week, we’ll have video of the Chicago trip that includes a stop at Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University.