StreetWise vendors know their sports! StreetWise volunteer Bill Coats and vendors Russell Adams, John Hagan and Vince Collaso (below, left to right) talk about why Chicago’s big sports are special to them.
Bill: We have football, basketball, baseball and hockey, the big sports. We do have a soccer team, but we’re not going to deal with soccer. I think they’re in the suburbs somewhere. In any case, we’re going to talk about each. Let’s start with the big season right now. It’s football.
Vince: Football is my favorite. I played it as a young boy and my son has played it. He was a city champion a few years ago … Football is such a brutal sport, but it’s a fun sport. I enjoy watching it as well as playing it. Now here in Chicago the No. 1 team of all is the Bears. The Bears win the championship, the whole city goes gaga … Right now we’re seeing a struggling team that’s trying to find its way … We’re still in Cheese-head heaven, but I love it anyway.
Bill: What do you love watching most in the game itself?
Vince: I just love the precision passing, you know that quarterback hitting that wide receiver on a nice route. And then he runs it for the touchdown. There’s nothing like it in any other sport. It’s a beautiful thing.
Bill: Let’s go to baseball … I played baseball. I love baseball. It was everything in my life, and I think that’s one of the things that’s rough about the school system today. They’ve cut out a lot of extracurricular things … I got 16 letters in high school, this itty bitty high school. That’s all I did. That’s all I was good at. It gave me the confidence to go off and be a pretty productive adult … I just love the game, the defensive side of the game. But on television, it’s a terrible game.
Russell: I like baseball a lot. When I was younger, that’s all I watched. I played a little bit … Back in the day, it was different than it is now. I grew up watching the Cubs and the White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis, teams like that. The All-Star games used to be good.
John: Speaking of baseball is it’s having better momentum now than the NFL … especially Kansas City. They’re everybody’s sweetheart.
Bill: Now we’re going to go to hockey.
Russell: I’m going to start this one off and say, “Go Blackhawks!” I’ll tell you the truth, though. I like the Blackhawks, and I like the Kings, too, even before they played the Blackhawks … [Anze] Kopitar, that’s my favorite player.
John: You got to be in great physical condition to play that sport. Unlike football, baseball and basketball, there’s absolutely no stop time in hockey. Most people, if you skate like they do, you’ll have to dial 9-1-1 after two minutes of play. It is so breathtaking. I have more respect for hockey players than any other sport.
Vince: [The Blackhawks] are Chicago’s best promise right now. But the Kings are definitely strong.
Bill: Why don’t we round this out with basketball.
John: I’ve never been to a Bulls game personally, but I’ve been to a few L.A. Lakers games while I was in Las Vegas 10 years ago. I’ll tell you, it’s different than on TV. You get to pick up more on TV … but nevertheless, what took my breath away was seeing Kobe Bryant in person. That is pretty cool seeing an all-star person like that.