Sunday, March 28, 2010

Twelve Years Later, Shirt Finally Fits

By Bill Wilson, Senior Writer, World Wide Wilson

CHICAGO - If you're from Chicago, you remember the day.  You remember where you were, who you were with.  Whatever the scenario, you were listening to Bob Costas:

"Seventeen seconds... from Game 7 or from championship number 6.  Jordan... (crosses over Bryon Russell) Open...  (MJ hits 'The Shot')  Chicago with the lead!"

Lifelong Chicagoan and Bulls fan Rob Borski was at a local watering hole that night, wearing the Bulls "3-Peat" championship shirt he had bought 5 years earlier.  He says that he'll never forget that night.  "I remember it vividly," Borski says with his thick southside Chicago accent.  "I remember it so well because when MJ made dat shot, I jumped out of my chair and spilled thick & chunky salsa all over my favorite Bulls shirt!  Now dat sucked."

Although this sounds like an unfortunate outcome from an otherwise amazing night, Borski wasn't too upset.  "Well, after they won, I thought - 'Hey! I'll just get a "Repeat 3-Peat" shirt!  Ya know?  I mean, it was da perfect solution.  I woulda just got on the internets and bought one the next day, but my cousin messed up the installation of the new AOL 4.0 disk we got in da mail.  I thought he knew what he was doing.  Guess not..."

After a long night of partying with "some of da guys," Borski says that he slept in the next day and didn't get around to looking for a shirt until a couple days later.  But by that time, they were all sold out... except for one.  A slimmer, 25 year old at the time, Borski was just looking for a medium, white t-shirt.  The only one he could find - an XXL.

"I didn't really have any choice.  The championship parade was da next day, and I couldn't be seen wearing dat salsa-stained shirt from '93.  So I went ahead and bought it.  I mean, I had to."  The shirt served him well at the parade and the Championship party in Grant Park.  But due to its XXL size and the ensuing collapse of the Bulls dynasty, it was soon relegated to the back of his drawer as a "pajama shirt."  An inauspicious end for a shirt that "meant so much."

Almost 12 years have passed, and Rob Borski is not quite the same guy that he was back then.  Married for ten years and now with 3 kids,  Borski not only has a different lifestyle, but he has put on a few pounds.  Some might even call him "fat."  His excuse is quite simple, though.

"My wife is a good cook.  What can I say?  She makes da best pierogies south of Comiskey."  Thoughfully, he adds, "Yeah, there are negatives to da extra pounds - my back hurts sometimes, I don't have da agility I once did.  But dat shirt.  I love dat shirt."

Yes, after 12 long years of exile, that "Repeat 3-peat" shirt - now a collectors' item - finally fits Rob Borski.  It's a good thing he didn't buy a Medium.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gate 21

As I write this, I’m finishing off an East Coast business trip for the first time.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to New England – since I visited New York in the summer of 2004 with my family.  Although, I’m not sure I consider New York part of New England.  As everyone who has been on a business trip (or any kind of trip) knows, they usually start and end at an airport – a place of business and busyness.  But the hustle and bustle of the security checkpoints is offset by the atmosphere of the gates - waiting.

Gate 21 – The dude sitting across from me in Timberlands bobbing his head to the music emanating from his oversized headphones.  The glasses-clad student next to him reading an unknown book on his Kindle.  The three men, likely ticketed for first class, exchanging handshakes and a casual laugh in their oxfords and ties.  The old woman, whose wrinkles decorate her face like rings on a tree, wistfully looking out the window.  The redheaded girl with the oversized watch.  The young professional finishing off a business trip typing notes on his iPhone for a future blog entry.

Although we will probably never interact, minus the occasional eye contact or friendly smile to break the eye contact, at this moment we all have something in common. All are waiting for the same thing – Flight 483.  Whether the destination is home, or as far away from home as possible, we are all in the same place, at the same time, for the only time ever.  Waiting.  Each with different circles of friends - people I'll most likely never meet.  Different pasts, different thoughts, and different dreams of the future.  Completely different, but our separate worlds collide in this place. For an hour or so, we are neighbors.  The reflection of the setting sun from the recently polished walkway floors is illuminating all our activities.  The sounds of rolling luggage, overhead jet engines, and women's heels on the aforementioned floor fill our ears.  We are all waiting.  Calmly waiting in stark contrast to the business and busyness of the airport around us.  Calmly waiting at Gate 21.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  At this time we will begin the boarding process for United Airlines flight 483 to Chicago.”

Restart the busyness.