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PORTS HAVE BECOME a ubiquitous part of our national culture. They bring the masses together and they divide them, and nowhere are the rivalries, the pride and the talent better displayed than in college towns. Most every professional athlete starts their career at university, which acts like a stage for the very best to prove themselves. Collegiate athletics is a culture unto its own and for some, it is the means by which community, friendship and identity is formed. For this season’s issue, we decided to take the sports

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theme in a different direction, and focus less on the heavyweights and more on the underdogs. Although these niche or offbeat sports generally garner less attention, their players and fans are no less dedicated. As we dug into various places and communities, we found that most locations have a distinct sports culture and act as a national (even international) hub for a particular sport. Eugene produces our country’s best distance runners while Iowa City is the nation’s wrestling capital. Bloomington’s bike racing was dramatized in an Academy Award-winning


movie and Seattle offers world class rowing on its waters. But Providence takes home the trophy for most obscure, being one of the few cities to host the only national gondola race in the country. We also give you a sneak preview of Graduate Hotels’ newest properties, set to open later this year. Eight in total, we provide a schedule filled with the best festivals, events and things to see this summer. Lastly we revisit some of Graduate Hotels’ existing properties, and dive into their sports history.

P H OTO BY R E D BOX P I CT U R E S

Featuring Olympic athletes, community organizers and artists, this publication provides the lesser known stories behind some of your favorite sports. So lace up your shoes, dive into new waters and most importantly, travel with purpose.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

22 City Guides

IOWA CITY

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FAYETTEVILLE

8

City Guide

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ANNAPOLIS

114

COLUMBIA

118

STATE COLLEGE

122

COLUMBUS

126

NEW HAVEN

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NASHVILLE

134

STORRS

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THE WEST

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THE SOUTH

146 Nobody’s a Stranger and Everybody’s a Friend: Cooper Manning Dishes on his Love for Oxford

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20 Practice Your Swing at Graduate Hotels’ Topgolf Swing Suite 22 Merging the Worlds of Fighting and Writing: A Look at the Life of MMA Groundbreaker Julie Kedzie

SEATTLE

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40 Climb On: How Melise Edwards uses Science and Sport to Make an Impact

44 Russell Wilson and Ciara Give Back to Seattle: A Look at the Why Not You Foundation

City Guide

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60 History of the Little 500: A Dive into the Past with the Director of the IU Student Foundation

64 Speeding into the Little 500: Biking Down Memory Lane with Two-Time Champion Emily Depasse

68 Designing Sports’ Greatest Stories: Graduate Hotels’ Chief Creative Officer Andrew Alford Breaks Down his Process, Inspiration and Challenges

BLOOMINGTON City Guide

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86 Jimmy Pedro Continues a Judo Legacy: An Interview with the Olympic Athlete and Coach

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Coming Soon Spotlight

Regional Sports Culture

THE MIDWEST

PROVIDENCE City Guide

EUGENE City Guide

100 The Soul of the Sole: Eugene’s Running Legacy with Olympic Athlete Ian Dobson

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P H OTO A BOV E L E F T BY T I M SC H O O N - STA F F P H OTO G R A P H E R - T H E U N I V E RS I T Y O F I OWA , A BOV E R I G H T BY M I C H A E L A M I C O, B E LOW C O U RT ESY D EST I N AT I O N A N N A R BO R

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Travewlith e s o p r u P FEATURED PROPERTIES BLOOMINGTON 210 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408 EUGENE 66 East 6th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401 IOWA CITY 210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240 PROVIDENCE 11 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903 SEATTLE 4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Publisher Alan Miller Editorial Director Gigie Hall Senior Editor Frances Welch Contributing Writer Sophie Norton Intern Brianna Carpenter Design Ben Mollica Marketing Molly Kodros, Megan McCredie, Wes Martin, Jack Federman Custom Publishing Sales Monique Gilbert monique.gilbert@wearecollide.com Established in 2014, COLLiDE is a culture agency, editorial platform, travel magazine, and experiential event production company founded by industry veteran Alan Miller. Travel with Purpose is COLLiDE’s guiding principle, and the credo under which all of our editorial content falls under. It can be found in the daily wanderlust we provide at culturecollide.com, in digital magazines, and printed city guides. wearecollide.com culturecollide.com TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE is published by Collide Agency INC, 5514 Wilshire Blvd, 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA. TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE is not responsible for anything, including the return or loss of submissions, or for any damage or injury to unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. Any submission of a manuscript or artwork should include self addressed envelope or package of appropriate size, bearing adequate return postage.

Cover illustration by MARTIN WICKSTROM Back & inside cover photographs by CHRISTIAN HORAN PHOTOGRAPHY

©2019 COLLIDE AGENCY, LLC. All rights reserved TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE is printed in the USA. CULTURECOLLIDE.COM

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Explore five of Graduate Hotels' recently opened properties and learn more about the areas’ sports history, facts and figures. Covering Iowa City, Seattle, Bloomington, Providence and Eugene, we provide in-depth features and recommendations from local athletes and artists who know these places best.

P H OTO BY N . M I L L L A R D/G O P ROV I D E N C E .C O M

G R A D U AT E H O T E L S S P R I N G 20 19

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city guide

IOWA CITY IOWA

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OWA CITY is a Midwest town through and through, and that quintessential spirit is found in every aspect of its culture, from the rolling hills and corn fields to the people that call it home. But if there’s any character trait that defines the Midwest, it’s an unusually strong work ethic. This shows up in all kinds of ways, but particularly in its sports history. Iowa City is considered to be the nation’s wrestling capital and many of the country’s most elite wrestlers make their way to the University of Iowa. It’s a hard sport and requires a toughness that Midwest born and bred can deliver. As contributor Jordan Johnson says, “to be a college wrestler you have to be gritty.” But aside from its legendary wrestling culture, Iowa City is also a literary mecca, with writers flocking to the UNESCO City of Literature for its writing programs, famed Iowa Writers' Workshop and other annual events. Underneath a hard exterior, Iowa City is a progressive and vibrant town, with concerts, delicious food and a thriving student population. So be sure to add it to your travel list the next time you’re rolling through the Hawkeye State.

JEFF ROALSON JORDAN JOHNSON JULIE KEDZIE

P H OTO BY C H R I ST I A N H O R A N

As Told By:

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IOWA CITY

At a Glance:

Meet Your Iowa City Guides:

FOUNDED IN: 1839 POPULATION: 74k MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Renewable Energy, Education, Manufacturing

JEFF ROALSON

By day, Jeff Roalson works as a wine distributor and by night, he is the lead singer and guitarist for indie rock band, Halfloves. The band has been called the “the best currently active rock band in Iowa” by the Iowa Informer, and released their latest EP in 2017, Wrong Songs.

JORDAN JOHNSON

Jordan Johnson began competitive wrestling in the 6th grade and went on to wrestle Division I at the University of Iowa, where he was a two-time University Nationals All-American (freestyle). In 2013, he made his amateur MMA debut and turned pro a year later — he hasn't lost a professional fight since. Jordan recently split with the UFC and is currently a free agent.

FUN SPORTS FACT: Iowa has produced more Division I college football coaches than any other college or university across the country.

JULIE KEDZIE

Julie Kedzie has been participating in martial arts since she was enrolled in taekwondo at age five. Since then, she has competed through EliteXC, Jackson’s MMA Series, Strikeforce, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and more. Julie is currently an announcer for Invicta Fighting Championships and is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa.

Currently ranking third in the nation, the University of Iowa wrestling team has an extremely dedicated fan base and for UI wrestling alum Jordan Johnson, it was their presence that made Iowa City unique. To lay out the numbers, the Iowa Hawkeyes has led the country in attendance for more than a decade and continues to break records. The average attendance for their wrestling matches is almost 9,000 and a few years back, more than 42,000 fans (another record number) showed up to watch Iowa beat Oklahoma in an NCAA match. But the fans aren’t the only thing that makes Iowa City special. Former MMA fighter and current MFA student Julie Kedzie has found that the city works hard to foster its writing community. “The university of course, has some of the best writers in the world and terrific teachers, but the Iowa community loves to write,” she says. “People are very creative here and they have a lot to say and they are not afraid to really grab on to words and go.” For Halfloves lead singer and guitarist, Jeff Roalson, it’s the quieter times he appreciates: “The university makes it feel kind of big and always rejuvenated with excitement but it becomes a totally different city when students are gone. You start to see all the families going to the farmer’s market, walking their dogs and successfully finding parking spaces.”

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P H OTO C O U RT ESY U N I V E RS I T Y O F I OWA

City Pride


UNIVERSITY OF IOWA WRESTLING

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Food and Drink Iowa City’s food scene can probably be distilled in family diner and legendary establishment, HAMBURG INN NO. 2. During the Iowa Caucuses, candidates seeking the presidential nomination frequently meet caucus-goers at the “Burg.” Notable appearances include Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. But beyond greasy spoons, Iowa City also has an eclectic mix of offerings. While Jordan went for Chinese buffet during his college years, Julie prefers grabbing Mediterranean at OASIS or charcuterie at BRIX. “There’s also a new restaurant called

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GOOSETOWN that I keep meaning to go to,” and she wouldn’t be mistaken. The recently opened cafe focuses on breakfast with a twist. Instead of cinnamon rolls, they opt for a tempura-fried banana with creme glacee and chocolate syrup; instead of danishes you get craftmade pop tarts, and instead of… well you get the idea. Jeff, on the other hand, recommends another breakfast contender: “Lots of old favorites but the best newest addition from this past year for me was BILLY’S HIGH HAT DINER — best Iowa City breakfast.” For the coffee lovers, both Julie and Jeff agree that PRAIRIE LIGHTS is the go-to spot. Part coffee shop, part bookstore, the shop has a long history of hosting some of literature’s greats. To get past that writer’s block, Julie also suggests THE HIGH GROUND CAFE.

P H OTO A BOV E C O U RT ESY I OWA C I T Y / C O R A LV I L L E A R E A CV B, R I G H T C O U RT ESY G O OS ETOW N

DOWNTOWN DINING


P H OTO C O U RT ESY PAY TO N GA L L E RY

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Iowa City is the perfect mix of an exciting college town and a safe community that is nice to live in… my favorite thing is the people though. My friends here have turned Iowa City from a place I felt at home into a place full of people I consider family.

Payton Gallery Major: Spanish Graduation Date: Spring 2021 Sport: Quidditch Position: Chaser / Seeker / Treasurer Payton Gallery is a second-year student originally from the Chicago suburbs. During a tour in high school, Payton fell in love with the University of Iowa campus and says, “I couldn’t have made a better choice. Iowa City has become my home. When I’m not studying or at Quidditch practice, I enjoy seeing my friends and making friendship bracelets.” Learn more about Payton’s Iowa City favorites below.

— PAYTON GALLERY

FOOD:

The Vine, because my dad and I eat there when he comes to visit me. Also, they have great mac and cheese!

COFFEE FIX:

Java House

CAMPUS CORNER:

The Hawkeye room in the IMU.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS:

I love the bridges and walkways by the river, especially behind Currier Hall. There are some great hammocking spots along there.

HISTORICAL LANDMARK:

The Old Capitol! I think the gold dome is beautiful and seeing it as I walk around campus makes me feel at home. It’s especially peaceful to walk around the Pentacrest at night when the Old Cap is all lit up.

SCHOOL SPORTS TRADITION:

The Wave! After the first quarter of every home football game, we wave at the kids in the children’s hospital. They put up “Go Hawks!” signs in their windows and wave back, so it’s really a special moment. I tear up every time.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR SPORT:

One of the most interesting things about Quidditch is that it is gender-inclusive. The “gender rule” encourages teams to play all their athletes equally, and players are respected as whichever gender they identify as. This has created a uniquely welcoming community that I’m proud to be a part of. Originally, I was drawn to it because it’s fun to play a growing unconventional sport, but the inclusive community has made Quidditch my favorite sport.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN IOWA CITY:

Iowa City is the perfect mix of an exciting college town and a safe community that is nice to live in. I love that we have such a variety of activities. There are always cool concerts in town, but we also have great athletics for sports fans. My favorite thing is the people, though. My friends here have turned Iowa City from a place I felt at home into a place full of people I consider family. GOOSETOWN

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GRADUATE IOWA CITY

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P H OTOS BY C H R I ST I A N H O R A N


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Where to Play When it comes to getting outside or staying active, it’s easy to do in a city that has a river running right through it, and plenty of other natural gems are just a short drive away. Jordan recalls, “The only time I’ve ever really hunted was while I was at the University of Iowa. There are a lot of great public hunting areas in [Iowa City] where I spent a lot of time alone and with friends at.” We suggest the HAWKEYE WILDLIFE AREA but check the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for licenses, season dates and more info. When Julie’s feeling stressed with her MFA load, she goes to SQUIRE POINT with her dog to hike along the IOWA RIVER. “Iowa City is such a great place for dogs and because it's the Midwest, you're 10 minutes away from the country wherever you go, even if you're in the middle of a city, there's always a place you can hike.” She also hears good things about SUGAR BOTTOM, which offers camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming and more. Jeff suggests heading to TERRY TRUEBLOOD near SAND LAKE but he cautions, “just be sure to bring some bug spray!” And at the top of his list is WILSON’S ORCHARD. “[It’s] one of my favorite local spots because it's only a 10 minute drive from downtown but it's in its own little world. It shows off some beautiful nature from the rolling hills to the stream and obviously lots of apples and any apple bi-product you could think of.” If you prefer to stay in the city and learn a little more about its creative history, then Iowa City’s LITERARY WALK is a must. Spanning Iowa Avenue, the walk features almost 50 writers, with excerpts, quotations and biographies in bronze relief panels along the way. If you need help knowing where to go, Prairie Lights has a pamphlet with all the details. While you’re downtown, take a stroll through the PEDESTRIAN MALL ( just a block away from Graduate Iowa City) and experience some of Iowa City’s best shops and restaurants.

IOWA RIVER

PEDESTRIAN MALL

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SQUIRE POINT


P H OTO C O U RT ESY J O R DA N J O H N SO N

University of Iowa alum and MMA fighter, JORDAN JOHNSON knows a thing or two about what it takes to get to the top. Learn more about Johnson, the life lessons he’s learned through wrestling and more. For someone who doesn’t know anything about wrestling, what sets it apart from other combat sports? For me, being a professional mixed martial artist, the difference between wrestling and other martial arts is the discipline. Growing up as a wrestler you are held to a pretty high standard. You have to show up every day and work your butt off or you’re not going to be successful or the coaches will boot you off the team. Most other combat sports are more "come and go as you please and work as hard as you’re comfortable with." What have been some of the bigger life lessons you’ve learned from the sport and how does that translate to the rest of your life outside of competing? The biggest life lesson wrestling gave me — even though it still relates to competing is — I lost my last college wrestling match. It was very heartbreaking and took a lot out of me emotionally. In the past when I had lost there was always a next time, but this was it. There was no redeeming myself and I was forced to ask myself all the hard questions. Had I done enough? Did I work hard enough? Was I committed enough? The heartbreak really forced me to fully commit myself to the sport of MMA because I never wanted to feel that way again. What have been some of your biggest challenges in your career? Lots of challenges [laughs]. One thing I pride myself on is the caliber of competition I’ve competed against. Most athletes in mixed martial arts shy away from competition and fight cans (people who have no business being in a cage fight). I only had three professional fights and I fought a very tough opponent named Asher. He had fought all over the world in the biggest promotions and had a record of 12-2. A combination of a rough weight cut and competing against a high-level fighter, I experienced a massive adrenaline dump and was exhausted throughout the second round. I had to dig deep and got the submission win in the third but that fight really showed me how tough I was.

P H OTOS C O U RT ESY I OWA C I T Y / C O R A LV I L L E A R E A CV B

Is the transition from college wrestling to MMA a natural progression? It is, to be a college wrestler you have to be gritty. Grit will get you a long ways in the MMA world. As a college wrestler, you have to show up ready to compete and improve every day or you’re going to get left behind.

Iowa City is such a great place for dogs and because it’s the Midwest, you’re 10 minutes away from the country wherever you go. Even if you’re in the middle of a city, there’s always a place you can hike. — JULIE KEDZIE

Do you have any pre-match rituals? On fight day, I wake up early and eat as many potatoes as I can, usually mashed. I then go back to bed and sleep as long as I can. When I wake up I move around a bit and then warm up by listening to 80s pop and hitting pads. What’s something about the sport that people usually get wrong, like how the fighters treat each other? Any myths you’d like to dispel? I’ve been asked a lot of questions along the lines of “How mad do you get?” or “Do you make yourself hate the other guy?” Things like that, which is the opposite of what most fighters do. You want to remove emotion and be as relaxed as possible when you compete. What’s your next move and do you have any MMA goals you’d like to share? I just signed a new promotional agreement and will be announcing all the details soon. If anyone is interested, follow me on social media @doublejmma for the official announcement.

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IOWA CITY

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA CAMPUS

The university makes [Iowa City] feel kind of big and always rejuvenated with excitement, but it becomes a totally different city when students are gone. You start to see all the families going to the farmer’s market, walking their dogs and successfully finding parking spaces. — JEFF ROALSON

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P H OTO BY SGT CA M E RO N STO R M

THE SPORT EXPLAINED

Wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling techniques. It can be both for entertainment (think WWE) and competitive. A wrestling bout is a competition, between two sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There is a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional and modern styles. One of the oldest forms of combat, wrestling, goes back 15,000 years, as seen in Egyptian depictions that include many of the holds used in the present-day sport. Found throughout many mythologies, ancient texts and across various cultures, it is no doubt one of the most widely recognized sports in the world.

RULES OF THE GAME

There are many styles of wrestling (from oil wrestling to Sambo) but we’ll focus on the two most popular styles included in the Olympics. Greco-Roman: In Greco-Roman style, it is forbidden to hold the opponent below the belt, to make trips and to actively use the legs in the execution of any action. Recent rule changes in Greco-Roman place greater emphasis on explosive throws. Pinning an opponent to the mat is one way of winning. Freestyle: This style allows the use of the wrestler’s legs in offense and defense. Freestyle wrestling has its origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling (developed in the late 1800s) and the primary way for a wrestler to win is by throwing and pinning their opponent on the mat. Note: American high school and college wrestling is conducted under different rules and is termed scholastic and collegiate wrestling.

OLD CAPITOL BUILDING

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA MUSEUM OF ART

P H OTOS BY C H R I ST I A N H O R A N

TERMINOLOGY

Backdoor: when you go between opponents legs when on bottom. Bottom/Top/Neutral position: bottom, you are under your opponent and they are in control of you. Top, you are on top and in control of your opponent. Neutral, both opponents are facing each other without either being in control. Bridge: turning your body into a “bridge” when on your back to avoid getting pinned. Only thing touching is head and feet. Cauliflower ear: a common injury for wrestlers, it’s a deformity that forms from repeated hits to the ears. Iowa style: a style of wrestling, coined under the Dan Gableled Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling glory days, that is to outwork other opponents, attack and use superior conditioning to break/wear down opponents. Russian: grabbing one arm with both hands to gain control, usually used when a wrestler is winning. Throw: a grappling technique that involves off-balancing or lifting an opponent, and throwing them to the ground. Takedown: a technique that involves off-balancing an opponent and bringing him or her to the ground with the attacker landing on top.

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Practice Your Swing at Graduate Hotels' Topgolf Swing Suite BY SO P H I E N O RTO N

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P H OTOS BY B R ET T BU LT H U I S

I

N A CAMPUS TOWN nestled among rolling hills, Graduate Iowa City hotel is a cosmopolitan oasis. The hotel is thoughtfully designed, with rustic touches that evoke the most iconic images of the Midwest. The wallpaper is patterned with corn (what else), Capt’n Crunch and pigs — callbacks that would make any born and bred Midwesterner chuckle. Even the restaurant, Gene’s, is a homage to one of the most well-known Iowa alums, actor Gene Wilder. However, the real jewel of the hotel is the Topgolf Swing Suite on the second floor.

The suite embodies the same spirit as the rest of the space: a place for an authentic good time with friends and family. The suite features two massive projector screens, and each station is outfitted with comfy leather couches, similar to a home theatre. With a fully stocked beverage refrigerator featuring beer, wine and other beverages, the Topgolf Swing Suite is the perfect place to host. Sports are a fantastic way to bring people together. The suite opened in October, the height of football and tailgating season in Iowa City, so Hawkeyes fans were keen to experience a new way to play Topgolf. The suite offers not only a virtual take on the classic version of Topgolf, but other virtual sports games like football and hockey. Graduate Hotels has made a concerted effort to integrate into the larger University of Iowa community. This summer, they will be hosting a summer concert series right outside their front doors. The Topgolf Swing Suite has been a major part of this endeavor. Student organizations, especially fraternities and sororities, have taken advantage of the space for parents' weekends and more. At the same time as our visit, a Greek life

organization was hosting a Valentine’s Day formal in the basement banquet hall. The hotel offers party packages tailored to your group’s needs; they serve brunch and champagne cocktails for daytime parties, and beer and bar snacks for other events. Golf can be pigeonholed as a boring, niche sport for those with too much free time, but Topgolf blows this assumption out of the water. The attraction truly embodies the phrase “fun for all ages.” When we visited, the suite was drawing curious visitors from all walks of life. Two young boys, around the age of four and six, were particularly interested in the virtual dodgeball game. Although they were too shy to play when we offered them a turn, their father was happy to try out the virtual football option. He even remarked how excited the boys' grandma would be to experience the suite. Whether you're a local, student or visitor, it's an attraction you don't want to miss. Open daily from noon to 9pm, players can rent one hitting bay or book the whole space. Visit graduatehotels. com/topgolf to learn more. Other Graduate Topgolf locations include Eugene, Lincoln and Minneapolis.

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Merging A LOOK AT THE LIFE OF

the Worlds MMA GROUNDBREAKER

of Fighting and Writing BY GIGIE HALL

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P H OTO BY T I M SC H O O N / U N I V E RS I T Y O F I OWA

JULIE KEDZIE


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I

OWA CITY is known for two seemingly disparate things: wrestling and writing. How this Midwest city became a haven for both athletes and academics is a mystery, but if there’s any one person that embodies this unlikely pairing, it is Julie Kedzie. An early pioneer in women’s MMA (mixed martial arts), Julie entered the sport at a time when the dominant culture asserted that women just couldn’t fight. More importantly, the base assumption was that audiences wouldn’t be interested. Both of these theories have since been disproven, thanks in large part to Julie’s participation in the first female MMA event ever to be aired live on television. While she was defeated in that fight against Gina Carano, Julie put it best when she said, “It changed the way people saw female fighters, it changed our place in the world.” Later nicknamed “Fireball” for her charisma and brawling fighting style in the ring, Julie would go on to have a successful pro

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fighting career until her retirement in 2013. But before she was an MMA champ, Julie earned an undergraduate degree in English, a passion she returned to after the fighting ended. After getting pieces published on platforms like Vice and Sports Illustrated, Julie applied for graduate school and was accepted to both Columbia and Iowa City. With a legendary writing culture and literary history, Iowa City was Julie’s pick, and she is now in the final stretch of her MFA program. Teaching both rhetoric and MMA in Iowa City, Julie has combined the city’s most treasured mediums. By writing about what she loves most, Julie has stayed connected to a sport that will forever be imprinted by her legacy. Amid her busy schedule as a teacher, student and commentator for Invicta FC, Julie made time to chat about her history with MMA, how the sport has evolved and the unexpected crossover between fighting and writing.

P H OTO BY T I M SC H O O N / U N I V E RS I T Y O F I OWA

JULIE KEDZIE LEADS AN MMA CLASS AT ICOR BOXING


Can you describe how you got into MMA, what about it attracted you?

I have been in martial arts my whole life. My father put my sister and I into taekwondo lessons when we were very young — it felt like something that I always did. To get your second and third degree black belts, you had to learn other arts at the gym. They didn't want you to just have stripes on your belt. Some other arts that were offered in school were muay thai and combat submission wrestling. I would go to seminars and classes and by the time I was testing for my third degree black belt, I liked them far more than I liked taekwondo. Instead of doing forms or katas — moves that are all preplanned — these arts had a lot of traditional aspects to them but were much more fluid. The UFC started in 1993, but the early UFCs were kind of wacky and it’s really interesting to go back and watch those fights. I think I was 12 when the first UFC came out and I wasn't allowed to see it. A few years later, a friend and I were watching UFC 5 and it was the most boring fight you will ever watch in your life. Not because they were boring, but because they stalemated each other the entire time, they knew what the other one was going to do. So to me, it looked like a lot of hugging and not like the combat submission wrestling I'd seen, not like the kickboxing I'd seen. Then he said, “Check this

out,” and he put in this tape called Hook n' Shoot Revolution and it was all female MMA. It was just so exciting. It was women who had muscles like I did, who were aggressive like I was, and I just I fell in love with the sport. I thought, women can do this. Well, as it turns out, not a lot of people thought women could do this except for them two and the promoter. At the time, I was training as an undergraduate in college in Indiana, and I had about one semester left but a friend wanted to go to California. So we went in the summer to train with MMA people and and it was heaven for me. It’s interesting to call it heaven because it is hard work. You’re getting your ass kicked all the time and I have so many wonderful confidence issues as it is. It's like crying all the time and then getting back up and crying all the time and getting back up. Something about it was feeding something that I needed and my mother was like, “Please come finish college, you have one semester left.” Afterwards, I went back to Indiana and finished my last semester of school, but at this point, I was so raptured by MMA and by fighting. I was taking kickboxing fights whenever I could, but those are a different style of fighting than what I wanted to do. I finally got offered a fight off the very show where the Hook n' Shoot Revolution had taken place. The promoter, Jeff Osborne, had always believed that female fighters were important in the sport even

The insult that people leveled at you was, don’t be emotional. But the truth of the matter is, male fighters are just as emotional, they are just as unreasonable, and they want to be attractive just as much as female fighters do. — JULIE KEDZIE

though the UFC had said no way, they are terrible. Many places said that “Women can't fight, it's stupid, don’t let women on these cards, it’s boring, they don’t know what they’re doing.” What were your first fights like?

Jeff Osborne gave me a spot on his card and I thought that was great. I won my first fight and it was the best thing in the world to me — everything fed that need to fight. But you couldn’t make a living out of being a fighter. I had a college degree but it was in English so that's not going to give me shit. I was going to go to law school but I decided to put off taking the LSAT, and I didn't want to go to graduate school. So I worked all these odd jobs as a waitress and an assistant in a chiropractic office. They weren't fulfilling at all, but what they did do for me was allow me to train in MMA and in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Well, I lost my next two or three fights in a row, but I started really putting it together. Nowadays, female fighters get an amateur career, but I didn't really have that option. You were either fighting or not fighting and the paychecks were $300 or $400. You weren't doing it for the money, you were doing it because you wanted to fight and I just loved it. It’s hard to explain but I think a lot of people feel this way about martial arts. Hobby is kind of the wrong word for it, it is a little reductive. There's just something about when you're invested in something that deep, it is really hard to think about anything else and you adjust your world to your passion. So in 2007, I was offered a fight. I thought the promotion was called Showtime because I was kind of an idiot. I had so much going on and I was working all these jobs but Showtime was the television channel. It was EliteXC and I didn't know it was a big deal, I just knew it was a fight, it was paying more than a lot of fights I had before and it was against an undefeated fighter who everybody was in love with named Gina Carano. I had heard good things about her and a friend of mine had even trained with her once, so I knew who she was. But I had more experience and I thought I was a better fighter because if you go into a fight not thinking you are the better fighter, there is absolutely no point in fighting. There's no reason to go out there unless you think you're the best and turns out, it was on TV. It was the first televised MMA fight and it was great! We fought our hearts out and she beat the shit out of me more or less, but I held in there and it ended up being one of those moments that I think changed a lot of things for people. It changed the way people saw female fighters, it changed our place in the world. I look at early interviews with you and a lot of people ask what the difference is between men and women fighters. How have you seen it evolve

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since then because you were really an early pioneer. How has the conception of woman MMA fighters evolved?

When you look back, now that you've stepped away from this career for a little bit, what were some of the bigger lessons that you have learned from not only being a fighter in this but also the face of it for a while?

Well, I was never the face of it but I would say thank goodness for that. I was in the mix, I definitely got attention, but I was never one of the ones who got a lot of money, which I'll always be sad about. But I didn’t let people tell me how to promote myself. I think that is a big lesson I learned and I had some good people surrounding me. At the same time, women who did the photoshoots got more money

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JULIE KEDZIE TEACHES A RHETORIC CLASS AT UI

and got more attention. I didn't do that and I think it’s for the best. The lessons I learned along the way is that, the insult that people leveled at you was, don't be emotional. But the truth of the matter is male fighters are just as emotional, they are just as unreasonable, and they want to be attractive just as much as female fighters do. I think we held ourselves to some really high standards to prove we were as tough as the guys and I think it's been proven. I hope that some of the impact that I've had is, if a woman fights nowadays, it’s not to prove that she is as good as the guys, but it's to prove that she's the best fighter in the world. That is a huge thing. Instead of saying “I belong,” it’s “I'm going to be the champion.” That's a huge thing because belonging is still not top of the heap, it's still divisive and being the best in the world is about pushing yourself. It’s about knowing what you're capable of ,and hopefully, what a young upand-coming female fighter would be able to say now. In terms of your writing, how did you rediscover that passion? Or was that always something that you thought you would go back to?

Part of me thought I would go back to it, but I didn't think it would be like this. It kind of blows my mind but at the same time, when I started fighting, I said

I'm going to fight UFC someday and then I did, even though women weren't allowed in the UFC. When I decided I was going to be a writer, it's because I wanted to do it right. So, when I quit fighting, I moved to Kansas to work with Invicta FC on the promotional side because I was a matchmaker and I wasn't bad at it. I worked to help build a lot of stuff, but at the same time, I was really artistically unsatisfied. When I was fighting, it did something for me. It was art to me. It gave me that feeling that I couldn't quite find in a business setting and I love Invicta. I'm a commentator for them and I want to be involved in the company forever. An allfemale fight show is amazing but I'm just not a good business person. So I joined a creative writing group on a whim in Kansas City and I wrote a piece. I had people critique it and it seemed to go over well with them. And in a bizarre coincidence, the editor for Sports Illustrated and I went to the same high school. So he asked me if I had written anything about fighting, so I sent it to him and he published it! Then along the way, I started to realize that I wasn't going to feel satisfied unless I was writing and that I had way more to say than I thought. So I started studying for the GRE to get into graduate school and I bombed. But the applications were still open for Iowa

P H OTO BY T I M SC H O O N / U N I V E RS I T Y O F I OWA

Well there is a lot more choice and agency for female fighters. It used to be that you didn't really get attention unless you did the photoshoots. But now I think that has changed quite a bit. Merit is based on fighting and that's how you get attention. I don't know if everybody agrees with me about that. But I work for an all-female fight company now. I do commentary but when I was on the promotional side with matchmaking, there was a very clear distinction about looking for the best fighter, not one that would be on the poster. From back when I was doing it, I'll say the difference is that people can't not acknowledge us. They just wouldn't acknowledge female fighters claiming it’s not the same thing. Of course it's the same thing! We're getting punched in the face. A lot of the arguments are, "the talent on the list is high or there is just not that many people per division." Those are the excuses that people have when they run out of ways to push you down. But the talent levels are extremely high, female fighters are extremely technical. There's a distinction between a lot of female fighters that don't like being called WMMA and I actually quite agree with that. It is women's MMA but it’s MMA flat, it’s MMA period, give the “W” away. It's the same rules, it's the same everything. However, when I was fighting Gina, our first card, we both thought we were fighting five minute rounds but they actually only let us fight three minute rounds, which was insane. Neither one of us knew that happened, and for the longest time, promotions had women fighting three minute rounds for some insane and completely unfair thing that women couldn't last as long as men, which is just dumb. So then it finally got changed. But definitely more people know about us now. If they don't put female fighters on a card, it is noticed. I think the conversation has changed. It was always, 'can women fight?' It’s not about that anymore. It's, 'who are the good fighters now? Who is at the top?' I think that is a really important thing to have happened.


I hope that some of the impact that I've had is, if a woman fights nowadays, it’s not to prove that she is as good as the guys, but it’s to prove that she’s the best fighter in the world. — JULIE KEDZIE

you allow yourself the grace to be humbled. There is nothing more humbling in fighting than trying your hardest to hit a combination and then just getting dropped by another person. I think there are quite a few parallels in it and a lot of it has to do with allowing yourself the grace, or maybe the space, to be receptive. Are you still active with MMA at all? And, if so, how do you balance your academic life with that life?

and Columbia, which are the super top schools, and I applied to them because I just wanted to get in the habit of applying. Plus, they don't take GRE scores anyway. Iowa called and that was it. Columbia called, too, but I was like, “I don't think I can afford to go to New York, I'm sorry.” So I came to visit Iowa and the people were so kind. The first year I was here, it was incredibly difficult. It is a really demanding program. Really rigorous but totally, completely worth it. I imagine there are some parallels between your MMA and the writing, like the discipline involved or listening to your instinct. Is there any crossover?

In terms of being able to be workshopped — you write something, you pour your heart and soul into it and then you have to listen to it get critiqued. I was pretty used to people doing that to me on a daily basis anyway. Your trainers do that to you and then random drunks in the crowd come up to you and tell you how much you suck. So I had the armor for that in some ways, but writing is very, very personal and you can't disassociate from it. Even if your writing is something analytical, it is still your mind on the page. It still took some of the deep breathing and listening to people, instead of getting defensive right away. I think that putting something out there that is very vulnerable,

I don't really balance myself well, to be honest. That's something I'm not very good at. The first year I was here, I thought, 'No fighting. I'm not going to write about fighting, since that's all I know.' Then the summer between my first and second years, I started to really miss punching and kicking. Some of my friends asked for lessons in the park so I started giving them kickboxing lessons and that was pretty fun. Then I got hired by a local boxing gym to teach MMA and that surprised me. No instructor is supposed to say this, but I'm terrified that I'm saying it wrong or doing it wrong because, especially with female instructors, you get the "jiu jitsu bros," which I don't have by the way, those aren't my students. But there are these bros who tell you that you're doing it wrong. That was a huge fear of mine and getting over that and teaching a successful MMA program gave me a lot more confidence about writing about MMA. Even lesson planning and trying to understand and tailor lessons to certain people. I'm also teaching at the university, and so interestingly, creative writing goes that way, too. You just have to find your way to the right questions. Fighting is completely integrated with my life and I needed to accept that. I was really resisting that when I came here at first. Can you describe what your thesis is about?

It's about a lot of these lessons that I've learned. It's the things that fighting has done for me and the things

that it has taken from me, too. There have been some hard, hard lessons to learn once I was removed from that environment. It's been an awful gap in me not to be a part of it because it was such a special world to be in, but I know I'm on the outside. In a lot of ways, even though I do commentary and I know the fighters, I'm not in the inner circle. That's hard but I don't think I want to be back there. I don't think I would give up the knowledge that I have now, if it meant giving up the kind of self-worth I have now to get back there. I couldn't do that. The autonomy that I've worked really hard for, I can't let go of that. I think that in many ways, it would be a huge step backwards to be in whatever inner circle that I used to be in. I imagine the toll that it takes on someone's body would be a lot to deal with over time.

Yeah. I've got quite a few injuries. I'm hopefully getting surgery because my nose is so messed up. There are times where I stop breathing at night because of my sinuses. So after you graduate, do you have any plans to keep on writing about MMA?

I would love to turn my thesis into a book. I think I say important things in it but it just depends. There are some positions available to teach in Iowa City a year after you graduate, but it's pretty tough competition to get them. So, it's going to depend on what opens up for me. I really love editing. I love working on that side of things, too, even though I'm always in desperate need of an editor. I hope I'm around writing and I'm around words, whatever I do next. If it means bagging groceries to write fulltime, that's not a life I'm afraid of. I did that before for fighting — the working, the jobs that are a little more menial labor, and that's fine if I get to write. Everything organized around a passion is good.

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city guide

SEATTLE WASHINGTON

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EATTLE is well known across the nation for its overcast weather, tech hub status and legendary music scene. But it’s also home to some of the country’s most popular teams, and is certainly the sports capital of the Pacific Northwest. While big names like the Seattle Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners have gained a massive and dedicated following — just look at superfan, Big Lo, who’s only missed one Seahawks game in 34 years — it’s the lesser known events that deserve a bit of attention. Major teams aside, Seattle’s anti-establishment spirit shines through in sporting events, like the infamous and notoriously dangerous Dead Baby Bike Race. The downhill race is less a sporting event and more a raucous party on wheels, featuring homemade contraptions and wild rigs. The only rules? No biting and no eye-gouging. The city’s geography also lends itself to an array of outdoor adventure sports, from kayaking and sailing, to mountain activities like skiing and climbing. With both natural wonders and urban offerings all in one place, Seattle has it all.

KEEGAN HALL MARY WHIPPLE MELISE EDWARDS

P H OTO C O U RT ESY V I S I T S E AT T L E

As Told By:

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SEATTLE

At a Glance:

Meet Your Seattle Guides:

FOUNDED IN: 1851 POPULATION: 660k MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Clean energy, Aerospace & Defense, Life Sciences

KEEGAN HALL

Born to a family of athletes, Keegan Hall has honored the family trade as an artist specializing in life-like pencil drawings. Most of his subjects are athletes, and some of his most notable subjects include Michael Jordan, Colin Kaepernick and more. After earning both a BA and MBA from the University of Washington, Keegan took a break from his art and for a time, worked with the Seattle Sonics basketball team. After an eight year hiatus, Keegan returned to his art full-time, finding success with his vivid depictions of celebrities, pro athletes and politicians. With a strong philanthropic spirit, Keegan has worked with a variety of organizations in support of numerous causes.

MARY WHIPPLE

Originally from Sacramento, Mary Whipple is an American World Champion and Olympic rower. While studying at the University of Washington, Mary coxed the varsity team to a national title, Henley Prize and a silver medal in the 2001 NCAA Championship. She has won two gold medals and one silver at the Summer Olympics for her role as coxswain on the US rowing team. After the 2012 London Olympics, Mary retired from the US National Team and founded The 9th Seat, an organization that runs elite clinics for coxswains and rowers to gain valuable information, training tips and feedback.

FUN SPORTS FACT: Seattle won its first professional sports championship in 1917 when the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American hockey team to win the Stanley Cup.

MELISE EDWARDS

Seattle based Melise Edwards is not only an accomplished climber and vocal DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) advocate, she’s also a neuroscience researcher and lab manager. Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Melise manages a neuroendocrinology lab, and serves on the board of directors for the nonprofit Vertical Generation. Despite her busy schedule, Melise has not only racked up a slew of hard sends, but has devoted herself to serving marginalized communities, both as a scientist and climber.

Seattle is arguably the Pacific Northwest’s biggest sports city, and the love for both its teams and stunning natural beauty is strong. Our contributors, who are artists and athletes alike, share what makes Seattle special, including some favorite local traditions. Illustrator and sports enthusiast Keegan Hall always enjoys the SOUNDERS MARCH TO THE MATCH. Dating back to 2005, the march includes live music and plenty of green and blue in support of Seattle’s soccer team. “[It’s] always a fun experience!” says Keegan. “Get down to OCCIDENTAL PARK PIONEER SQUARE early and enjoy all the pre-game festivities.” Olympic rower and coxswain, Mary Whipple, looks forward to the first Saturday in May, which marks the opening day of boating season and the WINDERMERE CUP. “[It’s] a historic rowing race that helps to open the Opening Day boat parade on the MONTLAKE CUT. Around 25,000 fans line the cut to cheer on the Huskies as they race an invited international team. It’s an event not to miss and a classic Seattle tradition.” For Melise Edwards, community is found in SEATTLE’S CLIMBING SCENE: “It harbors a diversity of people from all walks of life and interests within and beyond the sport. We have poor weather for much of the winter and spring, so even though it is a fairly big city, you still see familiar faces in the gym often and have a supportive environment to climb and have fun in.”

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P H OTO BY R E D BOX P I CT U R ES

City Pride


WINDERMERE CUP

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SEATTLE

We have it all! From great music, food, art, sports, landscapes... there’s no place like it! — KEEGAN HALL

MOLLY MOON'S

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MOUNTAINEERING CLUB

Food and Drink

P H OTOS A BOV E L E F T A N D B E LOW C O U RT ESY V I S I T S E AT T L E , A BOV E R I G H T BY A N D R E W G I A M M A RC O

CAPITOL HILL

Seattle is no doubt a mecca for coffee lovers, but as a port city with a diverse demographic, the food is unbeatable. Each of our contributors share their favorites. Keegan often picks Japanese, saying, “There are so many amazing restaurant options in Seattle, and I absolutely love sushi, so WASABI BISTRO is my go-to spot.” It’s no secret Seattle loves their brunch, and as a rower, what else would Mary choose if not a boat themed restaurant? PORTAGE BAY CAFE is her pick: “They have a berry bar for brunch that can’t be missed. Plus they love rowers and rowers love them.” After a long day of climbing, Melise has a few top notch comfort food recs: “Happy hour nachos at MATADOR in Ballard, one hundred tacos from TACOS CHUKIS and/or salted caramel ice cream from MOLLY MOON’S!” When it comes to coffee, all of our contributors agree it has to be ZOKA COFFEE. But if you’re on the go and flying out of Sea-Tac Airport, Mary says, “I have to stop at BEECHER’S in the C terminal regardless of where my gate is located. They have the best coffee at the airport and the best breakfast sandwiches too.” Our pick is Graduate Seattle hotel's very own rooftop bar and restaurant, MOUNTAINEERING CLUB. With panoramic views of the city and outdoor inspired fare, like Camp Cooked Oysters, this is the perfect place to unwind after a day playing in the mountains.

WASABI BISTRO

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GRADUATE SEATTLE

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P H OTOS BY C H R I ST I A N H O R A N


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SEATTLE

HUSKY STADIUM

When it comes to getting outside or enjoying a game, Seattle has a wide range of options. As a major metropolitan area surrounded by both water and mountains, there is no shortage of fun to be had. For a big game, Keegan is all about the HUSKY STADIUM: “Architecturally, the stadium itself is amazing and when you add 70,000 fans and the fact that it’s located on the shores of Lake Washington... well, it doesn’t get much better than that!” Mary goes for the MONTLAKE CUT, the easternmost section of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and a rower's paradise. As a climber, Melise heads to LEAVENWORTH for some bouldering. “The mountains are gorgeous and the climbing is world class. It feels otherworldly beautiful out there and the spring and fall seasons can’t be beat!”

P H OTO A BOV E C O U RT ESY U W, B E LOW L E F T BY R E D BOX P I CT U R ES, R I G H T C O U RT ESY V I S I T S E AT T L E

Where to Play

MONTLAKE CUT

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P H OTO BY RO B E RT SC OV E RS K I

THE SPORT EXPLAINED

I think one of my favorite things about Seattle is the University of Washington campus in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It is pure magic! — MELISE EDWARDS

Climbing With roots in mountaineering, climbing encompasses many styles, grading systems and both indoor and outdoor climbing. If you’ve only ever heard of Alex Honnold, you might think free soloing (climbing without any protection) is common practice, but less than 1% of climbers regularly free solo. More common styles of climbing include sport, trad (traditional) and bouldering. While climbing was once considered a niche sport, that narrative is quickly changing, as it has become more widely available to the masses. Climbing gyms are in almost every major city and if you need any more proof that climbing has officially hit the mainstream, look no further than the 2020 Olympics, where it will be included for the first time ever.

RULES OF THE GAME

While most rules apply to safety standards and environmental impact, we’ll explain the three most popular types of climbing: Sport Climbing: This type of roped climbing can be done both indoors and out, and relies on fixed anchors in the rock. The emphasis is on endurance, as climbs can vary in length from a few meters to 60m (200ft). Trad Climbing (traditional): Compared to sport climbing, trad requires a different, and very important set of skills: placing gear. This style requires the climber to place gear into cracks in the rock as they climb to protect against falls, and remove it when a climb is over. Bouldering: The more minimalist of the three, bouldering only requires a pair of climbing shoes and some chalk. This type of climbing takes place on smaller rock formations (boulders) or indoors, and focuses on strength and power, as each individual move can be very difficult.

TERMINOLOGY

Belay: the technique used to hold a rope in order to arrest a falling climber. Beta: tips or information on how to do a route. “Spraying beta” is giving this info when it wasn’t asked for, therefore taking the fun out of figuring it out. Usually met with a “not cool.” Crux: the hardest section of a climb. Dyno: the act of jumping to a hold that is out of reach. Flash: climbing a route on the first try after receiving beta. Highball: a high boulder problem. Jug: a large hold, generally easy to grab onto. Pitch: one rope length (50–60 metres) or the portion of a climb between two belay points. Send: to finish a climb. Note: We encourage you to do your own research and seek out a climbing instructor to learn the best safety practices.

PIKE PLACE MARKET

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SEATTLE

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P H OTO C O U RT ESY Z A H A WO L F E

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Zaha Wolfe Major: Computer Science Graduation Date: Spring 2019 Sport: Kayaking Position: Club President Originally from Los Angeles, Zaha is currently a student at the University of Washington. “I grew up kayaking on the Los Angeles River,” says Zaha. “[It’s] encased in concrete mostly, but there are several stretches which are more natural and beautiful.” While he may have gotten his start in LA, Zaha learned most of his kayaking skills in Vermont at a summer camp called Keewaydin, where he also learned to canoe, sail, backpack and more. On Seattle’s kayaking, he says it’s “much colder, but still a lot of fun and the rivers are a bit more powerful, which leads to more technique driven kayaking.” Learn more about Zaha’s Seattle favorites below.

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON CAMPUS

FOOD:

My favorite restaurant is Rhodie’s Smokin’ BBQ on exit 22 on I-90. The food is delicious and it’s the best and spiciest BBQ around. It is great to get on the way back from a day of kayaking.

CAMPUS CORNER:

My favorite place on UW campus is by the fireplace in the hub. It’s really nice to sit there by the warm fireplace to do homework, read a book, or take a nap.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS:

Ravenna Park is incredible. You go down in to the park and feel completely isolated from the city even though you are still surrounded by it.

SCHOOL SPORTS TRADITION:

Beer mile!

FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR SPORT:

When you’re in a kayak it feels like an extension of your body. I often forget I have legs while I’m in my boat. It is also really incredible because you are out on a river, lake or ocean, and you have to accept the incredible power of the water. On the river especially, the water moves you, and you really only steer your way down. Trying to fight the water won’t work. Like water itself, you need to go with the flow to get down the river.

P H OTOS BY C H R I ST I A N H O R A N

FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE:

My favorite thing is that the the city feels like it was built in a forest. Trees are all around and you get that scent of nature even when walking around your neighborhood.

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HOW MELISE EDWARDS USES SCIENCE AND SPORT TO MAKE AN IMPACT

CLIMB ON BY GIGIE HALL

P H OTO BY A N D R E A SASS E N R AT H

T

HE CLIMBING WORLD has seen some drastic changes in the last few years. The New York Times famously covered the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall, a climbing documentary won an Oscar, and now more than ever, people are heading to the gym to try it out for themselves. But what remains after this widespread attention is the dominant narrative that climbing is still an elusive sport, predominantly practiced by men. Scientist and climber Melise Edwards is not only proof that this is false, but actively works to change the story around climbing. It’s no easy task, and she is joined by a network of people, both on the ground and online, who

are broadening the definition of what it means to be an athlete and an outdoorsperson. With a strong social media presence, Melise uses her platform to speak up on issues of diversity and inclusion that not only touch on climbing, but also extend to people of color in STEM, the outdoor industry and society as a whole. Currently based in Seattle where she manages a neuroendocrinology lab, Melise will begin pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience later this year. Between graduate school interviews and training, Melise took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our questions. Read on to learn more about how Melise is giving back, Seattle’s climbing community, and more.

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accomplishments that are emotional, physical, activist etc.

My introduction to rock climbing came via a high school project. I wrote my senior research paper on the psychology of extreme sports — wanting to know what would drive people to pursue sports steeped in risk and managing fear. After spending some time in the gym learning rope skills and new techniques from my mentor, we ended up doing a multi-pitch climb in the Pisgah National Forest. I remember being terrified but absolutely in love with the views and challenges of pushing past the fear to reach the top.

My biggest breakthroughs in climbing have always come from having goals that are not fixed to a particular number, grade or objective, but being in a certain state of mind and prioritizing the best attitude possible. My most recent breakthrough was competing at the Psicobloc competition in Park City, Utah. I am terrified of heights and had to read many books on mental training beforehand to try and foster an attitude of pushing myself and being open to the challenge at hand.

What’s unique about the climbing community in Seattle?

Climbing is an extremely mental sport. How have you learned to work through the mental challenges of your projects?

The climbing community in Seattle is representative of the climbing community at large, which is to say it harbors a diversity of people from all walks of life and interests within and beyond the sport. We have poor weather for much of the winter and spring, so even though it is a fairly big city, you still see familiar faces in the gym often and have a supportive environment to climb and have fun in. What have been some of your biggest breakthrough moments in climbing? They can be

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The mental aspects of climbing are some of the most challenging to work through. I’ve learned to embrace the process and work with the person I am on any given day. Some days you are confident, climbing well and everything clicks. Other days, you feel off, uncoordinated and unable to piece movements together. It helps in climbing — or anything else — to focus on where you are in the given moment and what you can do to progress or learn something new that will help you in the future.

Saying you juggle a lot is an understatement. Besides some serious organizational skills, how do you practice balance and self-care while also contributing to the big issues you care about?

Self-care is a daily challenge and I try to implement balance every single day, week, etc. One specific example would be waking up at 5:30am or 6am most days so I can go for a long walk with my dog, read or go to the climbing gym before work. For me, selfcare is about my time and the quality of that time spent, not necessarily needing to spend exorbitant amounts of money on products or travel. In those quiet moments of each day, I find the energy to put my best foot forward in other arenas in my life. Self-care is essential, especially for folks who are engaged in constant activism and involvement beyond work, school and hobbies. Climbing is about to be in the Olympics for the first time. Gyms are on the rise, and more and more people have access to the sport. What are some of the biggest positive impacts you’ve seen as a result of climbing’s rising popularity?

I think one of the best things about climbing’s increase in popularity is that more people from all walks of life are learning about climbing and having access to

P H OTO BY A N D R E A SASS E N R AT H

How did you get started in the sport and what inspires you to continue climbing?


the sport; not just people who have close access or the privilege of being able to travel large distances to pursue a hobby. Climbing is such an amazing sport and hobby; I would love to see more people have access to the positive effects of rock climbing. While it’s slowly starting to change, climbing media still feels largely homogenous. How can climbing media recognize the accomplishments of women, and women of color without falling into a tokenist trap?

As one woman of color, I am not the authority on this or the voice of all women of color in the outdoor community, but I think that women of color have been climbing, continue to climb, and that it takes very little effort to find the women out there being incredibly athletic and incredible community leaders. We are still underrepresented (women of color vastly more so), but I think companies need to understand that having one fit, able-bodied, light-skinned brown woman in your marketing is not diversity. Companies need to understand how to be intersectional with their support of diversity and support a diversity of women and women of color in our communities. What are some local organizations, leaders or other climbers that are doing work you admire?

There are countless groups I admire, follow and

learn from in the outdoor community and climbing community: Brown Girls Climb, Brothers of Climbing, Outdoor Afro, Unlikely Hikers, Melanin Base Camp, Latin Outdoors, Queer Nature, Native Outdoors and Native Womens Wilderness. There are so many incredible people and organizations in our community. I also greatly admire and respect the work of Teresa Baker (founder of the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge,) Bethany Lebewitz (founder of Brown Girls Climb,) Emily Taylor (professional coach and first black woman to climb The Nose of El Capitan) and Julie Gardner and Marc Bourguignon (co-founders of Vertical Generation). I am the most inspired from people who are not only passionate about climbing, but about giving back to the community and being a voice for those who are underrepresented in our communities. Getting outside or climbing in a gym can be a real challenge for those who have limited access and resources. What advice do you have for people who want to climb and don’t know where to start?

This question is hard, because my answer to this will only be intended for those at a pretty privileged place in society. I think the issue with regards to economic disparity can only be answered by

addressing the unequal and oppressive system we live in, so my answer is: Access is incredibly challenging. Many people like to compare how “affordable” rock climbing is to other hobbies like snowboarding. But just because climbing does not seem as expensive as the most expensive hobbies in the outdoor industry does not mean it is affordable. If you do not live near climbing, you need a paid off vehicle (or be ready to pay upward of $300 a month for a car loan), gas money, time off from work (provided you have paid and only work one job) and then the gear, which for bouldering would start at about $300 for a basic crash pad and shoes. Most Americans could simply not afford this. And when we look at the disparities in wealth with regards to white versus minority families, it is even more striking. My advice for those in a position of privilege to be able to pursue a hobby would be to network and find people in your area you can climb with. When I was in college, I did not have a car and found friends who helped me make it outdoors and also taught me about rock climbing. You can find people online through climbing sites’ messaging boards, post a note on a local gym’s bulletin board or try to find a climbing club that might make regular trips outdoors. I know it can be incredibly intimidating to try something so new and feel like a beginner, but if you climb with folks who are experienced and can offer you helpful tips, you will learn quickly and have a lot of fun doing so! What initiatives are you currently working on to make the outdoors and climbing more inclusive?

My biggest breakthroughs in climbing have always come from having goals that are not fixed to a particular number, grade or objective, but being in a certain state of mind and prioritizing the best attitude possible. — MELISE EDWARDS

I am a volunteer and board member for Vertical Generation — a nonprofit started by Marc Bourguignon and Julie Gardner in Seattle with the mission of bringing climbing to youth who may not otherwise have the chance. We’ve worked with organizations like Mary’s Place, IRC, Refugee Women’s Alliance and TAF Academy and have done outdoor trips, regular weekly mentorship and pairing college tours with rock climbing. I was just accepted to a PhD program for neuroscience and hope to do more STEM outreach in the future and pair that with climbing. I have some big ideas I hope to work on this year, so I guess we’ll see! Do you have any climbing goals or objectives coming up?

Continue to push myself and have fun with climbing while I pursue my PhD. Also to give back more to the communities that have helped me get to where I am today and make sure other young women and men of color have support and see themselves represented in homogeneous arenas like science and climbing.

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A LOOK AT THE WHY NOT YOU FOUNDATION BY GIGIE HALL

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HY NOT YOU? It’s a short yet powerful phrase that Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, heard time and time again from his father. It’s an attitude that has carried him from high school football star to the Seattle Seahawks’ first ever Super Bowl win. That phrase is now the name of Wilson’s charity, the Why Not You Foundation. As

we chatted with the foundation’s executive director Carly Young, she described its history saying, “Russell’s father was always there to empower, motivate and challenge him in everything he did: Why can’t you graduate college in three years? Why can’t you play two sports?” He ended up doing both and played baseball for a time before being drafted by the Seahawks.

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Russell Wilson and Ciara Give Back to Seattle W


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for collaboration are endless, with each being able to draw resources from their respective fields. One such collaboration was a benefit concert featuring performances by Seattle locals Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ciara and the Seattle Symphony. Hosted by Wilson, the event raised $1.4 million, which went towards supporting youth, equity and access to the arts. “We are always looking for fun, creative and meaningful opportunities where we can incorporate the world of professional sports and the world of music.” Another special collaboration to note is the partnership between Graduate Seattle and the Why Not You Foundation. Inspired by Wilson’s jersey number, #3, for every night that is booked at the hotel, three dollars goes to the foundation. Young notes, “Three dollars can add up very quickly and this message of giving and show of support can inspire all guests staying at the hotel.”

One of the Why Not You Foundation’s most popular events is the annual Wilson Celebrity Invitational. Taking place in June, the two-day event starts off with a concert and auction and finishes off with a celebrity golf tournament on a private course just outside of Seattle. Past participants include Anthony Anderson, Chris Pratt, George Lopez and more. This event, along with others, has raised over $6 million in support of pediatric cancer research. For the foundation’s newest program, DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible, the Why Not You Foundation has partnered with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to create a campaign to inspire kids to dream big. The program includes two limited edition library cards featuring Ciara and Wilson, the expansion of a library program called Teen Voices and $100,000 in scholarships for community college, a trade school or four-year university. “We are really excited about the Dream Big program as it is one way

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Understanding the importance of being motivated early on in life, Wilson founded the Why Not You Foundation in the hopes that kids would begin to ask themselves, “Why can’t I take an AP class? Why can’t I make the football team?” This spirit extends to a range of initiatives in the Seattle area, and includes the participation of his wife, Ciara, who now serves as the vice president of the board of directors. Together, the husband and wife team have helped raise millions of dollars. The duo is focused on a number of programs, one of which includes a visit to the Seattle Children’s Hospital every Tuesday during football season. “It brightens up their day to have Russell come in and say hello,” says Young. “Ciara also frequently joins in the visits and that’s a really fun surprise for the kids. When they walk into the room, the reaction is truly priceless.” With both a football and music superstar working together side by side, the opportunities


I was born and raised in the Seattle area and I’m proud to say that as a community, we are very committed to philanthropy and giving back. It is truly a remarkable giving community... Thanks to the support of all of our partners, we’re able to make positive changes in the lives of many kids. — CARLY YOUNG, WHY NOT YOU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

that we can truly have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of many kids while also being able to provide a really cool library card.” When we asked Young about Seattle’s unique philanthropic spirit, she didn’t hesitate. “I was born and raised in the Seattle area and I’m proud to say that as a community, we are very committed to philanthropy and giving back. It is truly a remarkable giving community.” She continues, “we’re excited to have partners such as Graduate Hotels who choose to contribute a portion of their proceeds to support the foundation and our initiatives. Thanks to the support of all of our partners, we’re able to make positive changes in the lives of many kids.” It’s clear that the Why Not You attitude has made a real impact on the Seattle community, and we can’t wait to see what future projects the foundation has in store. To learn more about the Why Not You Foundation, visit their website at whynotyoufdn.org.

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city guide

BLOOMINGTON INDIANA

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N A STATE that is famous for its farming and agriculture, Bloomington, Indiana is an oasis of forests, rolling hills and wildlife; it’s no wonder it’s known as the “Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana,” a sharp contrast from its neighboring flatter terrain. The city is home to 85,000 residents and serves as a home away from home for thousands of Indiana University students. During the school year, the various Big Ten sports teams draw crowds from all over the country. But dig a little deeper at Indiana’s sports history, and you’ll find that it is the birthplace of high school basketball, and remains the geographic center for the sport. But Bloomington’s most famous sporting event is no doubt, the Little 500; an annual track cycling race that draws 25,000 fans each April. Aside from its rich sports heritage, Bloomington was designated as the nation’s “Tree City” in 1983, and has over 12,000 trees that are planted among the Gothic and Romanesque campus buildings — quite a sight for sore eyes. Whether you stay for the changing of the seasons or come for the “World’s Greatest College Weekend,” Bloomington provides a good time to be enjoyed by all.

ERIC DEINES TARA VICKERS ANDREA BALZANO EMILY DEPASSE

P H OTO C O U R EST Y V I S I T B LO O M I N GTO N

As Told By:

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BLOOMINGTON

Meet Your Bloomington Guides:

ERIC DEINES

By day, Eric Deines is the director of A&R and Communication for independent Bloomingtonbased record label Jagjaguwar. He’s been with the Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian and Dead Oceans label group for 10 years. Besides his A&R duties, he’s also worked as a manager for artists like Jenny Hval, Foxygen, Amen Dunes, Steve Gunn and Lonnie Holley.

TARA VICKERS

Tara Vickers received a bachelor’s degree in English from Belmont University in 2007, and a Master of Arts in arts administration from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2010. Today she is the director of the Indiana University Student Foundation, which oversees a number of committees and events, including the Little 500. She and her husband live in Bloomington with their two dogs, Gunner and Georgia.

ANDREA BALZANO

Originally from Elkhart, Indiana, Andrea majored in Journalism and International Studies with a minor in Dutch, and was actively involved on campus. She started the Collins Women’s Little 500 team, and was on the IUSF Riders Council for two years, serving as president her senior year. After teaching high school English Language Arts at St. Francis Indian School in South Dakota, she moved back to Bloomington to work at the IU Student Foundation as the Little 500 Race Director.

EMILY DEPASSE

Emily knew she’d attend IU and ride in the Little 500 after watching her older sisters compete in the event. She rode for her sorority Delta Gamma, for four years including two championship races. After graduating she began coaching the DGs with a teammate and worked as a data engineer in Chicago and Indianapolis. Five years later, she and her husband Kevin are excited to call Bloomington home again.

There’s a lot to love about this Midwestern sweetspot, and it shows. For Andrea Balzano, IU alum and current resident, she can’t say enough. “Bloomington is such a welcoming community, and the IU CAMPUS melds together so well with the town. The people here are kind, the restaurant scene is great, and there are so many little quiet places to escape to. I love living here, and I am so happy I came back.” Little 500 champion and current Bloomington resident, Emily Depasse, also loved the community so much that she decided to move back. “I think Bloomington really has something for everybody — it packs a lot into a small town. You have amazing lakes, parks and forests for the nature lover. Great restaurants including a whole street, 4TH STREET devoted to international restaurants for the foodie. A thriving arts, music and culture scene and some pretty great people. The community feel here is instant.” For Jagjaguwar’s Eric Deines, it’s all about finding Bloomington’s hidden gems. “Bloomington is essentially Twin Peaks with a major university planted smack dab in the middle of it. The deeper you dig the weirder it gets and I’ve been digging for a decade now.”

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City Pride


At a Glance: FOUNDED IN: 1818 POPULATION: 85k MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Education and Medical Appliances & Equipment FUN SPORTS FACT: Bloomington was the location of the Academy Award–winning 1979 movie "Breaking Away," a reenactment of Indiana University’s annual Little 500 bicycle race.

LITTLE 500

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BLOOMINGTON

Bloomington is essentially Twin Peaks with a major university planted smack dab in the middle of it. The deeper you dig the weirder it gets and I’ve been digging for a decade now. — ERIC DEINES

FARMER'S MARKET

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OUTDOOR DINING

Food and Drink

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TASTE OF INDIA

Bloomington has never been shy about its global food culture. With more than 75 international restaurants representing 18 different countries, traveling the world with your tastebuds is a must in this Midwestern food mecca. On top of that, being one of the top agricultural states in the country makes fresh and local ingredients readily available. Take it from Emily, who frequents farm-to-table restaurants. “FARMBLOOMINGTON has great food, local ingredients, no frills. Plus they have fries tossed in garlic, parmesan and herbs that are to die for.” For Eric, he switches things up with a different type of ambiance. “FEAST MARKET & CELLAR is a vibey and rather serious wine bar tucked into a very un-vibey building south of center city. The inside is so cozy and the Cornish Hen from their December menu was hands down my favorite meal of 2018.” For a little afternoon pickme-up, Andrea has a couple options: “SOMA is my favorite coffee shop. I studied there often as a student, and I love to pop in when I get the chance, now. LAUGHING PLANET is right above the Kirkwood Soma, and they have the best burritos in town. Both are worth a visit.” Emily also has a great choice, too: “THE INKWELL has it all — superb espresso drinks, high quality drip coffee and great breakfast options, like avocado toast or egg sandwiches. But the best part is their sweets. Imagine homemade takes on your childhood favorites like Poptarts, Oreos, and Thin Mints.” Both Tara and Eric suggest HOPSCOTCH COFFEE. “I hit the vegan institution, RAINBOW BAKERY no less than three times a day. It’s owned by local roaster, Hopscotch Coffee.” Our pick is POINDEXTER COFFEE at Graduate Bloomington, where you can grab an AM Sando with some hot drip coffee. For an IU game at a classic sports bar, Eric suggests NICK’S ENGLISH HUT. “For a hang, I’m very taken with this new basement bar on the square downtown called ORBIT ROOM. Feels like a speakeasy that serves beer and wine only, but with a great pinball selection in an adjacent and soundproof room.”

NICK'S ENGLISH HUT

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GRADUATE BLOOMINGTON

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P H OTOS BY C H R I ST I A N H O R A N


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Where to Play Famous for its LIMESTONE QUARRIES, locals like Eric find beauty in the irregular amount of rock formations. “There’s a secret limestone beach on Lake Monroe that only my friends and I know about. It’s at the end of a long, wooded country road. I wish I could tell you more.” Although he might not be able to tell you more, we can tell you that limestone from Bloomington has found its way into buildings all over the country, including The Pentagon, Empire State Building, Lincoln Memorial, Grand Central Station, Tribune Tower and many more. Andrea, on the other hand, can share her secrets. “CEDAR BLUFFS is a little hidden gem in Bloomington. It’s pretty during all seasons and it’s a great place to go for a casual, woodsy hike. I would highly recommend to any visitor.” She also enjoys the beautiful architecture on campus: “I love running by the SAMPLE GATES and MEMORIAL STADIUM — that really gets me in the Hoosier spirit. My favorite spot though is the WELLS QUADRANGLE off of Third Street, and my favorite building specifically is SYCAMORE HALL. The courtyard between those four buildings is the epitome of IU’s beauty.” Emily finds that LAKE MONROE and the surrounding forests has a lot to offer. “You can rent a pontoon boat for a cruise, or hike and camp on the shores. Many of the common routes that cyclists enjoy around town go around Lake Monroe or near it, too.”

HOOSIER NATIONAL FOREST

SAMPLE GATES

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Erin Adair Major: Business Graduation Date: Spring 2019 Sport: Track Cycling (Little 500)

LAKE MONROE

Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Erin Adair is currently a senior at IU and has loved every minute of her time in Bloomington. As a freshman, Erin made it her goal to get involved in some of the great traditions and experiences at the university, including things like Kelley Coaching and sorority life. “The thing that gave me my place was, and is, the Little 500,” she says. “This event is so uniquely Hoosier and such a large part of the tradition and culture that is IU Bloomington, that participating as a rider, and now as Vice President of the Rider’s Council was a no brainer.” After graduation, Erin is headed to Chicago to work for EY in their audit practice, but until then, she plans on soaking up her last months at school.

FOOD:

Darn Good Soup. It’s cold out right now and it’s a two minute walk from my apartment. Besides that, I just love the simple small space and their soup lives up to the name (darn good).

COFFEE FIX:

Hopscotch Coffee

CAMPUS CORNER:

The Wilcox House

THE GREAT OUTDOORS:

I love biking out to Lake Lemon from campus. The route includes the lake but also lots of the trees and open spaces of Brown County.

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Bloomington is an oasis in rural, southern Indiana. It’s liberal, beautiful and full of creative, openminded and kind people. — TARA VICKERS

HISTORICAL LANDMARK:

I love the Sample Gates. They scream “This is IU” to me.

FAVORITE LOCAL SPORTS TEAM:

The Hoosiers of course! I especially love the men’s and women’s basketball teams because that was my sport of choice in High School.

MEMORY LANE:

My first Little 500 I started the race for my team, and standing on the track, I listened to the song “Back Home Again in Indiana” being sung before the parade laps started, and I just felt like I had found something to be a part of.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN BLOOMINGTON:

Bloomington is funny because it’s got the feel of a small welcoming town with outdoors space, but all the same benefits of living in a big city. Tons of restaurants, a diverse set of residents and plenty to do every weekend. There is so much history here, and so many incredible people I get to be surrounded by and learn from. I wouldn’t want to go to school anywhere else.

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BLOOMINGTON

MONROE COUNTY COURTHOUSE

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The Little 500 might seem weird to an outsider, but it’s actually a storied tradition and it’s as local as local can get. I rode for three years as a student, and it was easily the best part of my college experience.”

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THE SPORT EXPLAINED

— ANDREA BALZANO

Little 500 Founded in 1951 by Howdy Wilcox Jr., the director of the Indiana University Foundation, Wilcox modeled the race after the famous Indianapolis 500 car race, which his father won in 1919. Today, racers compete in four-person teams, racing relay-style around a quarter-mile cinder track at Bill Armstrong Stadium. 33 teams are selected in qualifications to compete in the main race. The women’s race is 100 laps (50 miles) and the men’s race is 200 laps (100 miles). Throughout the year students can be seen riding the hills around Bloomington getting themselves in shape for the grueling, but exhilarating, annual race. Money raised by the event goes towards a scholarship fund for working IU students.

THE RULES OF THE GAME

All riders must use the official Little 500 bike that is provided to them for that year. There can be no toe clips or grips, kick stands, water bottles, air pumps, untaped or unplugged handlebars, or any other add-on accessories. For the safety of all riders, hard helmets must be worn and buckled at all times, as well as biking gloves. Each team is required to complete 10 exchanges (5 for the women) during the course of the race. At the 198th lap (98th for the women), all riders not on the lead lap will be asked to move to the back or exit the pack. Teams which do not comply with this rule are believed to be impeding the progress of another rider and will be given a penalty or even disqualification.

TERMINOLOGY

À bloc: giving it all a rider has, going all out, riding as hard as one possibly can Aero: commonly used abbreviation when referring to the allimportant science of aerodynamics. Bike Throw: occurs in the final moments of a race. The rider pushes his arms forward, stretches his back out and attempts to move his bike as far forward as possible, getting to the finish line before his competitors. Cadence: the rate at which a cyclist pedals. Danseuse: riding out of the saddle, standing up, usually in a taller gear than normal, and rocking side to side for leverage Drafting: to ride closely behind another rider to make maximum use of their slipstream. Endo: a crash where the back wheel is lifted off the ground and the bike flips over its front wheel. Peloton: is the large main group in a road bicycle race. May also be called the field, bunch, or pack. Squirrel: a cyclist who has a tendency to swerve unexpectedly and maintain inconsistent speed.

OUTDOOR DINING

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P H OTO BY JA M ES B ROS H E R | I U C O M M U N I CAT I O N S

History of the Little 500 A DIVE INTO THE PAST WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE IU STUDENT FOUNDATION BY FRANCES WELCH

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LITTLE 500 (1977)

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From the Beginning

Tara Vickers: The Little 500 is Indiana University’s signature event that is hosted and put on by the IU Student Foundation. The IU Foundation is the fundraising arm of Indiana University and was established in 1950. We are one of the oldest student foundations in the country and the race was conceived by Herman Wells, who was President of IU at the time, and Howdy Wilcox Jr. who was President of the IU foundation. They were trying to think of a way to engage students while they were on campus so that they would become engaged alumni once they left. They asked the questions of, “What would the alumni ties to IU be and what would make them want to give back, return to the campus and keep that tether to Indiana University?” They decided that a signature annual event would be the route to go. One day, Howdy was out on campus and saw some co-eds in a bicycle race around a dorm and thought, “Well, there’s something with that, why don’t we recreate the Indianapolis 500, but on bicycles and have it be this amateur bike race.” Howdy’s father was a champion racecar driver at the Indianapolis 500, which is why they based the bicycle race off of that model.

P H OTO A BOV E BY R I C K D I K E M A N , O P P OS I T E L E F T C O U RT ESY TA R A V I C K E RS, R I G H T C O U RT ESY I N D I A N A U N I V E RS I T Y

K

NOWN BY SOME from the Academy Awardwinning movie, Breaking Away, the Little 500 is one of Indiana University's most treasured traditions. The 33-team bicycle race takes place during the third weekend of April each year, an event that gathers over 25,000 people in attendance. While the race is a phenomenal spectacle on its own, the history behind the race is almost as obscure as the sport itself. Tara Vickers, Director of the IU Student Foundation, has been in the role for five years, helping and guiding students to create a fantastic philanthropic event each year. As an expert on the race, Tara breaks down how it came to be, who started it and why and explains all the questions one may have that comes with such a unique annual event. To learn more about the race, we chatted with Tara about her experience with the event and how it hasn’t really changed since the beginning.


A Model Race

TV: The first Little 500 was in 1951 and we’re about to enter into the 69th running of the men’s race and the 32nd running of the women’s race. It’s modeled very similarly after the Indianapolis 500, in the sense that there are 33 teams just like there are 33 drivers. The teams span from greek organizations (a fraternity or a sorority can sponsor a team) and housing development teams, (dorms and co-op living on campus can sponsor teams), to independent teams too. Any undergraduate student can start a team and it’s all amateur based. The women ride on a Friday, the men ride on a Saturday and they get their name engraved on a Borg-Warner Trophy that is an exact replica of what the Indianapolis 500 riders get. It’s this super cool event that brings the whole campus back together. The Student Backbone

TV: We have homecoming in the fall with the football team and the Little 500 functions as the campus's spring homecoming. The great thing is that it’s a philanthropic event, so all of the proceeds from the Little 500 go back to funding undergraduate scholarships for IU-Bloomington students; it has a great philanthropic heart at the root of it. And not only are all the athletes amateur undergraduate students, but the whole event is put on by undergraduate students. Where I come in as the director

over the student foundation is I have a small staff of four and we advise and guide these students who do all the heavy lifting. They transform Bill Armstrong Stadium, where the race takes place and where our soccer team plays, and make a soccer stadium into a bike riding spectacle. They plan all of the ceremonial things that happen before the flag drops for the riders to race and they execute the whole thing. Then, we tear it down and we start all over again next year with a whole new group of students. It’s a really neat event for students, by students, with a philanthropic cause that goes back to funding students. And of course there’s all the great folklore that we have received from “Breaking Away” being based off of it, which has turned the race into this cult IU event. The Obscurity of it All

TV: This sport is obscure for many reasons. First of all, they ride on a cinder block track, so it’s super old-school. There are hardly any cinder block tracks anymore but it has always been raced on that type of track. They also ride single gear bicycles, so there is no shifting; it is the lowest gear bicycle that you can get. And even though a team might have three or four riders, they can only have up to two bikes, so they have to do exchanges where they are coming in at 27-miles-per-hour. They have to hop off the bike and hand it off to their teammate, who then has to hop on, which I’m sure you can imagine causes all sorts of crazy wrecks sometimes. It’s just a masterful feat. So, obscure is the best way to frame it. I don’t know anything else like this. They train all year long like they are Division 1 athletes, even though they are definitely not [laughs]. But it’s like bragging rights on the IU campus if you ride in the Little 500, so it’s pretty cool. Annual Attendance

TV: Over the course of the weekend, we have about 20,000 to 25,000 fans, of course that depends on the weather. April in Indiana can be 80 degrees and sunny, and it can also be snowing! But on a good weather weekend, we see about 25,000 fans throughout the course of the Little 500 weekend through the gates at Bill Armstrong Stadium. It’s an outdoor stadium, so if you can imagine, there’s a soccer field and then around the parameter of that soccer field is an oval shaped cinder track that they ride on. That’s when the crazy weather can come into play. A Standout Race

TV: Three years ago, it worked out that when Ben Higgins was the bachelor on ABC’s The Bachelor, he chose his fiance (I think now they are broken up) in March of that year, and then he was the VIP that came back for the race in April. That was maybe the biggest name we’ve had since I’ve been here. Now,

KAPPA ALPHA THETA (2015)

prior to me, Barack Obama was at the Little 500 in 2007, which was bananas. Indiana was up for grabs for the democrats for the first time in 50-someodd years and he was here campaigning, and it just worked out that he got to attend the women’s race. That was extremely cool but unfortunately I was not here yet. But really, each year is special because I have guided these students trying to plan this event, and then you watch the ones who train so hard finally get to ride. To see the two days go off and be so successful with people accomplishing their goals, it’s really neat to see the whole thing come together. Unique Highlights

TV: A highlight of the race is that we always have someone sing “Back Home Again in Indiana,” which is the state song of Indiana. It’s the last thing we do before the green flag drops and the race begins. During that time, there’s a big balloon release that is really special and beautiful. There are skydivers that come in and land on the field; it’s one of those feelgood moments that happens every year. We usually have notable and great alumni that will come back and serve as our Grand Marshall every year, which was the role that Ben Higgins took a few years ago. Two years ago Lilly King, who is the great Olympic swimmer for the United States Olympic swim team, is an IU student and she served as our Grand Marshall. John Mellencamp has also served in that capacity at the Little 500 before. Steve Tesich, who wrote the screenplay for “Breaking Away,” has been back for the Little 500 — this year is the 40th anniversary of that movie. Little 500 and the Community

TV: Bloomington is a really bike friendly town. One of the cool things is that it brings the cycling community in Bloomington and in Southern Indiana together. It’s also great for the economy of Bloomington because not only are IU students attending this, but alumni come back into town and are staying in hotels and they’re dining out at restaurants. If you’re planning on coming, normally, it’s the third Friday and Saturday in April, but this year it is the second because we try to avoid Passover and Easter to accommodate the students who celebrate.

TARA VICKERS

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Speeding into the Little 500 BIKING DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH TWO-TIME CHAMPION, EMILY DEPASSE

P H OTO C O U RT ESY E M I LY D E PASS E

BY FRANCES WELCH

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HE LITTLE 500, or even cycling for that matter, wasn’t supposed to be a passion for Emily Depasse. The sport had never been a family legacy or a childhood obsession. It was just a race she had seen both of her older sisters ride while she was still in junior high. While Emily was in high school, she ran cross country and knew that she wanted to have the same type of sports comradery in college, so she joined her sorority’s Little 500 team and hopped on the bike for the next four years. In a rare circumstance of events, Emily’s sister, a Little 500 alumna, coached her team leading them to be two-time champions

of the race. What was once just a way for Emily to enjoy sports and make friends in college, became the passageway to her current life. After four years of achieving a Little 500 legacy, Emily became a coach, moved back to Bloomington, and married her now-husband, who also rode and championed the men’s race during the same time. Today, you can find Emily and her husband, Kevin, cycling the hills of Bloomington and helping out current Little 500 riders every now and then. To learn more about the athlete, we chatted with Emily about her love story with the obscure sport and how it has changed her life since.

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Calling the Little 500 an obscure sport is a pretty good way to describe it. For people who are outsiders, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it seems like a little thing. So what’s weird is technically it’s an intramural sport, but as competitors in this sport, we treat it like we’re D-1 athletes; we take the race seriously, maybe even more seriously. So it’s hard to explain how strange it is, how it grabs people the way it does. You’re the first rider I’ve talked to that has won a Little 500 race. What do you think your team did that made you win two years in a row?

That’s tough, and it’s something that I have learned as a coach. I coached five races after I graduated, and unfortunately none of those races were we successful in winning, and there were quite a few of them where I thought we had the fastest team on the track. The tough thing about this race is it requires a lot of hard work and preparation and a lot of training and strategy. But at the same time, there’s a component of luck that you just can’t quite get around. The way the race operates for the women, between the four riders on your team, you have to complete 100 laps, and for the men, it’s 200. All of the 33 teams have one ride around the track at the same time. We typically ride in a pack of people. It’s more efficient and you can save a little bit of energy by riding right behind someone else’s bike. So if you can imagine groups of bikes on a track, wrecks happen pretty frequently and it’s kind of unavoidable. Your team can get in an unfortunate situation or something can happen that can just completely ruin your chances for the race. Despite that, to say what we did to win two years in a row, some of the things that stand out for me with those two teams is that we obviously trained really

LITTLE 500 CHAMPION EMILY DEPASSE

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hard and put in a lot of hard work, but so do many teams. With that team of girls specifically though, we created this bond and this friendship that to this day are still some of the strongest friendships in my life. Having that trust with the team really made it easier to put that much more effort into it on race day. How long did your team train for?

We technically, as coaches, recommend training year-round — every day you want to be thinking about the race. What a lot of teams do in the summer, they will race local or regional cycling road races, which include any kind of racer, professional, semiprofessional or hobbyists. During the fall, we will try to ride our bikes five or six days a week. A couple weeks into the spring semester, they’ll actually open the track so that each day you can have a dedicated time where you can go and actually practice riding the Little 500 bike on the bike track. That’s where a lot of the really important skills and practice happens. But really you’re working on your aerobic fitness and strength all year round. The training seems super intense from what I’m gathering.

Yeah! It’s so strange because there’s nothing on the line. You don’t get scholarships for riding and you don’t get paid. All you get is a trophy and you’re not even known on campus; most people don’t even recognize that you have won. So really, it’s all for your own glory and happiness I guess. What is the most unique quality about the race?

One of the specifics about the race that is interesting is it is very equalizing. Riders use their own bikes to train on the road throughout the year, but when they

are riding on the track and most importantly on race day, they are riding on IUSF (IU Student Foundation) issued bikes with some pretty specific rules around what parts can be swapped and upgraded. If you can imagine, they are simple and inexpensive. Unlike other sports where money and resources can get you better equipment, for the most part, teams are starting on a level playing field. What was your most memorable moment as a rider?

For both races that we won, we had our fastest rider on the bike at the end, and it usually comes down to a sprint finish. It’s just a track around a soccer field — a 400 meter track. They have all this other stuff on the middle field on race day. There’s a medical tent, there’s a platform where people are standing, there are towers where we, as a team, are standing clear by the start/finish line. Each team gets a pit around the track that’s your designated area, so we were by the start/finish. We knew that our rider was in the pack but we couldn’t see across the track so we didn’t actually know what was going on. The point where you get visibility, where you can see who’s in the lead, that’s when we saw that our rider had a gap on the rest of the riders and we knew that they probably wouldn’t be able to catch up to her. That was pretty special because she had it locked in. Was there anything that you gained from joining Little 500 that you weren’t expecting?

Oh definitely. I can honestly say that riding in that race taught me better life skills and lessons that will go way beyond anything I learned in school. Being part of a team and making a priority in your life that isn’t always easy, putting in a lot of hard work to achieve a goal that you set as a group, it’s really

P H OTOS C O U RT ESY E M I LY D E PASS E

Would you call the Little 500 an obscure sport?


A COACH IN ACTION

town and see the team pretty frequently and I’ll still be around all spring to offer my advice and support. So what are you up to now?

I can honestly say that riding in that race taught me better life skills and lessons that will go way beyond anything I learned in school. — EMILY DEPASSE

So it’s an exciting time of change in my life. I recently got married, and my husband also rode in the Little 500. We had been living in Indianapolis for a while, and Bloomington has always been a place that both of us individually considered a place we could see ourselves ending up in forever. He had an opportunity with work that could bring him to Bloomington and I found myself a job where I can work remotely, so we moved here in November and I work from home every day. Even though you’re not coaching, do you still bike together? Is cycling still a big part of your life?

special and it gives people confidence, discipline, hard work and all that good stuff. So moving on to your coaching side, what’s the story?

For a few years, we had gone through several coaches, but while I was riding, my sister was actually our coach. What’s strange in the women’s field is that a lot of the coaches tend to be men. So it was always pretty special for us to have my sister as our coach, as a female. The women’s race didn’t start until the 80s, so it’s much more behind. There are fewer alumni and a smaller group of people that come back every year to support the race. That team during my senior year, all of us were seniors who were graduating. We had one freshman who was training with us, so we didn’t really know what

the team was going to be like next year. We were pretty worried and wanted to make sure that we could pass on the legacy and turn our team into a strong perennial favorite. So it was important for us to keep it in the family and have a fresh perspective. By the time I graduated, my sister had been out of college for quite a few years, and she knew the race better than anyone I know. But by that point, it was time for something new. So my teammate, Kelsey and I decided to take on the role of coaching pretty immediately after we graduated. Are you still currently a coach?

In the same vein of keeping a fresh perspective and keeping it in the family, we handed over the reigns after last year’s race. We’re now the day-to-day coaches and we won’t be in the pit with the team. But I live in

It is, yeah. That’s what’s special, and I think that’s honestly part of the draw that Bloomington has always had for us. We ride our bikes around the rolling hills of Bloomington on country roads and it’s absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall when the leaves are turning. The riding here is absolutely fantastic. Any ending thoughts?

Winning twice, marrying a champion and sharing the race with siblings who also rode in the Little 500 were all extremely special and memorable parts of my Little 500 story, but the lasting impact really comes from friendships built and the community I get to be a part of. Alumni come back from all over the country year after year to support their teams and catch up with friends from other teams. It’s like our own little Homecoming weekend and that makes it all the more special.

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GRADUATE HOTELS' CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER ANDREW ALFORD BREAKS DOWN HIS PROCESS, INSPIRATION AND CHALLENGES BY GIGIE HALL

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HIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, Andrew Alford, has been with Graduate Hotels from the very beginning, even making a cross country move to a be a part of the founding crew. The story goes back to 2012, when Alford and hotelier Ben Weprin teamed up on the redesign of Hotel Lincoln in Chicago. As Alford describes it, “when Ben and I met it was kind of a love at first sight moment. He and I have very similar views on what hotels should be from hospitality to design. From the very first moment, we had a great working relationship.” The project was a success and after some analyzing, Weprin found that much of the hotel’s business was being fed in by the nearby

DePaul University. What followed was, as Alford puts it, a “lightbulb moment” for Weprin. Realizing the potential for collegiate markets, Weprin reached out to Alford and long story short, he said, “I want you to leave San Francisco, move to Chicago and only work for us. We’re going launch this new brand called Graduate and you’re going to design them all.” Now, 13 hotels later (with 10 on the way) and Alford has never looked back. As the chief creative officer, he is responsible for heading up all of the interior design and creative direction for the hotels. We caught up with Alford to discuss the design process, his unique approach and the hidden sports stories found within the hotel walls.

P H OTO BY J O H N T H O M PSO N .

Designing Sports' Greatest Stories


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How do you approach each property? What is the first step and how do you concept the design for it?

I always say that we don’t start with pretty. So instead of saying where we do start, I say where we don’t start. We create properties almost the way an author writes a book, so we always start with research, figuring out what stories we want to tell and what we want the narrative to be. We figure out, what’s the history? What are the cool traditions? Who are the notable or cool people that have come from that community or university? We compile that research and then the aesthetic comes out of that. Certainly each community has its own kind of visual style. People in Ann Arbor, Michigan dress and decorate their homes differently from people in, let’s say Oxford, Mississippi. First and foremost, when a guest wakes up in one of our hotels, we want them to know where they’re waking up and have that sense of place. The secondary realization we certainly want them to know is that they’re waking up at a Graduate Hotel and have that identification, but that’s really a secondary thing for us. The most important thing for us is that a guest wakes up feeling like they are in Madison, Wisconsin, or that they are in Bloomington, Indiana, or Athens, Georgia, or wherever they might be.

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In terms of process, we start with narrative and then from there we pick inspiration images, fabrics, things for the general aesthetic. Prior to being in design, I worked in theme parks. I interned with Disney and then I started working for Universal Studios and so a lot of my design background, in terms of storytelling, comes from those experiences. What both of those companies do really well is they layer things down to microscopic details that a guest probably would never notice. But the culmination of layers makes you know that you’re someplace special. We do the same thing in terms of layering. For example, we just did a model room where we did a bedside lamp, and it has a pattern all over it. The pattern is actually the shirt that one of Penn State’s football players wore in 1976 when he accepted the Heisman Trophy. No guest is ever going to walk in and say “oh that’s so and so’s shirt.” But hopefully between the big gestures and the small gestures and everything in between they get a sense of that layering and they want to dig deeper into the meaning of what everything in the room might be. Is there a thread that absolutely has to run through all of the hotels?

That’s a good question. We get a lot of people asking

us, “if they’re completely different, what ties them all together?” Last year I was taking the train to work and Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” came on. I noticed while I was listening to it that there was one snare drum that stays exactly the same through the entire song as this heartbeat. Graduate definitely has those snare drums, or those heartbeats that go through it. I think one of the most consistent things is the people who are creating it. We do all of our design in-house, so we live, eat and breathe this every day. Those of us on the creative team, our fingerprints can be seen throughout the entire brand. Then there are more tangible things, like they all have plaid. Plaid is such a traditional collegiate motif, and they manifest differently from property to property, but any Graduate Hotel is going have a strong presence of plaid. All the hotels have a sense of nostalgia to them and part of what does that is the collected vintage art. I always call our design strategy like a greatest hits radio station. I think a lot of other hotel companies try to appeal to a broad spectrum of people and generations by being bland. We absolutely 100% reject that, and what we do is we look at the various eras and decades of design styles and we cherry pick the greatest hits. We mix them together so our rooms have a sense of timelessness to them for the reason that you can’t tell


what era they’re from. What that also does is whether you’re a millennial, gen x-er, or baby boomer, you’re going see something that resonates with a positive period in your life. So a baby boomer walks in and thinks they’re someplace warm and comfortable, while a millennial or a gen x-er walks in and they think they’re in a Wes Anderson movie. The other thing that’s really important to us, and what ties them all together, is structuring the operations and the design details in a way that brings together those different generations. So all of our properties feature canoodle tables and cafes and social spaces where we actually encourage the current students and younger people in the community to come in and hangout. If you’re a visiting alumni or an older person, you get the opportunity to interact with people who are currently in their youth experiencing that community. It’s cool to see those groups coming together and you hear people swapping stories. So aesthetically it manifests differently but philosophically we design all of our hotels to bring together the different generations. So in terms of that narrative that you’re building around each hotel, who is on the ground gathering those stories? Do you work with local artists?

The vintage art we collect tends to be local. In terms

I might not know a lot about sports but I’m given these peoples’ stories and their histories and it’s my responsibility to figure out an interesting way to tell those stories. — ANDREW ALFORD

of the research, it’s a very multi-pronged approach. Our tagline is “we are all students,” and that’s not something we just say. It’s something each and every one of us at the company believes. Pretty much everybody that’s here is constantly keeping their ears and eyes open for things that are interesting about the places that we are developing hotels in. Obviously when we’re starting a new project, we go to the city and we try to talk to a range of locals from different economic, social, racial and gender backgrounds so that we’re getting everybody. If you’re going to tell the story of a community, you can’t just tell one story, you really need to tell everybody’s story and representation is very important. We talk to everybody from successful local business people to bartenders, Uber drivers — a wide range of people. Then, given psychology, online research is very important. I will say that we have to do a lot of fact checking. Anything we do find online, we verify it with people from the community and gauge, is that a real story? Is it an important story? Is it a story to stay away from? What would you say is the most challenging part of this process?

Certainly it’s the speed that we’re moving at. In the first five years, we opened 13 hotels and this year alone we’re opening 10. The ramping up of pace makes it difficult to pay attention to detail when you’re moving so quickly. So we apply our “we are all students” philosophy not just at the property level but also in how we approach things here. One of the demands of this company is that on a daily basis you need to be able to adjust your strategy or adapt to a new condition or bring in people with different perspectives in order to keep up with that pace. But also maintain the quality of design storytelling and layering of the finished product. So the sports-inspired design is of course connected to collegiate athletics but is there anything you can speak to for some of those elements?

Well Ben is literally like a walking ESPN encyclopedia. He can spout off every single “this person in their sophomore year did this.” He’s really really good about stuff like that, whereas my forte tends to be more in art, fashion and the really unusual, out-there stuff. So between the two of us we’re able to approach the hotels with a very balanced point of view. Typically when we’re doing our research, I will go to Ben and say, 'Okay what are the sports stories we should go with at this school?' One of the other resources we have is Cooper Manning who is a part of our company. Obviously his family is very big in athletics so there’s a depth of knowledge he has as well, and connections and people he can put me on the phone with to talk these things through.

There are such obvious ways of telling sports stories but it’s not what we do. I might not know a lot about sports but I’m given these peoples’ stories and their histories and it’s my responsibility to figure out an interesting way to tell those stories. I think one of the best examples of that is in Athens, Georgia. Georgia football is a huge, huge deal and it’s a very passionate community. But rather than just putting up a picture of a football player or something very obvious like that, each room in the hotel looks like a chalkboard with a chemistry equation on it. The reason for that is in 1863, a gentleman by the name of Charles Hurty — who was a dean in the chemistry department — brought intramural football to the University of Georgia. So we actually tell the story of Georgia football through its origin, which is actually chemistry, and then we add a second layer onto it where the chemistry equation is actually for sweet tea, which is a big beverage in Georgia. So we try to tell sports stories in a different way. Is there anything specific you can touch on about the Bloomington location?

There are a lot of sports references at the hotel because basketball is really big in Indiana. What’s interesting there is we actually focused on

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fictitious sports stories because two of the biggest athletic movies of all time were set in and around Bloomington. There’s Hoosiers, with Gene Hackman about a high school basketball team in Indiana. We have a huge painting of that basketball team behind the front desk in Bloomington, and there’s a famous line: “Welcome to Indiana basketball” and so the tile entry to the hotel is a mosaic and it actually has the words “Welcome to Indiana basketball” when you first set foot in the hotel. The other movie is Breaking Away with Dennis Quaid, and there’s a famous bicycle race in Bloomington called the Little 500, which that movie is about. Within that Hoosiers painting behind the front desk, we actually worked in two of the characters from Breaking Away and mixed them into the basketball team so it blended the lines of telling both stories. Then in the guest rooms, we revisit those stories with those championship banners that hang in gyms. We had one made for the Hoosiers team, and one of them made for the bicycle racing team in Breaking Away that call themselves “The Cutters.” So the guest rooms either have the Hoosiers basketball banner, or it has the Cutters bicycle banner. One of the things I love about our company is we’re very vertically integrated. We pretty much have any skillset you can imagine within the walls of

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the company. In our marketing department, Ernest — a brilliant artist — did all of these watercolor paintings of people riding bicycles, as a reference to the Little 500. We turned those watercolor paintings into a wallpaper repeat so that all of the guest bathrooms have custom bicycle wallpaper to honor Bloomington’s history of bicycle racing. I feel like you need to do a design treasure hunt for people to find these things because the layers are so fascinating and it’d be really interesting to see what people could find.

Yeah, we call those Easter eggs. We hope our design is compelling enough that when a guest sees that chemistry equation or when they see a piece of art in the room or they see a design element, it sparks their interest. We train our staff on what all the stories are and what all the design elements are. Our hope is that it creates a bonding moment and an interaction between our guests and our employees where they say “Why is there a chemistry equation in my room?” It creates a personal moment between two different people. But we really do hide things. Bloomington’s corridor carpet, if you first glance at it, just looks like a pretty traditional classic hotel carpet with persian motifs and whatnot. But if you

look at it closer, there are basketballs in the pattern and red cardinals, which is the state bird. There are peonies which is the state flower and you would never notice that stuff unless you really look at it. Speaking of the corridors, Bobby Knight was a famous basketball coach from Indiana and he was known for his temper. There was a very infamous incident in the 80s when he threw a chair across the basketball court because he got so angry at a ref’s call. So all the corridor art is illustrations of that exact chair flying through the air. When you walk down the corridors, there are framed pieces of art with this chair in different positions. We also referenced that in the meeting room level and did a big chandelier where we used actual chairs, and they’re suspended from the ceiling so it looks like chairs flying. But that was one of those stories that we definitely double-checked with the community to make sure it’s cool to tell this story of this guy having a complete meltdown. Everybody came back and said, “That’s definitely a story to tell.” Right, and then you connect that story to a chair chandelier. If you have an idea like that, do you go to a team and ask if it’s feasible?

It’s a cool time to be in design because technology has gotten to a point, and manufacturing abilities have


We think of hotels as stage sets or backdrops, because every aspect of a person’s life can and will happen in a hotel. — ANDREW ALFORD gotten to a point, where literally almost anything you can dream of you can do. We just did a model room in State College Pennsylvania at Penn State this week and the floor lamps are full-sized mountain lions, to scale. I think one of the best examples is in New Haven, CT. The building for the hotel originally opened in 1890. It’s a very old historic building and has the oldest manually operated elevator in the state of Connecticut. We worked with one of our fabric manufacturers and they have extensive archives. They have this hermetically sealed facility on Long Island where they collect

fabrics going back centuries where they document and catalogue them. For New Haven, they were able to put in search parameters of 1880-1890 Northeast coast of the United States. So all of our fabric patterns in the guestroom are historically accurate. They were made through modern manufacturing means but they’re reproductions of fabrics that are historically appropriate to that time and place. For the chair chandelier, that was made by guys up the road from us in Chicago, where they have a custom manufacturing house and pretty much any whacky idea we have, they’ll build it for us. One of the things that I love that Ben said to me once is, “If something’s difficult, it’s not the reason not to do it, it’s the reason to do it.” So we really swing for the fences everyday and try not to live in our imaginations with words like feasibility. So I asked you what the most challenging part is. What’s one of the most rewarding parts when you finish a project?

That’s harder to answer. I love what we do so so much. Personally, there’s a satisfaction. The way I design — and I try to mentor this into the team — is I always finish something in my head first before I document it. So if I asked you to describe your living room, you’d be able to tell me what the sofa looks like, what color

the walls are, what kind of art you have. As a designer I think it’s really important to work the same way. It’s really satisfying going to a completed project because it’s just a cool sensation having something go from complete fabrication in your head to reality; something concrete and 3D and real. Then it goes a step further. Think about the fact that once a hotel’s doors open, they never close. They’re open 24/7, 365 days a year and I think the thing I absolutely love the most is, you have that feeling of “Wow this is real now.” Particularly with social media, we get to watch firsthand how guests interact with the product. We think of hotels as stage sets or backdrops, because every aspect of a person’s life can and will happen in a hotel. A perfect example: my husband and I adopted our daughter in Colorado and we were living in California, so we had to wait for all of the paperwork to go back and forth between the two states. For the first two weeks of our life with our infant daughter, we were in a hotel and that hotel was the backdrop for our first memories. When people get married, typically a lot of their memories on their wedding day are hotel based. What we’re doing is we’re providing this backdrop, and this really special stage set for people to create some of the most powerful memories they’re going to have in their life. That’s like a drug for me, providing that experience to people.

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city guide

PROVIDENCE RHODE ISLAND

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ROVIDENCE isn’t called “New England’s Renaissance City” for nothing. With two of the most prestigious schools in one place, the town is filled with intellectual and artistic offerings. Combine an Ivy League (Brown) and one of the best design schools in the nation (RISD), and you get a thriving city that prides itself on beautifully preserved architecture, the highest number of restaurants per capita and gorgeous scenery throughout the seasons. One of the oldest cities in the nation, historical significance is everywhere, but don’t be fooled into thinking Providence is stuck in the past. If anything, the combination of old and new makes the city perfect for those needing creative stimulation, whether it be found in a museum or walking along Providence River. Indeed, although it may be along in years, the city was founded upon the progressive notion of religious freedom. Its founder, Roger Williams, envisioned it as a “shelter for persons distressed of conscience.” So if you’re in need of some respite and intellectual rejuvenation, then be sure to visit the biggest city in the country’s smallest state.

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JIMMY PEDRO MATTHEW “MARCELLO” HAYNES MICHAEL KENNELLY

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As Told By:

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At a Glance:

Meet Your Providence Guides:

FOUNDED IN: 1636 POPULATION: 180k MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Health care, Financial services

JIMMY PEDRO

Jimmy Pedro was bred to be a judo champion. From his earliest years, he trained in his father’s dojo, and went on to become one of the most decorated judo players in American history. While attending Brown University for business economics, he competed on the wrestling team and is most recognized for competing in the Olympic games from 1992 to 2004. After retiring from competition, he coached the first American to win gold in judo. Jimmy currently owns and operates Pedro's Judo Center in Wakefield, MA.

MATTHEW “MARCELLO” HAYNES Matthew “Marcello” Haynes is a seasoned gondolier and the owner of La Gondola Providence, one of the city’s most beloved attractions. While studying at Lehigh University, he discovered his love for the Venetian vessels and hasn’t looked back since. He also participates in the U.S. Gondola Nationals, a racing event that comes to Providence every few years. Gondoliers from across the country converge on the host city to compete in events including single and tandem distance, sprint and slalom/ obstacle course races.

MICHAEL KENNELLY

The story goes that while walking his dog, Michael Kennelly saw a man playing hurling in his yard, inspiring him to start the Providence Hurling Club. After connecting with the fellow in 2015, the two assembled a team of 31 men and joined the US Gaelic Athletic Association the following year. His team now represents Providence in the national competition every year and includes Marcello as one of its players.

FUN SPORTS FACT: Long before the Patriots would assert their reign in the NFL, the Providence Steam Roller was the first New England team to win an NFL championship in 1928. Unfortunately, they are the only team to win a championship and no longer be in the league.

City Pride It’s clear there’s a lot to love about the Rhode Island capital, but take it from the people who call it home. For La Gondola owner, Matthew “Marcello” Haynes, the list is never ending. “I did live on the East Side and I truly loved being able to stroll down BLACKSTONE BOULEVARD every day (great park!) or cruising down HOPE STREET. But DOWNTOWN is where it’s at for me — that is where the gondola landing is, but also this incredible food scene. The RIVERWALK is also a gem. Along with the gondolas, there’s also, of course, WATERFIRE, and people come from all over the world just to see those fire pits blazing. Honestly, I could keep on going. The city is big enough to have something for everyone, but small enough to be very walkable and relatively friendly, too, at least according to the hundreds of visitors we have on board every year. It is an incredible city and I am so happy to call it home.” For those who aren’t familiar with WaterFire, the short answer is, it is an award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans. It’s also a performance work, a festival and a civic ritual. Usually running evenings in the summer months, 86 anchored burning braziers float just above the surface on the rivers in downtown. It’s a sight to behold and one of Providence’s most spectacular events. Michael Kennelly echos Marcello’s sentiments about Providence having that “small town feel but so many cool things to do and see.” For judo champion and coach Jimmy Pedro, it’s all about his alma mater. “For me, the BROWN CAMPUS has undergone an amazing transformation from when I went there — with the new facilities, it has become a state of the art institution, which is amazing. I like walking around the Brown campus because it brings back positive, good memories for me. Now my son goes to Brown and he’s wrestling there. I encouraged him to go because I knew he would love the school.”

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P H OTO BY N . M I L L L A R D/G O P ROV I D E N C E .C O M

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WATERFIRE

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From Federal Hill to Fox Point, the city is filled with wonderful eateries, large and small, expensive and cheap, classy and classic — whether it’s food trucks or fine dining, Providence has something for everyone, and there isn’t a bad meal to be had. — MATTHEW “MARCELLO” HAYNES

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P H OTOS A BOV E L E F T A N D B E LOW BY N . M I L L L A R D/G O P ROV I D E N C E .C O M , A BOV E R I G H T BY A A RO N U S H E R

WEST SIDE DINER

For being a relatively small city, Providence consistently ranks as one of the top food destinations in the country. Not only is there an abundance of restaurants, it’s clear that Rhode Island has a thing for coffee too — Providence has the most coffee and doughnut shops per capita of any city in the country. But beyond just quantity, the quality is right up there at the top. As Marcello says, “From Federal Hill to Fox Point, the city is filled with wonderful eateries, large and small, expensive and cheap, classy and classic — whether it’s food trucks or fine dining, Providence has something for everyone, and there isn’t a bad meal to be had in the city, as far as I’ve noticed.” Speaking of Federal Hill, the neighborhood (once home to the Italian mafia) is now known for its food scene, as Jimmy pointed out: “Federal Hill and the restaurants there are always fun to go to.” Our picks include CAMILLE’S, JOE MARZILLI’S OLD CANTEEN and NICK’S ON BROADWAY. For the best Italian outside of Federal Hill, Marcello suggests CAFE NUOVO. “The staff is fantastic, the food is excellent, and there’s no better atmosphere than overlooking the Riverwalk, particularly sitting outside on a nice day. I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a truly classy and romantic dinner to mark any special occasion.” To watch a game, he suggests heading to the UNION STATION BREWERY. “Great beer, food and people, and it’s never packed late at night, so it is a perfect place to go after a long night of rowing for a quiet pint and to catch a few minutes of a game.” On the dive bar end of the spectrum, Michael votes for PATRICKS PUB or the OLD IRISH SOCIAL CLUB. “Tons of TV’s, great drink selections (gluten free beers included) and the only spot in town that shows Hurling and Gaelic Football.”

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GRADUATE PROVIDENCE

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The city is big enough to have something for everyone, but small enough to be very walkable, and relatively friendly too...It is an incredible city, and I am so happy to call it home.

ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO

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P H OTO BY N . M I L L L A R D/G O P ROV I D E N C E .C O M

— MATTHEW “MARCELLO” HAYNES


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THE RULES OF THE GAME

The objective of the game is for players to use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar. It's aimed between the opponent's goalposts either over the crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper for one goal, which is equivalent to three points. The sliotar can be caught in the hand but can't be carried for more than four steps, struck in the air, or struck on the ground with the hurl. It can be kicked, or slapped with an open hand (the hand pass) for short-range passing. A player who wants to carry the ball for more than four steps has to bounce or balance the sliotar on the end of the stick.

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Hurley: a wooden stick made of ash wood. Sliotar: a leather ball slightly larger than a tennis ball and used in various Gaelic games including hurling, camogie, rounders and shinty. Hooking: to prevent a player from striking the ball from the hand or the ground by breaking his swing with the hurley, from behind. Clash of the Ash: when two hurleys come into contact during play. Soloing: a method of advancing the sliotar by balancing it on the end of the hurley while running. 65: hurling’s equivalent to soccer’s corner kick. Free Puck: similar to a free kick in soccer. If a player is fouled, their team is given the right to hit the ball with no other players within 20 meters.

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Located at the head of Narragansett Bay, Providence’s natural beauty is on display from anywhere in the city, especially with the many hills the city was founded on. Claimed to be built on seven hills like Rome, the most popular include Constitution Hill, College Hill and Federal Hill. To get outside, both Michael and Marcello love hitting the pitch at Pleasant View School, home of the Providence Hurling Club. But for something with a little more historical significance, Michael recommends paying a visit to the RHODE ISLAND IRISH FAMINE MEMORIAL. “A powerful memorial to the Irish that suffered through the famine and those that emigrated to Rhode Island in its aftermath.” To enjoy those lovely views we mentioned, Marcello (who may be a bit biased) names the RIVERWALK. “Why? Because I’m a gondolier, and there’s no better place to row gondolas outside of Venice, Italy than here in Providence. The Riverwalk has a (brief ) history of its own, but underneath it are layers and layers of stories about what Providence was in various historical eras. More than that, though, it feels Venetian, with the little bridges crossing the rivers, the walls on both sides, and particularly when the tide is lower. It is a jewel of Providence.” Jimmy remembers fond times at the ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO, which was founded in 1872, and is one of the oldest zoos in the nation. Today the 40-acre zoo contains over 150 animals from around the world and is well worth a visit.

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Where to Play

What is hurling you may ask? While not common in the US, the game has prehistoric origins and has been played for over 4,000 years. One of Ireland’s native Gaelic games, it is considered to be the world’s fastest field sport and shares many features with Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, the number of players and terminology. Think field hockey meets lacrosse with a dash of Irish bruteness.

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RHODE ISLAND STATE HOUSE

For me, the Brown campus has undergone an amazing transformation from when I went there — with the new facilities, it has become a state of the art institution, which is amazing. — JIMMY PEDRO

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Olivia Prosak Major: Neuroscience Graduation Date: Spring 2019 Sport: Ultimate Frisbee Position: Handler Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Olivia Prosak is a senior studying neuroscience at Brown University. In her free time, she captains her school’s women’s club ultimate frisbee team, conducts research with a neurosurgeon at Rhode Island Hospital, and can be found giving tours to prospective students and families on campus.

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Shiru Cafe (on Brown’s campus).

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I was drawn to ultimate frisbee because of one of the foundational principles of the sport—“spirit of the game.” No matter where I play, this focus on players displaying good sportsmanship is a constant. One facet of this comes to light in the game’s self-officiation, in which players call their own fouls and must come to an agreement based on knowledge of the rules.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN PROVIDENCE:

My favorite thing about living in Providence is definitely the great food scene and community of people here! Many residents have lived in Rhode Island their whole life, which fosters a caring atmosphere.

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Pedro Continues a Judo Legacy AN INTERVIEW WITH THE OLYMPIC ATHLETE AND COACH BY GIGIE HALL

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IMMY PEDRO was born to be a judo world champion, no doubt. But a statement like that doesn’t account for the years of training, travel and discipline it took to become one of the most decorated judo players in American history. His father, James Pedro Sr., was an Olympic alternate himself and an accomplished judoka during the 70s and 80s. By two years old, Jimmy was running around his father’s dojo, and by the time he was a business major at Brown University, he was already winning gold in international competitions. The accomplishments are endless and include two Olympic bronze medals under his belt,

which he won at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics. But aside from his many wins, one of Jimmy’s most notable accomplishments was not as an athlete, but a coach. In 2012, his student, Kayla Harrison, became the first American judo player to win gold at the Olympics, and later repeated the feat at the 2016 Olympics. Today, you can find Jimmy continuing to coach some of the best judo competitors in the country at his own dojo, Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, MA. To learn more about the world renowned athlete, we chatted with Jimmy about his love for the sport, the mental training that sets his students apart and his time at Brown.

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How did you get your start in judo?

Quite honestly, I grew up on the judo mats. My father was a judo athlete and then he became a judo instructor and opened up his own school in 1972. At the time I was two-years-old, so as a young kid, I was at the school every night walking around the mats. I grew up practicing, watching all the kids train, and watching my father teach ever since I can remember. Was it unique at that moment to be in judo or did you know a lot of people in the sport?

Well, back then the sport was much bigger than it is today, in the United States anyway. It’s bigger worldwide today than it was back then but in the United States, it was a bigger sport. However, none of the other martial arts had taken off yet — karate schools had just emerged and taekwondo wasn’t as popular, and jiu jitsu didn’t even exist back then in the United States. So, it was probably the main martial art. With that said, it was definitely not traditional or a mainstream sport. None of my school friends did it, but because the dojo was my second home, all of my friends did judo because I was hanging with all the kids that did judo.

For me, I really don’t know another way. That’s just the sport I knew and it was part of my DNA and part of my family’s heritage, so I don’t know anything else. But, to the novice, judo is more of a grappling martial art. There is no striking involved so you won’t see any chops or kicks or strikes to the body or head. Everything is basically take-downs and submissions or hold-outs. More of a wrestling or grappling martial art than throwing and hitting. In terms of your career as a fighter, what have been some of your biggest challenges?

I think in an attempt to become the best in the world, finances were a challenge. In order to get good at judo, you need to live and train outside of the United States, which means many many trips to Asia. More than likely, Japan, and also extensively throughout Europe, with competitions in France, Germany and England. As well for the Pan American Union, you often had to travel to South America to qualify for the Olympic games. So there was extensive travel around the world, and being away from home, I didn’t have a normal childhood and a normal family because I would typically spend six months to a year on the road away from home. On the flip side, what are some of the bigger life lessons that you learned from the sport? And that can be from the mental aspect of it to the physical to balancing your life.

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It’s all of the above. I attribute all of the success in my life to the sport of judo because in doing and training, you learn valuable life lessons. First, you learn to fail, you know there is always somebody better than you out there that is going to beat you and you have to learn to live with defeat. You have to figure out strategy to improve and get better and try to beat that opponent next time. So you learn to persevere, you learn to strategize, you learn how to be more efficient with your training to get stronger and better. There’s mental toughness, no question. The ability to compete against the best guys in the world and in a sport that the United States is not typically very strong at. Then, just discipline — in order to become the best in the world, you want to put the time and effort it takes to train for the sport. You’re not just doing judo training. You have to be strong, you have to be powerful, so there’s weightlifting involved and there’s strength conditioning and the track work for explosive power. I think this sport also really teaches respect. The differentiator between martial arts and typical American sports is that there is a level of respect for your opponent, respect for yourself, be clean, win but not at any cost and listen to the rules. That’s the Japanese culture with bowing before the contest, after the contest, controlling your emotion, being humble and being honest. As a coach now, are there things that you have learned by teaching others that you weren’t really expecting to learn? Or that you couldn’t learn as a competitor?

When you’re a competitor, it’s all about yourself. Most athletes, in order to be successful, have to be

somewhat selfish because all of their training is involved. But as a coach, it’s about others, it’s about trying to get the most out of all of your athletes and understanding that not all athletes can be treated the same. Some take to positive reinforcement, some take to hard lessons and hard talks. You have to get the most out of each of your athletes based on their personalities and what motivates them. What I learned is that you have to have a custom program for each athlete if you are going to help all of them succeed. You can still have the same demands and the same expectations but the way that you reach them and the way that you help them is a bit different. So I am more well-rounded as a coach than as a player, because as a player I just put my head down and worked and I believe in work ethic. You can outwork any opponent, and if you have the mental and physical fortitude to impose your will, then anybody can be beat on any given day and that was the mindset that I had as an athlete. Do you feel like that sets your students apart, the mental training that you do?

Yes. We spend a good amount of time on mental preparation and how to physically and mentally prepare for events. It’s a lot of visualization and training. We will visualize achieving success every day, closing our eyes and feeling the moment and living the moment as if it is really happening in our lives. I’m a firm believer that once you can visualize success in a meaningful way, it becomes tangible, that your body then will follow through and help you get there. Of course if somebody who only verbalizes it once, and

P H OTO C O U RT ESY J I M M Y P E D RO

For someone who doesn’t know anything about martial arts, what sets judo apart and what attracted you to it besides growing up in it?


expects something to happen and then goes about their day and never really believes or buys into the mindset, then this is something that you can’t will to happen.

an Olympic champion, you’re a superstar” and then they’d ask Travis “How did you do?” He would always say, “Well, I only did 5th” and he was literally a second away from being an Olympic superstar himself, but he came home with nothing. After training for four A lot of your competitors that you coach have straight years alongside Kayla and also having various gone on to the Olympics and I’m wondering, what ailments, he made it back to the Olympic games and have some of the highlights been, and when have qualified. That morning when he woke up, I said, you seen this mental training kick in? “Are you ready today? Are you ready to win?” And he We never had an Olympic gym around here up until basically said, “Sensei, I am ready to shock the world the 2012 Olympic games, and the United States had today.” He hadn’t medaled in any championships never won a gold medal in this sport. One of my leading up to the Olympics. He had done good in students, Kayla Harrison, some tournaments, obviously, became the first American because he had qualified for ever to win gold at the the Olympics, but nobody Olympic games in judo. expected him to get on the She came and lived here medal stand that day except from the age of 15 until she for himself and me. When became Olympic champion. he told me he was ready to That girl had to overcome shock the world, his mental severe trauma in her life and attitude in four years of just sexual abuse from a coach. being humiliated and being So, mentally, she had to put a nobody compared to an everything that had happened Olympic champion, it came to to her in the past and get past life for him, and he had the day that tough time in her life, so of his life. He ended up with a her mental toughness is unlike silver medal in 2016 and Kayla most. Above and beyond that, then repeated as Olympic she was a very fragile damaged champion. Not only did we not kid who needed to believe have an Olympic champion in something. I think of all before, but we now had a twomy students and she really time Olympic gold medalist bought into this visualization and an Olympic silver medalist and setting your mind up in the same year. So those two for something. She willed students trained under us — JIMMY PEDRO herself to become the Olympic and when I say us, I mean my champion. Monthly, I would father and me. I believe the give seminars on perseverance mental toughness, the grit, the or discipline, goal setting, visualization, positive will, the visualization and believing it’s destiny and the self-talk, and every month when she was 16, 17, 18, positive self-talks. We used to have sayings all the time she breathed all of this in and made it her own. This before they fought. We would be in the chute ready to person came to life with all of these tools and skills, go fight and as we are walking out, we’re getting the mental toughness and preparation. She visualized guys animated and pumped up: “nobody is beating me being the first American to do it and in 2012, she did it. today, I’m unstoppable, I’m invincible, I’m just going to That was an amazing moment for all of my life’s work. crush people.” Having that energy going into the fights It cultivated in the ultimate moment, an Olympic really helps them with their mindset. champion. At the same time, we had another student at my I imagine that translates to the rest of their lives, school who, at the same Olympics, had an unbelievably and your life as well, when they’re not competing. amazing performance, but in the semi-finals, he lost in To go back a little bit, I wanted to talk about your sudden death in overtime. He fell short of the podium time at Brown. How did you balance your life at and finished 5th after that. That loss crushed him Brown with your judo career at the time? and he couldn’t fight for bronze and he went home It is interesting. I also was a Division I wrestler at with nothing. That kid, for four years, overcame a lot Brown. When I was there, I wrestled for four years of adversity and again, he is training alongside with and I was captain of the team for one of those years. Kayla who is an Olympic champion. Every day at the I used wrestling as cross-training for judo because dojo, kids would come in and want to take pictures that’s another good physical grappling sport. But with Kayla and want her autograph and say, “You’re the high school I went to really did a wonderful job

I’m a firm believer that once you can visualize success in a meaningful way, it becomes tangible, that your body then will follow through and help you get there.

preparing me for college and how to balance school work with judo training, with wrestling and just my whole life. When I got to Brown, it was more of the same, but I had more hours in the day to get done what I did in high school. So I was able to balance it pretty nicely. I was a disciplined athlete. I’d get up at five in the morning, and I would get my lifting done early and then I would go to class all day. Then I’d have wrestling at night and when it was judo season, instead of wrestling, I would do judo. All while I was enrolled at school, I would go on judo trips and represent USA for a week here or four days there and I was taught from a young age, if you are going to pursue sports, you also have to do academics. So I’d go to my professors ahead of time and I’d get the workload and curriculum and ask what I could do to take the test early or turn the paper in early. That’s a privilege. They are allowing you to leave to pursue your dreams, so you need to show them that you are willing to do more work than anyone else to be given the exemption to go. I think the one other thing I did in my life is I never put my life on hold. Most athletes choose either not to get into a steady relationship or not to get married or go on and have kids until their careers are over. I was with a girlfriend at the time, and then a fiance and then a wife that understood what my dreams were and supported them. When she could be part of it, she was and she let me do what I needed to do to be the best athlete that I could. We got married when I was 23-years-old and I continued to compete for 10 more years after that. I had three kids in between all of that and I was able to lead a good balanced life. I believe that when there is balance in your life, there is success, because when one thing doesn’t go right, you can put your energy into the other thing. You can get gratification from either sports, or your career, schoolwork or family life. If you put all of your eggs in your sport basket and you fail, then you feel like a failure because you put your relationships on hold, you put your career on hold, and you’re not progressing anymore. To be honest with you, I’m preaching to my students that it’s important that they continue to pursue an education so that they are not just athletes. In terms of living in Providence, how was it? When you did a lot of travel during that time, was it nice to come back to the community that you had there?

I absolutely loved Brown and I loved being in Providence. It felt like a second home. I’m already from New England so I grew up in the New England area and the weather is the weather, right? We are used to it. I loved the four seasons but I loved the downtown Providence area, and I love the area around the campus. I lived in an apartment with my friends, wrestlers and it was a fun time in my life. It was much much more stress free than trying to have children and juggle everything. You know, it’s a time when you can enjoy life and it’s about sports, friends and school.

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city guide

EUGENE OREGON

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UGENE has been called “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors,” but it’s also internationally known as “Tracktown USA,” and for good reason. The Nike company took its first steps in Eugene, where former Olympian and University of Oregon Track Coach, Bill Bowerman, created the famous waffle sole running shoe, and the rest was history. While the city prides itself on its long list of Olympic athletes and as the birthplace of a company that has changed athletics as we know it, Eugene also offers a long list of extracurricular activities, both within and outside the city. From the Cascade Mountains, which spans across the Eastern boundary of Eugene, to the Oregon Coast beaches, the nature that this side of Oregon has to offer is unbeatable. Downtown Eugene is full of antique stores and unique boutique shops that you can’t find anywhere else. And since Oregon doesn't do sales tax, you can splurge with a little more money left in the bank.

THE SHIFTS THE GRADUATING CLASS IAN DOBSON LAUREL MATHIESEN

P H OTO C O U RT ESY E U G E N E , CASCA D ES & C OAST

As Told By:

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Meet Your Eugene Guides:

THE SHIFTS

Combining bright guitar lines, bouncing rhythms, sardonic wordplay and high energy live performances, The Shifts is a Eugene-based band formed in 2011 by frontperson Macks Johanesen. Starting July 2016, the band included Macks on guitar and vocals, Eli Tocchini on drums, Jeff Kretsinger on bass and Maci DeBlanc on keyboard, guitar and vocals. In 2014 they put out their first EP, this is fine and in 2016, they released their debut self-titled album. Most recently, they released their sophomore record, Yet Another Change of Plans in 2018.

IAN DOBSON

Ian Dobson ran for Stanford University from 2000-2005, where he was a 10-time AllAmerican, NCAA runnerup and the 2005 NCAA champion in the indoor 5,000 meters. He holds the university's record in three distance events: the 3,000 meters steeplechase, the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters. In the 2008 Olympics, he finished 9th in the men’s 5000 metres. He later ran for Adidas, Nike and the Oregon Track Club Elite. Since 2012, Ian has led a group of Olympic and World Championship elite athletes.

THE GRADUATING CLASS

The Graduating Class is what would happen if Daryl Hall and Childish Gambino went on a two-week bender and then made a record with Quincy Jones. The band blends vintage songwriting with modern production styles to create a unique indie R&B sound.

LAUREL MATHIESEN

Laurel Mathiesen works for the City of Eugene as the Athletics Program Supervisor. Described as her "dream job," she loves being able to make an impact in the community. When she’s not at work or chasing her toddler, Laurel loves to go hiking, trail running, biking and swimming. She also holds a special place in her heart for kettlebells.

Eugene has a longstanding reputation as the “Running Capital of the World,” and with its long list of Olympic athletes who are from and/or train in the area, the city has become somewhat of an Olympic breeding ground. No matter where you are in the city, the odds of passing an Olympic athlete or trainee are high, and for that, the locals are proud to call Eugene their home. Take it from Olympic runner Ian Dobson, who trained for the games in Eugene, but also lives in the city and takes every opportunity to enjoy the city’s diverse natural amenities. “Our access to the mountains, the coast, amazing river and trails is part of what makes Eugene unique. My favorite thing about living here is the sense of community that exists. It’s big enough to be interesting and full of activity, but small enough that everything is accessible and close by.” For Athletics Program Supervisor, Laurel Mathiesen, she too finds the city to be a spectacular place. “Eugene is where community is. The people, the weather, the culture is like nothing else in the world. I love that I can go for a run in the forest and then be out in the country at a vineyard all in the same day.” And with Eugene being Laurel’s hometown, she holds the sport of running close to her. “In 2012, watching Alysia Montono win the Olympic Trials team was magical. I grew up with Alysia, so watching her make her first Olympic team in my hometown was such a cool experience.”

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P H OTO BY T I M H I P PS, I M C O M P U B L I C A F FA I RS

City Pride


At a Glance: FOUNDED IN: 1846 POPULATION: 169k MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Lumber FUN SPORTS FACT: In addition to being the birthplace of Nike, Eugene is the only US city to host three consecutive US Olympic Team Trials, which was in 1972, 1976 and 1980 for track & field. Eugene also housed the same trials in 2008 and 2012.

2016 U.S. OLYMPIC TRACK AND FIELD TEAM TRIALS AT HAYWARD FIELD

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While Eugene has a vibrant artistic and business community, it’s not undergoing some of the same growing pains that Portland is experiencing... Eugene’s pace of life is really great for a group of young musicians. - THE GRADUATING CLASS

KESEY SQUARE

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HIGH PASS VINEYARD

DOWNTOWN DINING

THE BARN LIGHT

P H OTO B E LOW R I G H T C O U RT ESY T H E BA R N L I G H T, R E M A I N D E R C O U RT ESY E U G E N E , CASCA D ES & C OAST

Food and Drink Just two hours south of Oregon’s capital, Eugene is giving Portland a run for its money. There’s a strong sense of pride that vibrates throughout the city’s streets. Perhaps it’s from the youthfulness that comes from the University of Oregon or being an Olympic runner’s haven. Or perhaps it’s the rapidly growing and thriving food culture. For a morning caffeine jolt, both Ian Dobson and The Graduating Class recommend trekking over to THE BARN LIGHT coffee shop. This downtown staple is popular amongst graduate students and those looking to get work done, but if coffee isn’t your thing, don’t fret, they serve booze, too. Who doesn’t love a one stop coffee shop? Another option recommended by The Shifts is THE WANDERING GOAT. This incredibly unique shop offers a variety of delicious beans but brings on the ambiance with a massive library and a staff that focuses on sustainability. To fill an appetite, The Shifts also recommend one of the hottest places in town, IZAKAYA MEIJI : “their late night ramen is to die for.” To switch up the scenery a bit, Laurel recommends SARVER VINEYARD. “It’s the perfect place to go and get a bike ride out in the country, then go refuel with delicious wine and amazing cheese plates.” But if the city limits are more your jam, Ian recommends PLACIDO’S PASTA SHOP, where they make their own handmade pastas, or to go to The Graduating Class’ favorite spot, HOT MAMA’S WINGS on 13th Street.

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GRADUATE EUGENE

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P H OTO BY KU DA P H OTO G R A P H Y


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I love going to track meets and seeing how much the community cares about the running community. It’s fun to see so many of the University of Oregon runners become professionals and have them come back and race in the pro meets. — LAUREL MATHIESEN

MCKENZIE RIVER

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P H OTO C O U RT ESY O R EG O N T R AC K C LU B E L I T E

THE SPORT EXPLAINED:

Long Distance Running

SPENCER'S BUTTE

You could say that long distance running is the oldest sport in the world. In prehistoric eras, hunters would run for long distances at hours and days at a time, eventually running down animals to the point of exhaustion. Later, messengers would run over great distances to deliver important news and information. Today, distance running is practiced worldwide and is a particularly beloved sport in the state of Oregon. The sport’s easy access has made it a popular past time, and many regularly participate in marathons, both at a local and internationally recognized level. The Summer Olympics features three long-distance running events: the 5000 meters, 10,000 meters and marathon (42.195 kilometers). Since the late 1980s, Kenyans, Moroccans and Ethiopians have dominated in major international long-distance competitions, due to the high altitude of these countries.

RULES OF THE GAME

The three most common types of distance running include track running, road running and cross country running.

P H OTOS C O U RT ESY E U G E N E , CASCA D ES & C OAST

Where to Play When in Eugene, a quick look around and it's clear there's ample opportunity for adventure. But before heading any which direction, take it from the locals who have narrowed down their favorite spots. For The Shifts, their most treasured outdoor spot is SPENCER’S BUTTE. This landmark is on the southern edge of Eugene and has several hiking trails that lead to its summit. If it’s a clear day and you’re looking south from downtown Eugene, you can spot its tallest point. The Shifts also frequent WOW HALL, a beautiful performing arts venue that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Both Ian and Laurel recommend checking out the RIDGELINE TRAIL SYSTEM, which is crowned by Spencer’s Butte. Ian also recommends DORRIS RANCH — “it has great trails in the old hazelnut orchards.” Looking for a scenic run? Laurel recommends checking out PRE’S TRAIL, a fourmile path located just north of the Willamette River.

Track Running: Typical long-distance track races range from 3000 meters to 10,000 meters. 5000 is the most popular entry-level race for beginning runners. Road Running: Long-distance road running competitions are mainly conducted on paved roads, although major events often finish on the track of a stadium. Road racing events can be any distance (sometimes even up to 100 kilometers or 60 miles), but the most common and well known are the marathon, half marathon and 10 km run. Cross Country Running: Cross country running competitions take place on open-air courses on surfaces such as grass, woodland trails and mountains. Because of this, cross country usually incorporates obstacles such as muddy sections and logs, and weather can play an integral role in the racing conditions. In collegiate cross country races in the US, men race 8000 or 10000 meters, whereas women race 6000 meters.

TERMINOLOGY

Bandit: someone who is participating in the race unofficially, without having registered or paid for an entry. Bib: the sheets printed with numbers used to identify each runner in a race. Corral: a sectioned area at the lineup of a race that helps separate athletes into different pace groups. Runner’s knee: a common running injury marked by inflammation of the underside of the kneecap. Splits: the time it takes to complete any defined distance. Streaker: typically refers to someone who has completed a race multiple years in a row. Stride rate: the number of times your feet hit the ground during a minute of running. This measurement is often used to assess running efficiency. The Wall: typically refers to a point when a runner’s energy levels plummet, breathing becomes labored and negative thoughts begin to flood in; this often happens at mile 20 of a marathon.

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The Soul of the Sole EUGENE’S RUNNING LEGACY WITH OLYMPIC ATHLETE, IAN DOBSON

P H OTO BY J I M F LO RY

BY FRANCES WELCH

E

UGENE is famously known as the birthplace of Nike and for its running culture. In 1964, Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon track and field coach at the time, and his former student, Phil Knight, founded Nike. The famous shoe got its start when Bowerman created the notable sole from a waffle-iron, and the two would sell the shoes out of Knight’s car at track meets. Today, Nike has not only made a tremendous impact on athletic apparel, but sports culture as a whole. Ian Dobson, an Olympic athlete and former Nike runner, has lived and breathed the Nike-Oregon experience since day one. Growing up with runner parents in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Ian’s destiny had always pointed him to a life of running and athletics. Today, Ian currently resides in Eugene, continuing the city’s legacy of the sport and working with the Eugene Marathon. Between runs, Ian took some time to talk about his running career, the impact of Nike, and how Eugene is a 24/7 Olympic village.

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DOBSON (CENTER) COMPETING AT THE 2012 OLYMPIC TRIALS AT HAYWARD FIELD

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How did your relationship with running and Eugene start?

I grew up a runner kid coming up to Eugene and feeling like it was the coolest thing ever. I got to run the state meet when I was in high school at Hayward field, which is the iconic track and field venue here in Eugene. It’s currently being reconstructed, so it’s out of commission this year. But Hayward Field, for the track and field community, is like Wrigley Field, where everyone feels a sense of history when they’re there. I continued on and ran collegiately at Stanford and competed at Hayward Field throughout my time there, and then post-collegiately, too. Since 2008, the Olympic trials have been here in Eugene every four years. 2008 was the first year that Hayward Field hosted the trials since the 70s, and that was the year that I made the Olympic team. It was really special having a lot of people that I competed against in highschool, friends and family, and people around that I felt connected to being in attendance. I’ve felt a strong connection to Eugene for a long time and it certainly, as a place, defined me as a runner. Now, post-running, I jog around with my dog, but I’m not competing anymore. It’s interesting to be on the other side of it — working in events. I’ve worked on the Olympic trials now on the events side, and then the Eugene Marathon now, where I am full-time. I’m trying to build on the legacy and the history that exists here. Are there quite a few people from Oregon or Eugene that go and participate in the Olympic Trials?

Yeah, there are, particularly in the distance events. Eugene, and all of Oregon, is a great place to train for endurance athletes. It’s a little bit tougher on the sprinters as we don’t have as many indoor facilities as some areas, and a lot of sprinters train in warmer areas. But for the distance runners, there are three particularly high-level post-collegiate clubs in Oregon that produce a lot of the best distance runners in the world. The Oregon Track Club here in Eugene, the Bowerman Track Club and the Oregon Projects, which are both up in Portland. They’re all Nike Teams and they really developed into the three top teams in the world. There are usually a ton of Oregon athletes competing in the Olympic Trials, which adds to the momentum of it. I’m helping coach a high school team now and the kids that are on this high school team have heros in the sport that are accessible to them in a way that runner kids in a lot of other places in the country probably don’t have. Why do you think that Eugene and Oregon has birthed so many runners opposed to anywhere else?

We don’t necessarily have more or better runners

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at a young age. There is a good highschool system here, but to be perfectly honest, I think Nike has attracted a lot of these runners. For people who are training collegiately, the University of Oregon is obviously a very, very successful track and field program, and top athletes are recruited to come proceed collegiately here. But then post collegiately, too, those three track clubs have really brought a lot of the best talent to Oregon from around the world, certainly around the US. It’s an easy sell to come to Oregon with Nike’s presence. The history of Steve Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman and Hayward Field — those are the reasons it’s easy for Nike to really put some resources into this area. I mean, this is the home of Nike. They have a strong sense of identity in Eugene and in Oregon in general.

like a professional team, but it functions a little bit differently than the Bulls or something. But it’s a professional team in the sense that they’re all worldclass athletes that are training for an international competition and they’re all Nike funded.

Could you tell me what Nike’s presence is like in Eugene?

Do a lot of these athletes on the team qualify for the Olympics and go on to compete?

It’s not omnipresent, but it certainly is defining of a lot of things. There’s a running store here in Eugene that doesn’t carry Nike, so it’s not as if everything’s Nike, but as a former athlete myself, I came here because of Nike. The reason I live in Eugene is because I came here to join the Oregon Track Club, which is a Nike Club, and I think that there’s a lot of cases like that. It’s not obvious at face value that the reason I’m here is Nike. I don’t work for Nike anymore, I don’t have any official connections, but the opportunities that I’ve had here, whether directly or indirectly, are because of Nike. I don’t know how many other people that’s true for, but I bet it’s a good number. The University of Oregon is a centerpiece of our community, and Nike’s support in that goes beyond just athletics; there’s been a huge support throughout the whole university. It’s hard to look any which way and not see some sign of Nike. There’s the James E. Jaqua Academic Center, which is a big, huge, really cool looking glass building on the University of Oregon campus, which was named after one of the early Nike employees. It’s not necessarily obvious, but when you know the back story, you know the Jayqua family, that’s Nike’s impact.

Absolutely. Here in Eugene, with the Oregon Track Club, there have been a number of Olympic medalists that have been a part of that program. And then with the Oregon Project in Portland, Mo Farah, who is no longer part of the team, but he won the Chicago Marathon last fall. He was a double-Olympic champion and was one of the biggest names in the world for track and field and distance running, and he had trained in Portland for quite a long time. Just last week, I saw another guy who missed the indoor world record in the mile by 1/100th of a second — he trained in Portland. I’m not exaggerating, but a lot of the very, very best athletes in the world are right here.

What does it mean when these running clubs are Nike Clubs?

A lot of shoe or apparel companies have done this over the past decade or so, but Nike, in particular, has set up these training groups where they hire a particularly high-level coach to train the athletes that they’re choosing to invest in. They’re basically consolidating how athletes are developed in the sense that they’ll have a dozen or so high-level athletes that are training together in one place, under one coach, where one system is embedded, and the medical support is there in place. They’re all Nike contracted athletes, so you could think of it

Do these athletes come from all over the world?

Yeah, they do, and it’s really interesting. A lot of people would prefer that there’d be a focus on developing American athletes, but that hasn’t always been the case as they really do attract international athletes. As a former athlete, I think that’s fantastic. I think the greatest way that American athletes get better is by training with the best in the world. I loved the opportunity to train with the best athletes in the world because of Nike bringing them here.

That’s so crazy. It’s in this town, this random town, all Olympic athletes.

It really is. I made the Olympic team and I was not a guy who was going to medal or anything like that, and it totally blends in here. The kids who I’m coaching on this high school team are like, “Oh, cool,” because they’ve met a dozen other people who’ve run faster than me and it’s no big deal. I mean it’s humbling, but it’s also really fun to be a part of. Can you tell me about your time with the Olympics and how that experience was for you?

I was the type of athlete, and I think most athletes who make the Olympic team are, which is that my big accomplishment was making the team; I didn’t have any real realistic chance of medaling. In my event, which was the 5,000 meters, there’s a preliminary final and I did not make the final, so it was one race and I was out; it would have been the race of my life to make the final. But the high point for me was here in Eugene. I went to Beijing and did all the stuff and it was a phenomenal experience, but the high point was honestly the actual night of making the team, and everything after that was a bonus. I had made


an impact on their community throughout the years. They bring in a ton of people to the community, which is obviously good economically and that’s what we want to do. We want to put on a great event ,and I think we do put on a great event, and we want to develop that even further. And then are you also coaching outside of highschool or were you coaching before?

I coached for a few years. I coached a lower-level post-collegiate team that I’m no longer coaching. I stopped doing that so that I could focus on the marathon, but I did then hop right into helping out with the highschool team. I love being around runners and so I am still coaching in some capacity, but certainly not professionally. 2008 OLYMPIC TRIALS

a couple of international teams before, so it wasn’t completely unfamiliar, but the scope of the Olympics is pretty crazy. Just being in the Olympic Village, it’s something you dream about as a kid, and to get to live that was really, really special. I didn’t perform particularly well at the Olympics, and I’ve tried not to let that ruin the experience, but that is part of it too. I underperformed and I wish I had run faster. But you still made the team which is amazing.

Exactly. Had I run even the best race of my life, I maybe would have made the final. So my experience was very different than someone who’s going there to try to win. That was not a realistic thing for me.

P H OTO BY J I M F LO RY

What was your Olympic training experience like? Was that different than any other race preparation?

Prior to the Olympics, the USA Track and Field team had a training camp in Dalian, China, which is just a city on the coast. I was there for maybe three weeks or so, and it was different in the sense that we were kind of stuck in this old sort of communist resort. It was fine, but it was kind of claustrophobic, so it really was not much different from the Olympics. Once the team was said, once people qualified, everyone is trying not to screw anything up. You’re there because you’re fit, your training has gone well and now you don’t want to get hurt. I was training with a group at the time that had a number of people qualify, and there were four or five of us in the same training group who were all there and our coach was there, so it all felt very familiar. Aside from the Olympics was there another memorable race for you throughout your running career?

There were a bunch of memorable races, but to pick one that hits close to home is the highschool running experience. I was lucky to be part of a really good highschool program, and my team won the state cross country meet a couple of times. It’s easy to say that and sound casual about it, but at the time, it was the biggest thing in my life. That group of guys and I were really, really tight and it was here in Eugene. It’s funny looking back on it, as it was a long time ago, but that was a really strong memory for me. And again, that’s another piece of Eugene shaping my running career, and my running career has largely been my life. That experience as a highschooler, being a runner in Oregon, it’s special because you feel very, very connected to the area. I grew up with a picture of Steve Prefontaine on my wall and dreamed of running like somebody like that. So I think that the whole highschool experience here in Oregon is particularly special.

Is there anything that you’ve learned that you weren’t expecting to learn as an athlete when you were coaching opposed to being coached?

Being an athlete and being a coach taught me — and I feel like I encounter people who don’t seem to grasp this sometimes — that there’s really no pride in doing things a certain way. As an athlete, all you want to do is figure out what are the things that you’re doing wrong that you could change and be better. You can’t get stuck in doing anything one particular way because another guy will do it differently and be better than you, so you’re constantly looking for ways to improve. I feel like now, in a post-professional environment, that mentality serves me well, I hope. I’m not married to doing things any particular way, I just want to do them the best way I can. And being an athlete, as much as athletes are not always humble, it does breed a sense of humility, which you can get in other ways, too, but as an athlete, I learned that lesson many, many times. All you want to do is find a better way to do things. Is there anything else that you want to end on?

What are you up to now?

I work full-time for the Eugene Marathon and I’ve been here for about a year and a half. It’s the premiere marathon in Oregon right now and we hope to be the premiere West Coast marathon here in the next few years. Eugene is hosting the 2020 Olympic trials and the 2021 World Track and Field championships. Those are events that are unrelated to the marathon directly, but we are certainly trying to capitalize on the general momentum that exists here in Eugene. There are a number of things that are happening here in Eugene that are really, really positive for our community, and a marathon, it can have a broad impact on the community. We look at an event like the Chicago Marathon very aspirationally in the sense that they have sustained

I am certainly not the spokesperson for Eugene, but I’m excited about the future of Eugene and I think I represent a certain type of person who is now staying here; we’re not looking at Portland as the place where we’re eventually going to move to. Eugene is developing, and it’s due to the investment of properties like Graduate Eugene. We see this as a place where we can have great careers and be happy and raise families and do all those sorts of things. When I moved eight years ago, it felt different. People my age were all figuring out how and when they were going to move to Portland or San Francisco or wherever. And now, Eugene is feeling like one of those places where a lot of us will probably be long term. I genuinely feel a real sense of optimism around the future of Eugene.

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Graduate Hotels resides in the most dynamic university towns across the country, and for that reason, we can’t wait to share with you eight new hotels opening this year. By the winter of 2019, you’ll be able to find Graduate Hotels in Annapolis, Columbia, Columbus, Fayetteville, Nashville, New Haven, State College and Storrs. We give you fun facts and stats about each city, plus an exciting summer events schedule for each location.

P H OTO C O U RT E SY N AS H V I L L E C O N V E N T I O N A N D V I S I TO RS C O R P

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SOON!

P H OTO C O U RT E SY A R K A N SAS PA R KS & TO U R I S M

FAYETTEVILLE ARKANSAS


H

ead to the very northwest corner of Arkansas and you’ll hit the charming cultural hotspot of Fayetteville. With the University of Arkansas’s large presence, there are plenty of college-town vibes along with a strong arts scene. The city is even self-described as the “Entertainment Capital of Northwest Arkansas.” But while the state is no doubt part of the South, Fayetteville occupies a distinctly Arkansan sub-region: The Ozarks. Not only does this area include a national forest and mountain range, but also a culture and history of its own. Miles of trails and backcountry wilderness paired with a lively student population make Fayetteville a prime destination for the history buff, artist and adventurer.

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HOTEL STATS NUMBER OF ROOMS

AFFILIATED COLLEGE

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University of ARKANSAS

ADDRESS

70 N. East Avenue

CITY STATS FOUNDED FAY E T T E

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Y CIT

POPULATION

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1828 AR

NICKNAME

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OF

MAJOR INDUSTRIES EDUCATION & TECHNOLOGY

KANSAS

lle”

“ The Vi

85K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

The Clintons (you know, Bill and Hillary), got their start in Fayetteville where they bought their first home and taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Now you can go visit their old place, which has since been converted into the Clinton House Museum.

While UA is certainly known for its football, the city is a cycling paradise and is consistently ranked as one of the top bikefriendly cities in the US. With numerous bike trails and events for both the road cyclist and mountain biker, Fayetteville is perfect for those who prefer to get around on wheels.

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WE’VE PICKED OUT A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE SUMMER EVENTS FOR YOU TO ENJOY, SO MAKE SURE TO ADD THESE TO YOUR AGENDA!

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5/2 5/18

First Thursday

Square 2 Square

From May through October, on the first Thursday of every month, Fayetteville’s historic downtown square becomes an outdoor art fair. More than 40 artists share their work in a variety of mediums, alongside music, food trucks and a craft beer garden.

Part of Fayetteville’s popular race series, Square 2 Square, is a 30 mile bike ride on the Razorback Regional Greenway between Bentonville and Fayetteville. Postride festivities include live music, farmer’s market, food and drink, discounts to square area businesses, bicycle valet and more. It also takes place twice a year — once in May, going from Fayetteville to Bentonville and once in September, going from Bentonville to Fayetteville. So not to worry if you miss it the first time around!

Where: Downtown Fayetteville Square When: 5:30 - 8:30PM

Where: Razorback Regional Greenway When: May 18 and September 7, 2019

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SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


6/10

The Artosphere Festival Founded and produced at the Walton Arts Center, the Artosphere Festival features musicians from around the world who look to nature for inspiration. It provides a unique space to discuss issues of sustainability and environmental awareness through a creative lens. Each year a theme is chosen and explored through not only music, but large scale art installations, film series, panel discussions and more. Where: Walton Arts Center When: June 10 - 29, 2019

8/22

Fayetteville Roots Festival The Fayetteville Roots Festival is a four day music and food event that features both bigger acts and local talent. Showcasing the best in blues, bluegrass, folk, country, jazz and more, the festival also supports local farmers and chefs. Focusing on locally grown produce, meats and products from the Ozarks, the festival is a true taste of what makes Fayetteville special. Where: Various Locations When: August 22 - 25, 2019

9/25

Bikes, Blues & BBQ

Combine charity and a bazillion motorcycles and you get the Bikes, Blues and BBQ event. Known as the “world’s largest charity motorcycle rally,” hundreds of people participate in this ride through the Ozarks to benefit underserved members of the Northwest Arkansas community. Going on its 19th year, it’s raised more than 2 million dollars. Expect delicious BBQ, good music and lots of leather. Where: Various Locations When: September 25 - 28, 2019

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ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND


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s the capital of Maryland, Annapolis is like a living US history textbook, with rich cultural landmarks and treasures at every turn. One of the earliest American cities, it was at one point the nation’s capital and the setting for many of our most important historical events. Most notably, it’s where the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the American Revolutionary War and solidifying America’s independence. Annapolis’ historical significance continues, and today, the city is well known for its connection to the Navy, beautifully preserved colonial architecture and strong maritime culture.

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US Naval Academy

ADDRESS

126 West Street

CITY STATS CI

Y

OF

ANNAP

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

NICKNAME

HEALTHCARE, MARITIME, & FINANCE

wn” “ Napto

OL IS

T

FOUNDED

1649 M

ARYLAND

POPULATION

39K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

In 1771, Annapolis became the home of America’s first theater, and today, the city has a thriving theater and arts scene. For a taste of Annapolis’ creativity, head to the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, which features ballet, symphony, opera and artist residencies in its 800 seat auditorium.

Located in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is considered the sailing capital of the US. Home to the National Sailing Hall of Fame, the city’s marinas are packed with boats of all sizes. Plus you’ll find dockside restaurants, sailing schools, renowned races and some of the biggest boat shows in the nation.

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5/5 5/11

First Sunday Arts Festival

ArchiTrex Tour

From May through November, a portion of West Street turns into an outdoor festival featuring over 100 local and regional artists, food trucks, live music and more. Taking place on the first Sunday of the month, it’s a perfect summertime activity whether you’re looking to purchase some local art or enjoy the live performances.

Walk through the historic district of Annapolis and discover some of the city’s most treasured and wellpreserved buildings, landmarks and more. On this walking tour, you’ll learn about the city’s most notable and celebrated examples of 17th and 18th century architecture. Developed and led by local architects, this is a great introduction to Annapolis’ history.

Where: West Street When: First Sunday of the month, May - November

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Where: Various locations When: 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month

P H OTOS C O U RT ESY V I S I T A N N A P O L I S

SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


6/22

Eastport A Rockin’

Located in the historic maritime district of Eastport, the daylong festival aims to shine a light on local up-andcoming talent, from bluegrass bands to folk, roots and funk. Since 1997, the fest has provided Annapolis locals with good music, eats and family friendly activities. Proceeds from the event benefit local charities, so it’s not to be missed! Where: Back Creek and Second Street, Eastport When: June 22, 2019

7/4

4th of July Celebrations In a city like Annapolis, 4th of July celebrations are not to be missed. The day begins at William Paca House and Garden with a Naturalization Ceremony where dozens of people from around the globe become citizens of the US. In the afternoon, the parade commences and includes marching bands, fire engines, vintage cars, service clubs, scouts and more. Later that night, fireworks are launched from a barge in Annapolis Harbor. Pro tip: If you can befriend a boat owner, you’ll have the best seat in the house! Where: Various locations When: July 4, 2019

9/7

Maryland Seafood Festival For more than 50 years, Marylanders have been heading to the Maryland Seafood Festival in Annapolis to feast on the city’s famous seafood. Featuring competitions like the Capital Crab Soup Cook-Off, the event brings together some of the top restaurateurs and chefs in the state. While you’re chowing down on some chowder, enjoy live music, artisan offerings and gorgeous seaside views. Where: Sandy Point State Park When: September 7 and 8, 2019

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COLUMBIA SOUTH CAROLINA


T

he capital of South Carolina, Columbia has plenty of small town charm but with big city amenities. From its renowned food scene to booming business, Columbia provides a rich cultural experience with tons of natural beauty. Located at the confluence of the Congaree, Broad and Saluda Rivers, folks can enjoy both a leisurely waterfront meal and a kayaking adventure. If the city’s signature pimento cheeseburger doesn’t draw you in, then stay for the thriving arts scene, hospitable people and beautiful scenery.

SC

HOTEL STATS NUMBER OF ROOMS

AFFILIATED COLLEGE

116

OPENING

University of South Carolina

ADDRESS

1619 Pendleton Street

CITY STATS FOUNDED

NICKNAME

HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION, & DEFENSE

ity” “ River Cown” “ Soda T

CI

S

UT

A

1786 O

POPULATION

O OF C LUMB IA

TY

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

H CAROL

IN

130K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

At 40 feet tall and weighing in at 675,000 pounds, Columbia’s fire hydrant is the largest in the world. Well it’s not actually a working fire hydrant, but rather a sculpture designed by artist Blue Sky. You can snap a pic in front of it in downtown Columbia.

Numerous lakes and three major rivers — the Broad, Saluda and Congaree — surround the city of Columbia, making it a paddler’s destination. From calm waters to class II rapids, there’s something for every level of kayaker.

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6/1 6/19

Drift Jam

Columbia Fashion Week

Known as the “World’s Largest Floating Music Festival,” Drift Jam features tons of musical talent. Bands perform on a floating stage that is only accessible by boat. Thousands of people converge on the water to enjoy the sunshine, good tunes and one of the most unique concert experiences out there.

If you have an interest in fashion, photography or modeling, then Columbia Fashion Week is for you. Going on its 8th year, the event features runway shows and panels that range in topic from eco fashion, to the ins and outs of publicity. If you’re a budding designer or just want to enjoy some of Columbia’s coolest fashion, this event is not to be missed!

Where: Spence Island, Lake Murray When: June 1, 2019

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Where: Various locations When: June 19-22, 2019

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SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


7/4

Lexington County Peach Festival Peaches have a long history in South Carolina and while there are only a few peach farms left in the area, the culture surrounding this delicious and signature Southern fruit lives on. Going on its 61st year, The Lexington County Peach Festival takes place every year on the 4th of July, starting off with a parade and ending with fireworks at night. In between, attendees can enjoy live music, over 100 craft exhibits, an antique car show, a peach art contest and many specialty peach food items. Where: Gilbert Community Park When: July 4, 2019

7/4

South Congaree Championship Rodeo

If you ever wanted to see some bull riding, barrel racing or steer wrestling in action, then this is the rodeo for you! Along with the chance to see some world-class cowboys and cowgirls in action, attendees can enjoy pony rides, a mechanical bull, food vendors and more. Where: South Congaree Arena When: July 26 and 27, 2019

8/24

Taco Crawl

While Columbia is known for its mouth watering Southern eats, did you know its taco game is just as on fire? To sample some of the city’s best offerings, hit up the 2nd Annual Taco Crawl. In the words of the festival organizers, “Imagine Cinco De Mayo x3 but with Tacos.” Where: The Vista When: August 24, 2019

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STATE COLLEGE PENNSYLVANIA


S

tate college is no ordinary city — it was literally built to serve the needs of Penn State University, hence its scholastic name. A quintessential American college town, State College is smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania. Dozens of restaurants and bars line College and Beaver Ave, and during football season, expect thousands of pedestrians. You’ll most likely find them waiting outside of Berkey, the largest university creamery in the country. Tip: you can’t mix the flavors! (Only Bill Clinton has ever been able to do so.) In addition to the frozen treats, the town offers hundreds of free events and a heavy dose of school spirit unlike anywhere else.

PA

HOTEL STATS NUMBER OF ROOMS

AFFILIATED COLLEGE

150

OPENING

Penn State University

ADDRESS

125 South Atherton Street

CITY STATS FOUNDED

“ Happyy” Valle

Y

P

N S YLVAN

GE

CIT

EDUCATION

POPULATION

S TAT E C O L

1896 EN

NICKNAME

LE

OF

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

IA

42K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

The Happy Valley nickname was established when the town was spared by the Great Depression. Maybe this has something to do with Psychology Today naming it the least stressful city in the US.

State College is probably best known for drawing thousands of fans for Penn State’s football team, but many might not know that the school is a fencing powerhouse. Winning a record 13 national championships in the sport, the team has finished as champion or runner-up in 21 of the 25 years since the combined men’s and women’s tournament was formed.

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7/3 7/4

Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival

One of the fastest growing Bluegrass Festivals in the Country, the annual Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival features over 20 of the best bluegrass bands in Pennsylvania. Enjoy good food and partake in various crafts and performer workshops. Where: Grange Park When: July 3-7, 2019

Central PA 4th Fest

Besides the Firecracker 4K Race in the morning, Parade of Heroes and three venues of entertainment, there’s an afternoon full of activities for young and old. Just as the parade begins, the food vendors open, offering everything from Kettle Corn to snow cones. Follow that by watching a BMX Bike & Rollerbladers stunt show on the Founders Mall or show your appreciation to our troops by signing a card at the Operation Thank You tent. Afterwards, settle in for one of the top-rated fireworks displays in the nation. Where: East Campus of Penn State When: July 4, 2019

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P H OTO BY C H U C K CA R RO L L , O P P OS I T E A BOV E BY ST E V E T R ESS L E R / V I STA P RO F ESS I O N A L ST U D I O, B E LOW BY M I C H A E L H O U TZ

SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


7/10

Central PA Festival of the Arts

Enjoy a five-day-long celebration of the visual and performing arts. In the years since the first festival, it has evolved to include the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, performances on outdoor and indoor stages, a banner competition, Children & Youth Day, a juried gallery exhibition and the Italian Street Painting Festival. Where: Penn State Campus When: July 10-14, 2019

8/13

PSU AG Progress Days

Ag Progress Days (APD) is Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition. One of only three agricultural exhibitions in the country sponsored by a major University, Ag Progress Days features the latest technology, research exhibits, educational programs and guided tours. With 500+ exhibitors from 34 states and 4 provinces of Canada, there’s something for everyone. Of the 42,000 expected attendees, over 60 percent are actively engaged in agriculture or related professions. Where: Penn State University’s Research Farms When: August 13-15, 2019

8/17

State College Brew Expo The Brew Expo is Pennsylvania’s largest “Pennsylvania Only” brewery event with nearly 60 different breweries scheduled to attend. Sample a variety of brews while donating to a good cause — the proceeds of the event go to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer of Penn State. But be sure to bring your dancing shoes because German style bands will be hitting the stage all throughout the evening. A variety of foods will also be available including many traditional German dishes. Where: Tussey Mountain Ski Area When: August 17, 2019

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COLUMBUS OHIO


W

hen we say that Columbus has a youthful energy, we mean it. The average age of Ohio’s state capital has hovered between 30-33 years old for nearly a decade. The sizable student population has no doubt had an impact on this statistic, with the presence of both The Ohio State University and the Columbus College of Art and Design. If you’re looking to get a true glimpse into the city’s robust energy, then an Ohio State Buckeyes home game is a must. For those who lean less towards stadiums and more towards galleries, then first Saturday in the Short North Arts District is the event for you. Whatever floats your boat, Columbus is the place for makers, doers and anyone who loves square-shaped pizza.

OH

HOTEL STATS NUMBER OF ROOMS

AFFILIATED COLLEGE

171

OPENING

Ohio State University

ADDRESS

750 N. High Street

CITY STATS FOUNDED CI

OF

COLUM

NICKNAME

POPULATION

B

TECHNOLOGY, INSURANCE, & EDUCATION

US

TY

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

1812

“ The ” ty Arch Ci

OHIO

880K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

Ohio’s slogan, “The Heart of it All” is no exaggeration. 50% of the US population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus.

Columbus has a long history in motorsports, hosting the world’s first 24-hour car race at the Columbus Driving Park in 1905. Flash forward to 2010, when a fuel cell vehicle, Buckeye Bullet 2 (built by Ohio State students), set a world speed record for electric vehicles, reaching 303.025 mph.

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6/7 6/14

Columbus Arts Festival

Columbus PRIDE Festival

Stroll along the Scioto Mile as you enjoy more than 280 nationally acclaimed artists. The downtown riverfront is the perfect backdrop to enjoy this arts festival that includes incredible entertainment and food.

One of the largest pride events in the Midwest, Columbus’ PRIDE Festival hosts upwards of 500,000 visitors. The festivities include a parade downtown on Saturday, along with two music stages, more than 180 vendors and a family friendly area.

Where: Scioto Mile When: June 7-9, 2019

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Where: Scioto Mile When: June 14-16, 2019

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SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


7/19

Jazz and Rib Festival

What’s better than the combination of good jazz and tasty BBQ? This three day festival offers up jazz performances by renowned international and local artists. While you enjoy the music, grab some delicious ribs from the pitmasters who will be serving up some of the best BBQ in the country. 23 teams will compete for Best Ribs, so this event is not to be missed. Where: Scioto Mile When: July 19-21 2019

7/24

Ohio State Fair

Anyone from the Midwest probably has memories of going to the state fair as a kid, and with good reason. With agricultural exhibitions, rides, musical performances and that hefty serving of deep fried goodness, the Ohio State Fair is fun for the whole family. Where: Ohio Expo Center When: July 24-August 4, 2019

8/16

Columbus Food Truck Festival

Food truck food is like a cuisine of its own that usually provides your favorite comfort food with a twist. Head to the riverfront to try out some bites from more than 70 food trucks, all while enjoying live music and crafts for all ages. Where: Downtown Riverfront When: August 16-17, 2019

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NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT


L

ocated alongside the Northern Shore Coast of the Long Island Sound is New Haven, Connecticut. As America’s first planned city and home to Yale University, New Haven encompasses Ivy League culture and historical significance. With brick roads and buildings that were some of the first built in modern-day America, New Haven is a quaint city that breathes an air of sophistication. Experience the calming coast, or take a stroll through the city streets, which are canopied under luscious trees that were seeded long ago during the first public tree planting program in America. After being named the cultural capital of Connecticut, New Haven is a prime destination for everyone.

CT

HOTEL STATS NUMBER OF ROOMS

72

AFFILIATED COLLEGE

OPENING

Yale University

ADDRESS

1151 Chapel Street

CITY STATS CI

C

Y

OF

1638 ON

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

NICKNAME

POPULATION

NEW H AV

NECTICU

EN

T

FOUNDED

EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, HEALTHCARE & SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

“ The ” y Elm Cit

T

130K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

New Haven is home to many firsts. Lollipops were first developed and commercially produced here; pumpkin heads originated in New Haven because hairdressers would use cut pumpkins as cutting guides. But quite possibly the most important fact is that New Haven made and served the first hamburger in the United States at Louis’ Lunch, which is still in operation today.

New Haven has been a longtime legend for loyal hockey fans. Most notably is a group of fans known as the “Crazies” who sat in “The Jungle” — a section at the Coliseum that was located right behind and adjacent to the opposing team’s bench. These fans were notorious for being extremely tough on opposing teams, relentlessly screaming and taunting opposing players, putting New Haven on the hockey map.

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6/1 6/1

Dragon Boat Regatta

The “Freddy Fixer” Parade

During the first weekend of June, you can catch the Annual Canal Dock/New Haven Dragon Boat Regatta. Taking place at the Long Wharf Pier, watch teams race their 40-foot canoes, each with 20 paddlers, a drummer to maintain the cadence and a steers-person; it’s quite a sight for sore eyes.

Originating from a desire to help the elderly spruce up their residences, the event has turned into an incentive for residents to “fix up” their community, from picking up trash to tackling home improvement projects. The “Fix-Up” day is followed by a parade through the neighborhood and is now considered the largest African-American parade in New England.

Where: Long Wharf Pier When: June 1, 2019

Where: Dixwell Avenue When: June 1, 2019

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P H OTO BY J U DY S I ROTA ROS E N T H A L , O P P OS I T E A BOV E BY M I K E F R A N Z M A N , B E LOW C O U RT ESY F U L L S E N D P RO D U CT I O N S : M A R K ET N E W H AV E N , I N C.

SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


6/8

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas For over two decades, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas has brought an accomplished mix of entertainment, including dancers, an eclectic array of world-class musicians, circus performers, theatre acts and engaging speakers. This festival puts New Haven on the map as a premiere cultural destination. Where: Various locations When: June 8-22, 2019

JULY

Music on the Green

For two nights in July, Music on the Green hosts free public concerts situated on a 16-acre privately owned park and recreation area located in the downtown district. Past performers include Sheila E., Vanessa Williams and more. Where: New Haven Green When: July, 2019

AUG

Shakespeare in the Park Every year, Elm Shakespeare Company provides a wonderful free performance of Shakespeare in Edgerton Park. Its mission is to enrich the lives of people from widely diverse cultural, socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Where: Edgerton Park When: August - September 2019

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NASHVILLE TENNESSEE


N

ashville might be the state capital, but it wears a few more hats than just the meeting place for state officials. Known as “Music City U.S.A.,” some of the most legendary country music venues call Nashville home — The Grand Ole Opry House, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the historic Ryman Auditorium and so many more. Although music might be the universal language of the city, there’s something for everyone here. Put on your hiking boots and explore miles of trails offered by Radnor Lake State Park or the Mossy Ridge Trail in Percy Warner Park. A thriving foodie community and student life adds the youthful cherry on top of the city’s already lively spirit.

TN

HOTEL STATS NUMBER OF ROOMS

203

AFFILIATED COLLEGE

OPENING

Vanderbilt University

ADDRESS

2004 West End Avenue

CITY STATS FOUNDED CI

OF

NASHV

IL LE

TY

1779 TE

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

NICKNAME

HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT & AUTOMOBILE PRODUCTION

City, “ Music.A.” U.S

NNESSEE

POPULATION

691K K

Fun Fact

Signature Sport

Elvis recorded over 200 of his songs at RCA’s historic Studio B on Music Row in Nashville. During a recording session for a Christmas album, he was having a hard time finding his holiday spirit so the studio hung up a string of lights. You can find those lights still hung up to this day.

If there’s one thing Tennessee shows up for, it’s women’s basketball. Tennessee averages over 11,000 fans per game, beating out several NCAA women’s basketball championship crowds. While other college crowds come and go based off of scoreboards, Tennessee fans are loyal no matter what the season brings.

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6/1 6/6

Taste of Music City

CMA Music Festival

Taking residence in Public Square Park is Nashville’s largest food and drink festival, Taste of Music City. One ticket will get you unlimited samples of food and drinks from some of the best restaurants and beverage crafters in Nashville.

Each summer, Downtown Nashville hosts the CMA Music Festival: four days of free music from hundreds of artists including live concerts, meet & greets, autograph signings, celebrity sporting events and more.

Where: Public Square Park When: June 1, 2019

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Where: Nissan Stadium When: June 6-9, 2019

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SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


6/15

Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival The annual Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival celebrates all that the Jefferson Street community as to offer through its arts, music and food culture. This two-day festival features local and national jazz and blues artists, plus food and retail vendors from the North Nashville community. Where: Jefferson Street When: June 15-16, 2019

8/1

Live On The Green (Concert Series)

This free concert series is held every Thursday evening during the months of August and September at Public Square Park. The concert features both local and nationally known artists and performers, from Sheryl Crow, Spoon, Future Islands, Jonny P and more. Stay tuned for this year’s lineup! Where: Public Square Park When: August - September 2019

8/9

Tomato Art Fest

To celebrate the tomato, the owners of the Art and Invention Gallery throw the annual Tomato Art Fest during late summer. The free festival takes place in the Five Points area of East Nashville, where you can enjoy free music and an endless amount of art vendors. Where: Five Points When: August 9 and 10, 2019

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STORRS CONNECTICUT


N

estled in central Connecticut is the village of Storrs, a census-designated place in the town of Mansfield. Storrs was named after Charles and Augustus Storrs, two brothers who founded the University of Connecticut in 1881 by donating the land and $6,000. This quaint little town is where rural life meets downtown living. Featuring over 80 businesses and two nature preserves with over three miles of hiking trails, the town is also home to the internationally-renowned Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. From the town’s youthful energy (thanks to the students at UConn), to its naturally charming and cozy feel, Storrs is the perfect place to escape the city life.

CT

HOTEL STATS AFFILIATED COLLEGE

NUMBER OF ROOMS

98

OPENING

University of Connecticut

ADDRESS

855 Bolton Road

CITY STATS IT

POPULATION

F STOR YO R

ADMINISTRATIVE AND PERSONAL CARE & SERVICES

1702 C

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

S

C

FOUNDED

ON

NECTICU

T

16K K

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Signature Sport

After the devastation from Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, Storrs was named by Slate as “America’s Best Place to Avoid Death Due to a Natural Disaster.”

In the last 25 years, UConn’s women’s and men’s basketball programs have collectively won 13 National Championships. The men’s team has won every NCAA Tournament Final they’ve played, making them undefeated in the men’s National Championship games. On top of that, the women’s team holds the record for most consecutive victories at 90 wins.

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5/30 6/6

Summer Stroll

Downtown Storrs offers a fun way to kick off summer with a downtown summer stroll. Enjoy a nice evening of sales and specials, summer treats and open houses at participating businesses. Where: Various locations When: May 30, 2019

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Summer Concerts in the Square Each Thursday through the months of June and July, free concerts take place from 6:30pm to 8:00pm on Betsy Paterson Square in Downtown Storrs. Where: Betsy Paterson Square When: June - July, 2019

P H OTO BY A M A R BAT R A; O P P OS I T E A BOV E BY L E V I N E R I A L WO R KS, L LC, B E L 0 W BY JA N I N E CA L L A H A N

SUMMERTIME SCHEDULE


6/8

John E. Jackman Tour de Mansfield This tour offers a fun and enjoyable way to explore historic Mansfield, from its scenic roads to the renovated downtown. You can choose from three different routes to explore around the town, all beginning and ending at the Mansfield Community Center. Where: Mansfield Community Center When: June 8, 2019

7/12

Moonlight Movies

For each selected Friday, The Mansfield Downtown Partnership will host outdoor Moonlight Movies on Betsy Paterson Square starting at 7:30pm each night. The activities are free and open to the public. Where: Betsy Paterson Square When: Fridays on July 12 & 26, August 2, 9, & 16, 2019

9/21

Celebrate Mansfield Festival

Enjoy this year’s 16th anniversary of the annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival. Enjoy a wide range of activity booths from local businesses, amazing live music performances and tons of food booths from Mansfield and Storrs restaurants and eateries. Where: Downtown Storrs When: September 21, 2019

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Graduate Hotels has a property in every corner of the country. To capture the essence of a place, every hotel draws upon the region’s unique stories, people and traditions. In the following pages, we delve into the sports culture of the West, Midwest and South, from epic rivalries to the best sporting events of the year.

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HE WEST is a place defined by great expanses of land, vivid contrast and wild spirit. While there’s plenty of chill vibes to go around, there’s also a restless kind of energy that moves its inhabitants to get on the road, and explore the many mountains, deserts and beaches this side of the country has to offer. Two of Graduate Hotels’ current locations, Berkeley and Tempe, both encapsulate the West, yet they do so in very distinct ways. Berkeley is quintessential California — a liberal town with a gorgeous backdrop of rolling hills and water. Across from it sits San Francisco, and like any good neighbor, the two feed each other, resulting in a diverse and booming culture that has spawned some of the most innovative

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technologies of our generation. Tempe also has a bigger sister city with its proximity to Phoenix. As a suburb of the Arizona capital, Tempe enjoys all the cultural offerings and amenities of a metropolitan area while retaining that small town feel. As the geographic center of Arizona, practically any desert adventure is at your fingertips, whether that’s a jaunt south to the Sonoran Desert, or a drive north to the Grand Canyon. From either city, you can enjoy some of the country’s most iconic landscapes and monuments. Access like that, plus hospitable weather make for an active population who like to surf, ski, ride and run. We break down the cities’ notable sports history and facts, so you’ll always know who to root for.

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THE WEST


BERKELEY

First thing’s first about sports in Berkeley: Stanford is the enemy. If even a hint of cardinal red is spotted, expect hissing and glares. Now that we’ve cleared that up, UC Berkeley’s rich sports history includes many notable alumni — Alex Morgan anyone? Overall, Cal athletes have won 90 gold medals, 40 silver medals and 28 bronze medals at the Olympics. Many of these are in swimming (a Cal favorite) along with Water Polo and Rugby. Located right on the San Francisco Bay, it’s no wonder water sports are a favorite. Expect to see sailors and kayakers year round. Although there are no professional teams in Berkeley, nearby baseball teams the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants are popular among the locals.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME If you want to see some serious Cal spirit, than head to the California Memorial Stadium. Perched in the hills above campus, the stadium has panoramic views of the bay area, and is the perfect arena for cheering on the Cal Bears! SPORTS BAR If you prefer to have a brew in hand and a bar stool to sit on, then Pappy’s is a must. Right on Telegraph Ave, this place is a Berkeley establishment, and can get a little rowdy. If you prefer something a little more lowkey, than Jupiter is our pick. Plus their pizza is to die for. SPORTS EVENT The most anticipated sporting event between UC Berkeley and Stanford is the annual football game dubbed the Big Game. Since 1933, the winner has been awarded custody of the Stanford Axe. Unfortunately Stanford has held this trophy since 2010.

CALIFORNIA MEMORIAL STADIUM

LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM California Golden Bears University of California Berkeley

CA BERKELEY CAMPUS

P H OTOS A BOV E C O U RT ESY V I S I T B E R K E L EY, B E LOW BY T I M T RU M B L E ( TO P ) & C O U RT ESY V I S I T T E M P E ( BOT TO M )

TEMPE

TEMPE DIABLO STADIUM

AZ TEMPE TOWN LAKE

A 20 minute drive east of Phoenix, Tempe enjoys all of the professional and collegiate sports offered in the area — and there are a lot, from the Sun Devils of Arizona State University to the many professional, semi-pro and minor league teams in the area. Whether you’re cheering on the Phoenix Suns on the b-ball court or the newly formed Arizona Hotshots football team, there is ample opportunity to catch a game. If you prefer something a little more leisurely, Arizona is a popular destination for Major League Baseball spring training, and hosts 14 teams including the Dodgers, White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. But at the heart of every good sports city is a bitter rivalry, and Tempe certainly delivers. The one between ASU and the University of Arizona predates Arizona’s statehood, and is one of the oldest rivalries in the NCAA. Speaking of ASU, the school has won 24 national collegiate team championships, and has historically done very well in archery, badminton and golf to name a few. If you were looking for an epic sports destination with an even more epic rivalry, then you’ve come to the right place.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME The iconic Sun Devil Stadium is not only the best place to watch a football game (as host of the Fiesta and Cactus Bowls) but has also made appearances in films like Jerry Maguire, A Star is Born (Babs edition) and Raising Arizona. SPORTS BAR If you want good old fashioned pub food and 19 HDTVs, then Bogey’s is the place. This hole in the wall is a great place to both watch a game and play one! The bar has two pool tables, shuffleboard, darts, bar-top video games and corn hole out on the patio. SPORTS EVENT If “Duel in the Desert” doesn’t intrigue you, then I don’t know what does. The annual football game between the University of Arizona and Arizona State University results in the winner taking home the Territorial Cup, the oldest rivalry trophy in college football. LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Sun Devils - Arizona State University

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THE SOUTH

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P H OTO BY SA N JAY SU C H A K

E

VERY REGION of the United States has its own set of colloquialisms, food and traditions, but no other region is as distinct and unmistakable as the South. While each of the 17 states that make up the South can be as different from one another as Tex Mex is from Creole, history, hospitality and humor seem to be the driving forces behind a culture that has some of the deepest roots in America’s founding. From Oyster roasts in Georgia to the Delta Blues of Mississippi, the possibilities for exploring the South’s unique offerings are endless. Four of Graduate Hotels’ current properties reside in the South including Oxford, Athens, Charlottesville and Richmond. Carving a path from Mississippi east to Georgia and then up through the Carolinas alongside the Appalachian Mountains to Virginia, each of these four locations provide their own slice of history and tradition. Literary greats, musical icons and founding fathers have called these places home, as well as plenty of star athletes. While sports are practiced and loved everywhere in the country, there’s a particular kind of fervor for high school and college football you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, as the birthplace of NASCAR, car racing is especially popular along with basketball, golf and fishing. Read on to learn more about the region’s sports history, fun facts and legendary players.

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OXFORD

As a relatively small town, Oxford’s sports history is undeniably tied to the Ole Miss Rebels, the athletic teams that represent the University of Mississippi. In particular, the football team holds a special place in most students’ hearts, and the school’s game day rituals are legendary. The fun begins at the Grove, the tailgating area in the middle of campus that has been dubbed “the Holy Grail of tailgating sites” by Sporting News. Note: while tailgating is usually associated with cargo shorts and flip flops, Ole Miss keeps it classy — students are expected to dress in their Sunday best. Game day morning, the area is filled with vendors and tents serving up delicious BBQ and classic Southern fare. Once people have had their fill, the Walk of Champions commences, which consists of the players walking from the beginning of the Arch of Champions all the way to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as fans cheer them on. Expect to hear lots of “Hotty Toddy” chanting that goes “Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty, who the hell are we, hey! Flim flam, bim bam, Ole Miss, by damn!”

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is the place to be. As the largest stadium in the state of Mississippi, it can hold up to 64,038 people. SPORTS BAR If you want to watch a game in a cozy pub, then the Blind Pig is the place. Not only do they have a ton of local beers to try, the food is top notch. SPORTS EVENT Since 1894, the football rivalry between the founding SEC members, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, has been the second-longest, continuous football rivalry in history. Ole Miss has successfully led the series 51-40, since 1986. LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Ole Miss Rebels - University of Mississippi

GROVE

MS OXFORD

UGA MASCOT HAIRY DAWG

GA UGA FANS

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Athens is a Southern gem with a music scene you’d only expect to find in a big city. But delving into its sports history requires looking at both the accomplishments of the University of Georgia and its proximity to Atlanta. The University of Georgia played an instrumental role in Atlanta’s bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics, providing much of the preliminary research and eventually hosting many of the events. To name some of its other impressive accomplishments, UGA has won national championships in football, women’s gymnastics, women’s equestrian (six times!), baseball, tennis, golf and women’s swimming and diving. The Gym Dogs, the University’s women’s gymnastics team, have a NCAAleading 10 national championships in gymnastics, including five consecutive championships from 2005 to 2009.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME You can’t picture UGA without thinking about the beautiful Sanford Stadium. Built in 1929, its most treasured feature is its hedges that run the perimeter of the field. SPORTS BAR If you can’t catch a game in person, head to Bar South, where the TVs are always tuned to ESPN. In between plays, you can enjoy the pool tables, darts, shuffleboard and foosball. SPORTS EVENT Known as the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” between the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs, these two football teams have been playing each other since 1892. LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Georgia Bulldogs - University of Georgia

P H OTO A BOV E C O U RT ESY V I S I T OX FO R D, B E LOW C O U RT ESY V I S I T AT H E N S, GA - M A R K S M I T H ( TO P ) & V I S I T AT H E N S, GA ( BOT TO M )

ATHENS


CHARLOTTESVILLE There are no professional teams in Charlottesville, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t excited about sports. As home to the University of Virginia’s Cavaliers, the school’s many athletic teams have a strong fan base throughout Charlottesville. While football might seem like the most popular sport, Lacrosse rules in C’ville from its high school teams to college. The Virginia men’s team won their first NCAA Championship in 1972 and their fifth in 2011 while the women’s team has three NCAA Championships to its credit. A particularly notable accomplishment dates back to 2006, when the men’s team established the best record in NCAA history with a perfect 17-0 season. Tip: if you ever hear people refer to the Virginia Cavaliers as the Hoos, you wouldn’t be mistaken. The popular moniker is short for Wahoos, based on the university’s rallying cry “Wah-hoo-wah!”

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME Built in 1931, Scott Stadium is the oldest stadium in Virginia. With views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s a beautiful place to cheer on the Hoos. Just make sure you’re wearing orange! SPORTS BAR If you want to snack on some delicious wings while watching a game, then Wild Wing Cafe is the place to be. Plus, the wings really are wild, with flavors like China Syndrome, Flaming Parmesan and Jalapeno Cheddar. SPORTS EVENT Not to be confused with the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” the series between North Carolina and Virginia has also been played since 1892 and is referred to as the “South’s Oldest Rivalry.”

CAVALIERS LACROSSE

LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Virginia Cavaliers - University of Virginia

VA

P H OTOS A BOV E BY RO B E RT L LOY D ( TO P ) & B R E N T M C G U I RT ( BOT TO M ) B E LOW BY H A R R E LSO N P H OTO G R A P H Y I N C ( TO P ) & RVA PA D D L ES P O RTS ( BOT TO M )

RICHMOND

RICHMOND RACEWAY

Without any professional sports teams, Richmond has made up for it by forming a number of minor league teams, including the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer League and the Richmond Flying Squirrels of the Class AA Eastern League of Minor League Baseball. The River City is also home to the Richmond Black Widows, the city’s first women’s football team. Aside from these popular minor league teams, Richmond is a car racing destination, and its most famous track, Southside Speedway, has operated since 1959. This .333mile oval short-track has become known as the “Toughest Track in the South” or “The Action Track,” and it features weekly stock car racing on Friday nights. Southside Speedway has acted as the breeding grounds for many past NASCAR legends, including Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. On top of its auto racing fame, Richmond has a huge bicycling and paddling community due to the many trails that run alongside the James River.

HUMPBACK ROCK

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME The Siegel Center is a 190,000-square-foot facility on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. It’s mainly used for the VCU Rams men’s basketball team, and has received the reputation as the toughest place to play in the Atlantic 10 Conference. SPORTS BAR A traditional sports bar in every sense, the Home Team Grill offers yummy comfort food and plenty of screens to watch the game. SPORTS EVENT The rivalry between Richmond and James Madison is only 25 games young, but there’s already an interesting fact about this young series. Out of the 25 games played, 15 have been won by the visiting team. So if you’re rooting for one of these schools, odds are you should catch this game when it’s away. LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM VCU Rams - Virginia Commonwealth University

VA JAMES RIVER

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P H OTO C O U RT ESY C O O P E R M A N N I N G


Nobody’s a Stranger and Everybody’s a Friend C

COOPER MANNING DISHES ON HIS LOVE FOR OXFORD BY GIGIE HALL

OOPER MANNING is no stranger to Oxford, Mississippi. In fact, he comes from a long line of Ole Miss graduates, dating back to his grandfather. For the famed Manning family, Ole Miss is a revered institution and the story is a classic college tale. “My mother was the homecoming queen and my dad was the quarterback of the

team,” says Cooper. Both he and his brother, Eli, are graduates of the Oxford school, along with their aunts, uncles and probably a few members of the younger generation. So it’s no wonder Oxford holds a particularly special place in Cooper’s heart, and it’s clear when he reminisces that along with memories of good food and legendary locals, there was plenty of mischief to be had.

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I love bringing people here for the first time… They love it. It’s one of those places you want to enjoy and it has a lot to offer.

When asked if he partook in any noteworthy school traditions or sports (aside from football), he immediately dived into a tale of lost bets and nudity — a clear indication that Cooper is the comedian of the family. It’s an oratory skill that comes natural to most Southerners, but it’s also something Cooper showcases as host of the Fox Sports comedy show, The Manning Hour. Aside from fraternity antics, Cooper describes how the Mississippi town has changed over the years, saying, “Oxford’s come a long way since I was there 25 years ago. In ‘92, I was a freshman and it was a smaller town so you had to make your fun. You had to be a little more creative since it wasn’t all laid out for you and I was around some

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really fun people. They’d say, ‘let’s go out this weekend and have an oyster roast,’ and we’d do it.” Part of making his own fun included hanging out at some truly legendary Oxford institutions, like the infamous Hoka. A dilapidated establishment, Cooper describes it as “the worst looking building of all time.” But inside was a movie theater that played late-night showings of art house flicks like Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Usual Suspects. Run by a man named Ron Shapiro, Cooper says, “He was a hippy guy who rode around on his bicycle, and he used to run for mayor from time to time — literally got 20 votes. I loved him. Everytime I’d see him he’d always say, ‘Welcome home,’ as if this is where I belonged.”

That feeling of belonging continues today for Cooper and the rest of his family. This was especially true during the aftermath of Katrina. “I had a three year old, a one year old and a pregnant wife. So we jumped in the car on a Saturday morning and drove to Oxford.” When the hurricane struck, Cooper and his family were expecting to stay for three to four days — it turned into eight months. “Our third child was born there and so that reengaged us. We really got into the soul of the place and met some people that we would never have met otherwise. The community was so kind.” Since then, Oxford has once again become a second home for Cooper, who you can spot during the summer riding around town on his bike. “You

P H OTOS C O U RT ESY C O O P E R M A N N I N G

— COOPER MANNING


P H OTO C O U RT ESY V I S I T OX FO R D

CITY GROCERY

Oxford’s Best Food AS TOLD BY COOPER MANNING When Cooper Manning describes Oxford’s food scene during his college days, he mentions that there were “all of these great restaurants that were out in the country. They’d serve you black eyed peas and chicken fried steak right out of the stove. You’re literally in someone’s kitchen that they converted into a restaurant. Oxford had a lot of those little dive spots that were off the beaten path. It made it authentic and so real.” Today, the city continues to have a thriving food scene. Read on to discover some of Cooper’s favorites.

CITY GROCERY

My freshman year, there was a great restaurant and bar that opened called City Grocery, which is now run by a James Beard award-winning chef, John Currence, who’s from New Orleans. That’s really what started the culinary movement in Oxford.

PROUD LARRY’S

Proud Larry’s opened that same year, which always had great cheeseburgers, great chicken sandwiches and great bands.

THE LIBRARY

can be waterskiing on the lake, playing golf, fishing and sunbathing. All of them ten to fifteen minutes from each other, all while listening to great music on the porch of an outdoor bar. The tomatoes are good in the summer and there’s crawfish in the front yard. Nobody’s a stranger and everybody’s a friend.” That generous and hospitable attitude can be found everywhere in the Mississippi town and is better when shared. “I love bringing people here for the first time,” says Cooper. “Especially someone who doesn’t have as much experience in the South. They love it. It’s one of those places you want to enjoy and it has a lot to offer.” From the people who call it home to the many activities it offers, Cooper Manning has made it clear that Oxford is a gem of a place.

There used to be a great bar called Lafayette. It was bought by Jon Desler, and he turned it into a bar called The Library. Whenever you go, check in with Desler because everybody knows Desler. Older than him, younger than him, you always check in with Desler and he’ll buy you a beer and a Jäger shot — just what everyone needs at 4:30 in the afternoon. He kind of hangs there from 3 to 6:30PM. It’s always a great tradition.

AJAX DINER

There’s a great lunch place called Ajax and it has the best country vegetables. You get mashed potatoes and black eyed peas and green beans and vegetables and unbelievable fried okra. I love their catfish and I always used to eat the pork chops. My wife eats the sweet potato casserole. She talks about that the whole ride there.

TAYLOR GROCERY

There’s also a cool spot out in the country a little outside of town called Taylor Grocery which has unbelievable catfish, and you can bring your own wine or beer but you have to keep it outside. Anytime you want it, you can go outside to your ice chest. I don’t know how much it’s frowned upon, but it’s legal!

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THE MIDWEST

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P H OTO BY K E N LU N D

S

MACK DAB in the middle of the country is a region of cultural crossroads, the Midwest. Geographically speaking, the majority of the Midwest is flat, but that certainly doesn’t pertain to the region’s culture or traditions. Dubbed “America’s Heartland,” this moniker not only speaks to its location on the map, but also to the friendly energy that resonates throughout the twelve states that make up this part of the country. Four of Graduate Hotels’ properties, Lincoln, Ann Arbor, Madison and Minneapolis, reside here. The latter three each hug the famous Great Lakes and are blanketed by the vast Northwoods, which extends all the way to Canada. A combination of two regions, the Northwest Territory and the Great Plains, this area of the country has had a significant influence on national life. It has long been a hotbed of strong agricultural and industrial labor, a major architectural innovator, and has fused the vastly different lifestyles of urban and rural living. As the most important economic region of the country, Midwesterners know how to work hard, but they know how to play just as hard, too. Home to the NCAA Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences, there’s a deep rooted love for college sports; whether you know the games or not, everyone holds true to the regional college colors. There’s also a strong love for motor racing, as the region has some of the top road courses in the country. Not sure who to cheer for? Keep reading as we break down each city’s favorite sport and list off a few fun facts.

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Just a quick 35 miles west of Detroit and you’ll find the powerhouse of the Big Ten conference: The University of Michigan. When it comes to sports, the Wolverines do not mess around, having sent over 250 athletes and coaches to participate in Olympic events, winning more than 150 medals. Their football program ranks first in NCAA history for total wins, with 42 Big Ten championships and 11 national championships; did we forget to mention they’ve produced three Heisman Trophy winners? Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson. If that doesn’t prove how seriously they take football, Michigan Stadium is the largest college football stadium in the nation and one of the largest football-only stadiums in the world. Although the university’s sporting events are an integral part of Ann Arbor’s allure, the surrounding natural environment leaves an endless amount of adventures waiting to be explored. Take a summer kayak trip down the Huron River or hit the slopes at one of Ann Arbor’s many cross-country ski slopes.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME As the largest college football stadium in the nation, Michigan Stadium might be the best place in the country to enjoy a college football game. With an official capacity of 107,601, it’s said that attendance frequently exceeds over 111,000 people, so bring the whole family. SPORTS BAR The craft beer culture in Ann Arbor is taken almost as seriously as its football. The city is home to every type of brewery imaginable, from one that specializes in sour beers to a kombucha brewery. But if we had to pick just one to compliment your on-screen game, The Session Room would take the trophy. With over 70 craft beers on tap, no one is going home thirsty.

UM STADIUM

SPORTS EVENT Dubbed the greatest rivalry in American sports by ESPN is the Michigan vs. Ohio State football rivalry. If you can manage tickets, a game between the two is not to be missed. But fear not — if you can’t make it, a University of Michigan game, no matter the opponent, is an enjoyable event.

MI

LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Wolverines - University of Michigan

RED ROCK

LINCOLN

MEMORIAL STADIUM

NE PINEWOOD BOWL

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When your state is compiled of two major plains and known as being the perfect, treeless environment for cattle-grazing, sports are the next best thing. The University of Nebraska - Lincoln has 21 varsity teams that compete in 14 different sports, and have won 23 National Championships across five sports, including their football, volleyball and gymnastics teams. The Nebraska football team has won 46 conference championships since 1970, five national championships and have produced three Heisman Trophy winners: Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier and Eric Crouch. Sports culture aside, Lincoln’s emerging music and arts scene is not to be ignored. With a growing number of art galleries and a music scene often getting Lincoln referred to as “Music City,” this Midwestern destination is an underrated cultural melting pot.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME Every football game at Memorial Stadium has been sold out since 1962. The stadium’s capacity is around 92,000 which is larger than Nebraska’s third-largest city. Do they take football seriously here? Absolutely. SPORTS BAR Established in 2010, The Press Box is a Lincoln favorite. Although the establishment hasn’t been around for too long, the bar was previously known as Bleachers, which had been around for quite some time; they even kept a row of seats in front of the TVs that were a Bleachers trademark. Enjoy a Cornhuskers screening or become your own athlete in their game area, which houses pool, shuffleboard and golden tee. SPORTS EVENT Having joined the Big Ten conference in 2011, there hasn’t been quite enough time to hold any coveted traditions within the conference. However, the Nebraska vs. Penn State rivalry dates back to 1920 and has been a nail-biting event ever since. LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Cornhuskers - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

P H OTO A BOV E C O U RT ESY D EST I N AT I O N A N N A R BO R, B E LOW C O U RT ESY N E B R AS K A TO U R I S M C O M M I SS I O N

ANN ARBOR


MADISON

The University of Wisconsin - Madison is one of America’s Public Ivy universities with a highly respected academic curriculum; but that doesn’t mean they don’t take their athletics just as seriously. The school has 25 intercollegiate sports, collectively winning 28 national championships and alumni that have collectively won 50 Olympic medals. Any game at UWMadison is bound to be a good time, especially with their notable student section traditions, from playing House of Pain’s, “Jump Around,” at football games, to the rowdy “The Grateful Red” at basketball games.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME Since 1895, Camp Randall Stadium has been home to the Wisconsin Badgers football team. As the oldest and fifth largest stadium in the Big Ten Conference, you won’t want to miss a game. SPORTS BAR What’s in a name? Well, at Jordan’s Big Ten Pub, it’s the place to catch a televised UW game. Sports aside, their famous fish fry comes highly recommended. SPORTS EVENT The most-played rivalry in Division I football is between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. This annual game dates back to 1890, where the winning team won a “slab of bacon,” which was just a piece of wood with the letter M or W depending on how you looked at it. Today, the bacon has been upgraded to a six-foot-long wooden axe called Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

CAMP RANDALL STADIUM

WI

LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Badgers - The University of Wisconsin - Madison

GOODMAN PARK

P H OTO A BOV E C O U RT ESY P I XA BAY ( TO P ) & SA R A H L E R N E R ( BOT TO M ) B E LOW C O U RT ESY M E ET M I N N E A P O L I S

MINNEAPOLIS

XCEL ENERGY CENTER

MN

The Minnesota Golden Gophers has one of the oldest programs in college-football history, with their first game dating back to 1882. But the most strongly supported athletic program is the men’s hockey team, due to the state’s love for the sport at all levels. The Golden Gophers men’s hockey program has won five Division I National Championships, 13 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Championships, 14 WCHA Tournament Championships and have made 20 NCAA Frozen Four appearances. As for the women’s hockey team, they’re just as blinged out. They too have won six National Championships, most recently in 2016, six WCHA Regular Season Championships, four WCHA Tournament Championships and have eleven NCAA Frozen Four appearances. But that’s not all. They were the first collegiate women’s hockey team to play in an arena dedicated solely to women’s ice hockey, and are the first and only NCAA Women’s Hockey team to finish a season undefeated. It’s official — Minnesota likes their hockey.

WHERE TO ENJOY A GAME Seating 10,000 fans, the 3M Arena at Mariucci is the place to catch a hockey game. Home to the Gopher’s men’s hockey team, this arena frequently hosts prominent regional, national and international competitions. SPORTS BAR With four quad-screen 110-inch displays and twelve 55-inch TV screens, there’s not a bad view of the game at City Works. Located in downtown Minneapolis, their extensive food and craft beer menu will get you in the door early and staying a bit too late. LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM Minnesota Golden Gophers University of Minnesota

STONE ARCH

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Profile for Collide

COLLiDE Travel with Purpose for Graduate Hotels Spring/Summer 2019  

COLLiDE Travel with Purpose for Graduate Hotels Spring/Summer 2019