Mike Szwaja

Mike Szwaja

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Last year I decided to fulfill a lifelong goal and become a Chicago Blackhawks season ticket holder. To say the least, the timing couldn't have been much better. The Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup soon, salary cap issues aside. It's going to happen. I know I'm stealing that from Cub fandom, but I firmly believe it's going to happen.

Okay, so that was a subtle shot at the Cubs and their fans, but even though I sway toward the White Sox, it doesn't mean I hate the Cubs. I was very close to my grandfather growing up, and he was a huge Cubs fan. I had no choice but to root for the Cubs. My favorite baseball player to this day is Ryne Sandberg. But as I aged, I grew away from the whole Cubs experience. The ballpark is beautiful, but it's a pain in the ass to get there, and I have to give up a month's contribution to my Roth IRA to park my car in the area. And the lofty free agent spending gone wrong just got too much for me.

US Cellular field is where it's at for me. It's farther from my house but a much easier ride. And they have, get this, parking lots where you can safely and quickly park your vehicle. And inside the park you actually have room to breath, and, once again get this, food that's actually enjoyable to eat. And the White Sox boast Chicago's best general manager in Kenny Williams.

I'm a 2005 graduate of the University of Illinois, and my senior year was a blast, mostly because of Dee Brown, Luther Head and Deron Williams. It still kills me we came six points shy of knocking of North Carolina to win it all that year, but not many people can say they witnessed their school's basketball team go 37-2 in their senior year. I'll also never forget the 2001 Illini Football squad, which sent eight offensive players onto the NFL...Dave Diehl, Tony Pashos, Duke Preston, Kurt Kittner, Brandon Llyod, Walter Young, Greg Lewis and Aaron Moorehead. I still can't believe Lewis has ended up as the best of the four receivers mentioned there.

While I was at Illinois, I wrote approximately 120 sports columns for the independent school newspaper, the Daily Illini. I've maintained a sports blog at www.mikeszwaja.blogspot.com but am looking to start sharing my thoughts on, mostly, Chicago sports here at bleacherreport.com.

I'll be sharing my insights on the aforementioned Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox, in addition to the Bears and Bulls. I'm an extremely passionate fan of both the Bears and the Bulls, and that will become evident in my writings here for this site.

I'm also a huge fan of the English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. I may contribute my opinions on their endeavors occassionly, but only on rare occasions because it's difficult for a Yank, even a soccer-loving Yank like me, to really grasp the nuances of the Premiership enough to analyze it the depth it truly deserves.

Anyway, enjoy, and don't hesitate to contact me if you want to talk sports. It's my favorite past time.

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