Runners: on your mark, get set, go!

By Jon Cohn | Community Contributor

This season, all kinds of special event runs will be conducted right in our neighborhood. As an observer and official admirer from the sidelines during many of these runs, I would like to offer a couple of tips to both participants and spectators.

To runners: For those wearing headphones or earbuds—please don’t! Remember, this is a community run with lots of people cheering you on. Better to enjoy the enthusiasm and spirit from all the participants. It’s so much more fun to soak up the crowd and all its energy.

To spectators: If you can, try to stick around until the end. Many of these long runs have hordes of enthusiastic fans cheering on the fastest runners as they head to the finish line,  but after a while, the crowd starts to disappear. Typically, while the last 25 percent of the runners cross the finish line, hardly anyone is left to cheer them on. Kind of sad, really.

After all, these are the runners who probably need encouragement the most. I always try to stay and cheer this group and believe me, they do appreciate it.

Don’t forget the marquee race for New Eastside (at least in the early season) —The Chicago Spring Half Marathon. What started as a small local race in the Lake Shore East Park has grown to become a Chicago-wide event now held at Maggie Daley Park. Mark your calendars for this one. Sunday May 20, race starts at 7 a.m. Last year over 4,000 runners participated.

Oh, and one final piece of advice for the runners—stay away from the guy wearing the “Your pace or mine?” t-shirt.

Cohn-fuscious thought for the month: “In the end, we regret not what we have done, but what we have not done.”

Published May 5

Coach’s Corner

“You Gotta Ring Them Bells and meet your neighbors”

By John Cohn |Community Contributor

Much like Apollo Creed staring down Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, the long cold dark
days of winter stare us straight in the face. Relentless. Unforgiving. But no worries folks, we’ve been through this before, and we can do it again.

The key to Chicago winter blues survival is a little personal contact with actual people. You know… that of the non-iPhone variety. That’s right, this is the time of year to meet and greet any chance you get.

A great example of this can be found in the song “Ring Them Bells,” written by Bob
Dylan and popularized by Liza Minelli. It’s about a woman looking to meet the man of
her dreams and fall in love.

She has no luck in her building, at work, in her home city or even traveling the entire
country. Finally, and desperately she travels abroad to various foreign countries still looking for that elusive love connection.

At long last, in one of those faraway places she finally meets that special someone. She asks him where he is from, and amazingly, he is not only from the same city in the United States as she is, but she also discovers he lives in the exact same building as her and even more surprisingly, in the apartment next door. She had travelled across the world to meet the guy next door when all she needed to do was ring his doorbell and say hi.

So even on those days when you don’t feel like socializing, go for it. Be they strangers, mild acquaintances, neighbors or work partners—or maybe someone in the elevator, shopping center or restaurant—go ahead and make the effort and say “Hello” to get a conversation started.

I can’t quite promise the new love of your life, but a few friendly greetings might help you get through the cold, wind and darkness of the coming days.

Cohn-fucious thought of the month: “The tree that bends is rarely the one that breaks.”

Coach’s Corner

New Eastside entering tween years

By John Cohn | Community Contributor

In an interesting and uplifting gathering, the staff of New Eastside News got together for an annual staff-wide meeting. It was a refreshing mix of both young and old. Actually, truth be told, mostly young—I think I was a party of one representing “the old.” Nevertheless, it is great to see so many new and enthusiastic young reporters jumping on board for our newspaper. During the meeting, we discussed anything and everything in regards to our neighborhood and the many potential stories and creative ideas.

I found it interesting that the overriding factor is one I hear and even “feel” all the time here in New Eastside—how lucky we are to be living in such a unique neighborhood of the city.

Many Chicagoans are only just discovering our area and some are not even aware it exists, but that is okay. We don’t mind growing up at a normal pace without all the mad rush. That, I am sure, will come soon enough.

Speaking of growing up, this got me thinking about where our neighborhood is in its current stage of development. Construction on the Lakeshore East part of the neighborhood started in 2004, so, could you say our neighborhood is at the preteen stage, waiting for the onset of the dreaded teenage years? With new buildings going up, and infrastructure changes, we might be in for a full course of upheaval, angst and uncomfortable disturbances.

But have faith. We will survive that teenage period, as all people do, and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor, as the neighborhood enters young adulthood, and later, blissful middle age.

Oh, and one final note to all those young whippersnapper reporters joining our staff—back off. This old guy here plans on sticking around for a while and is not planning on giving up this “Coach’s Corner” anytime soon.

Cohn-Fucius thought for the month: Someday is not a day of the week.

Cars and makeshift structures currently fill the site where the new IJKL towers will be built in New Eastside. Photo by B. David Zarley.