arvia

Phil Arvia biography

A lifelong resident of Thornton (look for the world’s largest limestone quarry and drop in), Phil Arvia has been writing for money since 1979, when …

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Arvia: Ball Fore hardly an easy walk for mini golf pros

Why is it every time a U.S. Open comes to the south suburbs, the venue gets trashed by the game’s cognoscenti? First there was Olympia Fields Country Club in 2003. Now, it’s happening again, at Ball Fore, the Chicago Ridge layout that’s hosting the U.S. …

Arvia: Lincoln-Way East duo ‘winging it’ to the beach

OK, they look like they’ve spent a fair amount of time at the beach, what with the sun-lightened hair and tans and all. But to look at Sara Buchbach and Dana Van Dyck, 17-year-old seniors-to-be at Lincoln-Way East, is not to immediately think, “beach volleyball,” …

Arvia: Report connects Vande Velde to Armstrong case

Not quite a year ago, I sat in the family room of Christian Vande Velde’s Lemont home and asked him if he’d ever been questioned in connection to any investigation involving Lance Armstrong and performance enhancing drugs. Vande Velde, twice a rider on U.S. Postal …

Arvia: Pay attention to first steps toward Tour podium

By the time you read this, but a snip of the Tour de France will have been run, just a four-mile prologue in advance of Sunday’s first stage in the world’s most prestigious bicycle race. How important are the first four miles — or 40, …

Arvia: Warriors come out to play in mud at Dash

I began to suspect I was in trouble on the ride to Channahon. My fellow Warrior Dash rookies and I were discussing the tradition of runners in the 5K obstacle course race donating their mud-covered shoes to charity. From the back seat, Marissa Rosandich conceded …

Arvia: Magnuson heads list of area Olympics hopefuls

The words alone suggest something entirely apart from the meaning brought home by the face of the person speaking: “I would retire.” Christine Magnuson, across the table of a Wicker Park sandwich shop, is possessed of a centeredness, a surety, that says her retirement from …

Arvia: Two-minute Wade barely gets feet wet

When it comes to interviews, I’ve always felt better as a marathoner rather than a sprinter. Still, a P.R. flak’s pitch stirred my competitive juices. A two-minute one-on-one with Dwyane Wade? Sure. The setup was Wade’s Wednesday evening news conference promoting a literacy program in …

Arvia: Local coaches weigh in on Illini hire

In what, by John Groce’s timeline, was the opening day of negotiations that ultimately led to his hiring as the University of Illinois men’s basketball coach, several Southland high school coaches milled about at the SouthtownStar’s All-Area banquet on Tuesday and discussed what Groce was …

Arvia: Choosing buzzcut over buzzkills

There’s been a bit of debate over the past few weeks in another part of the paper about this part of the paper. Some folks think we spend too much time on high school sports. Some other folks like the kid stuff. Me? I made …

Arvia: Andrew’s twin titlists battle without bragging

Together, the boys and girls state bowling tournaments were historic. What they were not, it seemed to me, was definitive. Andrew’s boys team placed first Jan. 28. Two weeks later, the girls season ended with Andrew winning the state title — an unprecedented double over …

Arvia: Tourney changes, but Jemseks soldier on

The timing of the report may have caught Katherine Jemsek by surprise. But the content surely didn’t. After two decades as the Western Open’s gracious hosts, the Jemsek family long has sensed the party was over at their Cog Hill as of the 2011 BMW …

Arvia: St. Xavier football finds it’s good to be king

On signing day, St. Xavier football coach Mike Feminis received letters of intent from five players. The next day, he got four more. “That is a little unusual,” the coach of the reigning NAIA national champs said. To set the record straight, signing day is …

Arvia: Ventura will judge who sits on the bench

If every managerial hire is an answer to the perceived failings of his predecessor, what, I asked Paul Konerko, is new White Sox manager Robin Ventura here to address? Four seconds later, Konerko said, “Um, that’s a good question.” Another pause. “Uh, I would say …

Arvia: SSC makes right move on MLK day

The wording was unfortunate, unintentional and, after a fashion, unavoidable. In the email that crossed my desk Thursday, I missed it. There is evidence to suggest I’ve missed it in similar emails for the last several years. But once a colleague brought it to my …

Arvia: Merry Christmas to road-weary ballplayers

So, moms and dads, perhaps you’re reading this while Junior and Missy are out in the driveway, seeing how far a $50 Fijit can fly off the barrel of a $300 BBCOR bat. Maybe, if you’re really blessed this holiday season, one of the little …

Arvia: Yes, voters, there is a Santo clause

Friday afternoon, colleagues managed to discuss my Hall of Fame ballot for nearly three minutes before questioning my sanity. “You can’t vote for Edgar Martinez,” one said, “and not vote for Tim Raines.” Actually, I can — and, last year, did. But last year was …

Arvia: Granderson a model on a roll

There was a moment — more than one, actually — when Curtis Granderson genuinely seemed taken aback. The man who stands now in the footprints of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, who was fourth in the American League Most Valuable Player voting announced last month, …