Chris Essig

Walkthroughs, tips and tricks from a data journalist in eastern Iowa

How an hour committee delay works in your favor

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Not much happens on time in the Capitol. And committee meetings are the worst. Fifteen-minute-plus delays aren’t uncommon in committees, which can be frustrating. But the longest delay I’ve had to endure so far this session was during today’s criminal law committee, when I waited roughly an hour.

But it worked in my favor and in a big way. How you ask? Because a completely random–and awesome–person was in the Capitol on Wednesday, making his rounds around the same time the committee was scheduled to start. Who? Hockey legend Stan Mikita. Being a diehard fan of the Chicago Blackhawks–where Mikita spent his entire career–my dad always ranted and raved about Mikita’s career. I, consequently, grew up a fan of Mikita’s, even though I missed witnessing his career by nearly 20 years. My dad always talked about him and Bobby Hull, another Blackhawk legend. Hull and Mikita. Mikita and Hull. Ask any Blackhawks fan, and they’ll concur.

So while I was waiting for the committee to start, I wandered around the Capitol in hopes of running into him. He was scheduled to have a meeting with Sen. Minority Leader Christine Radogno, so I staked out in front of her office. I was there with Sean, another reporter and Blackhawks fan, and eventually we saw him coming up to her office. So I got to meet him. Cool. I asked him what he thought the chances where that the Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup this year. He said they have as good a chance as any team. Equally as cool.

Apparently he was there lobbying for a bill that deals with cable. That’s about all I know. I didn’t have time to ask because I had to run to the committee before it started. Of course I had plenty of time because the meeting didn’t start for other 30 minutes. But I can’t complain because the delay helped me meet a hockey legend.

I had to ask him for an autograph, even though I looked extremely out of place (not like there were many people around). I had him sign a copy of the day’s Senate schedule. Real classy, huh?

Yeah, this is totally geeky. But Mikita is a big deal for hockey fans. Numerous hockey sources put him among the top 20 greatest hockey players ever. And the Sun-Times recently listed him as the greatest Blackhawks player of all time, ahead of Hull.

And as they note in the article, his No. 21 jersey was the first number retired in franchise history. And now that number is plastered on my otherwise completely normal Senate calendar.

Of course hockey still doesn’t matter as much as baseball, football or most other sports in Illinois. But maybe that will change if the Hawks win it all this year…

Image posted by Flickr user Francesca…. It is used under a Creative Commons license.

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Written by csessig

March 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm

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