Our Fellows: THE BLOG
If you are not familiar, broomball is like ice hockey, but with these goofy sticks called a “broom”, a ball not a puck, and shoes not skates.
Challenge Detroit had the opportunity to put together a tough group of athletes that put their bodies on the line each week for five weeks. There actually was an additional week for playoff games, but we do not need to discuss that right now… There were twelve teams in total, split into two divisions. I would like to point out we were stuck in what FIFA would call the group of death. Now, I am not just saying that because we only won one game and only scored 3 goals the whole season, but we were scored on 19 times, finishing eleventh. Now, that is okay to live with, but I just want to say the top three teams in our division had a combined GF (Goals For) of 59, while with the top three teams in the other division had a combined GF with 20.
That being said, I had a blast playing and enjoyed every game. I have no idea the last time I made my way onto an ice rink. The league was hosted by ComePlayDetroit, and presented by Quicken Loans, Honigman, Miller, Schwartz & Cohn LLP and Deadline Detroit. We played outside on the rink downtown at Campus Martius Park, which was a great experience even with the cold winter weather conditions. The Fountain Bistro restaurant located right next to the rink supplied us with free food and fit in perfectly with their happy hour time frame. Our team ended league play on a good note with our first victory. We finally crushed it!
Check out ComePlayDetroit for upcoming events and leagues!
As you are reading this, Challenge Detroit just finished up with our fifth challenge of the program. That means we are at our halfway point. I cannot believe that six months have passed so quickly. The best part and focus of this program are our Fridays, our days to give back, working in collaboration with nonprofits in the Detroit community. I love it. Getting to experience parts of Detroit through our work is humbling.
Coming from Virginia, I almost always heard of the bad things about Detroit. Since moving here and working with these nonprofits, I have had the privilege of proving this theory wrong first hand. Sure Detroit has issues, but there are so many people here that are ready for that to change, and build Detroit back up to a global standard. Not too often can you say that you were part of revitalizing a city.
Through Challenge Detroit, I have been working with my other Fellows as well, which has been gratifying. We have been compiled into various team sizes, different team roles and responsibilities. All of us have something different to bring to the table. I have a degree in civil engineering while others have degrees in marketing, urban planning, law, communications, architecture, financing, etc. As diverse as a group we are, the best thing about us as Fellows is how we all share in the same mindset of giving back to Detroit and helping a city ready for change.
The experience of giving back with these nonprofits has been rewarding. Along the lines of what my mom has told me over the years, it is nice to receive, but always better to give.
A year ago, as I was searching out possible job opportunities in my last year of college, I never thought I would want to live in a city, let alone Detroit. Good thing I did not put money on that.
Becoming a Challenge Detroit Fellow has opened myself to a new experience, and one that has brought me so many memories. I basically live in the heart of this city, on Woodward Avenue, and with rent being incredibly reasonable for a city (even without my stipend) I am glad I have this chance. I love that I have been able to walk to a Tigers, Red Wings, and Lions game. Shopping at the Eastern Market, where they attract 40,000 visitors a weekend, is great way to spend a Saturday morning. Getting some food at the El Guapo Grill food truck is a must-have for any Mexican food lovers. Visit the Detroit Institute of Art, which has more than 100 galleries for you to view.
Things are only going to get better too. I have had a chance to attend place-making workshops to enhance some of Detroit’s public spaces. The M-1 Rail project should be finishing up in 2015 to bring over 3 miles of light rail transportation to Detroit. Downtown will see empty storefronts being occupied, bringing new life to the city within this time frame as well. Buildings are and will open up more apartments as well, which are very much in demand. Too often people will get caught up on Detroit’s bad image and that is sad for them because there is opportunity in Detroit, as shown in this Quicken Loans commercial that was put together and aired within a week for the World Series. This is just one example of many that will hopefully change people’s perspective of the city. If not, oh well for them. They will miss out on something extraordinary.