Archery Open House at Blackwell Forest Preserve

IMG_20180804_105815Visitors gathering near the Blackwell Traditional Archers’ tent to try out an Atlatls, the bow’s predecessor.

This past weekend on August 4, 2018, the annual archery open house at the Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois commenced. Blackwell has one of the best outdoor archery ranges in the area, and perhaps the state. It features a beginners range, an Olympic range going out to 90 meters, and a 3D target range for hunters. And this past weekend, hundreds of visitors came to be introduced to the sport.

Only two ranges were occupied for the event. At the beginners range, the DuPage Forest Preserve District had brought many learner bows for all comers to try for the first time. All one had to do was sign a waiver and you were able to loose two arrows at a target no further than 10 meters. It’s not much, but it’s does give one a taste of the art. Moving down to the Olympic range, there were several booths along the way. There were some from the Forest Preserve District, one from the Warrenville Police Department, one from Nock and Feather, an archery shop from Aurora, and one from our own Blackwell Traditional Archery group that was manned by several of our older members. When you reached the Olympic range, the actual Olympic lane was also set up to be a beginners’ lane but further down that was the proper tent of the Blackwell Traditional Archers.

It was here that we had various traditional archery tackle on display from everyone from the group. There were some unstrung English longbows and American Indian bows, a glass case filled with antique and modern reproduction arrowheads, and some introductory books on the topic. On the actual bow racks, we had several types of traditional Asiatic bows from group members that we were freely demonstrating with. And the most exciting portion was trying out the Atlatl or spear thrower. It was the predecessor of the bow and it was available for attendants to come and try their hand with. All of the atlatls and many of the bows on the desk inside the tent belong to one Dan McGehee, who actually hand made almost all of them. He is also notably the president of the Blackwell Traditional Archery group as well.

IMG_20180804_132014A view of the display inside the BTA tent.

IMG_20180804_112732Dan McGehee, on the right, gives a quick overview on the use of the Atlatl to two attendants, one of which is our very own Jay Purrazzo.

Jay hurls a spearJay hurls an atlatl!

IMG_20180804_132104MVIMG_20180804_132126Perforated armor and shield from a heavy longbow.

MVIMG_20180804_144746_exported_stabilized_401395128771027617Dan is pulling a 110 pound longbow and loosing a heavy arrow against the armor.

The Blackwell Traditional Archers usually travels to archery clubs across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin just to have fun with shooting traditional archery equipment. Sometimes we are asked to demonstrate said equipment at events setup by those clubs. And soon, we will be bringing that knowledge to Fountaindale Public Library. On September 10th starting at 7pm, myself and some other Blackwell Traditional Archery members will be presenting the history of archery. It will give you a chance to learn about this storied art, have your questions answered and to meet us in person! I hope to see you readers there!

MVIMG_20180804_123350_exported_stabilized_56034338645890180The author and a fellow archer drawing and loosing their arrows at a long range target.

MVIMG_20180804_132802Yours truly in the middle, a friend on the left, and Jay Purrazzo on the right.






March Madness is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States that features 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), to determine the national championship. The tournament was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the idea of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen.  Played mostly during March, it has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States.

The tournament teams include champions from 32 Division I conferences (which receive automatic bids), and 36 teams which are awarded at-large berths. These “at-large” teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee, then announced in a nationally televised event on the Sunday preceding the “First Four” play-in games, currently held in Dayton, Ohio, and dubbed Selection Sunday. The 68 teams are divided into four regions and organized into a single-elimination “bracket”, which pre-determines, when a team wins a game, which team it will face next. Each team is “seeded”, or ranked, within its region from 1 to 16. After the First Four, the tournament occurs during the course of three weekends, at pre-selected neutral sites across the United States. Teams, seeded by rank, proceed through a single-game elimination bracket beginning with a “first four” consisting of 8 low-seeded teams playing in 4 games for a position in the first round the Tuesday and Wednesday before the first round begins, a first round consisting of 64 teams playing in 32 games over the course of a week, the “Sweet Sixteen” and “Elite Eight” rounds the next week and weekend, respectively, and – for the last weekend of the tournament – the “Final Four” round. The Final Four is usually played during the first weekend of April. These four teams, one from each region (East, South, Midwest, and West), compete in a pre-selected location for the national championship.

The Fountaindale Public Library is proud to present this month’s lobby tree display in celebration of March Madness with a plethora of books to choose from as well as a smattering of DVDs and CDs that take a look at all aspects of this popular sporting event.


Here is a sampling of some of the titles that await you:

  1. Great Teams in College Basketball History by Luke DeCock
  2. Last Dance: Behind The Scenes at The Final Four by John Feinstein
  3. The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry by John Feinstein
  4. NCAA Basketball Championship by Annalise Bekkering
  5. When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball by Seth Davis


…And, it’s all conveniently located for you on the 1st Floor, right when you first walk in!


So, come on in and celebrate this famous and popular annual sporting event.

We’ll Always Have #SadTomBrady and Other Super Bowl Thoughts

Good news Bears fans! If the season that the Philadelphia Eagles just had (going 13-3 in the regular season and then soundly beating THE PATRIOTS to win the Super Bowl) is any arbiter of fortune, then about two years from now the Bears will also win the Super Bowl! Although, two years from now the Bears most likely won’t have Safety Malcom Jenkins, TE Zach Ertz, and definitely NOT WR Alshon Jeffrey. However, if the Bears are lucky, Eddie Jackson could be like Malcolm Jenkins Jr., Adam Shaheen could at least be a serviceable football player (fingers crossed), and a wide receiver draft pick could actually play more than 5 games…

Sigh. In the meantime, Bears fans can still revel in what was certainly one of the best played Super Bowl games in the past few years; oh yeah, and Tom Brady and the Patriots lost, which is always a good thing. (Quick aside: the halftime show was bad. Moving on.) The Eagles and Patriots played an exciting offensive game. While I would say that though both teams’ defenses were lacking, a high scoring game going down to a Tom Brady Hail Mary pass, and the Patriots still lost, was just what the NFL needed after a rocky and tumultuous season. My personal favorite highlight was seeing Tom Brady attempt to catch a pass, look down in dismay as he misses, and me turning to my older brother quoting the “E*Trade” commercial that aired not two minutes before saying: “I’m 85, and I wanna go home!”.

Normally with important television events, such as championship games and awards shows, I’m glued to Twitter to see what other people, experts or not, are saying about the event. For the first time in a long time, though, my phone was unchecked for most of the game. It really was that good. However, once the game ended, Twitter became open season for #SadTomBrady, and I was here for it!

Here are some of my favorite takes that popped up on my feed from Sunday’s game:

-This tweet is in reference to Tom Brady’s unconventional diet where he doesn’t eat certain foods because of their color. Seriously.

-This tweet was for the fumble that Brandon Graham forced on Tom Brady towards the end of the game. *Side note: someone responded to this tweet with “Phantom Throw”, which is a reference to the Daniel Day-Lewis movie “Phantom Thread”.

-The area may be pounded with snow soon, but we DO still have #SadTomBrady and as of today, Thursday, February 8, Black Panther comes out in 8 days! (Can’t wait for that one.)

-This is my personal favorite as this is in reference to Tom Brady’s personal health guru and trainer, Alex Guerrero, who in a report that surface back in January, other Patriots players aside from Tom Brady were seeking health and medical advice from Guerrero despite the fact that Guerrero is not a doctor, nor has an M.D. license.

Though the Super Bowl was almost a week ago, I hope you all had a fun weekend watching a great game, and also seeing a deserving Philadelphia Eagles team take down the “Evil Empire” of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and those pesky Patriots. Stay safe out there this weekend with the snow, and when you’re feeling down, just remember, your failures were not televised around the world for all to see.