Dear Milwaukee

I know it had been a while, but I loved our very brief reunion. You reminded me that it is very easy to gain weight living in Wisconsin. With all the cheese curds, beef sticks, delicious beer, and six-year aged cheddar to eat, when would I ever find the time to work it off? It’s hard keeping up with your diet. By the looks of it, quite a few of your residents agree.

Hoan_Bridge

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Driving over your Hoan Bridge still scares me a little bit. I think of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis every time I drive your span and then I think about what I would do or think during the long, long drop to the frigid waters of Lake Michigan. My face would probably freeze in a really stupid look and it would remain that way until I hit the water. Thanks for not collapsing.

_BKP6300

One view from the old commute.

I was reminded of the commute I had to an old job, specifically, just how damn beautiful it was. And yes, I took the Hoan Bridge because the view is worth it even though the bridge itself looks brittle. No, it wasn’t like driving up the coast of an ocean, but it was damn near it as long as you didn’t pay attention to the weather and focused on that strip of water that looks like it was pulled from the Caribbean and placed right there off the shore just for you.

This leads me to the weather. I had not forgotten that your weather can suck, but maybe it wasn’t the freshest memory in my head. After last weekend, you’ve remedied that. It was cloudy all weekend, windy, highs in the mid 50s. Honestly, I’ve seen that weather from you during nearly every month in the calendar. I remember a July 20th that felt like the middleΒ of March.

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The beginning of a dynasty. Horizon League Champs 2010. I am in the upper right, arms outstretched.

Oh, and back to that commute. It took me to UW-Milwaukee, where I helped coach swimming for two years. I returned there to see some of the swimmers who were swimming at the time I was coaching and it was just perfect. These swimmers are now professionals (accountant, real estate agent, attorney, doctor), husbands, wives, and even some parents. I got to stand around and drink crappy beer with them (thanks for that awful taste in my mouth, Miller Lite) and share stories with one another about adulthood, but also about our brief, but fantastic stints as UWM swimmer and UWM coach, respectively. Sometimes those two years feel like peak career for me. That is ridiculous, I know. But still, do you know how many coaches coach for decades and never win a championship, never see their swimmers annihilate whole championship heats at conference? I saw both at UWM.

Milwaukee, I want to thank you for inexplicably plucking me from Colorado and setting me down on the shores of Lake Michigan. What a different land you are…from your cuisine, to your crap roads, to the stunning blues of the lake. It all combines to make you one sweet, little, big city.

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