As is the case with most good ideas, it started with an afternoon of drinking.
Several of us had gathered at The Globe for a Saturday of SPORTS!, taking in an Arsenal match and watching the Hawks & Jets in a matinee. On our way home, @Schwarziest and I stopped across the street at Timber Lanes, feeling a bit of curiosity and bowling nostalgia. (Also booze.) What we found was an amazing place that was part bowling alley circa 1984, part Blackhawks bar, and really, just perfect all around. We inquired about renting lanes for a group outing; we found out we could rent the whole alley.
A couple of weeks later, some of us were tweeting back and forth about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. A couple of LGBT folks mentioned in the conversation that they were either ambivalent about watching the games, or planned to avoid them entirely, given Russia's current, aggressive anti-gay policies. (Quick summary of that: It's now a crime in Russia to act, look, or talk gay in public. You can be arrested and jailed for it, or whatever else the authorities deem to be pro-gay propaganda. You can also be beaten in the street for it by a homophobic mob while police stand and watch. This happens a lot.) For whatever reason, my brain had one of its rare moments of successfully connecting two ideas together: What if we organized a bowling night, and donated the proceeds to a pro-LGBT charity?
And so, here we are. Let's do it. Let's go bowling.
Location: Timber Lanes, 1851 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago (1 block west of the Brown Line)
21 and over only. Sorry, kids.
Cost: $50 per person
Package Includes: Open bowling, shoe rental, and open bar. Bar includes beers & ciders, wine, and mixed drinks. Shots are not included in the package, but will be available for purchase. And yes, they'll have Jeppson's Malort available, you sickos.
All Proceeds Benefit: The You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination in sports. As you'd expect, they've been giving special attention to Vladimir Putin and his band of homophobes in the run-up to Sochi.
Sounds like an incredible evening for a worthy cause, right? How could it possibly get any better, you ask, playing directly into the next section of this blog post? Well, what if I told you there's also going to be...
The Big-Ass Rainbowl Raffle! (Prize listing updated Thu 3/6)
That's right, you can spend the night bowling and drinking for charity, and you could win stuff for it. If you feel the sudden need to burst out in song to "What A Wonderful World", it's entirely understandable.
Raffle Ticket Prices: 1 for $10, 5 for $40, or 8 for $60. Tickets may be purchased in advance and during the event.
Grand Prize: Cash Freaking Money. You'll win half of the pot from all raffle ticket purchases, with the other half going to You Can Play. All you have to do is have your ticket drawn, walk up to the lane, and bowl a strike on your first try. With everyone watching. No pressure.
If the person drawn misses, we'll keep drawing tickets until someone gets a strike. Somebody's going home with that money.
1st Prize: The First-Ever "Hockey Ruining Ponies" Jersey. Thanks to the multi-talented Ali Lawrence of My Little Blackhawk, we'll be giving away this beauty to the second person who bowls a strike:
Yes, that is real, and it is fantastic. It's little Uni-Kane on the classic barberpole jersey, with sewn-on numbers, name, and crest. It would look great on you. Many thanks to the fine folks in Rockford at Exclusive Pro Sports and Jersey Monster for bringing this idea into reality.
We'll also have plenty more prizes for you to win with no skill required, thanks to the generosity of some great people. (Yeah, I'm talking about you.) You could win:
An Indy Eleven fan experience! Indy Eleven is an expansion club in the North American Soccer League (one tier below MLS). They'll be playing this season at Carroll Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, and are generously offering the following package to one raffle winner:
- 4 tickets for any of these Spring Season home matches:
- Saturday 4/19 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Saturday 5/10 vs. FC Edmonton
- Saturday 5/17 vs. Ottawa Fury FC
- Saturday 5/31 vs. San Antonio Scorpions
- A pregame walkthrough with the team
- If you bring any kids (ages 6-16), they can either be ballboys/ballgirls during the match, or escort players onto the field for the opening ceremony and anthems
A 4-Pack of Rockford IceHogs tickets! Grab your I-Pass, round up your friends, and head toward I-90 - the FreezerPigs have kindly donated a voucher good for four seats at any remaining home game in 2013-14 to see the Baby Blackhawks in action.
Tickets to see the Chicago Steel in action! The awesome folks at the Steel, who are proud partners with You Can Play, have donated 10 ticket vouchers, good for any remaining home game in the 2013-14 season. The Steel play in the highest tier of junior hockey in the country in the USHL at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville.
Tickets to see the Chicago Red Stars! The Red Stars are in their 6th season, and continue to grow as Chicago's professional women's soccer team. The Red Stars and their fellow member clubs in the National Women's Soccer League have some of the most talented players in the world, including players from several national teams. The club's donated two vouchers, each good for a pair of seats at any Red Stars game at their home grounds, located on the campus of Benedictine University in Lisle.
Your very own Gay Bowling Ball**, thanks to Kevin Joseph, who also designed the Rainbowl logo.
**Bowling ball does not possess gender or sexual preference, and will work regardless of bowler's orientation, provided said orientation is "facing the pins".
A one-of-a-kind painting from Lauren Maiero of Hockey Pinup Girls.
The new Hockey Equality T-Shirt, thanks to Alex Heinrich of Pucks and Pixels.
A T-shirt in your choice of any of the brilliant designs from Blackhawks fan and Irish rabble-rouser Michael Devine.
BEER! Really great beer, like
|I understand he was also working on a #StalbergPorn Pilsner, but never finished. FOLKS!|
A copy of Blackhawks Magazine autographed by Jonathan Toews, donated by @AngryFeels.
A very handsome "Hockey Fights Cancer" Blackhawks puck autographed by Patrick Sharp, donated by @GeekMisconduct.
A copy of the "Eddie Olczyk Heritage Night" edition of Blackhawks Magazine, autographed by Edzo himself, donated by Adam Brown.
|Soft-serve ice cream not included.|
An assortment of Chicago-themed framed vintage prints and buttons, handmade and donated by @KaeferinChicago.
Finally, the most important part: How do I attend this magnificent spectacle?
If you want to go, e-mail me at hockeybrunch at gmail dot com, with "Rainbowl Tickets" in the subject. I'll send you an order form, along with instructions on how to pay. You can pay either by mailing a check or via PayPal.
Now, some important details:
We're limiting this event to 64 people. Timber Lanes is only an eight-lane alley, and we want to make sure everyone has as much of a chance to bowl as they want, and that we're not stacking the bar six-deep like the bunch of boozehounds we are.
Your ticket order can be for you and up to three friends. Bring your crowd along, but give others the chance to bring their crowd/partner/compensated escort, too.
Teams? We can do teams. If your group wants to be a team, or you'd like to get set up with some random folks and play together, and enough other people want to do it, we'll organize some sort of tournament, no doubt with fabulous prizes for the winners. (Or, bare minimum, "loser buys shots".) If you'd rather just bowl without any sort of organized structure, hey, let your freak flag fly.
You'll want to sign up pronto. Like I said, space is limited, and this is going to be first-come, first served, so you'll want to get your order form and check in the mail to us as soon as possible. Once we deposit your check, we'll send you e-tickets to bring to the event. Any raffle tickets you purchase in advance will be waiting for you at the alley the night of the event.
Check payment must be received by Monday, March 3rd. PayPal payments must be received by Friday, March 7th.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me or tweet me. I'll keep updating this post as the night draws closer. This promises to be an amazing night for an excellent cause. Your hangover on Sunday will be well worth it.