The suburbs have been home to a number of major sporting events over the years -- the Solheim Cup in Sugar Grove at the Rich Harvest Farms golf course in 2009, the Breeders' Cup at the Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights in 2002, a variety of PGA and LPGA tournaments over the years. Of course, on an annual basis we've also enjoyed the Arlington Million horse race, the Tour of Elk Grove bicycle competitions and the Fox Valley Marathon foot race in St. Charles, among other sporting events.
Rosemont alone plays host to many high-visibility sports teams such as the WNBA Sky, the Arena Football League Rush, the National Pro Fastpitch softball Bandits, the Big East DePaul Blue Demons basketball team and the American Hockey League Wolves (the affiliate for Blackhawks' rivals the Vancouver Canucks).
Of course, the Kane County Cougars in Geneva just affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, and the Schaumburg Boomers and a long list of other pro sports teams play in the suburbs too. Our high school prep and club teams are among the best in the state and in some cases, in the nation.
Sports are big here. All of these options provide entertainment, identity and pride for the suburbs. They add significantly to the texture of the place where we live, work and play.
And then there is the 2012 Ryder Cup that concludes today at the Medinah Country Club.
Never have the suburbs had more to be proud of. It is a majestic event, rich in tradition and in competition, bringing the world's best golfers to Medinah, but also bringing a whole lot more.
Golf is a huge sport, but we concede it may not be for you. Despite the lengths we and others have gone to detail golf's biggest international spectacle, it's possible you know little about it.
And maybe the reports of millions of dollars generated for the local economy don't seem real unless you've been trying to get a nearby hotel accommodation this weekend.
When you hear that half a billion people in 183 countries make up the television audience, maybe that number is simply too large to register. But here are some small numbers that might bring the significance home: The Ryder Cup began in 1927, and of the 39 competitions that have been held, this is the 20th ever held in the United States. Only 17 states have hosted this event, and now Illinois is among the few and the chosen. Just think about what that says about Medinah, about this jewel in our midst. Only 17.
For a state that ranks 49th in too many national economic rankings, 17 is something that matters. It of course doesn't diminish the importance of the areas in which we need to improve, but it does emphasize our capacity to improve. It's an affirmation of what we can accomplish, the world-class results we are capable of producing.
What a wonderful spectacle taking place in our back yard. We do our sports up right in the suburbs, and we all should be proud of the job Medinah has done to add to that tradition.