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2016 Illinois Marathon registration now open

As I just noticed, there are only 276 days until the next Illinois Marathon, which could be more significant to some of you than myself. However, if you're interested in signing up for 2016's race, you are now able to do so.

Remember: If you had some issues last year because of the rain, they'll make it worth your while and comp your 2016 fee

Check out our recap of the wet 2015 race here.

Thanks to our pal Mark Palmer at TravelBlawg for the tip.

Photo by Sam Logan.


Illinois point guard Tracy Abrams tears Achilles, done for season

According to ESPN CU's Jeremy Werner, Tracy Abrams, a senior point guard for Illinois, has torn his Achilles tendon and will miss the entire 2015-16 season.

That sound you hear right now is Illini basketball fans crying.

Illinois played last season without Abrams after he tore his ACL in the summer and was forced to redshirt. Now, for the second year in a row, the Illini are thin on point guard options. Of course, that doesn't matter to Abrams as much; poor guy just can't catch a break.

Photo by Sporting News.


Community open house for new director of Rape Crisis Center

Rape Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services (RACES) is welcoming its new director with a community open house on Tuesday, August 4 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

RACES offer a variety of services to victims/survivors of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment and their non-offending significant others who live or work in Champaign, Douglas, Ford, and Piatt counties in East-Central Illinois. All services are free and confidential. Community members do not have to report to the police to receive assistance and can get help even if violence occurred years ago. The open house provides an opportunity for the community and allied professionals to meet staff and learn more about the programs and services offered by RACES.

The open house will take place inside the Lincoln Square Conference Center (near Charter Fitness).


Sign up for Urbana Park District’s adult recreational sports leagues

Adult recreational sports leagues are awesome. Even those who are not athletically gifted or even really all that interested in the outcomes of sports games can participate and have a good time. From experience, playing rec sports can be the highlight of one’s week.

Typically, you work all week, sometimes there’s time to socialize with friends, and then you have to deal with whatever life throws at you. Wash, rinse, repeat.

But when you’re a part of a rec sports team, you set aside a few hours a week to compete with friends and acquaintances. It’s a time to relieve some stress, run a bit, and maybe have a few cold ones after the game. But there’s a sense of obligation and camaraderie to your teammates that makes winning and losing together part of the fabric of your week. It’s fun. Sometimes that leads to building and maintaining lifelong friendships.

Getting involved in local rec sports isn’t difficult. The greatest effort is trying to find out what sports are available and when the games take place. Urbana Park District has made it pretty easy to sign up for co-ed rec sports, and this summer alone they’ve had 21 teams sign up to play kickball.

Despite being a game that kids in gym class and hipsters in Williamsburg are known for playing, kickball is, well, awesome. Seriously, look at this:

That’s the type of stuff out of sports films. Well, maybe a sports short film. But still, it looks like a blast and that type of fun is available to us in C-U through Urbana Park District. There’s a fall league available, amongst other co-ed sports, and you can find out details on signups when the UPD fall guide prints later this month.

Fall Co-Rec Kickball
Thursdays, beginning Sep 3, 6:15-10:15pm
Canaday/Prairie Softball Field
Age 15 and up

Continue your summer kickball fun into the fall. Enjoy the fun, laid back atmosphere of Adult Kickball. Get a team of at least 4 men and 4 women together for a 6-game round-robin schedule, followed by a season-ending single elimination tournament. Athleticism is optional! Teams must submit a completed roster and full payment with registration. There is no online registration for this league. Please register for this activity in person.

Mandatory Managers Meeting:
Thursday, Aug 27, 6pm at Brookens Gymnasium.


The worst cell service location in C-U

I went to the mall today with my girlfriend to do some shopping. If you ask an old townie about the difference between "the mall" and "the shopping center" they may tell you that there is about four and a half mile gap in between the two. But that's another story.

We went to Bergner's first for the half price K-Cups — the Mountain Black flavored ones. We bought 100 of them, which should last us about three or four months. Next, we made a stop in the men's department and talked to David, who has been dressing men of Champaign-Urbana for 18 years at Bergner's. More on him in another article. Then, we headed to the main strip. 

As we passed by the Best Buy mobile station, the Auntie Anne's pretzel shop, and the cheap sunglasses hall-way-hut, I thought I would send out a post about my awesome afternoon at the mall. However, to my surprise, my phone showed the dreaded "1x" symbol next to the signal.

I said to myself, "This can't be? Is this 2015? IS THIS AMERICA?"

My girlfriend interrupted my thoughts with her strategic plan to hit the Gap, Banana Republic, and then The Loft. We trucked on. 

My phone signal went from 1x to 3G, and even teased me with a 4G symbol. I figured I would come upon a WiFi signal somewhere. Perhaps an Xfinity or Pavlov connection somewhere — but no dice. I never could gain enough signal to get a message out, a Facebook check-in, or even a refresh on my email. I was stuck without signal. Instead, I had to actually look at people, say "hello", and talk to my girlfriend. What a horrible way to spend your afternoon. 

Have a nice weekend. 


Stream Boycut's debut EP Alien

Boycut, the electronic duo of Feral States' Joe Meland and Tara Terra's Emily Otnes just dropped a banger of an EP called Alien. The 5-track EP, which debuted this morning on Ghost Track, and features thoughtful C-U electro pop. One of the EP's hilights is a verse by local emcee Klevah on the second track, "Fire." Stream Alien below and mellow out on this hot Saturday afternoon.


In Case You Missed It: July 20-24

We publish Monday through Friday here at Smile Politely, and between features, articles, and SPlogs, there are a bunch of things to take a look at and read. Sometimes, things slip through the cracks, which is totally understandable. If you catch every single article that we publish, you might be paying too close of attention to us. That would be pretty weird.

Anyhow, there were some cool things published this week by our Editors and writers. Not to toot our own horn or anything, I just thought it would be fun to touch on some things that were published, in no particular order. Here are some of them:

V. Picasso settles into Downtown Champaign by Jess Hammie

V. Picasso is a fairly new restaurant to Downtown Champaign, which was revived earlier this year after some time in Urbana a while back. Jess took a trip, and recapped her experience, which was pretty solid all around. Damn that chicken looks delicious.

A Building, A Feeling, and a Latrine by Tom Ackerman

This is one of the more creative-while-simple ideas that we've had submitted to us by a community writer — and it's pretty great. Tom took to talking about that monster yellow building, The Quarters, discussed that great feeling of picking up Black Dog, and reviewed the new bathroom in the Dandy Pig. I'm really looking forward to seeing more installments in this series, no doubt.

The Urbana Park District Youth Summer Theatre presents the Pajama Game by Mace Mackiewicz

The Urbana Park District's youth theatre will be performing The Pajama Game for a couple more nights (info in the article), and the show features some pretty cool stuff from young performers. Mace took to interviewing the Director, Kyle Thomas, and the Music Director, Justin Brauer. From the looks of it, it is quite the hit.

Tim Beckman only made $200 from a speaking engagement by Tom Pauly

So there were some figures released about just how much money coaches are making at the University of Illinois for their appearances and what have you. The real gem of that report was that Tim Beckman earned a whopping $200 from a speaking engagement. That's it. Also, who paid him to speak? He's had some missteps in the past.

Sparking creativity and cultural consciousness at Shatterglass Studios by Daina Kiela

With this week's weekend feature, Daina talks with Shatterglass Studios about the history of the company, and their latest project — a bio pic of the legacy of Emmett Till. If you're unfamiliar with the type of work that Shatterglass does, please take a look at that article and check it out, plus, combine that with the story of Till, and you've got yourself quite the featured story to round out the week.


Anyway, there's a small recap for you with a few of them. Thanks for reading, as always.


Sakanaya has your lunch

Now is the perfect time to visit campus for eating. There are fewer students, which means shorter wait times and available metered parking spots around Green Street. 

If I'm choosing a Campustown eatery, I'm choosing Sakanaya. It's delicious. Here's the proof:

tonkotsu ramen, $12

small order chicken wings, half soy garlic, half plain $8

vegetable sushi (avocado, asparagus, cucumber), $10

Sakanaya is located at 403 East Green Street (Green and 4th), and is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.