On a snowy Saturday morning, the Chief called with breaking news. Vicky Rosjana, a teller at Forest Park National Bank, was fighting to keep her spot on the Rush Adrenaline Dance Team. I had to get to the Tilted Kilt immediately to cover the audition.
I had been hoping to interview one of the bobcat cowboys who plow our sidewalks. Instead, I had to endure another dance audition. Plus, I was warned that the waitresses at the Tilted Kilt wore Catholic school uniforms. After looking at those outfits for eight years, I had no desire to see knee socks ever again.
When I got to the packed pub, I noticed the waitresses wore very abbreviated red plaid skirts, tight white shirts tied in front and some sort of suspension bridge device on top. The dancers favored sports bras and shorts. Surrounded by all this pulchritude, I had only one thought – would the food be good?
My French Dip sandwich was excellent and I finished just in time to see Vicky and her partner Racquel take the floor for the last audition routine. First they answered questions from the judges. Vicky spoke of how the Rush football players, dancers and fans were like a big family. In fact, Vicky’s mom and dad were there, along with members of her fiancé’s family.
Their eyes were on Vicky, as the hip-hop strains of “Hey Baby” started and the two veterans began whipping through their moves. They broke the laws of physics several times and moved muscles that most humans don’t have. There was an edge to their dancing that set them above the competition.
Vicky later told me they had drilled those dance moves for six hours that week. Their work paid off because their twists and twirls were as identical as their outfits. After they finished to huge applause, the judges deliberated. This was tense. Thirty girls had tried out and only 18 would make the squad. If Vicky was cut, the Chief might kill the story.
Then I saw him: my personal hero of Chicago journalism. Elliott Harris, author of the Chicago Sun-Times “Quick Hits” section, was one of the judges. If you’re not familiar with “Quick Hits,” it features large photographs of assorted cheerleaders, dancers and well-toned female athletes accompanied by very few words.
After the results were announced and Vicky was safely on the squad, I told the great man that I was covering Vicky for the Review. I’ll never forget his reply, “So, you call this work, too.”
Work it had been and now I had to get my picture taken with Vicky, painfully uncertain about where I should place my left hand. I smiled for the camera but inside I was worried – would the bobcats be finished plowing before I got back to Forest Park?
John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.