Tuscaloosa. What a place to live for four or five or six years (don’t ask) as a student at the University of Alabama.
But as students, we often don’t get a full picture of the really awesome community in which we live.
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t form a mental picture of the place over time, even if that picture is totally wrong.
After consulting with numerous current and former UA students, we came up with this funny map of Tuscaloosa.
Take a look.
Does it remind you of your time in T-Town? What would you add to it? Tell us in the comments below:
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Photo Credit: RISE NEWS
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The election of Jared Hunter as the third ever African-American UA SGA president was marred by the fact that he was endorsed by “The Machine”– a not so secret organization of Greek organizations that use hardline tactics to win elections.
Hunter, by all objective measures ran a terrible campaign.
He was not allowed to campaign for most of the electioneering period because of alleged violations of student election rules.
And he tried to score points by admitting that he was the candidate of “The Machine”, ignoring the organization’s racists and sexist history for the sake of his own political advancement.
But he still won by nearly 30 percentage points because of “The Machine”.
If this is the future of Alabama politics, then we are all in trouble.
And apparently the official UA SGA Twitter account agrees with that sentiment as discovered by Crimson White news editor Jordan LaPorta on Twitter:
— Jordan LaPorta (@JordanLaPorta) March 9, 2017
Folks are salty in T-Town right now and who can really blame them?
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By Jordan Patterson
“The Game knows.”
Throughout my career as a college softball player at the University of Alabama, I heard that statement hundreds of times.
From teammates, from coaches, and even from family.
There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that the Game really did know.
That it saw all of the extra work I put in.
That it appreciated my genuine happiness for the teammates who played over me.
That it sensed just how badly I wanted to succeed. And because of that, my time would eventually come.
On the day that my collegiate career came to an end, if you had asked me whether I believed that the Game knows, I probably would have said yes.
It wouldn’t have been a lie, but my words would have lacked conviction.
Throughout my career, I worked hard. Very hard.
I tried to do things the right way and be a good teammate. And yet, things never really clicked for me on the field. So yes, I thought that “the Game knows” was a nice idea to cling to, but it didn’t ring true for me at the time.
Ask me that question today, however, and I will look you dead in the eyes and tell you with an unwavering voice that the Game really does know. You can’t fool it- it sees your heart. It knows who deserves to be rewarded, and it will do so accordingly.
So what changed? Why am I now a believer? Well, let me tell you a story.
I arrived on Alabama’s campus in the fall of 2010, making the 10 minute drive from my parents’ house down the road.
This was what I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember- to wear the script A on my chest. I was excited, nervous, and full of hope. My classmates quickly became my best friends (#SS forever). I was working my butt off in the weight room, coming to practice early, staying late, and loving every minute of it.
I was a catcher, and there were two junior catchers on the team who were both wonderful players and even better people.
They taught me so much, and I truly loved getting to learn from them (shout out to Kendall Dawson and Olivia Gibson- BS da best).
I didn’t play much at all during those first two years- a few pinch hit opportunities here and there. The two of them handled almost all of the catching responsibilities.
I missed being on the field every day, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided to play at Alabama.
I knew that catching time would be limited in the first two years. It didn’t matter to me- I just wanted to WIN.
I figured that I would spend those first two years learning, getting stronger, and improving all aspects of my game.
By junior year, I would be ready. Ready to lead the infield, ready to manage the pitchers, ready to get the job done at the plate.
I have never worked as hard as I did during those two years. I improved, but not as much as I hoped that I would. As I said, I didn’t play much, but I stayed the course.
I tried to be a great teammate and contribute from the bench through positive energy and enthusiasm.
We ended up winning the National Championship my sophomore year, and it was the most rewarding experience of my life.
That team was truly something special. So special that one of my dearest teammates wrote a book about our journey that year- Finish It by Cassie Reilly-Boccia. READ IT. You won’t regret it.
Coming off of the National Championship, I was more determined than ever.
We had two catchers coming back- myself and a sophomore, Chaunsey Bell. I knew that both of us would be given opportunities to prove ourselves early on, and I was going to give it everything that I had.
I had played the role of supportive teammate for two years and really took pride in that. It’s so important. Every team needs role-players who take pride in their job on the bench.
But now, I wanted to be on the field more than ever. The Game knew, right? It had seen all of the hard work over the past two years. It knew my heart. In the back of my mind, that little phrase gave me hope that it was finally my time.
I’m not exactly sure when, but I remember getting a call from my coach the summer before my junior year.
“We are adding a transfer to your class. We know that y’all are very close, but we trust you to take her in and make her a part of your family.”
Absolutely. No-brainer. I had full trust in our coaches and knew that they would not bring anyone into our family that didn’t belong there. I wasn’t sure who the transfer was, but I was excited to find out.
A couple of weeks later, I was sitting at my desk at my summer internship when I got a text from coach Patrick Murphy or as we affectionally call him, Murph.
“Molly Fichtner is going to be a part of our family! Here is her number. Please reach out to her and make her feel welcome.”
I excitedly got onand read the article about Molly’s transfer, and my heart sunk.
While Molly had played shortstop at her old school, the press release said that she would probably be working at catcher here.
I can’t explain the feeling that I got- I just remember thinking that this was going to change everything.
It was such a selfish reaction, and it is the moment that I am most ashamed of from my four years at Bama.
Well, it did change everything. Molly arrived on campus that fall and I immediately knew that she was special. She fit in perfectly with our team and quickly became one of my best friends.
On the field, she was stellar. She swung a great bat and consistently threw baserunners out stealing. She beat me out, plain and simple.
That year was a roller coaster of emotions.
I was so happy that Molly had ended up at Bama. She belonged on the big stage. She was one of the best people I had ever met, with a heart bigger than her home state of Texas.
On the other hand, I was heartbroken. While no spots in the lineup are ever set in stone, and I kept working hard, I simply knew that my next two years were going to be much like my first two.
If coaches read this, they will probably cringe at that statement, and they would be right in doing so.
You never want your players to give up on themselves. There are so many stories of players who turn it around their senior year and are basically a completely different player.
If I was a coach, I would preach that to all of my non-starters. You are never stuck in that role. There is always something you can do to get better, and don’t ever stop trying.
I knew that Murph still believed in me.
However, looking back, I think that there was a reason that I got the “feeling” that I was going to remain a role-player. W
hen I began to accept that my job as an upperclassmen was going to be leading from the bench, I was able to truly commit to it.
I kept working hard, still came early and stayed late, but my motivations for doing so began to change. Instead of being motivated by the desire for personal success, I was motivated by the desire for team success.
I needed to work my butt off so that I could demand that others do the same. I needed to keep getting better at blocking and framing so that the other catchers were pushed to get better.
While I had always been a “team player” on the surface, I had finally morphed into a “team player” at heart.
There were still times during those two years that were hard. As an athlete, you always want to be on the field.
It’s something that’s inside of you- a burning desire that doesn’t just go away.
Tears fell on occasion.
It didn’t happen often, but sometimes I would wonder why it just never clicked for me on the field, even though I tried so hard and cared so deeply.
Now, I’m two years removed from the game, and I wouldn’t trade those moments of sadness and frustration for anything.
You know what? That’s life.
Sometimes, you are going to put every ounce of your being into something, and it’s not going to work out exactly the way you wanted it to.
Get over it.
No, I never became a starter. But I did have the best experience of my life.
I learned lessons that I never would have learned otherwise.
When I walked off the field at the Women’s College World Series in 2014 after Florida beat us in the championship series, I had no regrets. I was truly thankful to the Game for everything it gave me, and I didn’t expect anything else from it.
I had experienced so much team success at Bama, and that truly was enough for me.
Little did I know, the Game would give me the biggest personal reward of all two years after I walked off the field.
I chose to go to law school after I got done playing. The legal market is pretty tough right now, and jobs can be hard to come by.
If you want to work in a law firm, the best way to secure a job for after graduation is to get a Summer Associate position.
Most firms hire law students the summer after their second year of school, with the intention of extending a full-time offer after the summer is over if you do a good job. Competition for these positions is fierce and the interview process is lengthy.
After living in Tuscaloosa for my whole life, I have been itching to move to a big city.
When it came time to start applying for Summer Associate positions, I knew that Washington, D.C. was my top choice geographically.
The problem was that it can be pretty hard to get your foot in the door at D.C. law firms.
They do not typically recruit students from Alabama, tending to get their Summer Associates from more “prestigious” schools. Side note: I would put my school up against any in the country and am so thankful that I ended up there. But I digress.
A family friend of my family is a partner at arguably one of the best law firms in the world, and I expressed my desire to end up in D.C. to her.
She graciously offered to set me up with another partner at her firm who knew a lot about the D.C. market.
I was thankful for any help that I could get, and booked a flight up to go meet with him. I had nothing to lose- I wasn’t even thinking about asking this man for an interview.
He was just going to give me some advice on how I should go about applying to smaller D.C. firms that might be willing to interview a student from Alabama who was not at the top of her class.
As it turned out, he ended up being the Hiring Partner- in charge of hiring all of the firm’s Summer Associates.
Well, lucky for me, he happened to Google my name before meeting me for breakfast. When he did, he found a Tuscaloosa News feature article that was written about me during my senior year.
The article basically told the story that I’ve been telling you here: that I was a hard worker and always tried to be a good teammate.
The Hiring Partner brought it up at breakfast, saying that those are the qualities he looks for when hiring law students and that it’s not often that he has tangible proof that someone possesses them.
He then proceeded to ask me “if I was opposed to interviewing with them.”
The firm flew me back up to D.C. the next week.
I had five 30 minute interviews with different attorneys.
The first four went very well. I walked into my last interview with one of the attorneys that was on the recruiting committee (so it was really important that this one went well).
He was a big sports fan, so we immediately started talking about softball.
He asked me if I had played much, and I truthfully answered no. Then I got THE question: “What did you learn from that?”
There is not a single interview question in the world that is more suited for me than that one.
I proceeded to explain to him for over 45 minutes precisely what I learned from being a role-player throughout my four years at Bama, rather than a starter. Resiliency. Selflessness.
How to take pride in your role, whatever it may be. What it really means to put the team first. I walked out of his office knowing that it was the best I had ever done in an interview.
Two days later, the Hiring Partner called and offered me a job. I lived in D.C. for the summer, working at the firm, and loved every minute of the experience. I was surrounded by former Supreme Court clerks, attorneys at the very top of their fields, and genuinely wonderful people.
On paper, I had no business being here. I do not have the same level of qualifications that my fellow Summer Associates had. Yet, there I was. All because I chose to keep working hard even though I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.
My coaches and teammates noticed.
A reporter chose to care about a story that almost no one else would. And then, of all things, someone Google’d me.
Do not tell me that the Game doesn’t know.
So, to any players out there struggling with being a role-player: keep working hard. Keep putting the team above yourself.
Keep trusting your coaches. Believe me, I know that it hurts at times. But the Game sees you, and it will reward you.
It won’t always be in the way that you wanted or pictured it, though. Sometimes the reward will come years later, in a way that will have a much greater impact on the course of your life than getting more playing time ever will.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jordan Patterson is a former University of Alabama softball player. She is currently in law school at Alabama.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Jordan Patterson/ Facebook
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By MIA bites
This piece was originally published by our partner MIAbites.com and is produced by them.
Happy Summer 2016! The “snowbirds” have returned North, the winter tourists are mostly gone and by the end of next weekend’s crazy Memorial Day weekend, Miami truly returns to the locals.
Many of our favorite restaurants gear up for summer with special menus, cocktails, Happy Hours, and unique events. This week’s Weekly Nibble has compiled some of the best new menu additions and events to help you settle in for the summer heat. .
Friday May 20th– Come savor the flavors of South Florida at The OBIEs Food & Wine event, this Friday May 20th featuring unlimited samplings from over 30 of South Florida’s top restaurants and food purveyors and an open bar. James Beard Award-winning chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz will headline as the Celebrity Chef for this year’s Orange Bowl Impact and Excellence Awards (The OBIEs): A Taste of South Florida presented by Florida Blue, and healthy lifestyle crusader, author and James Beard Award-winning chef, Rocco DiSpirito, will make a celebrity chef guest appearance at the 2016 OBIES at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center beginning at 7:30 p.m General Admission Tickets are regularly $85 but for first time attendees a $10 discount is available with code FBOBIES on Ticketmaster link here: https://oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/orangebowl/EN/buy/quickbuy/210/OBIE2016#OBIE2016
Tuesday May 24th- Newcomer Caviar Russe Miami is offering a one of a kind dining experience on Tuesday, May 24th 2016 at 7:30 pm. Renowned Chef David Valencia will take you on a six course journey around the world, featuring some of the most sought after delicacies starring Caviar, Sea Urchin, Blue Fin Tuna, A5 Kobe, and more. The cost for this decadent experience is $750 per person. Each course is to be paired with Charles Heidsieck Champagne, highlighting “Rare” by Piper-Heidsieck. Following dinner, an intimate and rare LOUIS XIII moment will be hosted by Victor Blanquart, LOUIS XIII ambassador. To reserve a seat, please RSVP to Events@caviarrusse.com Caviar Russe Four Seasons Tower 1441 Brickell Ave. Miami FL.
Thursday, May 26th- Kick-off Memorial Day Weekend at LDV Hospitality’s The Gale Rooftop with Time Out Miami for their first ever Summer Kick-Off Party. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., guests will enjoy live music by DJ Troubles and unlimited ice-cold Schöfferhofer beer. Named by Bravo TV as “Best New Restaurant,” Dolce Italian’s Chef Paolo Dorigato will serve up an array of delicious appetizers. The party will continue as the sun sets while guests take in breathtaking views of South Beach. Guests need to RSVP to email@example.com to reserve their tickets.The Gale Rooftop Gale South Beach 1690 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139
Thursday May 26th– Chef Jose Mendin along with his Executive Chef of PB Station, Guillermo Concha, will pair up with Juliana Gonzalez of Barceloneta to prepare a four-course menu, with each course consisting of a dishes from each chef. The special “Chef’s Choice” menu ($75 plus tax and gratuity) will be offered for one night only at PB Station beginning at 8pm with a special Gin & Tonic after party at the Pawn Broker Bar and Rooftop Lounge. Tickets are $75 per person (tax and gratuity not included) through this link http://pbstation.com/2016/05/12/first-stop-collaboration-dinner/PB Station in The Langford Hotel 121 SE 1st St., Miami, FL 33131 305-420-2205
Wednesday May 25th & Wednesday June 1st– Meat Market’s Summer 2016 Dinner Series is a must-attend dining experience for foodies and drink connoisseurs, with the first in a series of multi-course, curated spirits dinners set to launch later this month at both Miami Beach and Palm Beach locations. Kicking off on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Palm Beach, the monthly dinner series will feature a four-course menu prepared by Executive Chef/Co-Owner Sean Brasel, known for his creative contemporary cuisine. Each course is expertly paired with cocktails or wine, with the first dinner featuring craft cocktails from award-winning mixologist Ezra Pattek.The dinner, priced at $85 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) will start with a cocktail reception at 7PM, followed by the sit-down dinner at 7:30PM. The series will make its way to Miami Beach early next month on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 with a 7:30PM cocktail reception and dinner at 8PM. Limited seating available and reservations are required. Meat Market Miami Beach: (305) 532-0088. Meat Market Palm Beach: (561) 354-9800.
Wednesday June 1st- Join INDULGE & Miami.com at Fontainebleau Miami Beach for a truly one-of-a-kind culinary experience on Wednesday June 1st from 7-9:30 pm. World-recognized celebrity chefs Michael Mina and Scott Conant will be present to guide guests through a progressive evening of food and drinks in their respective Fontainebleau restaurants. The uniquely VIP, behind-the-scenes night – never before offered to the public – includes stops at Michael Mina 74, Scarpetta, StripSteak by Michael Mina and a special sweet send off from Fontainebleau’s Chez Bon Bon. The evening includes six luxurious dishes, three signature cocktails (including a housemade limoncello tasting at Scarpetta and the famed Japanese whisky ceremony at StripSteak), a take-home dessert, INDULGE gift bags, and the chance to meet and interact with two of America’s best chefs. INDULGE Editor in Chief Evan Benn will host the evening. Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach $150 (includes tax and tip). Limited to 30 guests Tickets http://indulgemiami.bpt.me/
Saturday June 4th- Chef Jeremiah presents Duck Duck Goose ( DDG ) on Saturday June 4, 2016 from 5 to 9 PM at the newly expanded gastroPod lot, located at 168 NW 26th Street in Wynwood. In addition to a mouthwatering selection of all-you-can-sample locally raised and pastured fowl prepared in new and exciting ways and a selection of drinks from many of Chef J friends and cohorts, guests of all ages will groove to DJ Spam and surprise special guests. And check out the cute DDG t-shirt available for sale! Tickets General Admission:$59 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/duck-duck-goose-tickets-24992462127
On the Horizon:
Friday June 17th- South Florida’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry returns, this time to Soho Studios in Wynwood. Led by Led by Founding Event Chairman Allen Susser and Restaurant Co-Chair Timon Balloo, the annual tasting event will feature the area’s top chefs, sommeliers and mixologists united for a cause: making sure all children in this country get the healthy food they need, every day. Proceeds from the event benefit No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in America. The 28th annual tasting event will take place from 7PM to 10PM, at Soho Studios, followed by an exclusive after party for VIP ticket holders at Midtown’s Apeiro Kitchen & Bar from 10:30 PM to midnight. General admission tickets are priced at $125 per person. VIP tickets are priced at $250 per person and provide access to the event one hour before the doors open as well as admission to the after party. For additional information and to purchase tickets, please visit: http://nokidhungry.org/miami. Soho Studios 2136 NW 1st Ave Miami, Florida
New Happy Hours, Summer Menus and Brunches:
Lure Fishbar, is welcoming summer with the launch of Happy Hour and a limited-time pre-fixe menu. Now through July 2016, diners can enjoy a menu crafted by Executive Chef John Iatrellis of delicacies from both land and sea. Priced at $55 per person (excluding tax and gratuity), the three-course dinner begins with a choice of Salmon Tartare with avocado ponzu and aji amarillo; a Lure House Roll with shrimp tempura and spicy tuna; a Field Green Salad tossed with baby gems, tomatoes, shaved cucumbers, watermelon radish and carrot ginger dressing; or Tempura Shrimp with spicy sesame mayo. Happy Hour Imbibers can enjoy a rotating selection of refreshing cocktails throughout summer for $8 each as well as lite bites during the newly launched Happy Hour available Monday through Wednesday from 6 to 8PM. Lure in the St. Moritz Hotel building at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel at 1601 Collins Avenue.Valet parking is available. (305) 695-4550;
The Gang is excited to announce their new happy hour series, Beat The Clock, every Monday through Thursday from 5-7pm. All drinks on the happy hour menu start at $5 and go up a dollar every hour, on the hour. Discounted drinks include Bangkok Mai Tai, Skinny Girl Cosmo, Peach Lychee Martini and select beers and wines. Guests can also enjoy Vietnamese Pork Rolls, Tibetan Vegetable Spring Rolls, Chicken Dumplings, and Green Tea Crab Rangoon from the $5 bar bites section of the happy hour menu. Be punctual or pay the price! The Gang3500 N. Miami AveMiami, FL 33127
db Bistro Moderne Miami at the JW Marriott Marquis debuts a new spring menu from recently appointed Executive Chef Clark Bowen, an integral member of the db Bistro team since its opening in 2011. Chef Bowen has added his creative touch to the spring menu with lighter dishes featuring snacks to share, three new steaks, a lamb frita, seafood including local snapper, plates featuring the bright, vibrant flavors of local produce and the DBGB Frenchie Burger. Db Bistro Moderne in the JW Marriott Marquis Miami 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131 (305) 421-8800
Dolce Italian, LDV Hospitality’s Italian restaurant at the Gale South Beach, announces the addition of several new dishes to its award-winning dinner menu. Executive Chef Paolo Dorigato combines his prominent culinary background and Italian techniques to create refreshing summer dishes including the Tuna Crudo, a refreshing mix of watermelon, avocado with a pine nuts lemon vinaigrette; Eggplant and Burrata, candied tomatoes, prosciutto on a toasty bread stick; and Asparagus Soup with a lemon crème fraiche. Pazza pizza, a combination of spicy salami, zucchini and candied tomatoes and three new pasta dishes including the Pea Tortelli, ricotta, jumbo lump crab and lobster sauce; Lemon Ricotta Cavatelli, spring green vegetables, pesto, artichokes and a ricotta salata; and the Agnolotti Primavera which features a roasted chicken, fava beans, artichokes and pecorino. Dolce Italian Gale South Beach 1690 Collins Avenue. (786) 975-2550
The Traymore Restaurant and Bar at Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach, presents a new Sunday brunch menu, bringing an eclectic variety of light-hearted fare with a seasonal “Savory” and “Sweet” theme from Chef Juan Loaisiga. Guests are able to enjoy a variety of brunch items on the Savory menu, that include: Eggs Royale / Eggs Benedict ($16); Maine Lobster Toast ($16); Eight Hour Braised Short Rib ($20); Oysters with passion fruit mignonette ($3 each); Seafood Cobb Salad ($16); Pan Roasted Fish of the Day ($20) and a cheese board selection ($16). The Sweet menu offers Brioche French Toast ($14) and an assortment of Flavored Eclairs ($10). The Traymore brunch cocktails are offered at $10 each, and are uniquely gin-based creations, made especially from The Traymore Gin Bar. Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach 2445 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140. 305-695-3600.
( Information provided by various sources and subject to change. Please check ahead to confirm all details and make reservations where requested )
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