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Meet the Commenters: The6thJayhawk

A closer look at our favorite Wichitian

We are joined here today with Wichita resident the6thJayhawk. Your hometown gets quite a beating on RCT. Try to sell us on why Wichita is a great place to live.

At this point, nothing I say is going to convince you numskulls how awesome (or at least how non-horrid) Wichita is. I'll be the first to admit it has problems. I know them best because I LIVE HERE! Like how you can't go to Old Towne on a weekend night without fear that some gun or knife violence might go down on the street. Or how South Wichita is basically one giant trailer park. The "Judgmental Map of Wichita" is basically right on-point. (See below)

(I now live in the "Rich Nearing Death" part of town; formerly from the "Annoying Soccer Moms / Illusioned Rich" neighborhood.)

I will say, though, two things: first, it amazes me how I've lived in Wichita my entire life (never had a permanent address anywhere else), and yet I still learn new things about it all the time. Since I got my house in Riverside, for instance, I'm learning how to navigate the area I call "The Island" (which is the area south of 13th Street and in between the rivers). There are about three or four parks within walking distance, and a nice bike trail going down the Big Arkansas River. I also wound up in an area with a lot of great eateries I never knew existed like Charlie's Famous Burgers (a total dive that weirdly has good tacos as well as burgers) and Molino's (a tiny Mexican restaurant known for its piratas) and Neighbor's (a quaint restaurant/bar with some good but greasy burgers). I had been driving past those places all my life and had never bothered to stop or take notice until I moved to that area of town. Wichita seems to be even bigger than I give it credit for.

Two: Granted, I don't know the KC area *that* well, but the people in Wichita are genuinely kind and don't have the attitude that the KCK suburbs seem to be known for. Our East side has plenty of hoity-toity rich people, to be sure, but nothing on the level I saw from my KU friends who were from KCK. There have been times where I was in trouble basically on the side of the road, and people stopped to help me. Wichita is a relatively big city, but it has a small town feel to it. Especially in the Catholic community, when you meet new people, they already know people you know, etc. Wichita: big city amenities, small town feel, and best of all -- no major traffic! Huzzah!

(Also, as my coworkers remind me almost daily, the East side is far superior to the rest of the city, because they have the better restaurants, shops, etc.)

Let's back it up a little bit, tell us about your family.  What did your folks do? Any siblings? What kind of a kid were you?

I don't know whether my coworkers have picked up on it, but I call my different sides of the family different things. I call my mom and two (half) sisters "my family"; and my dad and stepmom, "my parents." (I also have two stepsiblings on my dad's side, but I don't see them much anymore.)

My mom just changed jobs. She's a physical therapist assistant, who helped rehabilitate older folks or burn victims or people who'd come out of major surgery. Now she's changed jobs, slightly, and she's working at a different campus that focuses on elderly care. So, instead of working with new faces essentially every day at the hospital, she gets to see the same older folk on rotation at this elderly rehab center. So far, I think she likes it.

My stepmom is also in the medical field, as a surgical nurse on the East side. And my dad... ? I know what company he works for, but he genuinely changes job titles all the time. He's like some kind of director or manager of business structures...??? He directs business efficiency, manages IT, and helps manage the office side of the manufacturing plant... I just looked it up. Apparently, his title is "continuous improvement"... Whatever TF that is. I know he's on the job-hunt too, so he might be changing jobs soon as well.

As I said, I have two (half)sisters (on my mom's side), a stepsister and stepbrother. My step siblings are around my age, and my sisters are seven and nine years younger than me, respectively. So, they're both in high school right now -- the younger one is a junior; she's into choir and art and stuff. And the youngest one is a freshman, and she just started track a few weeks ago. She's a little sprinter, and she's been hyped up for it all school year, now that she's dropped volleyball. I once tweeted Diamond Dixon if she had advice for my sister, and she tweeted me back. I wrote the tweet down, and my sister has it hanging in her room. I'd like to get her up the Kansas Relays, but I bet she'll already have a track meet of her own that weekend.

I was a pretty good kid, but we'll get into that below apparently.

You seem to have a reputation of being somewhat straight laced. What was the most rebellious thing you did as a teenager?

That reputation is probably well-deserved. I went to a Catholic high school that had a reputation for underage drinking. In fact, while I was there, they started doing random breathalyzer tests at the school dances. I never got into the partying and drinking crowd, mainly 'cause I was a nerd (Honors kid) and I rolled with fellow straight-laced people. Our idea of "getting wild" was playing Mt. Dew pong on a weekend in the summer.

I did get in major trouble with my parents once in high school for something non-school-related, but it was essentially a big misunderstanding. I still think, to this day, it was a little overblown (mostly by my dad, go figure).

The most rebellious thing I ever did *on purpose* was... the night before I had to sell my high school-era car (a little green '98 Saturn), I drove it out past Goddard and just started flying up and down the paved backroads. I was probably going 30-40 mph over the speed limit, but I made sure it was a deserted road in the middle of the night. At one point, I think I also blew through a stop light, but nobody else was around. Looking back on it now, I don't wish I hadn't done it. But, I do wish I had maybe been a bit more careful. Maybe just 20 mph over the speed limit, instead of 40.

What did your parents say when you told them you wanted to leave the mean streets of Wichita behind to attend KU?

Everyone was essentially on board with it. My mom's brothers went to KU (in fact, they both had lived in the men's scholarship hall next to the one I lived in), and she'd always been a big fan of their basketball program, so I think she approved of it pretty much from the get-go. My dad was the one who encouraged me to look at all my options, and I think he really wanted me to go to WSU. But, once he visited the KU J-School with me and learned about it from the professors and the students there, he was cool with it. I did get a nice scholarship from Mizzou, but that wouldn't have covered the difference of out-of-state tuition, but I think at one point he was trying to convince me how awesome it was. (He's not really a fan of any school, by the way; he just wanted me to get a good, but cheap education.)

Photo Courtesy of the6thJayhawk

More importantly, how and when did you find RCT?

I don't remember when exactly I found it, but I think I'd found it through the ESPN website, and it kept my interest enough that I kept going back. I'm guessing it was around the time the '12-'13 basketball season started. I lurked for a while before I bothered to sign up. The only reason I bothered to sign up for an account was because I wanted to complain about how the Hawks had lost AT TCU on my birthday.

So you now pay the bills by working as an oil and gas journalist. Can you see yourself doing this when you're 50 or is this merely a stopping point in your career?

Oh hell no. If I'm still here when I'm 50, somebody please come and rescue me. Although, it's not as bad as it sounds. I have good, friendly coworkers; a nice, big office that I don't have to share with anyone and that I can decorate in all the KU stuff I want; nice bonuses (usually, when oil prices were better); and I get to travel some but not a lot, and sometimes to really nice places. I don't know if I ever would've went to Lake Tahoe, Virginia Beach, New Orleans, or San Antonio outside of work. And if I had, I wouldn't have gotten to go for essentially free.

Honestly, though, I'm not sure where I would go after this, but I know I don't want to be here forever. ::shudders:: I wasn't even really in print journalism so much; I was focused more on online and broadcast journalism. I applied to be a television reporter/anchor/producer at various stations before I landed this job.

But, it's really interesting, and makes you realize that there are so many people hard at work everyday just to make our standard of life possible. And not only people in the oil and gas industry, but food, medicine, etc. I feel like Americans -- and this is generalizing here -- sometimes take their quality of life for granted, and this job helped me see exactly how much work goes into making our lights switch on everyday.

What has been the greatest success and greatest regret of your life?

Hmmm... Other than attending KU, I would say my greatest success was teaching a traveling church summer program. I was debating whether to do that my first summer in college or to get a real job. I knew I wasn't going to get paid hardly at all, wouldn't see my family much, and my time would be entirely occupied with babysitting bratty grade schoolers all day and trying to teach them about Jesus essentially all summer. I would be assigned to work with three other people (two guys and another gal), and I'd heard horror stories of teams not being able to get along or work together, and how miserable their summers were because of that. But, I still chose to teach the summer program, and my team was amazing. I learned a lot about my faith, and really matured as a person, because of my teaching and team experiences. I really feel like I was a selfish teen before that, and after that summer, I was a slightly less selfish adult. It was a huge commitment, and there were moments where it was completely miserable, but I wouldn't be who I am today if I wasn't for that summer and the people I met and worked with along the way.

My greatest regret, and this is getting into really personal territory, was not reaching out to my paternal grandmother the last seven years of her life. She lived here in Wichita, basically right down the street from me; but for complicated familial reasons, I wasn't allowed to reach out to her. I was actually volunteering in the hospital the night she died, and I saw my uncle going up in the elevator (I later found out he was there to see her). But, I couldn't approach him and ask him why he was there because of hospital privacy rules. It kills me sometimes that my grandmother was like a stone's throw away from me right before she died, and I hadn't seen her in seven years, and never got the chance to reconcile with her.

Sorry, that was probably way more personal than you were expecting, but that's genuinely my biggest regret in life.

Let's say I come visit you in Wichita. Where would you take me and where would we go?

I do think we'd have to pay a visit to the Warren IMAX theater. I've only been in there three or four times, but that theater and screen is so big, it's almost like a work of art. You don't appreciate how big it is until you're craning your neck up at it.

As for food, it would depend on what you're craving. If you want sandwiches, we can go to the Artichoke; truffle fries, the Anchor; Mediterranean, Cafe Le Monde; pizza, River City or Wichita Brewing Co., or Knolla's (we have a lot of good pizza places in Wichita)... If you're looking for a burger, there's this ABSOLUTE dive on the South side, near my work called "Jack's Coffee" but it's really Shirley's and it's known for its Shirley Burgers. They might not be the best burgers you've ever had, but I guarantee you won't forget going there.

Anything else we might not know about you but would be interesting.

I've written a number of poems, plays, and short stories, partially thanks to my classes at KU. I also wrote a screen play a few months ago, but that's still needs to be edited and probably reorganized a bit before it could ever been film-ready. So, if anybody's ever interested in reading my stuff, let me know, and I'll put it on a GDrive or something over the summer.

Lightning round (no explanations just your answer)
Age: 24
Height: 5'5
Any pets: Sadly, no
What kind of car do you drive: a cherry tomato-red 2012 (great year) Mazda 2
Corrective lenses: yes, glasses
Hair style: uh... long?
Favorite movie: My Fair Lady
Favorite TV show: (currently airing) The Blacklist; (formerly airing) 30 Rock
Favorite beer or alcoholic drink: whiskey sour
Favorite band: Like "band" band or like, general musical artist? If artist, I'm going with GB. If "band"...? IDK, Journey?
Favorite food: burgers
Favorite non KU team: Wichita State
All time favorite KU player: Thomas Robinson
First concert: GB
First W-2 job: Worked in a ceramics factory
Best athlete seen play live: Paul Pierce at "Legends of the Phog"