WIU Alum’s Cubs Victory Song Makes Final 4 Cut in Tribune Contest

Joey White - WIU Baseball 2013

Western Illinois University alumnus and former WIU Baseball student athlete Joey White knows which song he’d like tried-and-true Cubs fans to sing. The song, “Raise the W,” composed by White and his brother, Jimmy, might just have a shot at being the one.

“What should we sing after a Cubs win?” asks Mark Caro in a March 23 Chicago Tribune article, “Go song go: Final four voting for the next Cubs hit.”

Western Illinois University alumnus and former WIU Baseball student athlete Joey White knows which song he’d like tried-and-true Cubs fans to sing. The song, “Raise the W,” composed by White and his brother, Jimmy, might just have a shot at being the one.

The White brothers’ song is now in the “Final Four” of the Tribune’s Cubs victory song contest,  which began in January.

White, who grew up in Downers Grove (IL) and graduated last May with his bachelor’s of business in marketing, is a lifelong Cubs fan, as are his family members “for a few generations,” he explained. (As a former North Side Chicagoan, I too have a fondness for the Cubbies; thus, I can appreciate the White family’s dedication to their team.) The contest’s final showdown—between the two final songs that garner the most votes—is slated to begin next Monday, March 30.

Joey, who works in the Chicagoland area, answered a few questions about his and his brother’s song via email the other day. (And you can vote through 9 a.m. this Sunday, March 29, on the Tribune’s website.)

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Chicago Tribune Cubs Victory Song Contest: "Raise the W" by Jimmy and Joey White

You can vote for the White brothers’ song on the Chicago Tribune website until 9 a.m. Sunday, March 29.

Q: Why did you enter the contest?

Joey: My uncle actually saw the competition while he was reading the ‘Chicago Tribune’ and took a picture and sent it to my brother and me and suggested we create a song and submit it. When I saw the text message, my brother and I both thought it would be fun to do, and we started the process. As lifelong Cubs’ fans, we knew this would be a fun project to complete and share with friends and family.

Q: Tell me about the process of composing the song with your brother.

Joey: My brother lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, now so it was a long-distance project. We have created songs in the past for fun and have a good time doing it. After we decided we were going to create a Cubs song, my brother went to work on the instrumental (guitar, drums, bass). He has always been more inclined with the instruments and composing a beat. When he came up with his idea of how he wanted the song to go, he sent me a rough draft recorded through a text message. When he completed the instrumental, which took about two days, he sent it to me so I could start on the lyrics. I watched some Cubs videos on YouTube and a DVD that I have to help me with some ideas.

The writing process took about another two days, and then I went to my friend Justin Harzich’s house and recorded the song. With the instrumental that my brother sent, we uploaded it onto the program we used to record the song, then sent it back to my brother. After the song was complete, my brother created a video to go along with the song and posted it onto YouTube and emailed the final product to the ‘Chicago Tribune.’

Q: What are you doing now that you’ve graduated from Western?

Joey: At the moment I am gaining professional experience in sales. My future career goals consist of working with Live Nation. I’ve heard it is a great company to work for, and I am very interested in that industry. I’m interested in entertainment, like professional sports and music, and this company works with both.

Q. Anything you would like to highlight about your time at Western?

Joey: I walked on to the baseball team and played in 2012-13. My time at Western was very enjoyable and cherish the experience and education I received from the institution. The years I attended came and went too fast, but are very memorable!

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Hope springs eternal, as the White brothers and all those who entered the contest have demonstrated with their songs. So those of us Leathernecks who are Cubs’ fans keep heart… in this “lucky” (?) “Year of the Goat” — and now with a WIU alumnus possibly the author of the Cubs victory song — just maybe the infamous curse will end its reign!

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Out of the bunkers and back to broadcasting

[Editor’s note: Last week, University Relations Student Writer Jared Dye gave us a taste of what he was up to last summer. This week, he continues with the lessons learned over the summer and why he’s glad to be back on campus–one of which may be no longer having to get up before 5 a.m.!]

What’s it like when the location of your slow summer job is suddenly in the spotlight? As I mentioned earlier, I had a connection through my family to get a summer job at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, IL, and I had never done any work like this in my life.

The John Deere Classic ended up being our easiest week of work, despite split shifts where we would work 5 a.m.-9:30 a.m. before returning for a 4-8 p.m. shift. It was exciting to see everything going on around the golf course before the tournament; bleachers were being constructed, businesses were coming in as sponsors and having tents set up, professional golfers were coming in to get a feel for the course and we felt like our work was really meaningful in preparation for the Classic. We were told that we were doing a good job for the first time all summer when our bosses’ bosses came in for the week.

picture of Jared Dye's summer-job crew

That's me, fourth from the right in the front row (squint and you can see me!)

Then John Deere brought in some of their finer equipment to be set up so all the spectators coming in could see it. All in all, the course had thousands of dollars worth of John Deere equipment, for display and for use by the workers. We were told that every 2-4 years John Deere sends new machines, and they auction off or get rid of the “old” equipment that had being used. They take this stuff seriously.

Despite all that, the real experience was just being there and interacting with everyone. We had an interesting staff to say the least; it was made up of a large number of Mexican workers, lifers, and college kids home for the summer—in the heat and long hours, we were like a team made up of people who equally did not want to be there. After taking four years of Spanish in high school, I had not really had the chance to apply my Spanish National Honor Society skills until this summer. I would have conversations in Spanish with some of my co-workers, and I learned a lot about their lives through our part-English, part-Spanish conversations. I will also say that I feel like I improved my “man” skills quite a bit; I can do a lot more than I could before this summer. But I was asked if I would like to come back next year, and… I don’t think so. I should be looking for some kind of job related to my major by then, and I don’t think waking up at 5 a.m. for manual labor will fit in.

I also returned to the Quad City Times for occasional hours, like I have in the past during breaks. I worked in the Sports department there for over two years while attending Black Hawk College and have continued to stay in touch with them and be available to work when I’m home. The only problem with this was it was a night job; I would show up at 7 p.m. and not leave until about 11 p.m. I would do this and then be up bright and early for a long day at the links.

‘Toys’ and ‘Scrubs’—That’s Right, I Like ‘Em!

Outside of work, as you could expect, my summer was a bit dull. I found myself feeling like an old man day after day when I was tired by 10 p.m. and needed to get some sleep. But, I still managed to have some fun during a work-filled summer. Even though a good number of my friends were not home for the summer I still met up with the ones who were in town and played basketball, hung out and vented about the long days. The most excitement I saw this summer included my trips to Chicago and St. Louis, both which revolved around watching the “Scrubs,” or the Cubs for those who still believe.

picture of Jared Dye

Jared Dye, Cubs fan

I did see Toy Story 3, and loved it. I didn’t care if people at work wanted to make fun of me for seeing it; I had seen the first two so naturally I was going to see the third and final of the series.

Towards the end of the summer my family and I made a trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for my cousin Liz’s wedding. Liz is my first first-cousin to get married, so I guess it was a big deal. The wedding went as most weddings go, but the real story was the after party, or reception, where things got interesting. We were at Elmcrest Country Club, home of professional golfer Zach Johnson, and one of the first things we noticed was a cookie station set up. My aunt and some friends made just about any cookie imaginable, and it was something that I had never seen at a wedding.

The rest of the wedding was usual; my brother and I danced a bit, not together, and then it was time to throw the garter. I was positioned towards the front of the pack of eligible bachelors, and I had a plan. I was going to leap when I saw it go up and just see what happens. My new family member Tim, my cousins’ husband, tossed it, and just as I had planned, I leaped—and before anyone even knew what hit them, I had it. I had caught the Iowa Hawkeyes-themed garter and was receiving cheers from the crowd.

But, despite all that excitement, by the end of the summer I started feeling drained and my work performance probably started to suffer. And that put me in an unusual position: actually wanting to get back to school.

Senior-year starting line

Maybe this was because it would be my final year of college, I don’t know, but I think that I just wanted to get back into a routine and just forget about summer ’10. Even though I may not have a set plan after college, this is still my final year of school and that is something.

I really like the campus here; probably the main reason I didn’t stay in the Quad Cities to go to WIU’s QC branch is that until the new riverfront campus opens, it’s only one building. It’s nice here and I feel comfortable when I’m in my school and work routine.

I had stayed in contact with my roommate and some others from WIU, and that just kept building up my excitement. I had one class I had to get switched, and I was ready to go for the fall semester of my senior year. I wanted to come down a week before school started to get my apartment situated and to be able to relax and enjoy what was left of the summer. It turned out to be a great week since so many of my friends were already back as well.

And now I’m back, taking five classes (I’m majoring in communication and minoring in broadcasting) and getting used to my schedule. After having all but one or two of my classes in Sallee Hall last year, my classes are actually spread out so I get to see more of the campus and the buildings. I’ve got a new bike this year, too. Things are really starting to come together nicely.

I think that my classes will be fine and my only real obstacle is getting through Comm. 311 so I can take two 400-level writing classes next semester. (If senior year is supposed to be the easiest, wildest and most fun, then no one told me!) I knew that from the start though, so I feel ready to go and get through my final semesters as a Leatherneck.

How did *you* pass the days away? Student writer gives his take on the cheesy-but-classic ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’

[Editor’s note: Meet Jared Dye, a senior communication major from Moline, Ill., who works as a student writer in Western’s Office of University Relations. As one of his first assignments back on the job, Jared was asked to reflect on his summer experiences and share them on this blog.]

I had never seen 5 a.m. until this summer. And that was when my cell phone alarm went off just days after returning from school. What was I thinking taking a job in maintenance at a golf course? For whatever reasons, I did, and I would be starting my days at 6 a.m. or earlier for the summer.

I had a connection through my family to get the job working out TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. I had never done any work like this in my life, and thought working outside didn’t sound too bad. Eight to – days didn’t really intimidate too much, but I really had no idea what to expect. I quickly learned that things out there can be rough, intimidating, unpredictable and never-ending.

Every day started with a 6 a.m. meeting to go over what jobs we would be doing to start the long day. During my first week, you wouldn’t find me anywhere but in the bunkers picking weeds, raking, or doing whatever else had to be done for the part of the course that no one was trying to hit into. Those days were the worst, when you knew you were going to be in the bunkers. I’ve heard that the heat index is significantly higher when surrounded by sand, and I’m here to second that.

But, most of my mornings, there I was mowing the greens or tees. This was not your normal mowing, however; we had mowers designed just for mowing tees and greens. We were told what direction to cut, and what not to do. Next, we would check the board to see our next jobs; and even when all seemed to be done, we would be sent out to do something. We would work in the bunkers, fill divots, string trim around trees or the tall grass areas, trim sprinkler and irrigation heads or some other random job to keep us occupied. It was an everyday struggle, that’s for sure. Rainy days were hit-or-miss; we could be sent home early, but odds are we would either work through it or we would come back to the shop and wait it out. Imagine being soaking wet by 8 a.m. and having to stay out and work until 3:30 in the afternoon—not fun. I wouldn’t deny that towards the end of the summer there was an occasional drop in my productivity on tough days.

But I got through it. I was relieved and proud when I was finally done with my time there. And I made money and got to work at a nice golf course that hosted a PGA tournament. The best time of the whole summer was the week of the John Deere Classic.

Find out more about working the tourney, about the thing Jared “caught” this summer (and it wasn’t a fish or a cold!), and why he got teased about his taste in movies, in Jared’s next post.