Chrisisms: In search of 20 20-somethings

By Chris Wachowiak

I’m calling this “Chrisisms.” Is that even a word? A few years ago, my unofficial big brother, Mossy, coined this term “chrisisms”: thoughts, ramblings, insights — whatever comes to mind to paper is a “chrisism.”

Why am I writing a “chrisism” so many years later out of nowhere? Frank Schier, The Rock River Times’ editor and publisher, is the answer.

I ran into Frank at Kryptonite, and, as always, Frank and I got into a quick conversation about things happening, or the lack of things happening, in our downtown and how few people are being accountable.

We discussed how lame people in this town seem to be complaining on Facebook about how this town sucks, or hearing about Rockford Scanner, or how “Rockford Rocked” at one time with annoying Facebook pages about better days having passed, or quickly sharing the stuff that happens in our city on a second-by-second basis. You hardly read about anyone doing crazy, cool, boundary-pushing stunts, ideas or businesses in the younger generation.

So many things are going on in our city, and yet few positive things get shared, and there are some shady things going on from time to time that just don’t sit right that spark up heated dialogs quickly. And then, the challenge from Frank: “Why don’t you write a weekly column, Chris? You’ve never been shy of saying it how you see it.”

Frank believes I may offer some entertainment value, I’m assuming, for you reading this. Time will tell whether I can pull off a weekly column of thoughts escaping my brain to paper, and then if anyone cares to read them.

Wednseday night, after leaving Frank and our conversation at Kryptonite, I made a Facebook comment calling out the 20-somethings who seem to be hiding online rather than in public. I cannot seem to recall some 20-something creating a buzz or making a stir in our community. Where are they? I know they are out there! I’ve met a few of them, and I want to meet more!

So, then I tweeted Isaac Guerrero from the local daily challenging him to follow up his 13 of 2013 people to watch to seek out 20 20-somethings doing something! He told me to wait until next year for the 14 to watch for and, in the meantime, he has other stories he wants to write. OK, well, that answer only annoyed me. Another reason I’m writing today.

I really want to know the future of Rockford’s change out there! IGNITE is the Chamber’s attempt to reach the young professionals, and that’s fine. But I’m looking for the 20-somethings who are wanting to do their own thing — make their own unique mark on their local community, the ones following their passion in spite of elders and peers telling them “it’s stupid” or “no one’s done that.”

If people are not challenging you, odds are you’re not challenging yourself. Our community needs young doers, button-pushers, edge-walkers, artists, boundary-pushers, visionaries, rebels, dreamers and believers. I need them as a (late) 30-something business owner. I need to be challenged and inspired by others as well. Rockford needs them!

So, in the next few weeks, I will be seeking out 20 20-somethings to write about, and I will need help! I will need names, and I would like to bring attention to the next generation of doers, not wishers.

Send me names, help me, and a quick bio about them and what they’re doing, if you know!

My first 20-something next week will be Vince Chiarelli. The 22-year-old doer, who restarted Rockford College Radio and currently runs that, is getting his master’s degree and playing in the Vincent Chiarelli Combo every weekend while also running his third-generation re-opened grandfather’s record label, Vincent Records.

There need to be more Vinces out there! Please tell me about them!

Chris Wachowiak is owner of Kryptonite Bar, 308 W. State St., No. 110, Rockford. He can be reached at

From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue

One thought on “Chrisisms: In search of 20 20-somethings

  • Feb 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I’ve spent the last 8 years organizing events for people to participate in, almost 100% geared towards the 30-and-under crowd. I’ve got a Lousy Bowlers’ League, I get people together for local kickball and dodgeball tournaments, I rent courts at ISC for a volleyball league, I rent out an indoor field at Victory Sports during the Winter for pickup Ultimate Frisbee (and free outdoor fields during non-Winter)… These things are not for everybody, but I’m really glad when people are willing to give it a try and even stick with it despite not having learned the skills yet. And it is particularly difficult to find female players (when the kickball / dodgeball / volleyball require minimums). I do what I can.

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