Category Archives: Sports

Unanchored

Sunday nights seem to be the worst.

The whole world’s going crazy and it’s getting harder to hold on to a sense of balance. So much going on at home, trying to just hold on to a sense of normalcy in our own bubble. So much to do at work, trying to carry my weight and help where I can for those who need it. So much to do at the hangar as we’re shut down but still trying to survive. So much to going on across our country as actual forces of evil are trying to divide and destroy us from within.

Am I doing enough? Or am I doing too much and will I recognize the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Or does that whole “you’re stronger than you know” thing still apply and I need to buck up, get my ass in gear, and do even more?

Overlying all is a growing anxiety and fear over the COVID-19 virus. We’re still healthy, but know folks who aren’t, and have seen just how bad it can be.

Where’s the center in all of this? Where’s the balance point? Or is there one, or is it constantly shifting and moving?

There’s a little bit of relief on the weekend as we can force ourselves to make time to relax, to watch a ballgame or movie. But even there I feel a constant dread, a guilt, a pressure that time is being wasted when I watch that game or show. Which I know is wrong, but which in turn just feeds into the cycle of angst.

Baseball is back, which is good – but I can’t help but feel that the other shoe is going to drop any day, with a whole COVID outbreak that could devastate a team, teams, or the league. Hockey and basketball return this weekend, and pro football is less than six weeks away. Who even knows if we’ll get college sports in the fall.

So much uncertainty, so much stress, so much impending doom. But tomorrow we’ll tackle it all again and do our best. Mainly because we really don’t have any choice. As the saying goes, “The only way out is through.”

But Sunday nights seem to be the worst.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Deep Thoughts, Sports

Someplace Special – April 08th

Fenway Park, Boston

August, 2004. I took most of the family (The Son was overseas in the Air Force) to Boston. Being us, we had to go to a baseball game there in what was to them a new baseball stadium. In what was to me a cathedral, and old friend, a long-lost happy place.

It had been sort of a shitty vacation up to that point. We had been up in Vermont visiting my mother, which was nice, and had gone to visit Montreal, which was nice right up until our car got broken into, our luggage and my briefcase stolen, and we got the pleasure of spending most of the next three days trying to cancel credit cards and bank accounts before the identity theft got too bad.

We were going to the 2004 Worldcon in Boston and knew the Angels were in town against the Red Sox, so we spent more on 3rd row seats behind the Angels dugout than we spent on airfare. (Thank goodness the tickets had been left in Vermont and weren’t in my stolen briefcase!)

The Sox were up early and after seven innings the Angels were losing, 10-1. The Daughters had brought their rally monkeys (which were ALL the rage that year) and were waving them wildly despite the score. And we scored two in the eighth inning. And then scored four in the ninth inning…

I remember having at least one guy still on base and maybe two, so the tying run was at the plate before they finally got us out and won the game. A lot of the Boston faithful had left early, but those that remained were giving us some serious stink eye.

It was glorious.


I know the world has an abnormally high ratio of shit in it right now – but it also still has a lot of good things, and good things that will come back to us. It’s important to remember that. So let’s remember that and hold onto it when we need it.

Our family and many others are missing the simple pleasures now, like going to a ballgame, or even just watching one on television. It sucks. It’s a constant, nagging reminder that things are not right.

But so far we’re all healthy – I hope you are too. This will pass, and the baseball games will return.

We need to be doing this now in order to help as many of us as possible be around when they do.

Wash your hands. Wear a face mask. Maintain physical distancing.

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Filed under LA Angels, Photography, Sports, Travel

“It’s Not The Years, Honey…”

“…it’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones

Yes, that is my toe starting to stick out of the left shoe. Running shoes do that after enough miles.

We were reminded at the beginning of the week that:

  1. The COVID-19 virus situation was getting worse (based on the situation in Italy and how little was being done in the US)
  2. The stock market was expected to dive even further (based on the futures market over last weekend)
  3. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was still in the White House (which explains a LOT about items #1 and #2)
  4. We had the freakin’ time change to Daylight Savings Time to mess with our heads.
  5. There’s a Friday the 13th today! (I’m 100% ***NOT*** superstitious, truly, but hey, sometimes an omen is an omen, know what I mean?)

CONGRATULATIONS! We all survived it!

With all of that “doom and gloom” on the horizon, no one was even warning us that the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, NASCAR, MLS, and every other capitalized sports acronym on the planet was going to pull the plug.

Hell, Disneyland is shutting down! I believe that’s actually mentioned in the Book of Revelations as one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.

There might not be toilet paper in the stores (there probably is if you just bother to go to the smaller stores instead of Costco) but there are a gazillion alternatives – if you don’t believe me, read the words of someone much more erudite than me.

Let’s be smart as a society, even if we have a world class moron as a “leader.” Ignore what he says and listen to the actual doctors say. A key is going to be “smoothing the curve,” spreading out the growth of COVID-19 so that people who get really badly infected and need ICU beds will have them over four to six to twelve months instead of all needing them at once in four to six weeks. It’s not rocket science.

Wash your hands.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Help others in need.

Then wash your hands again. Seriously.

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Filed under Health, Photography, Sports

Pitchers & Catchers

It’s odd. Usually the day that spring training baseball camps open (like, today!) is a much bigger deal to me. Pitchers & catchers reporting marks the beginning of yet another baseball season with the World Series Championship shining like a beacon in far off October.

But again, we see how much of everything is perception and the relative good or bad brought to our lives by other factors. In this case, my beloved Chiefs.

Most years at this point, the Chiefs haven’t played in about six weeks. Even in the good years, where it might have been only four weeks, that four weeks was punctuated with a horrible, gut wrenching loss snatched from the jaws of victory.

But this year…

We’re still basking in the glory. The memes are glorious. The flags are still up and I’m still watching replays of the playoff games. Today’s mail brought me my copy of the Kansas City Star from Monday, Feburary 3rd. (Guess what’s on the cover?)

So the first spring training games aren’t for another eleven days. Instead of leaping on the baseball bandwagon like a drowning man pushing Rose off of the door into the drink, let’s mosey on toward baseball.

I like this. I could get used to it.

Every year.

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Filed under KC Chiefs, LA Angels, Sports

Super Bowl Champions Monday

We won.

There was BBQ at our house because, well… Kansas City! BBQ! Duh!

(Click to enlarge.)

There was some tension being behind by ten points with only about eight minutes left – but you have seen us play, right? Like, really?

There was champagne that we had been saving for a special occasion, and they don’t get just a whole lot more special than this.

There was hanging out and celebrating and watching Andy Reid get his awards and Patrick Mahomes get his and everyone else looking at wedding pictures.

See you next year, same time, same place – back to back!

(And pitchers and catchers report in eight days…)

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Filed under Castle Willett, KC Chiefs, Panorama, Photography, Sports, Video

That Was A Lot Of Adrenaline

I hate my brain sometimes.

On Friday I wrote about the SpaceX Launch Abort flight that they were going to try to fly this weekend. I mentioned how it was scheduled for way too damn early on the West Coast, but thanks to social media I knew that the schedule had been pushed back from about 04:00 to about 07:30 or so. I’m normally awake by then, so I turned off my alarms. Then when the Saturday morning launch attempt got scrubbed completely, I saw that update almost immediately when I woke up – so I went back to sleep.

They rescheduled for this morning, but later, about 05:30. Even though I didn’t have any alarms set, my idiot brain got me up anyway, only to find that there was another weather delay, this time until about 07:00. I went back to sleep, only to have my smartass brain wake me up then.

The good news is that the test was an amazing success. About eighty seconds into the launch, traveling at about Mach 2.2 (I’m remembering these figures from my sleepy state this morning, they might be off by a tad), the Dragon spacecraft commanded the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to shut down and then fired the escape rockets. It worked perfectly! The Dragon separated, took off like a bat out of hell, then re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and deployed the parachutes, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 km off shore.

That was fantastic! Here’s to hoping that we’re now within mere weeks of once again launching American crews into space from American soil on American rockets. (That’s not jingoistic, it’s begging for redundant systems for a critical component of human space flight. If there’s only one way to get to orbit and back and something happens to that one thing, you’re screwed. Right now that only one way is on a Russian Soyuz. It had a launch abort last year and there were concerns that we might have to evacuate the ISS when the next crew rotation came up. Plus there’s that whole “political thing” with the Russians trying to overthrow our government…)

Then this afternoon my beloved Kansas City Chiefs played for the Conference Championship and the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl in two weeks.

The Chiefs played in Super Bowl I (and lost) and in Super Bowl IV (and won). Since then, fifty long years, it’s been nada. Zilch. Zip. Bupkis. Last year we were within minutes or seconds of winning the Championship game, only to let the opportunity slip away.

In today’s game we again fell behind early. Last week it was 24-0 before we got on track, this week not so bad but still down 17-7. But as we did last week, we hit our stride, got our game in gear, and ended up kicking ass and winning.

In both the launch and the game there was a LOT of adrenaline spent. It was “happy adrenaline,” not that “oh shit, there’s a cheetah behind me” kind. For that I’m grateful, but for now I’m crashing as that particular hormone burns it way out of my system.

I’ve never in my life been more happy to have a holiday coming up tomorrow. I’m freaking exhausted.

But happy. Happy exhausted.

We play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Miami on February 2nd. Well before summer, we’ll see a crew going to ISS on a SpaceX Dragon.

50 years between Super Bowls for the Chiefs.

9 years between crewed flights out of Florida.

WTFL (Way Too Freakin’ Long) in both cases, but the light at the end of the tunnel is there!

 

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Space, Sports

What A Ride

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. Remember Christmas 2018 when we went on a road trip to Seattle and KC to watch them? And we saw them play the Chargers and the Rams in Los Angeles last year?

This has been a bit of a roller coaster year, with our MVP quarterback being hurt for several games. We lost four of five games in the middle of the season, but came on strong in the second half and finished 12-4, and even managed to squeak into the #2 spot in the standings and getting a bye in the first week of the playoffs.

Then came yesterday…

Many bad words were uttered as we gave up long touchdown passes, blocked punts, and muffed kickoffs. MANY bad words.

My indomitable faith in the team was rewarded when they came back with the biggest, most spectacular, most amazing comeback quarter of football in the history of the game. Not a comeback from 24 points down in a game – they did it in ONE QUARTER.

Then they kept me calm and my blood pressure down by keeping the pedal to the metal.

Yes, it’s no secret at the office that I’m a Chiefs fan – we have a healthy football culture in the office with fans of teams from all over the league. So, yes, everyone in the office wanted to talk about THAT game.

Next weekend, don’t bother me between noon and 15:00. I’ll be preoccupied.

And with luck we’ll get to host one hell of a party on February 2nd.

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Sports

New York, New York (Pictures Day 21)

In summary: New York City had a life of it’s own in my head. In early August 2016, I visited there for the first time. On the first afternoon we visited Central Park and were there for hours, despite the jet lag. Day One started with a tour of the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, followed by the full two and a half hour cruise around Manhattan – south down the Hudson River into the Upper Harbor, up the East River under the “BMW” bridges, past Midtown and the UN, into the Harlem River, back south into the Hudson River, underneath the George Washington Bridge, past Grant’s Tomb, and finally back into port. To finish Day Two we had a death march to find a cab, went to the Mets game, left early only to miss the best part, and inadvertently stiffed a nice cab driver. Bright & early on Day Three we headed out toward Liberty Island – it’s hard to take a bad picture there, then went to Ellis Island. Bank on Manhattan, we went to World Trade Center Museum, which was emotional & grueling. Day Four started out with a trip to Times Square, after which we headed to the Empire State Building. The views of Manhattan were spectacular! Then we went to Yankee Stadium for a game.


Because it was Alex Rodriguez’s final game, there was a huge crowd and a big pre-game ceremony planned. The weather, on the other hand, had other ideas and the grounds crew got ready to roll out the tarp.

And not a moment too soon. We were just a row or two under the 2nd deck overhang, so we were relatively safe from being too soaked.

As the storm moved over the stadium, the winds started roaring (see the flags?) and the underside of the storm cell looked like movie special effects for “all Hell’s going to break loose.”

Despite the fact that it was something like 90 minutes before sunset, it got black as night with thunder rumbling constantly out of the clouds right overhead. Good thing we weren’t sitting right next to a humongous yellow steel pole sticking up in the air a hundred feet or so, right?!!

That sick yellow color on the underside of the clouds doesn’t make you feel better about the situation when 30 seconds before it was pitch black.

ARod was out there trying to be ceremonial. My concern was that he was out there with his family and a few dignitaries while the end of the freakin’ world was rolling in from the west. Don’t they understand what bad PR it would be for ARod and his family to be killed by lightning in the middle of this farewell ceremony?

And these dudes out there warming up? I can only conclude that they wanted to make sure that ARod didn’t get fricasseed alive alone by Thor throwing thunderbolts. Probably a team camaraderie thing. Or they’re really freakin’ stupid, I could go either way.

The skies finally opened up and they cut the ARod ceremony short. See, there IS a god!

The rain passed after a half-hour or so of downpour and the game finally got underway . We almost never leave a ballgame before the end, but we were exhausted and chose to bug out early. Someday I’ll get back to Yankee Stadium and take a more thorough tour, camera in hand.

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Filed under Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather

Someplace Special – October 25th

From our trip last December, the final game of the regular season for the Kansas City Chiefs, against the hated Oakland Raiders.

It was cold. The crowd was ***LOUD***! We stomped them, 35-3.

We got to see four games last year. Two in LA, one in Seattle, and this game in KC. This year we’re highly unlikely to get to any games since the Chargers’ “home game” against the Chiefs is in Mexico City next month.

Arrowhead Stadium is a holy place to a lifelong Chiefs fan.

Truly somewhere special!

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Photography, Sports, Travel

Monday Night Football

If you don’t follow sports, or if you’re not in the US and just don’t follow US pro football, you may or may not know that last night’s Monday Night Football game was an instant classic, being labeled by many as one of the greatest regular season games in history. But you might not care, so feel free to ignore today’s rant!

“I’m out of the office at 2:30, go to NoHo, Red Line to 7th Street/Metro Center, Metro Line to USC – should be there about 4:30” – 11/18/2018 text message to The Younger Daughter

“No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy” – Helmuth von Moltke, 19th century head of the Prussian army

It was much closer to 3:00 before I left the office. The freeway onramp at DeSoto was blocked by an accident. I tried to get to the Winnetka onramp, only to find a few thousand other folks had the same idea. It took twenty minutes or so to work my way through the side streets down to the Reseda onramp. Free sailing until I got to the Universal Studios Metro station, only to find ALL the parking spots full with dozens of Rams and Chiefs fans circling the lot in gridlock. I bailed and drove ten minutes out to the NoHo Metro station (which has a much larger lot), only to find ALL the parking spots full with dozens and dozens of Rams and Chiefs fans circling the lot in gridlock. I went to the NoHo Metro station overflow lot, only to find ALL the parking spots full with…

I started cruising the streets of North Hollywood, looking for street parking. All of it was metered, most for one or two hours max. (How much is a parking ticket compared to what I paid for the tickets that I was going to miss using? Would they just give me a ticket or tow me?)

I finally found a spot about eight blocks from the Metro station with a four-hour limit. So-so neighborhood judging by the graffiti and piles of dog poop, but any port in a storm, eh?

Got to the Red Line and on a train to Metro Center with no problems. A couple of Chiefs fans on the train, but LOTS of Rams fans. Let the friendly banter begin.

The Expo line train from Metro Center to USC was packed. Then they let us out to start the cattle herd to the Coliseum.

Fighting through those crowds, only to get to a twenty-minute-plus wait to get screened through security at the gate.

Finally at my seat with The Younger Daughter and The Fiance! “Should be there about 4:30,” he said in ignorance. The time stamp on the photo is 5:36.

But we were there!

There’s a lot of construction going on at the LA Coliseum. And it was absolutely packed.

We were in the end zone, about halfway up, so our seats didn’t suck, but weren’t fantastic either.

At half time, the ESPN guys were doing their report from right down in front of us. You can also get a good feel for how many Chiefs fans (dressed in red) there were compared to the Rams fans. Unlike the games we’ve seen at the Chargers’ stadium (where it’s literally more Chiefs fans than Chargers fans) here the Chiefs fans were in the distinct minority.

Also at halftime we got a three-song “concert” from The Chain Smokers – who I have never, ever heard of. But the fireworks were nice.

As I said at the top, the game was an instant classic, being labeled by many as one of the greatest regular season games in history. It was something like the third highest scoring regular season game in history, and by far the highest scoring Monday Night Football game. The crowd was on its feet and just electric all night.

In the end, my beloved Chiefs fell to defeat, 54-51, in large part due to far, far too many penalties and three touchdowns for the Rams off of Chiefs’ fumbles and interceptions. We made more mistakes than they did. But we never, ever gave up. Even with all of those mistakes, we were driving with less than a minute less and could have easily tied it and sent it to overtime or won it outright in regulation.

It was utterly fantastic, and we were there.

It was a freakin’ adventure.

And if you think those crowds in the stadium and on the Metro trains were bad coming in (when the crowd arrived spaced out over four hours or so), you can’t even imagine how bad they were when 100,000 people all leave the game at the same time at the end. It took almost three hours to get home.

Worth. Every. Bit. Of. Effort!!

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Los Angeles, Photography, Sports