Category Archives: Sports

Go Chiefs!

Neptune wears a football jersey in a fountain on the Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Missouri.

A statue of Neptune wears the uniform jersey shirt of a Kansas City football team member in honor of the team’s advancement to a playoff game.

The Neptune fountain sculpture sits in the Country Club Plaza Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The sculpture depicts Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, holding a trident. Neptune sits in a chariot pulled by sea horses. Water gushes from the horses’ nostrils. This cast lead sculpture was built by the Bromsgrove Guild of Worcestershire, England in 1911.

Miller Nichols purchased the 8,000-pound cast lead fountain for its weight in scrap metal. It was found on the top of a train car full of scrap metal at a salvage company. Nichols transported the rescued sculpture from Great Britain to Kansas City, where it was refurbished and installed on the Plaza in 1953.

Miller Nichols was the son of J. C. Nichols, who established the Country Club Plaza shopping Center in 1922. The Plaza was designed architecturally after Seville, Spain. The Plaza was the first shopping center in the world designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile.

Kansas City, Missouri, is known as “The City of Fountains.” There are 200 officially registered fountains in the metropolitan Greater Kansas City area. That number excludes the many fountains at corporation and sub-division entrances, office atriums, private gardens and homes.

One of the messages flashing on a Kansas City bus is “Go Chiefs!”as it drives through the Country Club Plaza Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

UPDATED: New Photo Added

Pomona Statue Wearing Dee Ford’s Kansas City Chief’s jersey on a fountain at a restaurant in one of the courtyards of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Outgunned

I’m re-posting this post about photography in honor of  National Camera Day, June 29. #NationalCameraDay

Catherine Sherman

A surfer rides the waves in the ocean along Huntington Beach, California.

I love photography, I love to watch surfers catch a wave andI love photographing surfers catching a wave, so I was thrilled when I recently stumbledupon a surfing competition in Huntington Beach, California. I’d been hoping to find surfers, soa tournamentwas a bonus. My ever-patient daughter waited as I shot photo after photo.

I wasn’t the only one there with a camera. My little Nikon D40X was like a child’s toy next to the dozens of big gunsstationed along the pier.I slipped in among them, and we all watched as the surfers waited for a worthy wave.When a surfer rose up,a chorus of clicksfollowed the surfer doing all sorts of fancy moves on the waves.

In a break in the action, one photographer pointedout a pod of dolphins to me, and I hurried after her to find a…

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Bark at the Park

Bark at the Park Registration at Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2014.

Bark at the Park Registration at Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals game against the Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2014.

Balls and dogs definitely go together.

At Bark at the Park, scores of dogs and their people had a great time at Kaufman Stadium on July 22, 2014 at the Kansas City Royals-Seattle Mariners baseball game.

Bark at the Park at Kauffman Stadium during the Kansas City Royals-Seattle Mariners game on June 22, 2014.

Bark at the Park at Kauffman Stadium during the Kansas City Royals-Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2014.

At the event in Kansas City, Missouri,  dogs and their people had a special section, pre-game parade, games, wading pools, tickets to seats at the game, vendors and special activities.  Part of the ticket price benefited Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter where I volunteer as a photographer of available cats for the website. (I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any Purr at the Park events.)

What a treat to see so many dogs!  Click on any thumbnail to see a full-size photo and to start the slideshow.

 

There are Bark at the Park events at many Major League baseball stadiums.

Bark at the Park Dog Events at Major League baseball stadiums.

Kansas City Royals Bark at the Park.

Wayside Waifs Website.

 

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Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

This is not how the University of Kansas’ final trip to Columbia, Missouri, was supposed to end, with the No. 4 University of Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team beating the No. 8 KU Jayhawks 74-71 down to the end buzzer game. Mizzou, as the MU Tigers call themselves, is leaving the Big Twelve. The whole league is busting up. Colorado and Nebraska have left, too. Traitors!

To console myself, I listen to the Rock Chalk chant, which Teddy Roosevelt called the greatest college chant he ever heard. Bully for you, Teddy!

The KU-MU rivalry is a special one. It dates back to the violent Border Wars of the Civil War between anti-slavery and pro-slavery groups that shook towns in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of Missouri during the 1850s. Some in Missouri, then a slave state, wanted to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state in an era called “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1861, the opening year of the war, Kansas forces plundered and burned six Missouri towns and large areas of the western Missouri country side. Missourians (known as bushwackers) under William Quantrill then led a retaliatory raid on Lawrence, Kansas two years later in which Lawrence was burned and 200 people murdered. Lawrence is the home of the University of Kansas.

KU leads the match-up at 171-95. The teams meet again in Lawrence on Feb. 25, 2012. KU is The Basketball School, so they must prevail. The Jayhawks men’s basketball program is one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the history of college basketball. The Jayhawks’ first coach was the inventor of the game, James Naismith. About the KU Jayhawk's Men's Basketball team.
To read more about this college rivaltry as well as the violence between the states during the Civil War, click on the link.
Border War (Kansas–Missouri rivalry)

And then there were nine: NCAA Big Twelve Conference.

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Surf’s Up

Surfer in Huntington Beach, California Postcard zazzle_postcard

This surfer rides a wave near the pier in Huntington Beach, California. On the horizon is Catalina Island. Huntington Beach (Surf City USA) is known for its long 8.5-mile (13.7 km) beach, mild climate, and excellent surfing. The waves are a unique natural effect caused by edge-diffraction of ocean swells by the island of Catalina and the waves from distant hurricanes.

I love road trips, especially when I only do twenty percent of the driving.  In mid-September, my husband and I loaded up my minivan with some of the left-behind belongings of my daughter and her boyfriend and headed west to Huntington Beach, California.  Laura and Ryan had moved there in mid-August, making the drive in their two small cars jammed to the ceiling with their stuff.

Dozens of windmills in western Kansas produce electricity. They stand in the flyway of migratory birds, such as the endangered whooping crane.

Dozens of windmills in western Kansas produce electricity. They stand in the flyway of migratory birds, such as the endangered whooping crane.

I got the idea to make this odyssey when the Spiritual Rez band stayed at our house and talked about how much they loved traveling the country.  I hadn’t made a driving trip to the West Coast in a long while.  Our home state of Kansas is very familiar, but this time I tried to look at it with new eyes instead of wishing it away until that first exciting moment when we see the Rocky Mountains rise up from the horizon.  So eager are we to make progress that sometimes we make a mountain out of a cloudbank. I love the gradual change in landscape.

Morning in Dillon, Colorado, in September 2009.

Morning in Dillon, Colorado, in September 2009.

Mid-way through Kansas we saw Monarch butterflies fluttering across Interstate 70 as they made their annual migration to Mexico for the winter.  We saw scores of tall modern windmills slowly turning their blades, some overshadowing the old-fashioned farm windmills first erected in the 1880s.

As we drove through Colorado, Utah and Nevada, I recognized sights Laura had emailed me from her camera phone.  My husband and I have driven much of this route before, but it was still awe-inspiring.  I still gaped at every ridge and butte and mountain peak and begged for my husband to stop the car at every scenic turn-out during much of the drive.  When I was behind the wheel, we did stop at everything!  I wish there were scenic turnouts along the Flint Hills in Kansas, too.  Kansas Turnpike officials, are you there (wishful thinking)?

The first night we spent in Dillon, Colorado, which is ski country. There was a brew pub conveniently located right by our hotel.  The night air was crisp.  I’ve been to this area several times during ski season, but it’s so much more beautiful when you’re not freezing to death.  I won’t be visiting during ski season again.  My skiing days are over! I wasn’t much of a skiier to begin with. I’m so slow I should have an orange triangle fastened to my back, and I hate to be cold. And I don’t like snow, either!  Already in September, it was in the mid 30s when we headed back on the road.

Interstate 70 cuts through an ancient ridge north of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.

Interstate 70 cuts through an ancient ridge north of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. Doesn't this formation look like an ancient reef or the spiny backbone of a massive reptile?

Horses graze in a pasture at sunset in St. George, Utah.

Horses graze in a pasture at sunset in St. George, Utah.

The second day we drove through western Colorado and through Utah, spending the night in St. George, which we visited last November.  We toured our “old” neighborhood. We knew where the Walmart was, too.  Both visits to Wal-Mart we saw a few women with french-braided hair who were wearing long pioneer-style dresses with muttonchip sleeves. If you want to read my Utah posts, type in “Utah” in my search box. There are lots of great photographs!

We hurried through Nevada, stopping in Las Vegas only to get gas, and it seemed like forever to get through the desert of California to reach Huntington Beach.  Laura had said that seemed like the longest part of the trip, maybe because you’re so close to your destination but the desert never seems to end.

I've always loved Joshua Trees.  They look like sentries.  This one is near Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert in California.

I've always loved Joshua Trees. They look like sentries. These trees, a member of the yucca family, are near Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert in California.

Yeah, yeah, I know I just wrote that I never tire of it, that it was gorgeous and amazing.  Some parts do drag on a bit.  I thought about all of the immigrants who had plodded through these bleak, arid western lands in the 1800s on the California trail, which starts in our green part of the country of Kansas City.   I thought of “Death Valley Days,” “Wagon Train” and “Twenty-Mule Team Borax”  — two old television shows and a commercial that I barely remember beyond the titles.  I do remember Ronald Reagan was the host of “Death Valley Days” for a while. (Yes, this might be the spot for a political joke, but I won’t go there.)

I’m not going to recite a mile by mile account of this trip (although it seems like it so far), but I’ve got to have some words to hold the photos together in this post, like eggs beaten into a  cake.

Loki can't wait to go to the dog beach.  She has to wait until she's had all of her vaccinations. (Yes, Laura and Ryan got a dog the first month. We have their cat....)

Loki can't wait to go to the dog beach. She has to wait until she's had all of her vaccinations. (Yes, Laura and Ryan got a dog the first month they were in HB. We have their cat....)

Huntington Beach is a nice city, very laid-back it seems.  The city is located 40 miles south of Los Angeles.  Houses are packed very closely together because real estate there is very expensive, even now in this economy.  There are no buildings on the 8.5 mile-long-beach, so there’s an unobstructed view of the ocean and of Catalina Island.  It’s the longest open run of beach on the West Coast. It’s celebrating its 100th anniversary as an incorporated city this year.  It was called Shell Beach, later Pacific City and finally Huntington Beach in honor of H.E. Huntington who brought the Pacific electric Railway to the area.

Two surfers head out at sunset on Huntington Beach.  You can see an oil rig in the distance.

Two surfers head out at sunset on Huntington Beach. You can see an oil rig in the distance.

Here’s what the official Huntington Beach website has to say (yes, they like themselves very much!): “The dynamic coastal City of Huntington Beach, with its sunny Mediterranean climate and idyllic setting, is home to more than 202,250 residents. Internationally known as Surf City, Huntington Beach boasts eight miles of scenic, accessible beachfront, the largest stretch of uninterrupted beachfront on the West Coast. Tourism remains a vital part of the economy, as over 11 million visitors flock to the city during the summer, on weekends and for special events.

Wetsuits drying at a motel.

Wetsuits drying at a motel.

Our parks and recreation features one of the largest recreational piers in the world, public parks, riding stables and equestrian trails, a marina, and a wildlife preserve, and an eight-mile biking, inline skating, jogging, and walking trail along the ocean. The crown jewel of the recreation system is the wide expanse of beautiful and spacious beaches, where large crowds gather to watch professional sporting events as the U.S. Open of Surfing, AVP Pro Beach Volleyball and the Surf City USA Marathon.”

A surfer rides the waves of the "dog beach" in Huntington Beach. In the background is an offshore oil rig.

A surfer rides the waves of the "dog beach" in Huntington Beach, which is also popular with surfers. In the background is an offshore oil rig.

There are also oil rigs offshore, which surprised me.   There’s oil in this town!  I’m a little late in finding this out.  The oil boom began in the 1920s. A few “grasshoppers” oil wells pump away in a beach-view lot in town, walled off next to houses that must be worth millions. When the Spanish arrived, they established the area as a cattle ranch.  Beach Boulevard, the main thoroughfare of Huntington Beach, was originally a cattle route.

Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach.

Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach.

A hummingbird visits a flower near Laura and Ryan's courtyard.

A hummingbird visits a flower near Laura and Ryan's courtyard.

Much later, I read that an encylopedia company gave away free parcels of land, with the purchase of a whole set for $126.  I don’t know how true this is, but it makes a great story.  The encyclopedia company had obtained the land cheaply.  The company should have kept the land and forgotten about the books, because oil was discovered in the area the company had given away as a bonus with the purchase of encyclopedias. Now the price of land for housing has risen so high it has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape. Links to more history about the city are at the bottom of this post. The city has dozens of pristine parks, protected nature reserves and unspoiled wetland habitats, such as Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and the Donald D. Shipley Nature Center,

Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, is honored with a statue near the Surfing Walk of Fame at the pier plaza in Huntington Beach, California.

Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, is honored with a statue near the Surfing Walk of Fame at the pier plaza in Huntington Beach, California.

Huntington Beach is officially Surf City USA, a title it wrangled over with Santa Cruz, California.

Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku first introduced modern surfing in the United States in Santa Cruz, so you can see why that city might want to claim the title.  Kahanamoku is credited with popularizing surfing world-wide during the 1920s, after achieving Olympic swimming fame in 1912 and 1920.  The Surfing Walk of Fame is in Huntington Beach, featuring a statue of Kahanamoku.  I loved watching the surfers, seeing how they’d pop up onto a wave and ride it so gracefully.  I wasn’t tempted, though. That’s COLD water!  The International Surfing Museum is in Huntington Beach.

Links to information about surfing, Huntington Beach and Duke Kahanamoku are at the bottom of this post.  Later (probably much later), I’ll post about the Spanish Missions system, Catalina Island, South Pasadena and the Grand Canyon.

Surfers watch the waves on Newport Beach on a very foggy morning.  The surf was great, but the conditions were probably dangerous. A lifeguard pickup soon showed up and told everyone to get out of the water.  I was standing far back, but a huge wave lashed the beach, and I got splashed and covered with sticky sand.

Surfers watch the waves on Newport Beach on a very foggy morning. The surf was great, but the conditions were probably dangerous. A lifeguard pickup soon showed up and told everyone to get out of the water. I was standing far back, but a huge wave lashed the beach, and I got splashed and covered with sticky sand.

Part of the Surfing Walk of Fame in Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach, California.

Part of the Surfing Walk of Fame in Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach, California.

Wind surfers  sail along Huntington Beach at sunset.  In the distance is Catalina Island.

Kite surfers sail along Huntington Beach at sunset. In the distance is Catalina Island.

Surfers ride the waves along the "dog beach" in Huntington Beach.  This is a section of beach where dogs are allowed.

Surfers ride the waves along the "dog beach" in Huntington Beach. This is a section of beach where dogs are allowed.

Dogs enjoying the water on "dog beach" in Huntington Beach.

Dogs enjoying the water on "dog beach" in Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach Pier at Sunset.

Huntington Beach Pier was originally built in 1904 and rebuilt most recently during the early 1990s. Stretching 1,856 feet into the Pacific Ocean, it is the longest concrete municipal pier in California and a great place to watch "million-dollar" sunsets.

A surfer leaves for the day.  His board is tethered to his ankle so he won't lose it.

A surfer leaves for the day. His board is tethered to his ankle so he won't lose it.

A woman serves a volleyball at the Huntington Beach Pier beach volleyball court.

A woman serves a volleyball at the Huntington Beach Pier beach volleyball court.

Surfing Walk of Fame.

Duke Kahanamoku.

Huntington Beach, California.

Surfing.

Huntington Beach Official Website.

International Surfing Museum.

Surf City USA.

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My Horse Won!

My best was on "Mine That Bird," winner of the 135th Kenturcky Derby on May 2.

My bet was on "Mine That Bird," winner of the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2. It was the second biggest upset in Derby history.

I’d never heard of “Mine That Bird” until my husband pulled his name out of a hat at a Kentucky Derby party today.   “Mine That Bird” was a 50-1 shot.   (I’d never heard of any of the other horses, either…)

“There goes the ten dollars we threw in the pot” was my thought when I looked at the odds.  It was fun, though, to watch all of the hoopla, the big hats, the race horses being led, the jockey parade, then one by one the jockeys popping onto the horses and then sauntering to the gates. The mint juleps we were drinking added to the glow.

imageSuddenly, the horses burst out of the gate.    My horse wasn’t a front runner,  I couldn’t pick him out of the pack (herd?) on the track, I assumed he was the last one, and I had no idea Number Eight was the horse that was racing ahead until he crossed the finish line. 

“That’s my horse, that’s my horse,” I yelled.  No one else was all that excited, because they all had losing horses. (Losers!)  They did agree it was certainly one of the most interesting Derbys they’d ever watched, and they watch the Derby every year. (I confess that I usually miss it, but I might be hooked now!)  It was fascinating to watch the race from a shot overhead afterward.  It showed “Mine That Bird” moving steadily and rapidly through the horse crowd along the rail until it broke through and took off.  (See video below.)Derby bet

According to the Associated Press story by Beth Harris, “Sent off at 50-1 odds, Mine That Bird pulled away in the stretch to score a 6 3/4 -length victory at Churchill Downs, the second-biggest upset in Derby history.  His margin was the largest since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.

The gelding ran 1 miles on a sloppy dirt track in 2:02.66 and paid $103.20 to win—second-largest payout in Derby history behind Donerail ($184.90) in 1913.”

Calvin Borel, the Louisiana jockey who rode Mine That Bird to victory, won the Derby in 2007, using the same strategyof racing his mount along the rail, which is why he’s called Calvin Bo-rail.

 The last bet I made was on “Sunny’s Halo,” who won the Kentucky Derby in 1983, so I’ve been a lucky but very sporadic horse racing gambler.  Both Derby wins had nothing to do with skill, but were totally luck.  Now, let me check my Powerball ticket!

 derby-day

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Round the Town from Down Under

When guests come to town, I usually take them to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, especially when it's below freezing and there's snow on the ground. Here two of my Australian guests check out the acoustic furniture in a special exhibition in the Bloch Building.

Sure, snow is pretty, but the thrill quickly wears off when frost bite sets in. When it's snowy, sleety and frigid, what are you going to do with guests who don't know what real winter is? I took them to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where the temperatures are balmy. Here two of my Australian guests check out the acoustic furniture on a curving floor in a special exhibition in the Bloch Building. In the foreground is Michael Cross' work, "Flood," which features light bulbs and brightly colored cables in vases of water. (Kids, don't try this at home!)

It was a dreary, cold, snowy night when we picked up our Australian guests from the airport in late December. To us locals, the snow was a nuisance, but our guests thought it was beautiful, like fairy dust, fluffy and bright.   (It was soon dirty and crusty…)

The first night, the boys raced through the snow in the dark with a flashlight, making tracks.   We’d gotten rid of our sleds long ago (probably in some garage sale for nothing!), but the next morning, the youngest boy found a piece of cardboard and “snowboarded” down a hill several times.  

Squirrels were fascinating creatures. Cardinals and woodpeckers were exotic.   It was wonderful to see the world with a new perspective.   When I drove them around, I pointed out what I knew.  They also asked me plenty of questions I didn’t know the answer to, so I spent some time online when we got home learning more about my own city.

We spoke the same language, yet we didn’t quite.  Jumper, biscuit, council, fringe, bum.  Familiar words, but with different meanings from American English. I’ve watched enough Masterpiece Theater that I knew what they were talking about, though.   Thanks, PBS!  New to me is bushwalking, which means hiking.

In Australia, they are surrounded by birds we only see in cages, such as lorikeets and parrots.  There are marsupials everywhere, while we have only one — the opossum.  They have mandatory voting and are fined if they don’t vote.

The Liberty Memorial is so tall you can't see the top!

The Liberty Memorial is so tall you can't see the top!

They checked regularly online for the cricket scores.  There was a  big game in Perth, Australia, against South Africa.  Australia’s national cricket team is the highest ranked in the world.  Cricket is played in a hundred countries.  High-level “Test cricket” games can last up to five days with time outs for lunch and tea. I still don’t understand American football, so I can’t begin to explain cricket.  All I know is that they use bats and wickets, and that one of the incarnations of Dr. Who wore a cricket uniform.

We visited the National World War I Museum underneath the Liberty Memorial.  Again, I saw the world through a different perspective.   Their visit lasted too short a time. The next time I hope they can see our city in the summer.   Soon I’ll be seeing the world from their point of view (and be a lot warmer, too) when we visit them in January.

What is Cricket?

What is Australian English?

National World War I Museum

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

 

Our young guest from Sydney, Australia, contemplates the snowy view.   Beyond, Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" ponders the giant shuttlecocks that seemed to have landed on the snow in front of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

Our young guest from Sydney, Australia, contemplates the snowy view. Beyond, Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" ponders the giant shuttlecocks that seemed to have landed on the snow in front of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

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