Category Archives: sports

Bad News Bears

Our family often exclaims sympathetically  “Bad News Bears” when we hear about the bad luck of others. For the most part, we and our family and friends have not experienced much bad luck, save for one of my uncles who had years of successive crop failures. He was still able to sell his farm when he retired and buy a nice house in town, though.

Today is the anniversary of the bad luck of a woman baseball fan who was at a Phillies game in 1957 when one of the players fouled and the ball hit her in the face and broke her nose. As she was being carried by stretcher from the ball park, the same player fouled a second time and the ball hit her again. Bad News Bears!

Tell  some tales of woe. 

Tubing!

There has a lot more traffic on the creek this summer.  (OK, maybe there isn’t a lot more traffic, but because I’m out walking the dog, I’m noticing a lot more folks enjoying the creek.)   I’ve seen folks in canoes and I’ve seen kids in the creek down near Lynnhurst.  Then yesterday I saw five tween girls with huge inner tubes heading down toward the water.

The inner tubes reminded me of going down the Brule in northern Wisconsin with my folks as a kid.  The tubing company would take us up to a drop off point and we would tube back down to where our car was parked.  Nothing too rough – a perfect bit of river for a family with fairly young kids.  It was just a couple of hours and back then nobody felt the need to have an extra inner tube for a cooler of beverages.  The only problem with tubing was changing into dry clothes in the car afterwards; my sister and I were SURE somebody would see something.

So it was fun to see the girls hurrying down to the creek with the inner tubes and now I’m wondering where I can rent tubes of my own!

Tell me what you did for summer fun as a kid!

Knuckleheads and Knuckle Balls

Husband had been so hopeful.  The two libraries in town (Public and University) had been closed until two weeks ago.  The Public Library opened “appointment only”  and he ordered a classic, 1930’s book from inter-library loan about the history of the Great Plains. He has been reading it this week and is pretty happy about it.  He was hoping this was a sign that things were returning to normal.

The COVID-19 numbers had not increased in our county for about three weeks, with a total of 63 as of last Sunday.  That was until yesterday,  when it went up two. It went up because there is this baseball league in town in which young adult players come from other parts of the country, live in sponsor homes, and play baseball all summer. Well, an 18 year old player from Oklahoma came up Sunday, was feeling ill on Monday, and he and one more person tested positive for the virus. Now, all the players and hosts  and their families are being tested. The rest are all negative as of yesterday, but we will have a couple of weeks of continuous testing to see if it has spread. This is frustrating.

How do you think reopening should occur?  How are you doing with precautions?  What will be a sign to you that things are returning to normal?

Pedal to the Metal

I live next door to a five-year old.  It’s fun to see her growing up; she has a different temperament than YA had as a child.  On Thursday, she was sporting a brand new pink helmet and then her dad took the training wheels off her bike.

They started in the backyard, on the grass – doesn’t every parent do this, hoping for a softer landing than on concrete?  On Saturday, they went up to the high school, where there is a lot more flat grass.  Then on Sunday afternoon, as she was working on it in the driveway, her dad let go of the seat and she was biking!  She practiced for about another 30 minutes; she still needs a little shove to get going but other than that, she’s got it!

It made me think about YA learning to ride a bike.  We didn’t even try in our yard, since it’s very bumpy, but we did practice at the high school.  YA was not a natural rider and for a couple of weeks she was incapable of seeing an obstacle and then being able to avoid it.  I remember thinking that learning to ride a bike is way more complicated than it appears on the surface.

I was five when I learned, starting in the grass like my little neighbor did and eventually graduating to the elementary school parking lot.  I still remember the thrill of realizing that my dad wasn’t holding me up any longer and I was flying along on my own.  According to Nonny, I fell and scraped my knee rather badly but I don’t remember that part at all, just the wind on my face and my legs pumping the pedals!

Do you remember learning to ride a bike?

 

 

Dichotomy

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.
Photo credit: berkemeyer

I was working in the sports center preparing for commencement. This particular room of the sports center, largest of them all, is the “Fieldhouse”. It’s basically four basketball courts with a track around the outside and retractable nets separating the courts. You’ve all seen something similar.

To my left is, what looks to be, an intramural, co-ed basketball game. They don’t seem to be keeping score and they’re all having a good time and laughing and teasing each other. There are a couple girls and while there are some older guys, some guys are younger than other guys. I hear them talk about “shirts” and “skins” and I also heard them say something to the effect of “If Jane stays a shirt than Joe can go skins”. I couldn’t see them so I don’t know.

Mind you, I know nothing about sports. But I could tell they were having a good time.

I was driving around in a genie lift, 40’ in the air and hoping 1) I wasn’t distracting them, and 2) they wouldn’t hit me with a basketball. OK, there was a screen separating their area from the area I was working in but still. Wouldn’t it be awesome to hit the guy in the genie?

Off to my right (with no separating net) a group of young men, most likely students. As they started to play, the difference between these two games was interesting. Of course, the language was much rougher in the first place. Disputed calls, harder playing, more “trash talking” as my wife would say. There had to be teams but I didn’t hear any talk about that.

And I found the dichotomy of the two games very interesting. They didn’t hit me with a basketball either.

Next week the entire fieldhouse will be blocked off (in terms of scheduling) for commencement. But that doesn’t mean if there’s an open corner some group won’t start a basketball game.

Talk about dichotomy in your life.

February Adventure

Today’s post comes from cynthiainmahtowa.

The First of February 2018 was a beautiful, sunny, crispy -10 F day. There was enough snow to snowshoe and I hadn’t been in the woods since I couldn’t remember when…years before my hip surgery. It was a Thursday, and Sunday afternoon our book club was meeting at my house to discuss “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McLean. As our group often does off- book things like skiing, hiking, canoeing, I thought it would be fun for people to ski or snowshoe down the Moose Horn River that meanders through my land.

But first to check it out.  Friend Daina and her Corgi, Jack, were willing to go through the woods, to the marsh and over the river with me. When we got to the marsh, however, Daina was afraid Jack would go through the ice and not be able to get out so she decided to take him home. I decided to travel on.

When I got to the river, I ventured on to the ice for about half a dozen steps when the ice gave out under me.  Suddenly, I was up to my armpits in ice-cold water. I don’t know how deep it was, my metal and rubber snowshoes wouldn’t let me get my feet under me.  Alas, I thought, “This is how I die.”

Though somehow I must not have believed that because I was hanging on to my Icelandic wool hat that I love and was NOT going to let it go! After a brief struggle, I floated myself over to the side of the river where there appeared to be a solid snow covered something. When I got to the embankment I saw a block of ice below me that I managed to get my snowshoes on.  With my one pole (I had hiking poles with me) I managed to pull myself back onto the ice, get standing up, pick up my other pole that I had left on top of the ice and headed back home.

Fortunately, I had on my polyester down parka and nylon ski pants. So I was not weighted down with water-soaked clothing. The worst was the water in my boots. I figured if I kept moving as fast as I could, I wouldn’t succumb to hypothermia. I was about 15 minutes through the woods and up the pasture from the house. At the power easement I considered going back on the road so someone would see me, but it was farther and open and the wind was bitter.

With some difficulty I got myself over the wire fencing and into the pasture. Halfway to the house, I saw Daina coming down to meet me. She, being brilliant in emergencies – and having experienced her husband’s hypothermia a few years ago – took over. She helped me into the house, out of my Sorel-like boots of man-made materials with frozen laces, my wet clothes and into the shower…then into bed with three or four layers of blankets, mugs of hot tea, chicken soup and liquid jello.

I never shivered, though in bed it felt like my deep core wanted to shake. But the adrenalin was coursing through my body the rest of the day and I was fully warmed up in time to feed my animals that evening…and before the day was over I cleaned and re-organized my cupboard of mugs.

I don’t know what the experience has done to my psyche, but looking back there seems to be a sense of appreciation and direction and confidence and generosity that I didn’t have before.

And when I got kicked in the thigh by Derby Horse the following Friday, the resulting hematoma didn’t seem like much of a big deal.

What was your scariest “adventure”?

Gophermunk

Today’s post comes from Crystal Bay.

In the late 50s, the U of M commissioned Dad to create their mascot, Goldie Gopher. He had no idea what a gopher looked like, so on his way from our hometown, Ames, he saw some critters scurrying around the border of Minnesota and Iowa. He got out of his car and madly scribbled drawings on a sketch pad.

He was in his 80s when my 20-year old son asked him, “Did you really design Goldie Gopher?” Then, for the first time, the story came out. Yes, Dad created him – but – not knowing the difference between a gopher and a chipmunk, he made a hybrid of the two. He drew a chipmunk body and slapped some big front teeth on the model.

To this day, Goldie Gopher remains a gophermunk. His original sketch is pictured below this post . My son wrote up the story and it headlined in the Minnesota Daily. Just think – he got away with this for more than half of a century. You’ll never look at him the same way again now.

How do you think sports mascots make a difference to a team?  What teams do you follow, and why? Know any good gopher, squirrel, or chipmunk stories?

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a straight up-homage to the day. Not the turkey and football filled day, not the sweet potatoes and pilgrim hat day.  For those of us who don’t practice thankfulness as often as we should (including me), today is a day to help us do just that – practice thankfulness.

You’ve heard it before – what are you grateful for?

 

Gold, Silver, Bronze

I didn’t grow up watching sports. We didn’t follow any teams and even though my parents were avid tennis players, we never watched tennis either. None of my sisters nor I did any sports except what little we were required to do in phy ed.

So it was a surprise to me when I first watched some Olympic coverage in college that I enjoyed it. Not enough to follow sports throughout the years, but more than enough to spend the two weeks of the Olympics in front of the television.  Sports that I would NEVER watch any other time seem interesting during the Olympics (think bob sled, pole vaulting, skiing, swimming).

As a young married in Milwaukee, in a teeny apartment, wasband and I were excited to watch the 1980 Winter Olympics but we had a teen little black & white television. To celebrate the Olympics we splurged with a Rent-a-Center color console for two weeks.  It took up most of the living room, but we really enjoyed it and watched the Olympic coverage constantly.  After the Olympics, back the tv went.

These days I actually watch a couple of channels at a time. Men’s team ice skating on one channel and downhill skiing and luge on another; I switch back and forth at the commercials or whenever the commentators get verbose. I don’t really have a big preference for either summer or winter Olympics.  I have favorite sports in each, but nothing that tips the balance for me one way or the other.

What gets a gold medal in your world this week?

Trail of Ice

I’ve written here before about my fond memory of ice skating on the Iowa River north of town, early in the winter before it became completely snow-covered. My dad would tell of following “their” creek for miles as a kid. Once you’ve skated a distance like that, a rink no longer seems very romantic.

Enter Minnesota’s first Ice Skating Trail, in the Northwest Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove. From the December 2017 AAA Living magazine: “Lampposts offer a warm glow, and the surrounding trees’ white twinkle-lights brighten both trail and mood.” I imagine skating there at dusk, as the sun goes down.

One of only a few in North America (see also Chicago and Toronto), it’s an 810-foot loop that feels “more like a stroll in the park” than the laps you skate at a traditional ice rink, according to Minneapolis Northwest, a regional newsletter(For reference, a regular hockey rink has a 570’ lap.)

You can skate earlier in the season (and later) than most outdoor rinks, as the trail is refrigerated and maintained by a Zamboni. There is skate rental (and concessions like hot chocolate and popcorn) during Central Park’s warming pavilion open hours, but park benches are available anytime for putting on your own skates.

I would have loved to have this nearby when I was still skating.

What will get you out of doors this winter? 

Would you like to try driving a Zamboni, or some other heavy machinery?