Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sports Talk: Holiday Tournament Memories

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Dec. 26, 2012. 
No matter who you are or how old you get, Christmas break is a thrill. Of course, as we get older, the profession we choose oftentimes shrinks the amount of time our “break” consists of and hopefully we at least get the 25th itself!
The break while in school, though, is always such a relief. No studying, no books, no class, or waking up early. However, as a basketball player, it usually meant holiday tournament time.
There are pros and cons to the holiday tournaments. It means your “break” is less of a break than that of many friends. Your schedule is still very much dictated to you: practice times, game times, bus departure times, etc.
I played for the Lady Rebels as a freshman and sophomore, sophomore year being the only season I was a member of the varsity team. As a junior and senior I chose to forgo my hoops career but stayed on as a team manager, so I was still traveling with the team through Christmas break.
There was a part of me that did not like it at all at that time. The Christmas season is full of so many fun traditions: present wrapping, cards, music, baking, shopping—the list goes on and on.
However, I look back now and realize that some of my most prominent high school Christmas break memories come from my tournament traveling.
Christmas is a time for family and tradition, but as a high school athlete, your team does become a family of sorts. The fact I stayed on as a manager for the Lady Rebels proves just that. Giving up the sport was difficult in its own right, but what made the decision hardest was giving up the time investment I’d put into the team: my closest friends and coaches. Wanting to still be a part of that family, I became a manager.
Christmas tournaments were always competitive. We won games and lost games. It was an opportunity to see some competition outside of the normal district and regional teams we played every season, but it was also extra time and fun with most of my closest friends.
The traveling oftentimes meant staying overnight somewhere and eating out. Oftentimes there was down time between games when parents would take us shopping or out for other fun adventures together.
The Lady Rebels competed in Gatlinburg, Tenn. last weekend, a tournament I remember traveling for during my time with the team.  Sure, I loved being home at Christmas time, but looking back the memories from the travel are irreplaceable. Lots of late night laughs in hotel rooms; ice skating, shopping and simply experiencing Gatlinburg at Christmas time.
What I didn’t consider during those years was that my teammates and I were not the only ones giving up our holiday time for the sake of a sport. The coaches and parents were also giving us, the athletes, their time. Because they were willing to spend their breaks on demanding schedules, me and my teammates—my friends—had the opportunity to compete while also creating great memories together.
Family is such an important and meaningful part of this time of year and not just those in blood relation: everyone from your parents and siblings to your coaches and teammates. No matter who you are spending your winter break time with, enjoy it, cherish it, and be grateful for those people.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sports Talk: Spin Around

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Dec. 19, 2012. 
I know this comes a little early, as we still have a week of Christmas goodie indulging to partake in (and might as well carry on until New Year’s), but the new spinning bikes at Back and Body Fitness Center are quite exciting—and just in time for anyone contemplating a New Year’s resolution!
Spin bikes are different from your standard stationary/exercise bikes. The spin bike has a “free wheel” that controls the resistance of the workout. The seat is adjustable and handlebars sit low. Basically, the bike is as close to a stationary road bike as you can get.
The lower handlebars can be found on a standard bike, but they tend to look less like real bike bars. These bikes also have more of a chair-like seat as opposed to a real bike seat.
Additionally, the spin bikes do not have digital settings to help an individual change settings and resistance in their workout. Because of this, spinning classes have became popular across the country, much like other group workout classes like zumba, yoga and pilates.
When still living in Louisville the gym I attended had spin classes; however, I never made it to any. I stuck with yoga and my own workouts that carried over from my previous Bellarmine training regimen.
The free weights, mats and medicine balls were just on the other side of the spin classroom, though, and I oftentimes heard the classes taking place. I would hear the instructor shouting instructions with the music pumping. I have to admit I was very curious about the classes.
While all of my friends who have used spin classes as their preferred workout method tell me of their love of the classes and how much fun their are, they never sugar coat the difficulty level.
But that’s exactly what any excellent workout or fitness routine should be, right? One that you thoroughly enjoy—partially because of the energy and power it demands. It should leave you utterly exhausted.
My hubs informed me of the gym’s new cycles last week, and I had the opportunity to test them myself.  Again, I have never myself been through a spin class, so the two of us guessed at our own style of a workout. I’m sure it was like a leisurely, afternoon ride in the park compared to what a certified instructor would put us through.
Maybe if he and I take a few of our ‘strolls’ we will still be capable of walking by the time we get the opportunity to partake in a real class.
It’s good to see Casey County’s gym continue to grow and bring the community new opportunities to maintain their health. If you are a member, be sure to stay tuned spinning classes are likely to be on the horizon. If you’re not a member, hey, there’s nothing like the new year to give you reason to join!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sports Talk: Finding and keeping a coach the fans love

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Dec. 12, 2012. 
Professional sports trades always generate interest and raise eyebrows in the same way college recruitment gets the fans excited; however, the past week has made me appreciate and come to further enjoy another type of trading/recruitment: coaches.
A coach’s tenure at a school may be long or short; more often than not, the verdict on that tenure is correlated with the fans’ feelings toward a coach.
Fans get excited when their team lands a top recruit, lands the number one draft pick, or signs a top athlete previously sporting another uniform. If the player does well for the team, we love it; if the player does mediocre, or, even worse, does poorly, we sometimes get upset, but usually just look to other players to step in or look to the next year of recruitment.
We also get excited with great coaches, but unlike with players, with poor coaches, we get very, antsy and usually are not happy until the coach gets the boot. (And they always do, eventually.)
Coaches on all levels are important, but I’d venture to say they are most important to us, the fans, on the college level. No matter how great a player is, any team will only have him/her for four years, max, and if they are that great, they are one and done. They are fun for a season or two and then we’re looking for that next recruitment class.
Great coaches, on the other hand, are something every fan base desires, and once you have one, you hope they can live forever, staying happy at your school. A great coach will bring you, your fellow fans and your team one exciting, worthwhile season after another.
In the past few weeks we’ve seen a lot of excitement in the world of Kentucky college football coaches. UK fans rejoiced in Joker’s official farewell(which we all saw coming…) and have put high hopes in a “next year” with Mark Stoops.
Just this week former Louisville coach Bobby Petrino signed to take on the coaching position at Western Kentucky University (giving any EKU alums whom are also Wildcat fans an extra reason to hate the Hilltoppers).
As some know, the company I work for outside of writing is based in Louisville and I spend two days a week working in-office. One of the three coworkers I sit with is a former Cardinal football player and the other two are both die-hard Cards fans. Let’s just say last Wednesday when Charlie Strong’s future was still in question, productivity level was at about the same level it gets to during March Madness.
Needless to say, all three were in high spirits Thursday morning with assurance that Strong would bypass a move to Tennessee and remain in Louisville.
The importance of a good coach really sunk in last week with the possibility of Charlie Strong’s departure. Much like my enjoyment in seeing strength in more than one of the state of Kentucky’s basketball programs, I would love to see strength in multiple football programs, especially since we’re not exactly known as a “football state”.
Louisville’s football program has had up and down years (up being with Petrino and down coming with Kragthorpe). I’m excited Strong isn’t jumping ship the first chance he gets. I like to hope that now is when he begins to build a true legacy for himself as a Cardinal.
Meanwhile, I really, really hope Stoops brings a positive turnaround for Kentucky. (Surely we cannot get worse, right??) I hope to hear UK fans excited next season and not already calling for a new hire.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sports Talk: Full cycle on the Casey County sports circuit

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Dec. 5, 2012.

Technically the end of January will mark the end of my first year of returning as a sports correspondent with The Casey County News, but with the beginning of boys and girls basketball season, I feel like I’ve finally come full circle.
And I couldn’t be happier about that!
There a multiple reasons for this.
First, while my full-time job keeps me actively writing marketing content, I have been away from my journalistic tone since my 2008 Bellarmine graduation. It’s good to be brushing up.
Second, it’s been a great way to reconnect with the county. With my job being in Louisville and making that trip two days of the week, if it were not for my sports writing duties, I would likely not very proactive about attending the local sporting events; therefore I would not have the opportunity to run into so many familiar faces on a regular basis.
Third, I can finally feel like I know a thing or two about our sports team! By beginning my writing mid-basketball season last year, I often times felt very lost as to what was going on with our teams and players. Having been away from the area for seven years, I was completely disconnected from the teams and athletes, minus the occasional glance through my parent’s copies of The Casey County News when visiting home.
Who were our top athletes? What kinds of records did we see in recent seasons? What coaches were new? What kinds of injuries or records had athletes experienced? How did we fair in the district? What teams are in our district??
I got used to covering college sports where a simple Google search or visit to a school’s website could give you all of the athletic information you can imagine. Rosters, game states, school records, season records, and, oftentimes, a press release regarding every individual game.
High school sports are not necessarily like this. Way to go Casey County for having our online edition of the newspaper with complete high school sports coverage. You might be surprised how difficult it can be to find out information on many of the state’s other teams both before and after games.
Finally, a year has passed and I’ve been through one season with all of our sports teams. I know names and faces and, sometimes even preferred jersey numbers.
It adds a new level of excitement to be covering a team I actually feel like I have a history with and know the troubles and triumphs of last year and the hopes and expectations of a fresh season.
I can remember, from my days as an athlete, the bittersweet end to any season—good or bad. The long months of the off season ahead were a blessing in that it was a time for improvement, but a curse in that you had such a long wait until a chance to out-do yourself again. If only there was just another week or another month or another game… If only you could get the next season started sooner rather than later.
I’m excited to now be able to share in the anticipation and hopes our teams have as new seasons begin and ensue.
Congrats Rebels and Lady Rebels on great starts. Two wins right off the bat for the boys and, what good news to hear Jasmine Johnson has not been sentenced to a senior season riding the bench after the knee scare! I feel like I can legitimately call myself a true Rebel fan once again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sports Talk: A fun hypothetical game thought

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Nov. 28 , 2012.
I’ve held out hope for the last week and a half that I would have reason to write this Sports Talk piece, and, as predicted, I was not let down.
Regular college football season has come to an end and only two teams have maintained a crisp, clean record: Notre Dame and Ohio State. Too bad they will never get the chance to face off.
Anyone who follows college football closely knows that Ohio State was ruled ineligible for post-season play (aka, the BCS) this year and the simplest summary of it I found comes from Allan Brulett, a Bleacher Report correspondent, who wrote:
“The NCAA banned Ohio State from poststeason play this season because five players admitted to receiving freebies and discounts in exchange for memorabilia, and it turned out the Ohio State coach knew about it.”
I understand rules and regulations. I worked three summers with the Governor’s Scholars Program where there are black and white rules and if one is broken, no level of justification, begging, or pleading changes the result. If you start to make exceptions, you are headed down a slippery slope, so I am not here to gripe about the NCAA’s enforcement of a rule.
However, I do think it is necessary to note the punishment received is up for debate. First, the punishment is coming down on a team completely remove of the violations. Second, the violations were not harmful. Just kids being COLLGE kids.
With their faces and names plastered on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and throughout sporting goods stores, it can easily be forgotten that these guys are not yet pros. While they may have their college paid for, they aren’t exactly rolling in the big bucks and every college kid is up for making some extra cash. So they violated an NCAA rule? Punish them, but I hate that it’s being brought upon a group entirely removed from the scandal of two years ago. (And I’m 99% sure those involved hate that their actions are affecting an innocent Buckeye crew.)  
All I am saying is, it’s too bad the stellar group of athletes this year is paying the price for something they had no hand in.
Honestly, it’s too bad for every team in the Big 10 and NCAA division 1.  Ohio State would likely be a top ranked team in the BCS standings, but instead we will say they just “don’t count” and one lucky team will be spared having to face the Bucks.
I suppose, in the bigger scheme of things, being that college football does not have a playoff system in place (and won’t for another two years), and the BCS is simply a bunch of sports analyst “experts” choosing each individual BCS matchup, it takes away some of the blow. Ohio State just won’t earn a match up from by a so-called expert this year.
Reality is even if Ohio State was playing a BCS game, it wouldn’t necessarily be Notre Dame but one can’t help but wonder how a game would turn out. Their last meeting was the 2006 Fiesta Bowl where OSU took the title; however, when I asked former Casey News sports writer (and big brother, Buckeye fan), Nic Dixon, his thoughts on a hypothetical meeting, he bowed to Notre Dame’s defense, accepting that OSU’s defense would have trouble stopping the Fighting Irish. Then again, that may have been a standard prediction prior to many of Ohio’s 2012 games, but somehow they always pulled out the ‘W’. Bottom line is, we will never know.
For me, there is a bittersweet side to the fact Notre Dame and Ohio State will never play this season: I truly love both teams. (Of course, on the occasion the two do play, I’ll be sporting scarlet and silver every time.)
I’m proud and excited for both undefeated teams. I am so happy that Urban Meyer has found a way maintain the Buckeye Nation I love, no matter what stipulations the NCAA casts upon the powerhouse. No BCS playoffs? Who cares! We had a tremendous season of cheering O-H-I-O in their come-from-behind wins and can now close it out with a victory over Michigan that rounds out a loss-less season. Not too much to complain about.
Believe it or not, rooting for Notre Dame has not just come about due to my Hoosier husband. Whether it’s the Catholic thing, the incredibly beautiful campus, or the inspirational tale of Rudy, I find it impossible to dislike Notre Dame football. With their legacy of championships, it was only during my college days I began to question why “Notre Dame football” was held in such high esteem when, in fact, (cough) they weren’t all that good…
I’ve enjoyed their returned power in the past few seasons, peaking (so far) with this one. Nothing would make me happier than seeing their first national title since 1988 come with a victory over Alabama, if planets align for such a match-up in January. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sports Talk: The Trifecta is to Strike Again

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Nov. 14, 2012. 
Well, well, well, look at that wouldcha now! The trifecta states of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana lead the pre-season basketball rankings and are expected to be dominant forces yet again this year. Last week’s debut of games finally gave us all the taste of our teams we’ve all been waiting for and, luckily, we have no reason to doubt the rankings yet.

I am happy to see Indiana atop this list not simply because my husband is a Hoosier, but because of what Indiana basketball was throughout my childhood. Unfortunately the team began to slip on the radar as I grew older and did not even make NCAA tournament appearances a couple of times in the last decade.  Then an unfortunate Kelvin Sampson era only brought a bigger negative light to what was once a revered college basketball program.

I love that despite coming in with a 6-25 season—the worst in school history--Tom Crean has managed to not only keep the favor of the school and fans, but turn around began as a depleted team when he took over in 2008. Four years later, he has a team that consists of seniors who were merely freshmen during that 6-25 season but have stuck with him and took fifth in the tournament last year and are now holding the number one pre-season ranking. Hoosier basketball is back, baby!

My Facebook feed flooded with the name “Jarrod Polson” last Friday when the junior was the clutch player in the Kentucky win over Maryland. As the number three ranked team and defending national champions, it’s nice to already see the Wildcat bench is something to be worried about as much as the big name recruits John Calipari landed the last several months.

Last year’s dominant forces (that are now gone…) were a thrill, but a team needs bench depth and Polson’s performance proved that opponents will need to worry about more than those new recruits. While bringing in the best of the best was part of the coach’s tactic for replacing what went pro, he has not neglected the skill sets that have been sporting blue and white and working under him in previous seasons. I am hopeful Calipari will bring Big Blue Nation another loveable season.

On the flip side, while I do want to see a fun, winning Wildcat season, I am equally if not more excited about the Cardinal season with their pre-season number 2 rank. Because of UK’s basketball legacy, the Cards have always been overshadowed with its fan base being centered primarily around city residents, students and alums. However, the last 10-15 years, with thanks to Rick Pitino, UofL basketball has become a presence in the national scene.

After losing to UK in the final four, Louisville did not see their roster take an exit for the big leagues, but instead saw some seniors graduate and a few players transfer out. While UK fans were quite proud of their number one and two draft picks , I know Cardinal fans are proud to support a top-ranked team made up of the standard student-athletes who are pursuing educational goals as a primary focus. I am excited for Peyton Siva’s senior season. Even if you don’t care for UofL Siva deserves your respect simply for his personal story and the type of leader he is on and off the court.

Last but not least, are them Buckeyes! Most often football is the spotlight sport for Ohio State University. (Not to mention their marching band, of course!) I am always excited to see OSU’s basketball team in the higher ranks despite the shadow cast by football—and to prove their athletics are more than a one-sport-wonder.

There is no doubt I’m sad to be without Jared Sullinger, but Aaron Craft may have been my preferred Buckeye the last two seasons anyway. With defense having always been my (self proclaimed) specialty as a basketball player, I love watching Craft put pressure on an offense. The guy has averaged over two steals a game during his college career and, to me, nothing feels better than coming out of nowhere to snipe the ball. I sure hope he doesn’t disappoint this season.

Of course, we all know, pre-season rankings mean very little except to put excitement in the hearts of fans and give more to celebrate when a lower ranked team defeats a top 20 team. It’s nice to be officially into the season, and it makes me that much more excited to see our Rebels and Lady Rebels jump into play as well in the very near future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall's evolution of color

I love October and am always sad to see it go. However, the fleeting array of colors the Bluegrass state is naturally blessed with in its trees and wildlife are a true blessing from our great Creator. No one can create beauty like Him. I get a little nuts with my camera during these special weeks of the season. In the blink of an eye we go from green glory to nearly bare branches. But for a moment in between, there is magic.

October 2012, you were lovely. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sports Talk: Perfection Under the Lights

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 24. , 2012. 
The term “Friday night lights” has been used for many purposes, but there truly is something mesmerizing about being the one under the lights.
I’ve had minor experience in being on a stage—a literal stage, not the athletic, figurative stage—and have always felt that the lights that blind you from the audience are what makes performing easier than someone foreign to this type of performance might anticipate.
The bright spotlights turn the crowd into a sea of darkness. It’s almost as if not a single body exists beyond the stage on which you stand. Suddenly, the world on which you need to focus your attention and the role you need to play become that much easier. The pressure of the spectators disappears.
The sports stage under the lights is no different.
As fans, we yell and scream and sit on the edge of our seats (or bounce up and down in the air) scrutinizing players’ every move. You often forget (or some just do not realize) that you are insignificant to the athlete on the field.
Not to belittle fans—every athlete loves their fan support. I know I did—just like any performer thrives off the love of their fans. But the focus and thoughts of the player on the field when in action are never about the fans. In the moment, it’s not even about the coaches.
The lights blind you to the world that exists beyond your stage: the field. Beyond the field is merely darkness.
Being under the lights allows you to focus on the role you need to play. In that role, under the lights, it becomes only you and the forces around you. The moment-to-moment actions come into fruition in a way that almost seems beyond your control. Your body is one with the field, the players and the ball, reacting even before your mind has time to catch up.
Some athletes make it to a larger than life stage in the professional arena but some are experiencing the peak of their moment right now at the high school level. I truly believe the ability to capture one of those moments under the lights as a high school athlete is as comparable to a perfect moment any pro can capture for himself.
Once you’ve experienced a moment that can only be created under the lights—within your stage—the feeling never leaves you. Even seeing the stadium lights from a distance can bring back a reminiscent feeling that doesn’t quite compare to that experienced in the original moment, but brings back the memory of its existence.
Take in your moment under the lights as an athlete. Let it sweep you away and mesmerize you. Let it wipe away the exterior world where scrutiny, fear and limits exist. Be that moment before your opportunity passes you by.
“The perfect throw, making the perfect catch, the perfect stepping block... Perfection is what it's about. It's about those moments when you can feel the perfection of creation; the beauty of physics, the wonder of mathematics. The elation of action and reaction. And that is the kind of perfection I want to be connected to.” 
– Sam Anders from Battlestar Galactica (Ronald D. Moore).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sports Talk: Fantasy Fun

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 24, 2012.

Whether you participate in any or not, fantasy sports leagues are not unheard of by any sports fan today. Following sports and fantasy leagues go hand in hand anymore.—literally, in the case of smart phone users. But even if you do not participate, sports commentary and major sports networks have their hand in these leagues, making all fans aware of their existence.
With technology driving these leagues today, I was surprised when I learned that the concept actually originated in the 50s shortly after World War II. To further my surprise, it was golf that started the phenomenon; however, when looking at the concept pre-technological assistance, golf would be an easier sport to follow under the fantasy platform; a sport based on individuals rather than teams of players.
Our modern idea of the fantasy league developed in the 1980s when magazine writer/editor, Daniel Okrent, began the “Rotisserie League Baseball.” Okrent’s journalistic profession brought the concept to other journalists and with the 1981 baseball strike supplying little baseball coverage, more publishing about these leagues and their rules began to be printed for general public. Soon other media sources picked up on the concept and furthered the spread of the fantasy phenomenon.
By 1988 USA Today estimated 500,000 people were playing and Fantasy Sports Magazine debuted in 1989. The internet only enriched and expanded the reach and abilities of fantasy leagues, just as smart phones have extended their existence into our moment-to-moment lives.
Fantasy sports are a serious yet comical extension part of our society now. The TV show, The League, is completely centered around fantasy football exploring how online sports obsessions affect relationships and everyday life in a comical light.  Groups plan major events around fantasy drafts and money is involved in numerous leagues.
Today, fantasy leagues serve as more than just a fun involvement for extreme fans who know and study the players and teams from season to season. They give us another extension of the games, teams and players we love. For many, it’s a way to connect with friends and family who may not be in close enough proximity to enjoy your favorite sports together.  
My brother, knowing his wife’s deeply competitive spirit, suckered her into creating a team in his football league about five years ago. She was not even a football fan until dating my brother forced her to follow Ohio State football if she wanted to spend Saturdays with him in the fall; however, upon their marriage, she had yet to find a reason to gain any interest in the NFL.
Knowing her well, though, my brother’s scheme to develop her interest in professional football worked like a charm. By having a team of players coming from numerous NFL teams, her competitive drive generated genuine interest in how these teams and players were performing from week to week. Before I knew it, she was throwing around names and stats like any other NFL fan.
Today, she continues to be one of the most competitive in the league. The fantasy league is something she and my brother enjoy keeping up with together, while also having reason to talk smack to one another, as they each have their own team. At the same time, they are able to enjoy actual games together, as they are both knowledgeable on the players and teams and have someone to root for or against.
I have yet to make time to dive deep into the fantasy world. My husband and I are also in my brother’s league—but as a joint team. We were negligent owners last season but the addition of an iPhone during the off-season has made administering the team and making last minute adjustments a much easier task.
For a long time, the fantasy league concept sounded intimidating to me. I thought it was something requiring great knowledge on teams and players prior to engaging in; now I see it’s a great educational tool for someone who wants to learn more about a sport or league.
I don’t know that I will ever be as highly competitive as many are about their fantasy teams, but I will vouch for fantasy sports’ ability to genuinely engage individuals in a sports league. This form of entertainment is not just for the fanatics who know decades of statistical history on teams and players, it’s for every sports fan or wannabe sports fan out there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sports Talk: A little loyalty in the pros makes his exit

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 17, 2012. 
I have probably admitted before that I am more of a college athletics fan than a pro-sports fan. There are a few reasons for this, one, of course, being that our great state has no NBA, NFL or MLB teams.
Additionally, though, it is very rare for a college athlete to ever play for more than one school. This may occur more often on the lower division levels, but usually the school the athlete chooses post-high school is the one they stick with until they graduate or go pro.
Because of this, as a fan you are not only loyal to a specific team but players as well. On the professional level, trades occur and contracts expire. Perhaps this is not a big deal to many fans because players win fan love at the college level and who they play for doesn’t matter to their biggest fans. Maybe it is just something we have gotten used to in general.
But no one can deny that it’s hard to see “your” player turn around and sport the colors of a rival and feel OK about it. In Kentucky, the best comparison might be to look at what happened when Rick Pitino returned to NCAA basketball as Louisville’s head coach after the seasons of success he brought to U.K.
Just as it is rare to hear of a college player to switch schools, it is rare to have stand-out professional athletes spend the entirety of their career under one name. However, a little less than two weeks ago Chipper Jones finished his 19-year Major League Baseball career as an Atlanta Brave, the same team he first suited up with in 1993 for his MLB game debut.
Jones announced his retirement last March and ended his career with a statistical record that will, without a doubt, send him to the Hall of Fame in no time. 468 home runs .303 batting average; 1,619 runs.
For me, this all-star third baseman’s feat is his tenure in Atlanta. He is a star that only Braves’ fans can lay claim to and there will never be question as to what uniform he should be remembered wearing.
Other famous one-uniform MLB stars include Tony Gynn of the San Diego Padres, Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles, Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers and Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies. I’m sure Yankees fans are crossing their fingers that Derek Jeter lands on the list of rarities when his retirement comes.
While my husband’s love for the Cardinals made me happy to see St. Louis defeat the Braves on Oct. 5, I wish the win had not been at the expense of a sour conclusion to Chipper’s career.  I would think and hope that no fan would wish that on a stand-up athlete.
The Braves not only lost 3-6, but an error in the fourth inning by Jones led to three runs in the inning. Additionally, a highly disputed infield fly rule calling, fizzled the Braves shot for a rally in the eighth. The one thing Jones had going for him was his final at-bat: a bat-shattering single.
It is very probably Chipper Jones had several good seasons left in him but he’ll end a long career on a season with numbers that show he’s still ‘got it’. For his sake, I hope he sees it that way and does not look to that single last game, where he openly took the blame for his team’s loss due to his fourth inning error. I have no doubt that Braves fan remain proud of their loyal third baseman of 19 years.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

1 down, Oh-So-Many To Go!

Incredible how quickly a year passes these days. I can only imagine how quickly they will move in another 50 years.

And just like that I've been married to my wonderful Mingus for a year.

This was a snippet of the year-end video I made for my family last Christmas about the wedding (thus being primarily photos of my immediate family, but I still wanted to share). I'm unsure of whether or not YouTube let's the music play, so please tell me if is silent!

It fell on a Monday, since it was a leap year, which is less than ideal for any anniversary, let alone your very first one! But it was magnificent nonetheless.

After spending the entire week prior reminiscing of the flurry of last minute prep the week leading up to the wedding, we began our anniversary weekend with a trip to Indiana for another family member's wedding. They picked the BEST weekend...if I do say so myself!
Andrew & Jessica
We took our time driving home Sunday, taking in all of the beautiful fall colors on our drive. We stopped by Huber's Winery--always a festive, fun place this time of year--as well as a trip to Target to... wait for it.... Use wedding gift cards! Yes, we have some still unused! Being that we live so far out, we don't make regular trips to a lot of places--such as Target. While I could have used them on one of my work trips to Louisville, I didn't want to spend them without his input (or I may have come home with hots and onesies...). Lucky for us, their gift cards don't expire! We're now fully prepared to still eat hot cooked meals during winter power outages with our Coleman stove!
Last day as "newly weds" in our first year of marriage.
Monday began less than perfect with both of us feeling rather under the weather. (I'll spare you details...) He rested most of the day and I worked from home... then I had to cover volleyball district games (working from 9-9 on your anniversary isn't what anyone wants), but Mingus came with me just to have the extra time together.

We ended the night breaking into our wedding cake topper. We let it sit out all day to thaw from its year in the freezer and I have to say, after a year, it was still quite delicious! We ate it on plates of our fancy pants china we have yet to really use and also opened a bottle of Greystone Cellars wine from the wedding. We looked through our wedding album and laughed a lot.
I discovered the face-detect feature on my camera for the first time
which resulted in a mini-photo shoot during our cake part!

I love my Wonderful with all of my heart and have loved the simplicity we have shared in this past year. He always puts me first and I am continuously amazed at how life-giving he is to me yet still acts like he does so little. Life far and away in the middle of Kentucky's knobs with just the two of us playing outside, getting dirty and taking on life's daily adventures is my kind of heaven.