Monthly Archives: August 2014

And we’re off!

The 2014-15 Kansas high school sports season is underway, at least as far as my coverage goes.

The volleyball matches tonight at Victoria were very perfucntory, very one-sided. The home team did not fare very well, losing 25-19, 25-6 to LaCrosse and 25-11, 25-13 to Trego of WaKeeney. LaCrosse won its match against Trego 25-19, 25-17 to finish the night undefeated.

The Leopards made the Class 1A-Division I state tournament in 2013, and they appear to have a solid club again in 2014. In the second set vs. Victoria, LaCrosse ran off 18 consecutive points, with Morgan West serving nine aces during that rotation. West posted six kills during the first set, and she had two in the second before going back to serve. Victoria had a lot of trouble in serve receive tonight, and it popped up again the in match vs. Trego.

Trego has a new coach, Bailey Belisle, and the Golden Eagles are also back in the Mid-Continent League after spending last year in the Northwest Kansas League. The Golden Eagles don’t have a lot of height, but do have experience after being forced to play younger girls the past two seasons. Belisle should have this team much improved, but the MCL is tough, given Smith Center and Phillipsburg are consistent winners, and Ellis has a strong unit again this year.

My next volleyball action is Tuesday at Beloit when Russell opens its season under its new coach, Don Fenwick. The Broncos have never had a winning season since I came to Kansas in 2005, and the most they’ve won in any campaign during my time is 12. Last year they were 4-30. Ouch.

I want to go to Kansas City tomorrow and visit Buffalo Wild Wings, but it may not be possible with the time constraints. However, I have to be back Monday because that’s when the fantasy football draft at B-Dubs is. Michael Pinkerton is organizing the league, and I’ve got my team named, the FootsBallers. I’ve never participated in fantasy football before, so there’s a first time for everything.

Frantic Friday

I arrived back in Russell at 4:15 a.m., not bad considering the construction between Chapman and Abilene and the heavy rain near Salina, plus a stop in Salina. I ate too much on the drive home, and I paid the price just before 7. I’ll spare the details. I was starting to feel a little tired by time I got to the Russell County line, but that was to be expected given I had been up since 10 a.m., and I was drained from all the crying earlier in the day. Crying does that to me.

I’m a mess. I’ve got to reorganize my camera bag, considering I haven’t covered an event since the 8-man football all-star games in Beloit in early June. At least I have a battery fully charged and a 32 GB memory card ready to go, and I have a pad ready to take down statistics. So at least I’m good in that regard.

I’ve got to get out of the house, but I am not taking the computer. I have the iPhone to keep up with Twitter and Facebook. The matches start at 4 at Victoria, which is only 15-20 minutes driving west on I-70. It’s not the greatest day, but I have to do it.

Hurry up, midnight

August 28, 2014 is almost history. Thank God. Today was beyond brutal. I am still feeling the stress of the shouting match with Jack Krier, the shouting match with my dad, and the crying. I’m still very tense even though I’ve spent the last 10+ hours at Buffalo Wild Wings among friends.

I was so happy to see Lisa Toebben tonight. She had to get on me to smile, but she found a way to do it by bringing me Kahlua cheesecake from The Cheesecake factory. It was my return favor from bringing her red velvet Sunday. I got her a bunch of Abita beer, though, which I picked up at Lukas Liquors in Overland Park just before my day descended into hell.

Brittany Mathenia-Tucker was the only other one of my favorites working tonight, but Alexandra Mullinax took very good care of me this afternoon and was worried about me. I hope Liz is feeling better. This has been a hard week on her. I really appreciated her asking me what was wrong on Facebook.

Driving back to Russell will be the easy part. The hell will begin when I have to go to Victoria for the volleyball matches. Victoria is hosting LaCrosse and Trego from WaKeeney, with the two visiting schools playing each other in between. The matches begin at 4–at least junior varsity–and should last until almost 9. I want to get back to Kansas City so bad Saturday, but I don’t know if that will be feasible. I certainly have enough clean laundry to get back, but I don’t want it to pile up.

I wish I didn’t get into the screaming match with Jack. I understand where he’s coming from, but I just don’t see the point of covering practice. Maybe the real games will put me in a better mood, but I doubt it. I’m still very leery of walking into gyms where a lot of people hate me and a lot of others could care less if I’m covering their team.

The ninth anniversary of my hiring at Main Street Media is Sept. 9. My 38th birthday is Oct. 13. I don’t know if I’ll make the former. I certainly have my doubts about the latter.

Too shy shy

No I am not going to reminisce about Kajagoogoo despite the title of this post. Rather, I’m going to bring back another Arabi Park Middle School memory.

Actually this one came less than two months after my final day at Arabi Park, June 2, 1989. I had totally forgotten about until Andree Dauterive (Addison), Stacie’s younger sister, brought it up.

On a couple of hot days that July, I rode my bike from 224 Jaguar to St. Robert Bellarmine church and Carolyn Park, about a mile away. Of course, the big house at 905 Badger Drive was also looming. The Datuerive residence.

I peeked into the carport to see if the Datuerive family van was parked. If it was, it meant the matriarch of the Dauterive klan, Kathy, was home, along with her children, Stacie, Andree and Rene, the baby of the family who was four years younger than Andree and named after his father, the proud proprietor of Datuerive Heating and Plumbing. If the van wasn’t there, there may have been nobody home, or maybe the kids were home by themselves.

I kept riding around and riding around, too scared to ring the doorbell like a normal person. I didn’t see anybody looking out the window most times I passed, but there were a couple of times Andree caught me red-handed and had to duck.

Finally, I rang the doorbell on Wednesday, July 19. Andree answered and told me Stacie was in the shower. The second time, eight days later, Andree answered again, only to close the door on me. It wasn’t a slam, but I now understand why she was apprehensive. She was 11 years old and sees some guy riding his bike acting like he’s stalking her big sister. That was not my intention at all, but I could see Andree’s point of view, and Stacie’s if she was hiding. Andree was a very good little sister, and it’s no wonder she and Stacie have both grown up to be very successful both as career women and as mothers.

Stacie and I actually exchanged letters during the summer of 1989. How about that? Old fashioned letter writing! I wonder how Stacie and Jeff explained to their kids that there was no e-mail and no Internet when they were growing up. Some of my friends from Buffalo Wild Wings who are significantly younger than me ask the same thing. Elizabeth Psenski loves those stories.

I finally found the courage to call Stacie in September one afternoon after I got home from Brother Martin. We talked a couple more times in the following weeks, but then lost contact for a long time, until that meeting at the St. Bernard chapter of the LSU Alumni Association in 1993.

This has been a day from hell. Screaming match over the phone with one of my bosses. Screaming match with dad. Crying a lot. Wanting to end my life. Sitting alone at Buffalo Wild Wings thinking about how to end it. Trying to cheer up for Lisa and others. It can’t get worse tomorrow, can it? Oh yes it can. I am not looking forward to going to a stupid high school volleyball match in nowhere America. I just hope to get left alone.

Time to go bye-bye

Today turned absolutely hellish just after noon. Absolutely hellish, and it is the surest sign I have received that it is time for me to end my life.

I got a call from Jack Krier bitching me out on the lack of local sports coverage in the Russell County News. He has a point, but what the heck has been going on the last two weeks besides teams practicing? Who wants to read about practice? Practice is boring. Practice is routine. That’s why I love college sports–practices are closed to the media, and besides, the sports information office provides the media with everything they need to know. Same thing with professional sports. High school coaches are jerks a lot of the time anyway, and the new football coach at Russell High School and one of his assistants cannot stand me.

I’ve decided I’ve had enough shit in my life. It’s time to go in another direction, and if that means ending my life completely, SO BE IT. I have had it with driving on two-lane highways with no shoulders, trying to dodge deer, hitting coyotes and damaging my car, going into sweatbox gyms in tiny towns where half the people there can’t stand me and the other half don’t care I’m there. Yeah I’m really going to be missing a hell of a lot.

Adios to the OP–for now

The time has almost come for me to leave the Overland Park Marriott once again. If I stay in Kansas City tonight, I figure I’ll stay one night at a hotel near Zona Rosa and then go home for good tomorrow. Lisa may want to keep me at Buffalo Wild Wings for a long time, since this is it before I start the new school year, at least as far as sports is concerned.

It’s been one of those up and down trips. The down was taking out my frustrations on Liz and getting angry at those two guys Tuesday. The highs came from getting doused with ice water and reconnecting with so many people from Arabi Park via Facebook.

I’ve made two more reconnections in the last 24 hours, Christi Rehage (Alvarez) and Andree Dauterive (Addison), Stacie’s sister who was two years behind us at Arabi Park.

I’ve got an errand or two to run in Overland Park before going north. I promised Lisa I would get her Abita beer since Brittany Davidson loved it so much. There’s a store in OP near the Marriott which has more flavors than the selection at Hy-Vee, which wasn’t bad.

I’m hoping against hope to squeeze in a Saturday trek to KC to watch college football. We’ll see. Next post will be from Buffalo Wild Wings once I get set up.

Branded a cheater

In my last post, I described a week in my life at Arabi Park Middle which was dominated by two hurricanes, one (Florence) which affected New Orleans but only blew some leaves and limbs off trees, and another (Gilbert) which did not, but did a lot more damage and took a lot of lives.

The Friday night of hurricane week, as Gilbert was heading towards Mexico, Tom Browning pitched a perfect game for the Cincinnati Reds against the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, for the moment pushing Orel Hershiser’s quest to break Don Drysdale’s record for consecutive scoreless innings to the back burner.

The next day, LSU went to Knoxville and blasted Tennessee 34-9, the first time the Bayou Bengals had ever won at Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers would lose their first six games of the 1988 season before winning their last five, which provided the momentum they needed to win a share of the Southeastern Conference title in 1989. LSU would go on to share the 1988 SEC title with Auburn, but the Bayou Bengals would not enjoy another winning season until 1995.

Later that Saturday, reigning national champion Miami rallied from a 16-point deficit to stun Michigan at the “Big House” in Ann Arbor, 31-30. The Hurricanes came within a failed two-point conversion at Notre Dame from repeating as champion. The Fighting Irish would go on to win it all, clubbing West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 12-0.

On Sunday, the Saints had a tougher than expected time in Detroit, but rallied for a 22-14 victory.

Unfortunately, I forgot to study for a Monday morning test during the weekend of sports.

I attempted to cram before going to school, but it was to no avail. When the tests were passed out, I totally panicked. I hated reading class, because I had no earthly idea how to comprehend short stories. I disliked literature in the seventh grade, and I continued to loathe it throughout high school and college.

The panic turned to stupidity.

I admit I cheated. I tried to slip a look at my textbook, but I got caught red-handed. I was deathly afraid of getting an F, but now I was certain I was going to fail. Ms. Jones took the test, then marched me down to the office, where I had to call my mother and deliver the bad news. My classmates regarded me as a black sheep for a few days, as well they should have.

My parents were very unhappy to say the least. They would not let me watch sports on TV during weeknights for a month, which meant I had to miss four Monday Night Football games, including one involving the Saints and Cowboys, I also did not get to watch the Major League Baseball League Championship Series, as well as much of the Summer Olympics, although in hindsight, not getting to watch the Olympics wasn’t so bad. The good news was in 1988 there were no weeknight college football games, no Sunday night NFL games until later in the season, or I really would have missed out. Also, the NBA would not begin until late October, and the NHL was no longer on TV since ESPN had lost the rights to SportsChannel America, which wasn’t available on any cable system in Louisiana.

It could have been much worse. I could have been held without sports on the weekends, too. I could have flunked the quarter, and Ms. Jones would have had every right to do so. In the end, I got a C for the quarter, my lowest grade at Arabi Park, save for a couple of Ds I received in conduct.

It was a hard lesson to learn. I would flunk more than my fair share of tests in high school and college, but I knew better than to cheat.

Hurricane-force memories

Tammy Gilbert brought back a hilarious memory from Arabi Park Middle tonight on Facebook. One which I had totally forgotten until she jogged my memory, and it came right back.

In September 1988, Hurricane Gilbert ravaged Jamaica with winds of 125 miles per hour, two and a half feet of rain, and a 19-foot storm surge. There were a lot of deaths, 45, but it could have been a heck of a lot worse.

When the storm emerged into the Caribbean Sea off the west coast of Jamaica, the storm underwent a rapid intensification, growing into a Category 5 monster with winds of 185 miles per hour. Gilbert also made history when its minimum central pressure dropped to 888 millibars, or 26.23 inches of mercury, shattering the record of 892 millibars (26.34 inches) which was set during the Labor Day hurricane of 1935. By comparison, Camille’s lowest pressure in 1969 was 900 millibars (26.58 inches), but the winds were more intense, 190 miles per hour, when it slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Friday before Gilbert slammed into Jamaica, Hurricane Florence, a Category 1 storm with winds of 80 miles per hour, crossed the Mississippi River delta in lower Plaquemines Parish–not too far from where Camille crossed in 1969–but this time, the storm began to weaken as it neared the city of New Orleans. My house in Arabi lost power for an hour or so, but other than that, there were really no effects. There were a few leaves and twigs down from the tree in our backyard, but the sun came out that Saturday and I was watching college football as normal.

School was not called off for Florence, and I was in a panicky mode all day long at school. My classmates got a big kick out of it, and as I was leaving, I picked up my trumpet from the band room. I told Ms. Crow that I was worried about the storm, and she told me jokingly to go home and play Taps.

Gilbert was no joke. This storm was the 1988 version of Camille, and if a storm of that magnitude hit the United States, it would be beyond catastrophic. There was no doubt Gilbert

Wednesday, September 14, 1988, was all about Gilbert in the halls of Arabi Park Middle. I wasn’t interested in talking about the Saints, I wasn’t interested in the baseball pennant races, I wasn’t interested with LSU’s game that weekend at Tennessee. I was all worried about Gilbert, and I told anyone who would listen this storm was scary.

I found a way to get under the skin of our class valedictorian. I began calling Tammy “Hurricane” Gilbert, and every time, she told me to shut up. I would not let it go for quite some time; in fact, I think it wasn’t until January or February when it finally died down. Rosemarie, Tammy’s neighbor and best friend, was unhappy with me for one of the few times.

I thought with Gilbert coming into the Gulf of Mexico the St. Bernard Parish School Board would call off classes for Thursday and Friday, and we would get a four-day weekend.

Didn’t get a four-day weekend. Didn’t get a three-day weekend. Gilbert passed well south of Louisiana and Texas and came ashore in Mexico, where it killed 200.

I recall three hurricane vacations during my school years.

The first was in fourth grade at St. Robert Bellarmine, when we had the Friday before Labor Day due to the threat of Hurricane Elena, which at first was making a beeline towards New Orleans. That storm turned sharply east, and then back to the west before coming ashore in Pascagoula, Mississippi, east of where Camille and Katrina roared ashore.

The second was in August 1992. On the first day of my junior year at Brother Martin, Hurricane Andrew came ashore south of Miami with Category 5 winds of 165 miles per hour. The storm entered the Gulf of Mexico shortly after noon that day, and it appeared New Orleans was the bullseye. We had the next two days off, and it appeared we may not have a school to come back to, but that was the least of my worries. I was REALLY scared I was going to die.

Luckily, Andrew veered west and made landfall in Louisiana near Morgan City, at the mouth of the Atchafalya River.

In September 1998, i had a day off from LSU due to Hurricane Georges. The storm passed well east of Baton Rouge, but it was very windy that Monday at LSU football practice. I had to go out to practice to police the media as part of my duties with LSU’s sports information office.

In landlocked Kansas, there are snow days, but I’ve never seen school called off, at least in Russell, due to the threat of tornadoes. Now if the National Severe Storms Center issued a high risk severe outlook, I”m sure superintendents would seriously consider keeping students home in order to keep them off of buses and off the streets traveling to and from school.

Descending the hump

My generous side just struck again. I made a quick run from Buffalo Wild Wings to the QuikTrip on Barry Road to get pretzels for two of my favorite people, Lisa Toebben and Brittany Davidson. I got a third and gave to Raymie, one of the new girls. Lisa and Brittany suggested I eat it, but I bought two of QuikTrip’s red velvet whoopie pies for me, and I also had three pretzels yesterday, all from the QuikTrip on Johnson Drive in Merriam.

I’m not the richest person by far, but I want to do what I can for my friends. I’d rather see them happy than please myself. I’m glad I could bring a smile to their faces. I wish I had more money to do more.

The best QuikTrips in Kansas City I have discovered are on Barry Road (Northland), Johnson Drive in Merriam (to/from north to south) and State LIne Road and I-435 (south KC). The one in Bonner Springs is excellent on getaway days, although construction on I-70 west near K-7 is a hassle sometimes.

In Wichita, the one I go to almost always is on Central and Greenwich, since it has the QT kitchens for pretzels. The one at Douglas and Rock is closer to the Marriott, but it doesn’t have pretzels.

I hope Liz is feeling better. She found her wallet earlier today after losing it and her phone last night. I hope her back is better, but I know she’s feeling down after Trey Cummings’ mother passed away Monday. I heard from Nadine she and Sean Cash were both close to her.

Buzztime’s SIX was a little more difficult than usual tonight. A few questions in the final round threw me for a major loop. I finished under 39,000, my lowest score at that game in quite some time. Had a better time of it

I’m probably done eating at B-Dubs tonight. I had the spinach artichoke flatbread, which was better than usual, which is hard to do, but there were huge chunks of chicken on the flatbread and the bread itself was extra crispy, the way I like it. I don’t care for thin crust pizza, but the flatbreads at B-Dubs are pretty good.

Tomorrow I check out of the Overland Park Marriott, but I plan on appearing at Buffalo Wild Wings before I either (a) leave for Russell or (b) stay overnight and go home Friday morning. Hard decision that one. I’ve got volleyball to cover Friday, I just don’t know where yet.

Predictions, College Football edition

I’m going to put myself out there and make my projections for the Power FIve conferences for the upcoming college football season. Feel free to ridicule.

steinle 2014 cfb predictions