It’s raining in Kansas City on my 38th birthday. This is exactly the way it was for my 32nd birthday in 2008, which happened to be the last time my birthday fell on a Monday. I also happened to spend that birthday at a Buffalo Wild Wings, only that one was in Liberty, since the one at Zona Rosa was still two years away. I remember bringing my computer to the restaurant, and one of the servers asked me to check the radar because she wanted to take her son out later that evening.
For those who are curious, my birthday has fallen on Friday the 13th five times. I was born on a Wednesday, but my 13th birthday happened to fall on Friday the 13th. I was in the eighth grade at Brother Martin, and I’ll never forget Emile Fair, an assistant football coach and science teacher, telling me I was double jinxed. I still laugh about that.
I’ve had to cover events the last two Fridays my birthday was on Friday the 13th.
In 2000, it was a football game at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge between Zachary and Capitol. Memorial Stadium is a 20,000-seat horseshoe which lies right off Interstate 110. It is one of the few places in Baton Rouge which is sunk into the ground; you enter the stadium from the middle of the stands. Thank God for that, because if I had to enter from the very bottom and climb all the way up to the press box, I might not have made it. The press box has a tremendous view of traffic on I-110, and you can see the Louisiana state capitol to the west. It was a game between two bad teams, but it was entertaining. Zachary won on a late touchdown 25-22.
In 2006, I turned 30 on Friday the 13th. I stayed the previous night in Wichita because I had a very busy day. In the afternoon, I was at the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Emporia, covering Russell’s Victoria Guedez, who finished as state runner-up to Alexandra O’Neal of Topeka Hayden. After leaving Emporia, I drove to Topeka and hooked back to the west for Russell’s football game at Abilene, which the Broncos won 22-6. Then it was a late night drive to Russell, because I had the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament the next morning at Stockton.
My best birthday in Kansas was two years ago. It didn’t start off so well; it poured in Russell that morning, and I had to leave before 6 a.m. for Phillipsburg and the MCL volleyball tournament. Old US 40, the road I usually take to I-70 since it’s easier than going to 281 from my house, was flooded, and since I couldn’t see, I had to turn around and go to I-70 at 281. The rain didn’t stop until I got to Stockton.
The rest of the day went very well. Smith Center won the tournament for the first time since 2005, and the Lady Red sang happy birthday to me twice–once early in the day, and once after they won the tournament. Then as I came down to take the team picture, they sang for me again. Touching.
In 2007 when I covered the MCL volleyball tournament on my birthday at WaKeeney. The teams from Norton, Phillipsburg and Smith Center all sang happy birthday to me.
I have not had a birthday party since I was seven years old. It was at the old Showbiz Pizza in Chalmette. Rosemarie Renz (Huget) was one of my second grade classmates who went. We would go to St. Robert Bellarmine together through the fourth grade, then reunite at Arabi Park Middle in the sixth.