Author Archives: David

Norton’s dreams dashed

Norton gave it all it had this afternoon, but Mary Broxterman proved to be too much.

The Royal Valley standout scored 26 points, going 9 of 14 from the field and 8 of 11 from the foul line, to help the Panthers from Hoyt to a 53-44 victory and a berth in tomorrow’s state championship game against Cheney, which leads Nemaha Central by 20 in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Bluejays, who got 16 from Taryn Kuhn and 12 from Hadley Hauser, will face the ladies from Seneca–the birthplace of John Riggins–at noon for third place.

Royal Valley is probably glad to see a new face in the championship game, even if Cheney is the obvious favorite. The Panthers lost twice to Nemaha Central in Big Seven League play during the regular season.

Riggins was born in Seneca because it has the only hospital in Nemaha County. The Diesel grew up in Centralia, a tiny hamlet 12 miles southwest of Seneca.

I’m not a fan of third place games. But I’m not playing in the game. I’m hoping Norton will regroup and come out strong. It deserves to take home something from Hutchinson after a stellar season, one where it had to navigate a difficult Mid-Continent League where Trego has its best team in at least 15 years, maybe ever, and Thomas More Prep is still a tough out even without Kayla Vitztum and other standouts.

I am ambivalent about going. Part of me says stay away because it’s a third place game. Part of me says go because it would be disrespectful to Norton. I stopped covering third place games when I was still going regularly. I missed Russell’s girls playing for third in 3A at Hutchinson in 2013; I had to be in Manhattan to watch Smith Center’s girls play for–and win–the 2A championship vs. Jefferson County North.

The carrot for the third place game is the trophy. The loser of the consolation game doesn’t get one. Now the players will have medals, but other than the sub-state championship plaque, nothing tangible commemorating the trip to state.

Norton won’t hang a banner in the Stull Gymnasium for this one, win or lose. Norton only hangs banners for state champions, a policy I like. Really like. Set the bar very high and challenge the athletes who wear the Norton colors to meet it. And that bar has been met plenty.

There is one school I covered extensively which recognizes just about any trip to a state tournament. Another filled up walls with league championship banners and sub-state championship banners, even if the team was one-and-done at state.

It was not a good day for the Mid-Continent League.

Trego’s girls lost 67-49 to Sterling in 2A, and Thomas More Prep’s boys fell 62-50 to Girard in 3A. No basketball titles for the league this year. Last year, Phillipsburg’s boys reached the 3A final, only to lose 44-42 on a buzzer beater by Halstead.

The Golden Eagles should be a force again next year. Donnie Shubert, who coached Trego’s boys to a state title many moons ago (see below), returns a ton of talent, including his daughter Lili, who was Trego’s leading scorer as a sophomore.

The MCL’s last championship, male or female, was Nick Linn’s Lady Red six years ago. The last MCL boys title? Trego in 2006. TMP won in 4A in 2007, but it was in the old Mid-State Activities Association at that time.

At least the MCL can crow about football championships by Phillipsburg and Smith Center in the fall; Trego’s girls winning cross country, led by individual 2A champion Helen Giefer; Plainville’s Jordan Finnesy winning a wrestling title; and looking forward to what should be good years in track and field and golf.

As I was running a couple of errands in Wichita this evening, an announcer referred to the girls basketball team at Kansas City Schlagle as the Stallions.

Big problem: stallions are always MALE. Schalgle and a couple of other schools perplex me with their choices of nicknames, colors and even school names. I’ll elaborate at some point tomorrow.

The tilapia from Outback was outstanding. Lunch? Not so much. I’m swearing off most fast food seafood forever (not Popeye’s). Why the heck am I eating it in the first place, considering I grew up in the best city in America for seafood?

I have problems in my life, but I could be in Venezuela, where the electricity is out in nearly the entire country, adding more misery to a country where millions are starving, the unemployment rate is 35%, $1 of currency would get you about .00000001 cents American, and the military is blocking all humanitarian aid from Colombia and Brazil.

Maduro is a psychopath, right on par with the fatso running North Korea. Anyone who supports him is also a psychopath. Huey Long was never this bad.

I’m going to try not to think of Maduro as I prepare for bed. There’s much more pleasant stuff to think of.

64 minutes to a title…or 32 to heartbreak

My iPad was off when i dug it out of my bag at the arena in Hutchinson. Not the first time it happened; it did so in January at Kansas City. I was panicked then because I thought it was not working. Turns out I only needed to execute a hard reboot. This time, I knew to do that, and it was back online in seconds.

Yes I am in Hutchinson. Norton takes on Royal Valley in the first Class 3A girls semifinal at 1500. The winner gets the winner of Cheney vs. Nemaha Central at 1830. In between are boys games, Beloit vs. Perry-Lecompton at 1645 and Thomas More Prep vs. Girard at 2015.

I took my SLR camera with me. I haven’t taken photos at a basketball game since Caitlyn’s last game for Norton two years ago. I remember the Bluejays lost by three at Beloit, and Caitlyn missed a tying shot in the final seconds. I hustled out of there to drive to Kansas City. I pulled into the hotel at 0001.

The WiFi provided by Hutchinson Community College is working today. It wasn’t Friday. I have plenty of data with my Verizon plan, but every bit I can save helps. I have never gone over half my allotted data for a month. The most I used was 42% last April, and that was because of the trip to Baton Rouge, since I was using my hotspot while driving.

Peggy isn’t here. She went to Lincoln to watch Caitlyn play beach volleyball for Ottawa in a tournament at Nebraska. Hopefully the courts are climate controlled; it isn’t as cold as it was early this week, but it is chilly enough. It was foggy most of the drive to Hutch today, but the sun is trying to peek out of the clouds.

It’s down to Wichita for me after this. I’ll give my parents a chance to clean the basement and not have to cook tomorrow. I’m planning on being home Sunday by noon. I don’t really have much writing to do this week, only for the teams we have left: Thunder Ridge girls, Osborne boys and Plainville boys, who lost Wednesday to Inman. Thunder Ridge has the Herculean task of facing Central Plains, which has won 109 consecutive games and is going for its sixth consecutive state title, something never done in Kansas before by a boys or girls team.

My high school, Brother Martin, lost in the state semifinals of the diluted Louisiana High School Athletic Association boys playoffs yesterday. This is the third year the LHSAA has held separate playoffs for “non-select” and “select” schools. Non-select is basically all public schools with traditional attendance zones and charter schools which do not have strict admissions requirements, while select schools are private and religious schools, plus those charter schools which have a strict admissions policy.

Scotlandville falls into the very last category. The north Baton Rouge school is a public school, yes, but there is a significant magnet component, forcing the Hornets to battle the likes of Baton Rouge Catholic and members of the New Orleans Catholic League in the state playoffs.

Sure enough, Scotlandville will play St. Augustine, Brother Martin’s archival, for the “Division I select” state championship tomorrow in Lake Charles. Meanwhile, the “Class 5A non-select” championship game is Walker vs. Thibodaux. I’m sure the “non-select” schools of 5A are overjoyed Scotlandville is a select school, because the Hornets have owned Louisiana basketball in recent years.

Lake Charles is not the best place for these games. I have never seen Burton Coliseum, the facility hosting the boys semifinals and finals, but it’s not conveniently located, and there are much better options. The best are the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU, but both of those facilities have logistical problems with the home teams. The NBA has been flexible with teams wishing to allow amateur organizations to use their arenas, but the Southeastern Conference has not, and LSU has not hosted high school title games since 1996.

The same thing exists in the Big 12, a reason why there haven’t been any high school championship games in Lawrence since 1987, and there are none in Manhattan this year.

If Louisiana can’t get either of the showcase arenas, the Cajundome in Lafayette worked very well when it hosted, as much as it pains me to say it. I can’t stand the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but it is a fine facility which is centrally located.

Tip in 30 minutes. Time to go for now.

The sandman always gets his man

So much for getting to bed at a decent hour.

I got home from Salina last night at 2145–not bad. However, I chose to stay up very, very, very late, not going to bed until 0215 the next morning.

Ouch.

I paid for it by not waking up until 1205 today. I kept dozing off through the afternoon.

Thankfully, there were no games I wanted to see today. Norton plays Royal Valley at 1500 tomorrow in Hutchinson in the first 3A girls semi, with the second at 1830 between Cheney and Nemaha Central. The winners play for the title Saturday at 1600, while the losers play the pointless third place game at 1200.

It’s been a very rough week. Luke Perry succumbed to his massive stroke. Alex Trebek revealed he has incurable pancreatic cancer–stage 4–and may not be with us much longer. Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher who won 300 games, struck out more than 3,000 batters and won 3 Cy Young Awards, revealed he has dementia and will not make any more public appearances, including the 50-year reunion of the 1969 Miracle Mets in June.

Add in a president who is making power grab after power grab after criticizing his predecessor for doing exactly the same and demagogue members of Congress advocating white supremacy, anti-Semitisim and unrealistic ideas America can’t afford and many Americans don’t want, and it’s a wonderful life, right?

Should have used a compass!

Norton’s quest for its first girls basketball state championship in 36 years is alive, although it wasn’t easy.

The Bluejays scored the game’s first nine points and led by as many as 11 in the second half, but Scott City fought the whole way, forcing Norton to expend more energy than it would have liked.

In the end, it all worked out. Norton defeated the Beavers 48-45 to advance to a semifinal Friday at 1500 against Royal Valley, which defeated Eureka 56-36. Royal Valley is in the small town of Hoyt, 32 kilometers (20 miles) north of Topeka on US Highway 75. Royal Valley is an afterthought in its league, the Big Seven, where such heavyweight athletic programs like Holton, Nemaha Central and Sabetha reside.

Peggy showed up with Clark and other members of the extended Cox clan. Jennifer Hauser, whose daughters Hadley and Tessa play for the Bluejays, is Clark’s cousin.

A lot of people from Norton were surprised to see me, and with good reason, considering I had not been to a high school basketball game in over a year. Now Sue Rossi, George’s wife, wants me to come back Friday (and hopefully Saturday). Even though Peggy can’t make it Friday, I’ll probably oblige Sue and return to Hutchinson.

This time, I’ll know the proper entrance at the arena. I went to the wrong one when I arrived, and two people from Hutchinson Community College yelled at me I was at the wrong entrance and looked at me like I was totally clueless.

I haven’t been to this facility in six years. I don’t know cardinal directions like I do for the Superdome, LSU’s basketball arena, or Kauffman Stadium. Geez.

It would have helped if there were signs pointing towards the media/official entrance. There were none. I guess I was supposed to automatically know where the northwest entrance to the arena was. There were no indications outside the arena posted by HCC what entrance was what.

In that regard, covering state tournaments at Kansas State was far easier. The entrance nearest Bill Snyder Family Stadium was for the media and officials. Easy. It’s just as easy at Fort Hays.

Now I’m in Salina at Old Chicago. I was hoping to play Buztime trivia, and I am–but not the way I like. The Internet feed which supplies Buzztime’s tablets at the restaurant is kaput, and I’m forced to play as a guest, meaning I won’t have a record of the games. Beggars can’t be choosers. Not the first time this has happened; it occurred many years ago at the old B-Dubs in Lawrence.

I saw on the Buzztime website the Golden Q in downtown Hays has it now. Going to investigate. I have to be there tomorrow to pick up meds at Walgreens, so I’ll have time to see.

There’s something bugging me at Old Chicago. Not just the trivia snafu. That’s another topic for another post.

Hike to Hutchinson

I am dragging myself out of my basement to attend a high school basketball game this afternoon, something I have not done in over a year.

That used to be a way of life for me from early December through early March from 2006 through 2015, but I’ve hardly done it any more.

I’m doing it today because I need to see Peggy, whom I have not seen since before Thanksgiving. Four months is too long.

Norton is playing in the Kansas Class 3A girls state tournament at Hutchinson against Scott City at 1500. Hutchinson is a nice city, but it is just so hard to get to Hutch. There is a significant amount of time on two-lane highways coming from western Kansas, unless you go the long way, which goes through Salina and then McPherson, where four-lamed Kansas Highway 61 veers southwest into Hutchinson.

I’m thinking I’m going to the long way. I’m in need of good seafood, this being Ash Wednesday. The only fast food restaurant which has it is Popeye’s. And I have to go to Salina to get that.

I have been to the Hutchinson arena only once. That was 2013, when Russell’s girls played in the state tournament. The arena has been completely rebuilt from the inside, and I am interested to see the upgrades. I have heard nothing but great things about it.

The Bluejays are in the girls state tournament for the first time since 2008. Norton’s boys went in 2016 and ’17, so its fans know the place.

Norton’s only girls basketball state championship was in 1983, when Kevin Jilka was in his first season as coach. He retired after 30 seasons at the helm in 2012, but I’m sure he and Janet will be there, cheering for his pupil, George Rossi.

I wish this game, and all other Kansas high school state tournament games, were in Manhattan or Lawrence, but I’m not going to get my wish. I would go into detail, but I’m afraid if I do, I’ll write so much I’ll (a) bore people to tears and (b) lose track of time and not get to Hutchinson.

I thought about staying overnight, but nah, I’ll have plenty of time to get back to Russell before 2200, which is my appointed bedtime in order to get into a better sleep routine. If I can get back to Salina in time, I might be able to play an hour or two of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings or Old Chicago. I haven’t done it since January 27. Too long.

Speaking off too long, if I don’t post this, I will start rambling TOO LONG. Bye for now!


Fourteen and out

Going to bed at a decent hour has led me to wake up at a not so decent hour.

It’s 0330, and I’ve been up for more than an hour. The one good thing it did was allow me to take my contact lenses out and get some drops in my irritated right eye. I fell asleep in my lenses, and now I wish I hadn’t.

When I went to bed last evening, I saw Kansas was losing to Oklahoma in men’s basketball. The first thing I did was check the score when I woke up.

Oklahoma 81, Kansas 68.

The streak is over.

For the first time since 2003-04, Bill Self’s first season in Lawrence, the Jayhawks will not win at least a share of the Big 12 Conference’s men’s basketball championship. Kansas is 11-6 in conference games, meaning it cannot catch either Kansas State nor Texas Tech, both of which are 13-4.

The regular season ends Saturday. The Wildcats host Oklahoma, and the Red Raiders face Iowa State in Ames. If both win or both lose, they tie for the championship. Of course, if one wins and the other loses, the winner is outright champion.

Kansas holds the national Division I record for most consecutive conference championships. The old record of 13 was set by UCLA from 1967-79 in what is now the Pacific-12. When the Bruins began the streak, it was known was the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU), a loose confederation of former members of the Pacific Coast Conference, which had been forced to disband after hundreds of NCAA rules violations by its members. The league officially became the Pac-8 in 1968, then the Pac-10 in the fall of 1978 when Arizona and Arizona State joined from the WAC.

I’m not a Jayhawk fan. Far from it. But finishing first or tied for first in a major conference, one often rated as the best in the country, is quite remarkable, especially when taking a look at another college basketball blue blood.

Kentucky has been a superpower since the game began. Yet the Wildcats have never won 14 consecutive SEC championships, even though there were many years during Adolph Rupp’s reign in Lexington (1931-72) no other team in the SEC could compete on a national level. For many years, many SEC schools did not have a full-time basketball coach; either that person coached another sport, or he had to teach classes in addition to coaching. It wasn’t until after Kentucky lost in the 1966 NCAA championship game to Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso) in the famous game where Rupp’s all-white squad lost to a Miner team which started five black players that the rest of the SEC truly got serious about basketball. Sure, Tennessee and Vanderbilt had a good team every now and then, and Mississippi State will be forever remembered for defying the state’s governor to play a desegregated Loyola team in 1963, but basketball in the SEC for too long was the Wildcats and nobody else.

That hasn’t been the case with Kansas in the Big 12. Oklahoma State, where Self played from 1981-85, regained its position as an elite program under Eddie Sutton, even though it has now fallen on hard times. Oklahoma has had great players and great teams, even if few noticed due to the Sooners’ football dominance. Texas has been a consistent big winner. So has Iowa State. Kansas State isn’t where it was under Jack Hartman in the 1970s, but it’s come back a long way from the abyss which was Jim Woolridge’s coaching tenure. West Viriginia’s program has fallen this year, but Bob Huggins has brought the Mountaineers their second golden age, the first being Jerry West’s days in Morgantown.

Kansas will go to the NCAA tournament. That’s all that matters. It won’t add #15 to the billboards across the state proclaiming its conference championship streak, but does it matter that much? Nah.

I resolve to…(knock wood)

Mardi Gras 2019 is down to five hours and change. Of course, I have not attended a parade on Mardi Gras day since 1992, and I have not attended any parade since 1994 when I went to see Thoth, only because I knew several riders, all of whom (save Ray “Big’un” Jeanfreau, who sadly passed away in September 2012) are still riding.

The first year I did not go to a parade on Mardi Gras day, I was a junior in high school. My father, brother and I went on a college tour that day at Mississippi State. Yes, the one in Starkville. I seriously considered leaving Louisiana for college, and Mississippi State was at the top of the list with Kansas State. However, by the end of 1993, I was committed to LSU, and there was no turning back.

Mardi Gras is late this year, one of the latest dates it can be. The earliest is February 3, which has never occurred in my lifetime, but I can remember it being February 5 in 2008, which happened to be two days after the Giants defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, ending New England’s bid for a 19-0 season. The latest date Mardi Gras can be is March 9. I remember it being March 8 in 2011.

If Mardi Gras is late, then Easter will be late, and vice versa. This year, Easter is April 21, and that has a few track and field coaches in Kansas angry, since the Friday they host their meets this year conflicts with Good Friday. Too bad. I don’t feel for them.

Mardi Gras is pretty much done anyway. The parades have long since disbanded. There hasn’t been a parade on Mardi Gras night since Comus’ last procession in 1991. Comus is still a krewe, still the most exclusive social club you will find anywhere in the United States, but no more floats. All because some people couldn’t get in. Heck, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett can’t get into Comus. So why should anyone else in New Orleans worry about something so trivial? I would not WANT to be part of something like that.

Lent starts at 0000. It has in most of the world. Ash Wednesday is not a day of obligation, and I do not wish to have ashes on my forehead. On the other hand, I understand it is a very important religious observance for billions, and good for them for taking the time to go to church and repent their sins.

I believe in a supreme being. I do not like having to go into a house of worship to express that belief. Something about a church intimidates me. When I went to Lisa and Jeff’s wedding in St. Louis in October 2017, it was the first time I had been in a church for something since another wedding, that of Bill and Yvette Franques in Louisiana 18 years prior.

I will never, ever forgive my parents for dragging me to a mass at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans in August 1993. I didn’t want to be there. I remind them of it from time to time.

Enough about church–at least the physical building.

Lent is supposed to be a season where you give up something. Maybe I need to do something for Lent to get me into better habits. Like going to sleep at a halfway decent hour. Like posting on my blog every day.

Maybe that will be my penance. Last year, I tried to give up cursing, and I thought I did pretty well, but there were some slips.

Heck, let me go for it again. I, David Steinle, swear no profanity in this blog for at least the next 40 days–and hopefully the next 4,000 days after that. I’m not perfect. But I’ll try to do the best I can.

Oh, and I will make sure I POST something the next 40 days. Even if it’s two nonsensical lines about a Lifetime movie. I’m paying good money to WordPress for this blog site, so what the heck am I doing letting it gather cyberdust?

Since it’s 1900, I should follow through on my promise to go to bed at a decent hour. Not now–it’s too early. But I need to be in bed no more than three hours from now. So that’s all for Foots Prints for this day.

Feb. 25: Filipinos and football

When I was much younger, February 25 produced two moments I’ll always remember hearing about when they first took place. They happened a year apart.

The first was in 1986, when Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines, ceding control of the island nation to Corazon Aquino, who held the plurality of votes in the country’s presidential election.

Marcos, whose loyalists assassinated Aquino’s late husband, Ninoy, in August 1983, attempted every trick in the book to rig the election in his favor, the same way Nicolas Maduro did in Venezuela last year, the same way Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe in 2008, the same way dictator after dictator has done through time.

Fortunately for Filipinos, Marcos was not as stubborn and stupid as Maduro has been in Venezuela, and he and kleptomaniac wife Imelda got the hell out of Manila. Sadly, they received asylum in the United States, which had been the biggest supporter of Marcos’ brutal regime, simply because Marcos abhorred communism. It was fine from 1966, when Marcos took over, through early 1972, but became very problematic when Marcos declared martial law later that year and made himself president for life.

Aquino’s victory brought full democracy back to the Philippines, and the country has largely been peaceful for the last 33 years. Corazon Aquino’s son, Nonoy, is now president.

February 1986 was a volatile month. The volatility started January 28 when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff at Cape Canaveral, killing six astronauts and school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Two other countries besides the Philippines were rocked by violence in that month: Haiti, where Baby Doc Duvalier was overthrown and fled after 15 years of rule (and after over 30 years of Duvalier family rule); and Sweden, where Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated outside a Stockholm theater.

March 1986 was better. LSU made an unexpected run to the men’s basketball Final Four, and the Bayou Bengal baseball team rose to #1 in the polls on their way to their first College World Series.

Exactly one year after Corazon Aquino brought hope to a nation, a college football team had all hope taken away.

The first thing my brother and I did when we got home from school February 25, 1987 was turn to ESPN. After watching the morning news that Wednesday, we knew something big would happen.

Indeed, the football program at Southern Methodist University (SMU) was handed the NCAA’s Death Penalty, meaning the Mustangs would not be able to play at all in 1987. The NCAA opened the door for SMU to play only road games in 1988, but two weeks later, the school announced it would not return to the field until 1989.

SMU became the third major college to have a big-time sport shut down by the NCAA.

Kentucky had its men’s basketball program shuttered in 1952-53 by a gambling scandal which involved two of the best to ever play for Adolph Rupp, Alex Groza and Ralph Beard.

In August 1973, the NCAA whacked the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) for numerous violations, including cash payments and falsifying transcripts. The violations were so severe the NCAA wanted to expel USL from the organization, but instead, the Ragin Cajuns’ men’s basketball program was shut down for two seasons, and the school’s other programs were ineligible for championships in the 1973-74 and 1974-75 school years.

SMU was guilty of numerous egregious violations of NCAA rules under coaches Ron Meyer (1976-81) and Bobby Collins (1982-86). Hundreds of players were paid, the biggest no-no according to the NCAA. Eric Dickerson, the Hall of Fame running back with the Rams and Colts, was given a sports car to sign with SMU after he had been all but locked up by Texas A&M. Another stud running back, Craig James, was offered money, and his girlfriend (later wife) was given a cushy job in Dallas; the move kept James from leaving Texas and playing for Bear Bryant at Alabama. They weren’t paid the most, but they became the most famous players to be caught, since they were standouts in the NFL and played on an SMU team which went 11-0-1 in 1982 and finished second in the polls behind Penn State.

My brother and I were used to scandals involving college athletics. Two years prior to the SMU case, Tulane shut down its men’s basketball program due to point shaving by numerous players. All-American John “Hot Rod” Williams was tried but acquitted, and he went on to a lengthy NBA career.

Tulane president Dr. Eamon Kelly intended to never, ever bring back men’s basketball, a decision which drew scorn from the local media, including The Times-Picayune, the city’s newspaper. The T-P’s esteemed columnists, Bob Roesler and Peter Finney, blasted Kelly for his rash and harsh decision, saying while the cancer needed to be cured, it did not require the patient to be killed.

SMU football returned in September 1989. Less than three months later, so did men’s basketball at Tulane.

Today was the 40th anniversary of the cancellation of the Bacchus parade due to a strike by the New Orleans Police Department. Ron Howard, who was then starring in Happy Days, was scheduled to be Bacchus, but instead he rode on a float in the Superdome at an event for krewe members.

Don’t ask me about February 25, 1995. Let me just say I was in a place I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

It’s almost February 26, so that’s all for now.

Hello, I’m David AWOL Steinle

SEVENTEEN DAYS since I last posted to Foots Prints? Unacceptable. If you have been waiting for me to post (you know who you are, wink wink), I am sorry. I am not attempting to hide anything. It’s just I’ve been bone lazy.

Not sleeping properly has been a huge issue. Since my return from Kansas City Jan. 29, I have not been in a regular sleep routine. I’ve stayed up through the night on Sundays and Mondays the last two weeks to make sure my work is done. In turn, on days when I don’t have work to do, all I want to do is sleep.

My laundry is piling up, but since I’ve hardly left the house the last two weeks, it isn’t as bad as it could be. I have not been showering regularly, and the basement at 1224 North Brooks, Russell, Kansas is starting to stink.

The lack of sleep left me so confused last week that when High Plains Mental Health called me for a last-minute appointment with Crista, I forgot what day it was. When Janelle told me 10 am tomorrow, I thought the day was Wednesday and I wouldn’t have time to go. Fortunately, the appointment was for 10 am Wednesday and it was only Tuesday.

I missed my trip to Norton last Friday because of my horrendous sleep habits. I was feeling so awful Friday morning, battling sleep deprivation and heartburn, that when I woke up for a few minutes, I went right back to bed. By time I got up for good, it was already 1600. Another wasted day.

I’m groggy as hell this morning. I’m killing time in Hays between appointments. Got the car serviced, now waiting for another doctor’s appointment.

A lot has gone on since my last post. I won’t bore you with regurgitating some of what’ happened, but here are my thoughts:

Super Bowl LIII–I watched the second half. I did not watch the first half. I should have just kept not watching.

My interest was piqued when I read the push notification from CBS Sports that the halftime score was 3-0 Patriots. So I turned over just out of curiosity.

It only served to anger me even more. I strongly dislike Brady and Belichick, and of course the Rams should not have been in the Super Bowl in the first place. The Saints would have given New England a far better game. Whether Brees and Payton would have taken the Lombardi trophy back to New Orleans, I don’t know.

God, the Rams were pathetic. First team in 47 years not to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl and only the second ever. The other was the 1971 Dolphins, who were throttled by the Cowboys in Super Bowl VI. At least in that one, Dallas was heavily favored and Miami wasn’t known for an offense which could crank out yards and points at a breakneck pace.

Jared Goff looked a lot like a couple of other California quarterbacks have in a Super Bowl, Joe Kapp (1969 Vikings) and Craig Morton (1970 Cowboys and 1977 Broncos). Sean McVay barely using Todd Gurley also was perplexing.

Of course, the nauseating talk of Brady being the greatest of all time ramped up as soon as it became obvious the Patriots would win. Yes, Brady has won more championships than any other quarterback in professional football. That is an empirical fact. I cannot deny it because it is true and proven.

To call Brady the greatest ever? Come on. Would Brady have fared so well when Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton, Roger Stabauch and Bob Griese were in their heydays? HELL NO. Before 1978, receivers could be hit all over the field, as long as it was from the front or side, and it came before the ball was in the air. Pass blockers had to keep their arms close to their chest, because they could not use their hands, nor could they extend their arms.

Brady is fortunate he is playing in an era where quarterbacks are treated more delicately than the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Would he have succeeded 40 to 50 years ago? Can’t say. However, I’m certain Unitas would have lit it up if he could have payed under Brady’s rules.

Six days after Super Bowl LIII mercifully ended, a new football league kicked off.

It’s called the Alliance of American Football. It has eight teams which will play 10 regular season games between now and mid-April, then hold a two-week playoff to determine the champion.

There are no kickoffs in the AAF. The team which was scored upon starts a new possession at its own 25-yard line. The only way the team which scored can keep the ball is by converting a 4th and 12 from its own 28, and the opportunities for those are extremely limited. The only times a team may attempt the “onside kick” play are (a) if it trails by 17 or more, or (b) if a team is behind with less than five minutes remaining.

In other words, Sean Payton wouldn’t like this one bit. Remember, the Saints successfully attempted an onside kick to start the second half of Super Bowl XLIV, and that turned the tide in New Orleans’ favor vs. Peyton Manning’s Colts.

The AAF also does not allow blitzing. A maximum of five players can rush the passer, meaning offenses do not have to keep in backs and/or tight ends to block if they so choose. The idea is not to make the games so low-scoring and dull that it drives off fans. I like low-scoring games, but I’m in the minute minority on that one.

It’s easy to see the level of football in the AAF is below that of the NFL. However, if the league sticks to its idea of being a developmental league and doesn’t try to become an equal to the NFL like the first XFL, USFL and World Football League did, it can find a niche in the American sports scene.

The Milwaukee Bucks have the NBA’s best record at the All-Star break for the first time since 1974. Holy crap. The Bucks? The team Adam Silver wanted to move out of Milwaukee if Wisconsin didn’t build a new arena? In case you don’t know, the Bucks’ starting lineup in 1974 included Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabber. I hear they were pretty good.

The Maple Leafs are trying to plug along without Auston Matthews, and with a leaky defense. Here’s hoping they can turn it on come April. I’m nauseated by the thought of a Tampa Bay-Nashville final.

LSU’s men’s basketball team won in Lexington Tuesday. The Bayou Bengals are alive and well under second year coach Will Wade, who wasn’t born when LSU went 17-1 in the SEC and 31-5 overall in 1980-81. That year, LSU made the Final Four, only to get stomped by Indiana and Isaiah Thomas.

It would be lovely for LSU to come to Kansas City for the Midwest Regional in late March and lay it on a certain team from Lawrence. Or the one from Manhattan. Knowing my luck, LSU will be put in the west.

The designated hitter is coming to the National League. It’s only a matter of time. I am angry as hell. I’ll save that for later.

The United States of America is screwed. Royally screwed. When you’ve got ideological demagogues like Trump, Steve King, Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ihlan Omar getting elected, not to mention Maxine Waters spending three decades in the House, it tells you something is totally F***ED up.

Edwin Edwards was corrupt during his four terms as Governor of Louisiana, but he wasn’t a hate monger and he wasn’t incompetent. I’d vote for him over any of the other jackasses we have now.

That’s all for now.

Wronged again

Last night almost ended disastrously for me.

Driving back to my hotel at 2100, an SUV barreled down Ambassador towards Cookingham in the wrong direction, driving northbound in a southbound lane. It was just after I turned right from Cookingham onto Ambassador when I exited Interstate 29 near Kansas City International Airport.

Needless to say, it scared the bejesus out of me. I was in the other lane, so my car and my body are fine.

Had I not been in the other lane, I would have been able to take the driver to the cleaners financially (provided I survived), since he or she would have been 100 percent wrong for driving the wrong way. While I may have been able to bleed that person dry, I’m certain I would either be (a) dead or (b) paralyzed.

Believe me, it ended up better this way.

I am beyond dumbfounded by drivers who cannot follow a directional sign. To have this happen on back to back days in the same city on the same street less than five kilometers (three miles) apart is unfathomable.

I wasn’t the only witness to this driving stupidity.

I was behind a Platte County Sheriff’s SUV. Once the errant vehicle passed, the sheriff’s vehicle U-turned and turned right onto Cookingham. Here’s hoping the idiot was caught and thrown in jail. Even if he or she was not drunk, driving the wrong way down the street is not something an officer will just give you a ticket and let you go. But I’m certain he or she was wasted pretty good.

I hope this jerk enjoys the consequences of his or her sheer idiocy.

Oops I lost my concentration playing trivia. I’m at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek (Liberty), where I met Robb for a few games. This is it for trivia this trip, because I have work to do tomorrow, then I’m getting out of town Tuesday. I was originally staying until Wednesday, but it will be brutally cold Wednesday, so cold I don’t know if my car would start. Therefore, it’s best to skip town early.

The Pro Bowl is today. The AFC leads 17-0 late in the first half. I’m certain Kansas City will have the highest television ratings for the game since Patrick Mahoney is the AFC’s starting quarterback. I don’t care about the NFL right now, and I certainly don’t care about the Pro Bowl.

The Patriots had 35,000 fans show up at a rally in Foxborough prior to their departure for Atlanta and Super Bowl LIII. I’m betting there aren’t 35,000 Patriots fans outside the six New England states. If there are, they probably love Brady and will jump off the New England bandwagon once he retires, much the same way the NBA’s Heat and Cavaliers have lost fans because LeBron no longer plays for those teams. It was the same way when Michael Jordan played for the Bulls.

Next Sunday, I might be in bed by 1800. No way I’m watching the Super Bowl. None. .Sounds sacrilegious, but right now, I have no desire to watch a game matching a team which doesn’t belong (Rams) and a team I am sick and tired of seeing, and even more sick and tired of seeing their douchebag coach (Belichick), douchebag quarterback (Brady), douchebag tight end (Gronk) and douchebag receiver (Edelman).

If I do stay up late next Sunday, at least I have work to do and lots of movies to watch to bide my time.