Category Archives: Main Street Media

Mother Nature 1, Sprinters 0

Since moving to Kansas, the third or fourth Friday of April has invariably found me in Osborne for the Kaser Relays. This was the very first track meet I covered for Main Street Media in 2006, and frankly, I had no idea what to do. I didn’t have nearly the camera equipment i do now, and while I knew what the event were, I had no clue where to position myself and what to look for.

Osborne’s meet is one of four I covered every year during my first nine seasons in Kansas. The others are the Russell Relays, which are in two weeks; the Mid-Continent League meet; and the state championships at Wichita. I did not cover a regional in 2013, and I didn’t begin covering the meets at Smith Center and Plainville until 2007.

Today, I had one eye on the events, but one eye on my iPhone.

The forecast since Sunday had called for severe weather today, and by time I arrived at Osborne at 2:20, it looked the sky was beginning to stir. The sun would poke out from the clouds, but mostly it was overcast.

I could feel the bad weather coming. It was unusually humid for western Kansas in late April. The dewpoint was 60 degrees, about 25 degrees above where it should be for this time of year. It wasn’t a question of if the rain was coming, but when.

Kenny Ubelaker, Osborne’s track coach from 2007 through 2014, joked with me that if it waited until 5 to rain, it would be fine with him, since he would be wrapped up with the boys javelin, the event he was managing. Rex Johnston, the public address announcer for the meet, said it would wait until 10 to rain.

When I checked the radar on my phone at 4, I knew Kenny would be right.

The weather to the southwest of Osborne was beginning to stir, and a line of thunderstorms was between Wakeeney and Hays. Twenty minutes later, it got much worse.

A tornado warning was issued for Ellis County. A tornado had been spotted just north of Interstate 70 and looked like it might scrape the northern portion of Hays. Fortunately, the twister did not touch down anywhere within the Hays city limits, but it slowly made its way east across US 183, just south of K-18.

Of course, Russell County is the next county east from Ellis.

Just after 4, I made the decision to leave the meet following the completion of preliminary heats in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and high hurdles. I was in communication with my supervisor, Frank Mercer, who was in Russell. He was supposed to cover the Broncos’ baseball and softball games vs. Ellis at Russell, but those were postponed to May 14 due to the forecast.

As the 4×800-meter relays were run, the skies began to darken, and I noticed the rain shield inching closer to Osborne on my phone. I figured it was a good time to leave and see if I could get to K-18 before the bad weather arrived.

Good plan, but Mother Nature had her own ideas.

About halfway between Osborne and Luray, where US 281 meets K-18 for an eight mile jog west, a tornado warning was issued for northern Russell County. Any further driving south would put me in harm’s way.

I turned around and headed north, back towards Osborne. Just past the city limits, I turned right onto a county road which I knew would take me east to K-181. I would then get on K-181 and head south towards Sylvan Grove.

I had forgotten just how many twists and turns K-181 has. It was a roller coaster ride up and down the hills, with a couple of very sharp curves, curves I wasn’t totally prepared for. I was going too fast, trying to outrun the storm.

I did outrun the storm. I got to I-70, and finally home, without a drop. Just as I pulled into my garage, it appeared as if it would rain hard in Russell, but it stopped almost right away.

It turns out the meet was suspended only minutes after I departed. It never restarted.

Until today, it had been seven years since I covered a meet which was called off early.

The 2008 Russell Relays were terminated following the completion of the field events due to ridiculously high wind, wind which gusting in excess of 60 miles per hour at times. Only three schools–Beloit, Concordia and Russell–wanted to continue the meet.

In 2012, the Beloit Relays were suspended for three hours by severe thunderstorms. That meet ended up resuming, but not completed until after 10 p.m. I left at 1 and went down to Wichita.

I’m beat. That’s all for now.

Tough part of Tuesday over

The hard part of the day is over. Now it’s time relax and get ready for some basketball.

I couldn’t quite get myself going this morning. Slept on and off, but I still had my work done for Phillipsburg by 8:45, so they couldn’t complain. I got Plainville done next ahead of Smith Center since Candace Rachel wanted to try to get done early and go to Plainville’s basketball games in Claflin. I don’t know if he shot it done in time, but I tried to do my part.

I had Smith Center wrapped at 2:30 and Ellis an hour later. Elaine Mercer tried getting in touch with me around 4, but I was in the bathroom getting myself ready. I didn’t heart he pone ring, but I finally saw the missed call. Everything turned out okay.

The good news is I had only a short drive from the hotel to Sacred Heart. It actually took me longer to wait in the drive thru line at Taco Bell to pick up a snack than it did to drive from NInth and Schilling to the school on East Claflin.

As I drove over, I got a look at the construction in Kansas Wesleyan’s football stadium. The turf is down and it looks great. It will be a major upgrade over the old Glen Martin Stadium, where the field was not very good. Russell doesn’t play Sacred Heart next season, so the earliest the Broncos will return is 2016, although it’s more likely for 2017. Besides, it won’t be any big thrill for the Broncos, since they already play on turf at home, and will do so on the road too in 2015 at TMP-Marian, which uses Fort Hays State’s Lewis Field Stadium.

The Russell-Sacred Heart boys game should be one-sided. The Knights blew away the Broncos in Russell in December, and Sacred Heart is playing even better now, as evidenced by a victory at previously undefeated Beloit two weeks ago. The girls game should go in Russell’s favor, but the Lady Broncos have been inconsistent at times. They haven’t won three in a row all year, so that needs to change.

I guess I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings after the game. I promised Krystine, the manager who has taken a liking to me, I would come back. I had the buffalo mac and cheese there last night. Awesome.

I finished fifth nationally in Buzztime’s The Pulse, but less than 400 points out of first. Not bad. I also own all 10 high scores this month for Countdown. As much as I like the Salina location, I can’t help but miss Kansas City and everyone there.

Done before noon

I stayed until almost 10 last night, playing through the final round of Buzztime Countdown for the evening. Tori didn’t have any customers at the bar besides me for the last 30 minutes I was there.

I finished fourth nationally in The Pulse last night, but missed first by less than 300 points. I have now finished in the top nine for 16 consecutive rounds, 15 of those in the top five.

My mother sent me a terse text saying my father came through the surgery alright. She doesn’t know how to text and I don’t expect her to learn. She doesn’t like to carry a cell phone in the first place. I’m sure they’ll call today at some point.

Ethan Hoyle got me hooked on Trivia Crack for the iPhone. He had me play a game for him on his phone, which I won, so I downloaded it myself. It will be a good diversion when I can’t get to Buffalo Wild Wings or another location to play trivia.

I did a little more writing in the wee hours, getting Plainville and Ellis out of the way. I fell asleep at 3:15 and didn’t fully get up until 7:45, but I had the bulk of my work done, so it didn’t take me long to finish.

By 10:45, I was showered and ready to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. Lisa is behind the bar this morning. She’s very happy to see me, and I was ecstatic to see her. She loved her birthday swag.

I just played my first round of Buzztime for the morning. Didn’t get the first one, but got the next six to finish with 6,261 out of 7,000 possible (the games from 11 to 2 are only seven questions).

Super Bowl factoid: only one Super Bowl has been held on January 27. Many call it the best Super Bowl ever played. I think it’s highly overrated.

Super Bowl XXV was the first of four conescutive trips to the championship game for the Buffalo Bills. Their opponent, the New York Giants, won Super Bowl XXV four years prior.

Most of the experts predicted the Bills would win. More than a few predicted a rout. Buffalo was fresh off a 51-3 destruction of the Raiders at home in the AFC championship game, while the Giants had to travel across the country for the NFC championship game, where they won an exhausting battle against the two-time champion 49ers, 15-13. Immediately after the game in San Francisco, the Giants flew straight to Tampa, since there was no week off between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

My 14-year old brain differed greatly from the experts. The Giants, even without starting quarterback Phil Simms, who suffered season-ending foot injury in a regular season loss to the Bills in December, had the better team. It was not close on defense. Even though Buffalo had the best defensive end in football in 1990, Bruce Smith, New York had far more talent on that side of the ball, led by Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks and Leonard Marshall. I also thought the Giants had a strong enough offensive line and ground attack to push the Bills around and keep Jim Kelly and Buffalo’s no-huddle offense off the field.

The Giants controlled the ball for 40 minutes, overcoming a 12-3 second quarter deficit. Buffalo had one last chance to win, but Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt with five seconds left sailed wide right, allowing New York to escape with a 20-19 victory.

There was another Super Bowl which was originally scheduled for January 27, but it didn’t come to pass.

Super Bowl XXXVI, the Rams-Patriots game in New Orleans, was originally scheduled for January 27, 2002, but due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the NFL postponed its week two games and pushed back the end of the regular season to January 6. The NFL did not want to compress its playoff schedule, and since it did not schedule a week off between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, there was no way they could hold the game January 27 with the new schedule

The NFL rescheduled the Super Bowl for February 3, the first time any game other than the Pro Bowl would be played in February.

At first, it didn’t appear New Orleans would be able to host the Super Bowl on the new date. The weekend of February 1-3 was the first weekend of Carnival parades in the Big Easy, and the National Automobile Dealers Association scheduled its convention that weekend, and had booked nearly all of the prime hotel rooms.

To keep the Super Bowl in the Superdome, the NFL paid a hefty fee to the NADA to move its convention, and the Carnival parades were rescheduled to the weekend of January 25-27, the original weekend for the Super Bowl.

For those who weren’t old enough to watch Super Bowl XXXVI, or those who don’t know their football history, Tom Brady became a household name that day by leading a perfect two-minute drill which ended in Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning 48-yard field goal on the final play, which lifted the Patriots to an improbable 20-17 victory over a Rams team which won Super Bowl XXXIV two years prior and was called “The Greatest Show on Turf”.

Kurt Warner, the former Hy-Vee stocker who rose to superstardom when he led the Rams to the 1999 championship, would get back to the Super Bowl seven years after the loss to Brady and New England. Only this time, he would be wearing vastly different colors than the Rams’ blue and gold.

Waiting squared

I’ve been at Morse-McCarthy Chevrolet for an hour now while my Impala undergoes some big repairs. The mechanics found out something was amiss with my power steering, and although it’s going to cost a hefty price to fix, it has to get fixed, because I can’t be driving to Oberlin this weekend with a bum car. Just a fact of life with living in western Kansas and the job I have. Gotta have the car.

My father’s procedure at KU Medical Center has been pushed back to 5. Figures. Unless it’s emergency surgery, more often than not, medical procedures in a hospital will be done later than the appointment time. Not that he, my mother, or I are going anywhere today.

I’ve been productive waiting for the car. I knocked out a lot of typing of statistics, which is always a hassle. Wrestling and track and field have tons of results, and that is more tedious than one might think. Once those are out of the way, writing stories for those sports isn’t that hard. I also am fortunate this week that many schools we cover played one another, meaning I don’t have to do nearly as much writing and statistics typing as I might.

I find the Bluetooth keyboard for my iPhone allows me to type much more efficiently than the keyboard on my computer. It’s helped, both working and blogging.

The NBA postponed two games in New York City tonight because of the impending blizzard. Nobody gives a crap about the Kings and Knicks, and the Nets avoided a probably loss, since they were hosting the Trail Blazers.

One thing about Arizona: the NFL will never have to worry about snow. The only question is will it leave the roof open at University of Phoenix Stadium for the Super Bowl. The Cardinals control the roof when they are hosting regular season games, but in the playoffs, the decision lies with the league, and in this case, with Roger Goodell in particular, in consultation with the coaches and referee Bill Vinovich. I’m guessing it stays closed, which would be a shame if it were 60 degrees outside.

Almost there

I listened to much of game three of the ALCS last night driving home to Russell. The game started just about time I was past the Manhattan exits, and was in the sixth inning when I pulled into the garage at 1224 North Brooks Street.

Last night’s game was the first ALCS contest in Kansas City since October 13, 1985, my ninth birthday. I’ll never forget that day, because I got a set of 1985 Topps baseball cards as a birthday gift. I kept the set right up until it got flooded by Hurricane Katrina 19 years, 10 months and 16 days later.

Twenty-one hours since arrive home, not only did the Royals complete a 2-1 victory over Baltimore in game three, they have recorded 24 of the 27 outs needed to win game four and complete the sweep. Kansas City scored two runs on a crazy play in the first when Alcides Escobar kicked the ball out of the glove of Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph at the plate, allowing Nori Aoki to also score. The Orioles pulled within 2-1 in the fourth on a home run by Ryan Flaherty, but that’s been it.

The Royals will now turn to Greg Holland to put the series away and send Kansas City to the World Series for the first time since 1985 and the third time overall.

I was tired most of the day, but I got my needed work done, albeit a little late. Now it’s waiting until I leave tomorrow at noon for the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament at Smith Center. Tomorrow’s action starts at 3 p.m., and resumes Saturday at 9 a.m.

Neglecting the blog again

Once again I have neglected the blog on a Wednesday. I am sorry for doing so. And I’m sorry for only one post each of the last two days. I’ve got to get better.

Not much to really report from today. Typical Wednesday of getting everything done for the Russell County News. Had a lot of pictures in this issue, with three football games, two volleyball matches and some cross country pictures from Russell High. I actually ate dinner with my parents tonight, one of the rare times I’ve done that lately. Either it’s been Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City or some place on the road since I’ve been covering events. The Taco Bell addiction was fed yesterday when I stopped in St. Joseph before crossing the Missouri River into Kansas.

I’ve got a 120-mile drive to Norton for my football game Friday. I would stay overnight, but I’m going to have to come back to Russell because of the volleyball tournament in Hoisington Saturday.

The 16th season premiere of Law and Order: SVU was on tonight. I tuned in, but my mind was elsewhere. I’ll just watch the replay on Hulu tomorrow morning.

Twenty-two hour Tuesday

I began today in Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m ending it in my basement. In between, it was quite a ride–literally for two parts of the day.

I stayed at B-Dubs until closing at 1 a.m., meaning I spent 10 and a half hours there total, starting at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. I agreed to stay until the bitter end because Elizabeth Psenski was closing, and from what Brittany Davidson told me, Liz was having a tough go, so I figured if I was there, it would help her feel better. It did. Tori Weber also stayed until close, and she was very happy to see me there

I almost didn’t get all of my work done before departing Kansas City. I kept falling asleep–expected–but somehow I found enough energy to get it all wrapped up and get out of the hotel at 11 a.m.

I ran into construction on US 36 in Doniphan County at noon, and I thought to myself, oh boy, I’m not going to make it to Kesnington in time for the volleyball matches at 4 p.m. According to Google maps, it was a four hour, 20-minute drive from the Courtyard on Tiffany Springs Parkway to Kensington, but I figured the construction would slow it down.

Construction on two-lane highways is hell. One direction has to come to a complete stop while a pilot car leads the traffic in the other direction. The wait can sometimes be more than 15 minutes. On many occasions, I’ve turned off my engine and reclined my seat back to catch a few winks.

Fortunately, there was hardly any waiting this time. The pilot car was leading the eastbound traffic past us as I came to a stop, so the wait was only a couple of minutes.

At Seneca, it began to sprinkle and I thought here’s the rain that was in the forecast. Sure enough, as I crossed the Nemaha-Marshall County line, it began to rain steadily. Nothing heavy, but enough to be a nuisance. I stopped at the Sinclair in Marysville to fuel up, use the restroom and get some snacks, and when I returned to my car, it began to rain harder. The heaviest rain fell from Marysville to Washington, at times slowing things down to 45 miles per hour. I was worried this was going to persist all the way to Kensington.

The rain finally subsided in Republic County about halfway between Washington and Belleville. The sun finally came out when I got past Mankato, and i pulled into Thunder Ridge High School at 3:40.

It turns out I had a little more time . Natoma and Thunder Ridge were supposed to play a varsity match at 4 p.m., but the junior varsity from the schools took the court first, pushing the start of the varsity match between the teams to 4:50.

Sadly, Pike Valley’s coach is in critical condition in a hospital awaiting heart surgery. Therefore, the Panthers only brought their varsity to Kensington, shortening the night from six matches to four.

Thunder Ridge had little trouble taking care of Natoma. Natoma lost the first set to Pike Valley, too, but came back and won the last two to pull out the match. In the last match of the night, the host Longhorns ousted Pike Valley in straight sets.

The drive home had a hairy moment. Approximately eight miles south of Phillipsburg, I caught two deer crossing the road from east to west. Luckily, I had plenty of room to stop and let them cross.

I actually clipped a deer with my current car on US 36 near Washington two years ago, but all it did was knock off a piece of my grille. I turned around, retrieved the grille piece, and then popped it back in at the Dairy Queen in Belleville. Of course, a deer destroyed my Oldsmobile 88 on 183 a few miles north of Hays in October 2005.

After getting past that obstacle, I saw a squirrel about a mile later, and then a hitchhiker pulling a suitcase. What the heck?

I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow for Russell’s paper. Hopefully it won’t wear me out.

Manic Monday repeated

I didn’t leave Buffalo Wild Wings until after 9 last night, at the end of the first half of the Bears-49ers game. I watched the second half from my room at the Courtyard Briarcliff, and I fell asleep just before the Bears scored their final touchdown in a 28-20 victory. They were trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

Who would have dreamed the only 2-0 team remaining in the NFC West would be the Arizona Cardinals? The Seahawks also lost yesterday, falling 30-21 to the Chargers in San Diego. The Chargers have to be kicking themselves, since they could be 2-0, but they blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Arizona on Monday Night Football last week.

Adrian Peterson was reinstated by the Vikings today. I’m very angry. Peterson hit his four-year old son with a tree branch last week and was arrested for child abuse by authorities in a suburban Houston county. I think corporal punishment is dead wrong, and I have felt like confronting people I see in public hitting their kids.

I never could get fully going this morning. Fortunately, I wrote my weekly column at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I didn’t have much to do for Osborne, so I was still able to get my work done in time to please Stephanie Baxa, the editor of the Osborne County Farmer. I’ve begun to print out the stuff for Ellis, Phillipsburg, Plainville and Smith Center. I’ll get some of it done here at B-Dubs, and the rest at the hotel. I have to go to Victoria tomorrow for volleyball,, but the first varsity match doesn’t start until almost 6, so I don’t have to rush if I leave KC at noon.

Elizabeth Psenski is here tonight after taking the weekend off. Good to see that. Lisa Toebben is not here. I think she might be avoiding me, but I hope not.

Sunday catchup

I was wiped out last night when I arrived back in Russell last night at 7. I got out of WaKeeney at 5:45 after Russell lost its semifinal match to Stockton in two sets. I was a little disappointed the Broncos didn’t make the final, but they represented well and are on the right path under their new coach, Don Fenwick.

Russell is off until Saturday when they host a round robin with Central Plains of Claflin, Lincoln, Minneapolis, Larned and Hoisington. Hoisington should win all of its matches; the Cardinals always have talent. If Russell can win a couple, then it will be a good day.

My next volleyball is Tuesday at Victoria when the Knights host Smith Center and Ellis. Victoria is 0-9 this season, and it will be very difficult against both opponents. Smith Center is 5-0 and was fourth in Class 2A a year ago, and Ellis is a highly regarded team which lost to Smith Center in the sub-state championship match at Hill City.

I’m sure I’ll be back at Smith Center Friday for football when the Redmen host TMP-Marian. Smith Center should easily win, but that’s why they play the games.

Right now, I’m back at Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City, watching the early football games and playing trivia, trying to focus to get some work in.

The Arizona Cardinals are without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, who has a nerve injury in his throwing shoulder. The injury was not reported widely until this morning, and about two hours before kickoff, it was announced he would not play. Drew Stanton, who has not thrown a pass in a regular season game since December 2010, is starting in Palmer’s place. So far, so good, the Cardinals scored on their opening drive at East Rutherford and lead the Giants 7-0.

The Chiefs don’t play until 3:25 when they face the Broncos in Denver. Oh boy.

Volleyball Saturday

Once again, I forgot to save my draft, and that’s why I haven’t posted all day. That, my battery dying and a lot of volleyball have also been affecting me.

I’ve got a long break right now before Russell plays its next volleyball match. The Broncos defeated Wichita County and the TMP-Marian junior varsity before losing to host Trego in the tournament here at WaKeeney. Russell will play Stockton in one semifinal, and the other semi will match Trego and TMP. The winners play for the championship; thankfully, no third place match.

I was dead tired after getting home a few minutes before midnight last night. I went straight to bed; I did not even set the computer up. I wanted to wash some clothes, but no dice. I’m just going to leave¬†Sunday morning at 6 if I go to Kansas City. No sense in wasting money or points for a hotel night tonight.

One week after going to Columbus and beating Ohio State, Virginia Tech gave it all away today, losing at home to East Carolina 28-21. Ouch. But I was glad to see Louisville and their Judas Iscariot coach, Bobby Petrino, lose to Virginia. LSU plays Louisiana-Monroe at 6. Not sweating it one bit. Bayou Bengals win and win big.