Ten hours to Texarkana in the books

Ten hours after leaving 1224 North Brooks Street, Russell, Kansas, my dad and I arrived in Texarkana. The hotel is on the Texas side of the state line right on Interstate 30.

There were a couple of rough moments today.

The first was in Wichita where a car was stopped on the left shoulder of Interstate 135, but was sticking out into the road. Luckily we saw the vehicle to avoid trouble. I hope the person in the car was not seriously hurt or worse. That looked like big-time trouble. And if there was an accident, I can only imagine how bad traffic would have been snarled on I-135.

The second came right before getting to the hotel. If you have ever driven in Texas, at least in metropolitan areas, you are aware there are frontage roads where hotels, restaurants and stores are located. In many instances, there is no direct access from an exit to your destination; you’ll have to probably use a frontage road for at least a mile, probably more.

In this case, we had to use the frontage road on Interstate 30 east for two miles to reach the hotel. The problem was, the turn was almost immediately after crossing a double white line, and that is very dangerous.

The danger almost came to pass, as a car came over the double white line and nearly sideswiped us. My dad made a quick maneuver to turn right into the hotel. The stuff in the back seat shifted, but we were okay. Just a little stunned.

That was enough excitement for one day. Other than that, it was a very good trip, with two stops at Love’s Travel Centers, which are as ubiquitous in Oklahoma and north Texas as strip clubs on Bourbon Street. Dinner tonight at On The Border was outstanding. I’m stuffed.

Tomorrow should be fabulous. We’ll be in Louisiana about an hour after leaving the hotel, and by 1:30, we should be in Baton Rouge. I cannot wait to see Bill, Michael Bonnette, Chris Blair and anyone else who shows up. And maybe someone I haven’t seen for a very, very, very long time. Someone I miss more than just about anyone on earth.

From what I have seen, it is going to be very cold back in Russell tomorrow. So cold that Hill City postponed its big track meet scheduled for tomorrow. Since Hill City put installed a world-class track at its stadium before the 2017 season, its meet has become one of the best for small schools anywhere in Kansas. It’s a shame it has to be pushed back to April 23, but Mother Nature is still undefeated.

Four enchiladas and some fajita meat and veggies (my dad couldn’t quite finish it) has done a number; thankfully, I didn’t eat breakfast and I restrained myself from eating too much at Chick-Fil-A for lunch, so it could be much worse. I will sleep well tonight. If I can sleep. The anticipation might keep me buzzed.

Have a good night. And a better tomorrow.

Not in Kansas anymore

It’s been five hours since we left Russell. Stopping for lunch in Midwest City, just east of downtown Oklahoma City. Beat the lunchtime rush at Chick-Fil-A across from Tinker Air Force Base.

This is the first time I’ve been in the Oklahoma City area since driving to Russell following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The biggest difference between now and then with OKC is the city has the Thunder, which came from Seattle in 2008.

The trip to Texarkana is about halfway through. Weather has been nice, and save for a few very slow or very fast drivers, the traffic has been fine.

Now it’s Interstate 40 to Henryetta, then comes the turn south again towards Texas. Hopefully we’ll be in Texarkana by 5:30.

Tomorrow is the day I’ve waited for. Hopefully no Friday the 13th curse.

Ready to roll…and a flashback to Music City

It’s here. In less than two hours, my dad and I will be on the road. Today’s destination: Texarkana. And no, we won’t have any beer, despite what Jerry Reed sang in “East Bound and Down”, the theme from Smokey and the Bandit.

I last went to Louisiana in 2010. Like that trip, I am not returning to New Orleans. Baton Rouge is the end of the line for us. There’s baseball and hopefully good food, but I have work to do during the down time. There is a lot of sitting and waiting during weekend baseball series, as I rediscovered last year in Lexington and two years ago in Columbia (Missouri, not South Carolina).

The trip actually got off to a bad start yesterday.

When my parents went to New Orleans last October, my mother’s Toyota was involved in an accident in the French Quarter. They had to drive back to Russell in a rental car while her car was being repaired. My mother offered us use of her Toyota for the trip, but my dad said no.

Instead, he decided to rent a car in Hays. I offered to drive to Wichita, leaving my car at the airport. But he declined. So we went to Hays yesterday to get the car.

If anything seems too good to be true, it is. And so it was with the car.

It was a 2018 Impala, a much more sophisticated version of my car.

Problem was, the air conditioner did not work. No refrigerant.

I was very angry. STEAMING. And for what? I made a fool of myself. Again. Another story for Crista and I to discuss in 16 days when I see her again.

My fear was there would not be a car for us in Hays, and we’d have to drive the sweatbox to Wichita to trade it out. Fortunately, another car, a Hyundai Sonata, arrived back in Hays at 5:15, so all is on track again.

The weather today will be just fine, albeit a bit hot for mid-April. Tomorrow is going to go downhill as the day goes on, but we should be able to drive from Texarkana to Baton Rouge without any problems.

Then comes Saturday. Rain chances 100 percent, as in it is going to rain; the only question is how much. Some models are predicting up to four inches. The good news is no severe weather is predicted in Oklahoma or Kansas on the trip, which is always a huge concern in spring.

Still nothing on a change to the weekend schedule. My thinking is they’ll try to wait out the rain Saturday and still attempt to play at the scheduled starting time of 6:30, rolling the dice and accepting the reality of two seven-inning games Sunday if the rain doesn’t abate. Tennessee should be in Baton Rouge by 5:00, so the wheels will start spinning then.

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Tuesday and Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of one of my stranger experiences in college baseball.

LSU played Vanderbilt Easter weekend 1998 in Nashville. My dad and I drove up for the Friday and Saturday games, but missed the Sunday game to get back to Baton Rouge so I didn’t miss class Monday.

My dad and I left Thursday and stopped for the night in Tuscaloosa. Thank God we left Thursday, because the previous day, killer tornadoes struck Alabama, including an F5 which destroyed homes in suburbs of Birmingham. The motel where we stayed along Interstate 20/59 was destroyed by the April 2011 tornado which came perilously close to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Vanderbilt’s campus is not too far from downtown Nashville, in an area famously known as the West End. There are many upscale hotels, restaurants and shops along West End Boulevard, which runs from Interstate 440, the loop around Nashville, to downtown and the Cumberland River.

Vanderbilt’s campus is wedged in along the west end of West End, the quintessential urban university, which is totally opposite of the large state institutions which populate the rest of the Southeastern Conference.

Land at Vanderbilt is at a premium, and the athletic plant is no exception. The baseball field is wedged into a small space abutting the Commodores’ football stadium and Memorial Gymnasium, the basketball arena where the benches are along the end lines and the stands rise like balconies in a theater rather than encircle the court.

Vanderbilt has made it work despite the limitations. Hawkins Field is a wonderful facility, featuring a large press box and luxury boxes, chairback seats, and just about every amenity you would need for a school Vandy’s size.

The third base line at Hawkins Field shares a boundary with the east side of the football stadium. There is a 35-foot high “Black Monster” in left field to make sure most home run balls do not damage windows at Memorial Gymnasium.

It has certainly helped the Commodores go from SEC doormat to an established college baseball superpower, one which won the 2014 national championship. Of course, Tim Corbin, who has coached there since 2003, has been another big reason for Vandy’s success.

Prior to the construction of Hawkins Field, the Commodores’ diamond was, well, let’s just say, lacking.

SERIOUSLY LACKING.

What was known as McGugin Field, named because it was across the street from Vanderbilt’s McGugin Athletic Complex, was WAY below sub-standard for an SEC program. That’s being kind.

The listed capacity was 1,000. The Commodores hardly ever needed that many seats, save for SEC weekends which drew large crowds. Of course, LSU draws the largest crowds to SEC games, and as expected, purple and gold was all over the stands in Nashville that weekend.

Those stands were worse than what I have encountered in some high school football stadiums in rural Kansas. Think the visiting side of Russell High’s stadium. I can think of a few stadiums around here–Hill City, Norton, Phillipsburg–where the visiting stands are better than what Vandy had in those days. And there was no shade, which, sadly, is too common in the SEC.

(One place without a roof over its grandstand is Florida, which is ridiculous. The good news is the Gators will be moving into a new facility by 2021, one with a roof over the main seating area, which will mean the end of McKethan Stadium. I’m not shedding tears.)

There was no press box atop the “grandstand” at McGugin Field. Instead, the press sat in a trailer-like structure on top of the third base dugout. That actually was a step up from the past; Bill told me he and Jim Hawthorne broadcast from outdoors in both 1995 and ’96 and froze their butts off both times.

The problem was with the press “box” was there was no way to see down the third base line, since the trailer was very narrow and no way to see out the side towards the outfield. As bad as the open-air press box at the old Alex Box Stadium was, at least you could see the whole field.

Honestly, the SEC should have told Vandy it had to play conference games at Hesrchel Greer Stadium, which was then the home of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. The Big 12 forced West Virginia to play its conference games elsewhere prior to 2015 since the Mountaineers’ stadium in Morgantown was horrible. That forced West Virginia to play games in other locales in the state, mostly in Huntington or Charleston, but sometimes in Beckley or Wheeling.

If Vandy had trouble finding dates at Greer, it should have been forced to another suitable facility, even if it were in Memphis or Chattanooga, or (God forbid) Knoxville and the Volunteers’ Lindsey Nelson Stadium. But college baseball in the late ’90s only mattered in Baton Rouge and Starkville. Other places can say they cared, but the reality was LSU and Mississippi State truly cared, and the others were going through the motions.

However, the SEC commissioner in those days, Roy Kramer, had been athletic director at Vandy for 12 years prior to making the move to Birmingham. No way he was going to rule against his former employer in that one.

LSU won the two games my dad and I attended, and Vandy won the Easter game. I returned to Nashville five years later, and of course, we were very happy to see Hawkins Field.

Those who play for Corbin today, or visit Vandy in the SEC, should be thankful for Hawkins Field. Their forefathers had it much worse.

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Okay less than an hour to departure. Need to get in the shower. Signing off for now.

Almost gone

In less than 48 hours, my dad and I will be in Texarkana, resting after one long day of travel. The next morning, it is on to Baton Rouge for the weekend baseball series between LSU and Tennessee.

These will be the first baseball games I have witnessed on the LSU campus since the 2005 regional at the old Alex Box Stadium. Rice won that regional, defeating the Bayou Bengals twice. However, the Owls fell short of Omaha, returning to Louisiana a few days later and losing twice to Tulane in the super regional.

I have not seen the second Alex Box Stadium, which opened in 2009. I passed by it a few times in 2010 when I was last in Louisiana, but I never got close to the stadium. Now, in its 10th season of service, I’ll finally get an up close look at the the House of Mainieri.

In the past few years, I’ve attended LSU baseball series, but always away from Baton Rouge. It was Missouri in 2013 and 2016, and last year, it was Kentucky, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This year, the only reasonably close drive for LSU’s five road series was Nashville, but there was too much going on that weekend (March 23-25) to go to Vanderbilt. Therefore, I suggested a trip to Baton Rouge, and my dad jumped on it.

Originally, we were going to go March 16-18 when LSU hosted Missouri, but events conspired to push it back.

The forecast is very dicey. It’s supposed to be warm and humid Friday–yuck–rain hard Saturday, then be very nice Sunday. It does not look like there will be a game Saturday. The question is whether the doubleheader will be Friday or Sunday.

If the doubleheader were Sunday, both games would be seven innings. The first game would probably start at noon, or 1 p.m. at the latest. One game must start at 4 p.m. since the SEC Network is televising the game. Here’s something weird: if there were a doubleheader Sunday, and the first game lasted past 3:15, it would be suspended and completed later that night, following the televised game.

The only way there can be a doubleheader Friday is if the SEC office grants a waiver, and both LSU and Tennessee agree to it. Last year, Kentucky asked for that waiver when LSU came to Lexington, and it was granted, and then Paul Mainieri gave his consent to Nick Miginone. It meant nearly eight hours of baseball and ten hours at the ballpark. If there is a doubleheader Friday, both games would be nine innings.

I didn’t think I would need long pants or long sleeves on this trip, but I’m bringing jeans and sweatshirts to be safe. The parka is staying back in Russell; last year, I wore it in Lexington.

I have slept 48 of the last 49 nights in my own bed in Russell. The exception was last Monday when I vacated to allow the work to be done in my bathroom. Next Thursday, it will be two months since I last left Kansas City. With Dawn now in Florida, with Lisa and Liz long gone from Buffalo Wild Wings, and maybe those pauses between Kansas City will become longer and longer.

All I know is it has been way too long since I’ve seen Baton Rouge. And way, way, way too long since I’ve seen certain people in that city. Hopefully the drought ends before I depart next Monday morning.

Why did I watch?

When I last posted Sunday, I stated I would not watch the NCAA men’s basketball championship game between Michigan and Villanova, fearing the Wildcats would toy with the Wolverines.

However, I did, simply because I was in a Wichita hotel room with limited television options and no way to plug my iPad into the TV. I was in Wichita to pick up an online order and shop at Target, something I cannot do in Russell or Hays. Also, there was work going on in the bathroom downstairs, so I wanted to give the workers free rein without distraction.

Michigan started well, but by the middle of the first half, it was obvious the national championship would reside on the Main Line of Philadelphia for the second time in three seasons.

Final: Villanova 79, Michigan 62.

Jay Wright has probably cemented his place in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., if he had not already. Wright is one of just 15 coaches to win multiple championships since the first NCAA men’s tournament in 1939.

The Big Ten has not produced a men’s basketball national champion since Michigan State in 2000. The Pac-12’s drought is longer, going back to Arizona in 1997. As bad as that is, both of the “Rose Bowl” conferences have had precious little success in women’s basketball as well–the Big Ten won its only title in 1999 with Purdue, and the Pac-12 last won with Stanford way back in 1992.

I’m done with basketball for the rest of 2018. I don’t care about the NBA–unless the Bucks would make a deep playoff run, which isn’t happening–and I don’t watch early season college basketball. Too many mismatches.

Major League baseball is suffering from a rash of postponements, which happens when there is bad weather in the northern latitudes. The Royals saw last Sunday’s home game vs. the White Sox snowed out, and it was too cold for them to play Wednesday in Detroit, so there will be two doubleheaders later this month. Next up is a trip to Cleveland, which isn’t exactly a tropical paradise.

MLB needs to stop with this idea that every team should have a home opener within the first two weeks of the season. If it’s too cold in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis and Chicago, then they have to play on the road in April. The schedule will even out in July and August. Besides, who really wants to play in Atlanta in August? Even St. Louis is miserably unbearable. The Florida teams and Houston don’t count because they have retractable-roof stadiums. Milwaukee was smart enough to put a retractable roof on Miller Park, so why didn’t other teams in the Great Lakes region? Wrigley Field is one thing, but there was no reason the White Sox shouldn’t have done it. Or the Tigers. Or Twins, which played indoors for 28 seasons.

The NHL playoffs start next week. I am absolutely loathing Tampa Bay, Nashville and Vegas all having good chances to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. I will never, ever agree with the idea of hockey in southern locales. I’m glad New Orleans had a team when I was living there, because it would have been awfully tempting to go. It’s up to the Bruins and Maple Leafs to carry the flag for the Original Six, because the Rangers, Red Wings, Canadiens and Blackhawks are long gone.

Seven days until I depart for the native land.

Back on the blog

If you thought I had passed on into the afterlife, I don’t blame you. But March was a pretty bad month for me, so I figured it best not to chronicle just how bad it was. However, I did post some very nasty things on social media which I really am hating myself for.

I am so happy March Madness ends tomorrow night. I have had it with basketball. Enough already. I’m not watching the championship game.

If Michigan keeps it close, it will be a miracle. I can’t remember Michigan being this big an underdog in a major athletic event in my lifetime. Probably the last time it happened was the 1969 football game vs. Ohio State when the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 24-12 to end Ohio State’s 22-game winning streak.

Villanova isn’t as big a favorite as Georgetown was vs. the Wildcats in the 1985 final, but it’s close. With the way the Wildcats dismantled Kansas, there’s no reason to think the Wolverines will come any closer, even though Michigan is riding a 14-game winning streak.

Michigan is 1-4 in previous title game appearances. However, the one the Wolverines won was against Seton Hall, a Catholic school from the Big East, just like Villanova. Unfortunately for John Beilein, Glen Rice has been out of eligibility since that night in Seattle 29 years ago.

Kansas got its comeuppance last night. Jayhawk fans had been talking trash all tournament, crying about the lack of respect  and whatever else they could complain about. They can shut up until November.

Notre Dame just hit a buzzer beater to defeat Mississippi State in the women’s championship game.

The good news: UConn didn’t win the title. Again.

The bad news: Notre Dame won.

I do not like Irish coach Muffet McGraw. Not after she whined and bitched and complained about Geno Auriemma constantly during the 2014 Final Four, when the Huskies beat Notre Dame in the final. I am not an Auriemma lover by any means, but McGraw sounded like a shrill shrew.

I also found reason to dislike McGraw after she allowed her players to wear t-shirts supporting Black Lives Matter before several games in recent years. That has no place in sports. Period.

I also have heard in a few places McGraw is pro-abortion, which if she is, should disqualify her from being employed by Notre Dame or any other Catholic university. Then again, many pro-aborts have been featured speakers at Notre Dame, so it would not shock me if McGraw fell in line with that view.

I was very angry with Saint Louis University when it employed the late Rick Majerus, who was outspokenly pro-abortion. Majrerus not only coached at Saint Louis, but also at Marquette, another Catholic institution. Do administrators at Catholic universities do their homework? I’m beginning to believe not.

There was some good news from the sports world this weekend. The Royals lost twice to the White Sox, while the Padres, led by their $147 million man, former Royal Eric Hosmer, were swept by the Brewers. The Reds were also swept–by the Nationals–so MLB opening weekend was pretty god in my book.

I slept until 12:40 this afternoon. Maybe that wasn’t the worst thing.

Voicing my opinion

This letter to the editor appears in Sunday’s edition of the Kansas City Star.

 

High school wrestling concluded in most states last month with state tournaments. While the four states bordering Kansas all held their championships for all classifications in one location, Kansas held its tournaments in three locales.

Kansas is one of the few states that hold tournaments in more than one location. In fact, only one state, Connecticut, uses more than three sites for its state tournament.

Sadly, this is typical of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which forces fans to pick and choose one location to watch state championship competition, except for track and field.

I’m sure many coaches in the Kansas City area envy Missouri, where all the wrestling championships are under the same roof at Mizzou Arena, instead of spread out among Park City, Salina and Hays.

The KSHSAA would not have to hunt far and wide for an appropriate site for state wrestling. Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka and the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina are all excellent options.

Get with it, KSHSAA. The student-athletes and coaches deserve better.

Crying foul over long games

The Phillipsburg-Norton girls sub-state game Tuesday took a little longer than I would have liked. I left Norton’s gym 20 minutes later than I had expected, although I made good time on the drive back to Russell and was home before 10:45.

There an awful lot of fouls called between the Panthers and Bluejays Tuesday, and it so happened most of them resulted in foul shots. Norton ended up winning 45-34, and the Bluejays now head to Colby tomorrow to play Cimarron. The other sub-state semifinal is Scott City vs. colby, and the winners play Saturday for the right to advance to the 3A state tournament in Hutchinson starting next Thursday.

In high school basketball, teams enter the bonus when their opponent commits the seventh foul of a half. On fouls seven, eight and nine, the team which is fouled attempts a “one-and-one”, where the shooter only gets a second attempt if they make the first. The exceptions are on a foul committed on a shot, which is two or three shots if the field goal attempt is not successful, and one shot if the field goal is successful; and on an offensive foul, there are no foul shots.

The double bonus (or super bonus, as the legendary LSU public address announcer Dan Borne coined it) comes into play starting with the 10th team foul of the half. The offended team gets two free throws regardless of the situation, except if the foul came on a field goal attempt, or was on an offensive foul.

The same procedure is in place for college men’s basketball, but in college women’s basketball, the procedures are different since the NCAA adopted four 10-minute quarters for the ladies instead of two 20-minute halves like the men play.

In women’s basketball, there is no “one-and-one”; with the fifth team foul committed in a quarter, the offended team receives two free throws. The difference is the fouls reset each quarter.

The NBA system is somewhat similar, but has many differences. One is offensive fouls do not count towards a team’s limit; and second, within the final two minutes of a half, a team has one “foul to give” regardless of whether they were in the “penalty” (opponent in the bonus) prior to the two-minute mark of the period.

I would like to see the rules changed, at least in high school, to reduce the number of free throws. I propose:

  • Adopt the women’s college/NBA rules on the bonus. Fifth foul puts opponent in the bonus, no one-and-one. No two-minute change like the NBA. Fouls reset at the end of the period.
  • On the seventh foul of the quarter, the offended team does not have to attempt free throws. They may instead opt to inbound the ball at the point of the foul. If the foul occured in the backcourt, the team which was fouled may inbound the ball at mid-court opposite the scorer’s table if they chose to forgo the free throws.
  • When a team reaches the bonus, the team which was fouled may choose its free throw shooter from any player on the court. This would be similar to association football (soccer) when a team is awarded a penalty kick. In association football, the player who is fouled inside the box does not have to attempt the penalty kick. That would make fouling less advantageous.
  • I don’t know if I would advocate bringing back a rule which was in the NBA prior to the 1981-82 season which gave a team in the bonus three attempts to make two free throws. That might hold the game up too much. On the other hand, it might make a team think twice about fouling.

I doubt the rules makers are going to do anything drastic anytime soon. We’ll muddle along with the status quo.

Darts anyone?

I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days playing darts on my iPhone, which is strange because I have hardly watched darts on television. Then again, darts is not popular television fare in the United States. In Great Britain, it’s a different matter.

Some of the greatest darts players on earth are portly, including Englishman Phil Taylor, considered one of the greatest darts players of recent memory. However, I would believe one has to stay in good shape to play darts, especially keeping the arms loose and working. Leg stamina is also important, too.

There is plenty of strategy in darts. The countdown is from 501 to zero, and to “check out”, a player needs to hit a double and bring their score down to exactly zero. Since a player is starting with an odd number, there has to be at least one throw with an odd numbered score, since all double scores will be even. The best strategy to achieve that is to hit the triple 19, which is 57.

The inner bullseye is actually a double, worth 50, so a player could check out by hitting the inner bullseye. From what I’ve seen, most want to get down to 40 and hit the double 20 to check out. For a right-handed player, the numbers on the left side of the board are a little difficult, and it’s the same for a left-handed player on the right side.

I don’t have the room in my house to put up a dart board, so playing it on the iPhone is as close as I’m going to get. It’s a great way to learn the nuances of the game, as well as different variation from the standard 501, the game played in most tournaments.

There is an option on the iPhone to require a double to open scoring, meaning a player is stuck on 501 (or 601 or 701) until they hit a double, then the points can be deducted. Hitting the inner bullseye is optimal, but difficult. I’ve learned that a few times.

It was a good time killer today. I had a noon appointment with Crista, and I played a few games waiting in line in Hays to get my car washed. It was sunny and 75 (24 Celsius), record warmth for Hays, so people were out en masse getting their cars washed. Mine needed it bad, and since I had the time, I could wait the 20 minutes in line.

I played more darts in Norton waiting for Peggy before we ate dinner. Norton plays Phillipsburg in girls sub-state tonight at 7. By eating before, I can leave and not be back in Russell too late.

The Winter Olympics and high school wrestling are over. Not missing either.

Billy Graham, crazy driving, unstately wrestling

The Reverend Dr. Billy Graham passed away Wednesday at age 99. Graham had been a spiritual adviser to every U.S. president from Harry Truman through Barack Obama, and he was particularly close to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Graham was called “America’s Pastor” by many, and he reportedly preached to live audiences of close to 215 million in 185 countries.

The biggest crusade Graham held in my native Louisiana was in October 1970, when he held court for five nights at LSU’s Tiger Stadium. Close to 200,000 came out to see Graham, many of them from north Louisiana and Mississippi, where he was far more popular than southern Louisiana, which is majority Catholic.

Gee, LSU could let Billy Graham preach in Tiger Stadium for five nights, but it has not allowed Louisiana high schools to play in the stadium since 1966? Come on.

I never watched Graham’s crusades. I’m not a religious zealot to begin with, and I was baptized Catholic, so I naturally was far more interested in what came from John Paul II than anything Graham said. However, it was apparent Graham had a profound impact on tens of millions of Americans, and he has to be considered one of the most influential religious figures in the history of the United States, if not the world.

I was very disgusted to see so many people cheering Graham’s passing. An editor at Teen Vogue posted on Twitter that she hoped Graham “enjoyed his life in hell”. Someone I know said “good riddance” on Facebook.

Sad. Very sad. Nobody is denying these people’s right to disagree with Graham’s teachings. However, keep your vitriol to yourself. Please.

There was quite a bit of nastiness on social media when Benedict XVI unexpectedly resigned in February 2013. I can only imagine, too, what would have been said about John XXIII had social media been around at the time of his papacy. For my non-Catholic friends, John XXIII initiated the Second Vatican Council which led to sweeping changes in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in regards to the liturgy, where Latin was replaced with the local language and the priest faced the congregation instead of facing the sanctuary.

If you want to see just how different the Catholic mass was before the Second Vatican Council, click the link below to watch John F. Kennedy’s requiem mass. It is very fascinating.

JFK funeral mass

Gee, this might be the longest I have ever written on religion.

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I pulled off a daring double dip yesterday, driving to Salina to get my hair cut by Amber at SportClips, then racing back to Hays to make my 2 p.m. appointment with Crista. Not recommended.

I only did that because the weather Tuesday was terrible and the roads were iced over, and I knew they would be that way again today. Therefore, I only had a very small window to accomplish this. Somehow I did it, but I would rather not try it again.

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I am so glad I will not be attending a state wrestling tournament this weekend.

First, it’s dumb Kansas needs three sites to host four tournaments. If Missouri and Nebraska can host four separate state tournaments in one building, why can’t Kansas?

It’s not like Kansas doesn’t have a building in which to do it. Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita would be great. So would the ones in Topeka and Salina. Heck, if the Missouri State High School Activities Association can work with the University of Missouri and the SEC to host its tournament at Mizzou Arena, and the Nebraska School Activities Association can do the same with Creighton and the Big East to use the Century Link Center, why can’t Kansas work something out with the Big 12 and Kansas and/or Kansas State? It would probably have to be K-State, because I doubt KU would want Allen Fieldhouse in use for anything other than the Jayhawks. It’s probably the reason why the Kansas State High School Activities Association hasn’t hosted a state basketball tournament in Lawrence since 1987.

Is it because the tournaments in Missouri and Nebraska are over three days instead of two? So what? It’s better for the athletes that the tournaments are held over three days. Asking these kids to win three bouts in one day, which you have to do on day one in Kansas if you want to make the championship round, is too much. In Missouri and Nebraska, wrestlers have to win one bout on each of the first three days to reach the final, which is in the evening on day three.

If Kansas is that scared of losing instruction time, then hold the third day of the tournament on a Sunday. Or if Sunday is too sacrosanct, then bite the bullet and start the tournament on Thursday like most states do with a three-day format.

Louisiana won’t hold a three-day tournament for some reason. And the wrestlers in the largest division have to win five bouts, not four, to win the championship. This needs to be pointed out, too.

I shouldn’t complain. I’m  not covering this cluster you know what anymore. But I will write letters to the editor in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and Salina to voice my opinion like I did with football.

I know nothing will get done. Kansas still insists on determining state golf champions with a one-round tournament instead of two which most states do (some even do three).

I know one place I will not be this weekend: Fort Hays State. And another: the arena in Salina. And another: the arena in Park City.

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Dawn’s last day in Kansas City is tomorrow. Too bad I’m stuck on the prairie. At least I got to see her twice last weekend.