baseball stadium tour
Aug. 5, 2009, 9:55 a.m. by John
last year was the final year for yankee stadium. the house that ruth built. the stadium where every great player to date has played at some point. the home of babe ruth, lou gehrig, joe dimaggio, mickey mantle, and roger maris and i never got to see a game there. this makes me slightly angry so i have vowed not to let a piece of american and baseball history slip through my fingers again. i have set a goal to watch every major league baseball team play in their home stadium.
the plan is to visit every major league baseball team's ballpark starting with the oldest and working my way up. this way i won't fall victim to the yankee stadium dilemma. even though i don't think the next 2 on the list of oldest stadiums, wrigley (chicago cubs) and fenway (boston), are even close to being shut down, i don't want to risk it.
now, of course, i'm excited about visiting all of these stadiums but i am equally excited about visiting all of these cities that i haven't gotten to visit yet. to date i have not been to any of the cities north of washington dc or any of the cities on the west coast. i am looking forward to seeing what these cities have to offer as far as culture, food, history, etc.
it has already been brought to my attention that i could get multiple cities in during one trip. for example, washington dc, baltimore, and philidelphia are very close together and could be visited in one weekend. however, this would defeat the purpose of visiting the city. therefore, i have decided that i will only visit multiple stadiums in a weekend if they are in the same city (chicago, los angeles, and new york).
the only thing i have to figure out is what piece of memorabilia i will be picking up from each location. the only thing i can think of, that you can not buy online, is the souvenir programs that are made and dated for each series. other than that, everything is available through the internet, to my knowledge.
i have slated my trip to start next year, since i don't have any more vacation days left, so get prepared for a lot more posts as i wind my way through the country.
Mountain Biking - Part 2: "The Wipe Out"
March 24, 2009, 7:58 a.m. by John
So yesterday afternoon my buddy and I went riding in Terry Hershey Park here in Houston. It's basically a 7 or so mile long park following a creek with a concrete path on one side and a mountain biking/hiking dirt trail on the other. About 20 minutes into the ride we decide to switch bikes just to see how the other rode. So my buddy and I are riding along the dirt path and get to this fairly steep 10' tall hill. Neither one of us makes it up the front side and have to walk to the top of the hill. He immediately jumps on my bike and makes it down no problem. At the end of the hill was a big tree lying across the path and so he jumps off the bike to get under it, just as I take off from the top of the hill.
So the path down the back side of this hill is covered in roots from rain water washing the dirt out and other mountain bikers. This usually is a bigger deal going up than down so I didn't think too much of it...yet. So I start off and go over a couple roots no problem and then I get to this one that's sticking up about 6" above the trail. I'm not sure if I didn't try to pick up the front wheel or as I did I hit the brake, all I know is that I hit the root and my front tire stopped immediately. So, this isn't the first time this has happened and usually I just jump off the seat, put my feet on the ground, and awkwardly walk down the hill. This would not be the case today.
As my front tire stopped I jump off my seat, put my feet on the ground, and said "Uh oh!," immediately catching my buddy's attention so he could watch the events unfold. As my feet hit the ground the rear tire lifted and I went straight over the bars. As I fell over the bars I tucked my right shoulder, I think I do this because of the number of times I jumped off my house and out of trees as a kid. Anyway, as I tucked my shoulder my left foot came up first and my heel caught the pedal of the bike, lifting it and sending it soaring in the air. As I landed flat on my back I looked up at a bike, that isn't mine, flying through the air. It landed about 4 feet away.
At this point my buddy is also on the ground, except he's laughing his ass off. He somehow squeezed out "are you OK?," and by this time I realized that I wasn't in too much pain. I got back up, checked his bike and our cell phones that were in my Camelback. Thankfully there were no injuries to the rider, the bike, or the phones. We continued our ride and got a solid 13 miles in.
My buddy swears it's the funniest thing he's seen in a long time. My shoulder's a little sore this morning.
Feb. 17, 2009, 2:18 p.m. by John
I finally decided that i am gaining too much weight and needed to do something about it. i have joined a gym and it is nice to have a place to workout and destroy co-workers in racquetball but sometimes i just want to be outside. i have also found, over the years, that i despise running because i find it one of the most boring things to do ever.
I have some friends in college station and here, in houston, who mountain bike on a regular basis and after riding with them a few times i decided to go ahead and buy one (see pic)
i rode it a few times up and down the bayou behind my house but didn't get into any intense riding until this weekend. while riding i came upon 2 very important discoveries. 1. know which way your shifters shift. when you get up to a big hill you don't want to go into a higher gear, stall out, and stumble half way down...in front of other people. this sounds simple but you would be amazed what actually happens when you get into this situation. 2. look at where you want to go and not where you don't want to. this, too, sounds simple but have you ever seen those video shows where the guy driving down the highway crashes into the police car sitting on the side of the road? same concept when applied to trees and stumps while riding a bike.
anyway, i would recommend this source of exercise to anyone. it's a great way to get out and get some fresh air, while getting a full body work out without getting bored.
Open Letter to the Yell Leaders
Sept. 28, 2008, 10:08 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
This past weekend I attended the A&M–Army game, and like so many before I was disappointed at the Yell Leaders. I’m not sure why I didn’t write this letter earlier, but it probably had to do with the fact that I used to sit on second deck, so I attributed many of the problems to the crowd rather than the Yell Leaders, however after three games [back] on first deck I’ve realized that it is indeed a problem with you, the Yell Leaders. The problem is the pass back.
In order for a yell to be properly executed, all in the crowd who plan on yelling need to know what yell is to be performed; otherwise there will be a weak start and a gradual crescendo leading up to the wildcat as people catch on. As yell leaders it is up to you to decide when to perform a yell, and thus when to signal the beginning of a yell. What I am asking (the ultimate point of this letter) is for you to decide earlier, and give more than a three second pass back. Now, I was out of eyeshot of the head yell leader—more on this in a moment—so I couldn’t tell if he was issuing a pass back for a longer period, but the Yell Leaders I could see (and did watch for a considerable amount of time, rather than the nightmarish defensive performance) barely gave the pass back for long enough for the front row to see. If the problem is in communication (amongst yourselves) then look into a new means of communication.
A large part of the reason I couldn’t see the Head Yell Leader was that you were all hugging the first deck. There were times that you were invisible even during the yell, I had to get by on crowd cues to know when the yell started. If you cannot see the middle and last seats of each of the decks then they cannot see you, stand a bit further back.
Though my undergraduate and graduate career (standing both in Corps Block and out) here at Texas A&M I’ve seen seven sets of Yell Leaders come and go, and they have gotten progressively worse; both in quality and cockiness. Please, make the eighth show improvement. It is important to note that you are already on a better track than many of your predecessors because you haven’t insisted on introducing and performing any new yells, so please fix these problems and make us glad we elected you.
Aug. 8, 2008, 11:39 a.m. by John
what are the olympics? well i thought it was a time when the best athletes from around the world to get together at one place and compete against each other to see which country is the best in different events. Boy was I wrong. Appearently it's the the time of year when everyone and their mother decides that they want to protest whatever their mind feels like. Having been an athlete for the majority of my life I know what it is like to train for hours a day, everyday of the year. Of course I was never close to Olympic calliber but it gives me a good idea and great respect for all of the work that these athletes put in. Now when these athletes get to show the world their talent and share it with their countrymen, in what should be an event that the entire world gets together and watches, people who don't have anything better to do take to the streets and try to stop one of the greatest world traditions, in the running of the olympic torch.
exactly how will stopping the torch fix all of the world's problems? i'm pretty sure it won't. people say things like, the olympics shouldn't be held in china because they are communist. well i'm sorry, i didn't know that being communist had anything to do with athletic ability. in that case, why aren't all athletes communist? maybe they are....hmmm.
why can't people put away their differences for 2 weeks and just stay at home and watch the Olympics? The Olympics are about ** sports**. For those of you who didn't catch it the first time...the Olympics are about **sports**. if you and your ego feel that you are so important that you need to show the entire world how you feel, use other means. i'm all for getting together and voicing your opinion and marching up and down the streets with signs. I don't want to take anyone's rights away but I can gaurantee you that when an american goes into a gold medal match, for whatever sport, he doesn't care about the person on the other side's political views...he just wants to beat the snot out of them.
a quick note, the iraqi athletes were nearly disqualified from the olympics because their olympic body was disperessed...like it was their fault. i don't see why anyone shouldn't be allowed to compete despite what their government does.
let's talk politics in a few weeks. get out of the streets, go inside, watch the games on tv and for now, sit back and enjoy an amazing display of athletic talent.
Aug. 4, 2008, 6:40 p.m. by John
Preface: I consider my self a big sports fan. I watch at least an hour of ESPN everyday and I check their website a few times a day. I'm not a HUGE fan of any given team or sport but I am a big fan of all of the Dallas teams and could probably tell you more than you want to know about any of them.
Fantasy Football is about to, and in some places has, kicked off and I wanted to give everyone my thoughts on the subject. I don't like it because I find myself having to root for other teams and, sometimes, against my own in order to have a good fantasy week. I am from Dallas, I am a Cowboys fan. But if I have a fantasy football team I have to become a Ravens, Giants, 49ers, Lions, Browns, Texans, Packers, Patriots fan so I can cheer for my players to have a good week. Of course you don't have to root for the team just 1 or 2 players, but hopefully these players are on your fantasy team because their team turns to them when they are down and gives them the ball in hopes they will produce a victory. Dilemma.
I have decided that fantasy sports are just a way for professional organizations to get more people to watch their broadcasts and serve no other purpose besides bragging rights. I have not taken part in a fantasy league of any kind since then. I only want to cheer, and will only cheer for the Cowboys, Rangers, Stars, and Mavericks. I don't care about how any other team or player in the game does. Take all that time you spend messing with the fantasy team and apply it to playing that sport. Then we might get somewhere.