Wednesday Nights in the Neighborhood

Wednesday nights have become a midweek Friday night for a handful of the dads in the neighborhood.  Many of us congregate at a friends house after the kids have all gone to bed.

A full-sized dart machine, a flat screen HD TV and a refrigerator retrofitted beer taps and a keg provide hours of entertainment.  Additionally, several of the guys often enjoy the cigars that always seem to show up with me.

If I’m working Thursday morning, I usually can only stay about an hour.  However, if I’m not working Thursday morning, it’ll usually be well after midnight – and I’m usually one of the first to leave.  I don’t know how the other guys do it when they have to be up and working the next day.

KSU vs University of Central Florida

So, this blog has quickly become an update on the sporting events I’ve attended in the past week – mostly because that’s what I’ve been able to arrange my free time around.  Saturdays in September mean afternoons in Manhattan.

This past Saturday was an interesting one, indeed.  When we left Kansas City around 8:00am, we had noted that there was a 40% chance for rain all day.  We grabbed the new KSU ponchos we purchased several months ago – and hoped we wouldn’t need them.  As we passed Topeka on the interstate, the skies began to look very ominous – yep, rain was definitely ahead of us.  A quick look, however, on the radar app on my iPhone showed the activity was all north of Manhattan.  Maybe we’d get out of this without getting wet.

The temperature was great – 55 degrees – perfect football weather.  6 plays (and just barely 3 minutes) into the game, it was suspended due to lightning in the area.  The fans were instructed to leave the stands – we quickly headed up the stairs to a covered area at the top of our section.

The skies began to look very weird.  The picture above was posted on Facebook by a friend – that’s really what it looked like.  Here’s the picture I took from the area we were standing:

We finally scored a field goal halfway through the 3rd quarter.  Finally something to cheer, but still losing.  This was supposed to be the game that took us to 4-0 at the start of the season.  Linda commented that it was our just reward for the announcers commenting continuously about going 4-and-oh!

The 4th quarter provided enough drama to make up for the lackluster first 3 quarters.  A few long passes, a touchdown, field goal (and a missed field goal by UCF) got us back in the game.  With only several minutes left, we were down by 3 – needing a field goal to tie.  With some good ol’-fashioned nose-to-the-grindstone football playing, the Wildcats marched all the way down field and scored the winning touchdown with just over 20 seconds left.

The UCF quarterback was awesome – reminding me a lot of Michael Bishop and the other KSU quarterbacks of old that were able to pass and run.  I’m glad we were able to finish with more points at the end of the game – our offense and defense didn’t match at all.

Here’s hoping we play a WHOLE LOT better on October 7 when we host Nebraska University for a Thursday night ESPN game – the last time we play Nebraska as a Big XII opponent.

Farmegedden II

Linda and I spent the day yesterday at Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Kansas City Chiefs) watching KSU host Iowa State University.  The two teams met there last year – Farmegedden I.  The stadium is segregated so the fans sit behind their team.

KSU barely won last year – winning by blocking an extra point kick with just a few seconds left in the game.

The outcome of this game looked to be similar – several lead changes and nail-biting moments.  However, a 27-20 win for the Wildcats is a welcome score.  K-State is now 3-0.

More importantly, we spent the day with very, very good friends – Dave and Kaela Culkin.  We’ve known Dave and Kaela from our early days of marriage in Manhattan.  They now live in Leavenworth, too close to not spend more time with them.

Tailgating before the game was a blast.  Coffee cake, fresh fruit, bagels, and Irish Coffee made for some excellent pre-game festivities.  The game was awesome (although hot and muggy).  The free fans given out to the attendees came in very handy.

Post-game tailgating with cold malted beverages helped beat the heat also.

Up next week – KSU hosting University of Central Florida.  Here’s hoping the Cats go to 4-0.

Chiefs WIN

As Kansas City area residents, we’ve become all-too-familiar with the Chiefs losing their football games.  In fact, anymore, I expect them to lose and am pleasantly surprised when they win.  Preseason games this year didn’t offer a lot of hope – some glimmers of good, but otherwise looking quite stinky as in past years.

The Chiefs opened their season with a big Monday Night Football game that didn’t start until 9:15pm (second part of a MNF double-header).  They hosted the San Diego Chargers, a team that has beat us handily over the past few years.

Posting a spot in the garage with the TV on, computer at my side, stogies and Boulevard beer at hand – I was ready for the game.  I was joined by one my good friends from the neighborhood and we cheered them on into the late hours of the night.

Finally, at 12:20am, the game finished with the Chiefs winning 21-14.  Very fun game to watch.  Glad I wasn’t there because it rained like a monsoon.  Now let’s see how the Chiefs can follow up this big win.

Also – let’s see how the Wildcats can do in the same stadium in just 4 days.  Go CATS.

KSU vs Missouri State

Last night the KSU football team hosted the Missouri State Bears (formerly Southwest Missouri State University).  After winning last week over UCLA, this was had the making of a big blowout win.  However, North Dakota State showed KU last week that blowouts are not a given (winning 6-3).

Missouri State is coached by Terry Allen, a former KU head coach that happened to get his first win as a Jayhawk against Bill Snyder in 1989.  He did his best to prepare his team to take on the 2010 Wildcats.

The Wildcats showed a much better balanced attack on offense with running and passing plays – a good sign since relying solely upon the run will not be good enough in the Big 12.  There were some great highlight plays and some 3-and-outs that were not so great.  However, the final result of 48-24 was good enough for the crowd of 48,000+.

It was also Band Day.  Many local high school bands joined the KSU Marching Band at halftime playing several songs.  Upholding tradition, they finished off the halftime show with the 1812 Overture – complete with cannons.

The smoke that filled the stadium afterwards cast a really cool look.

 

Finally, after the game we were hosted to fireworks.  Not quite the same as fireworks after a Royals game, but cool nonetheless.

September 11, 2001 – Never Forget

September of 2001 found me in my 3rd year of medical school and participating in my surgical rotation.  The surgical rotation has the reputation of being one of the hardest 8 weeks in medical school – lots of hours and lots of studying.  To make the best of it, I chose to spend 4 weeks with the Trauma Surgery team and the other four weeks with the Burn Surgery team.

That fateful Tuesday morning on September 11 was just like any other morning in the surgical ICU.  Monitors beeping, chest tubes draining, ventilators blowing and sucking, and TVs glowing in the upper corner of the room.

As a team of surgeons – the attending (boss), several residents, and a handful of eager medical students – we moved from room to room evaluating the patient and determining the next course of action to be taken for each patient that day.

As the morning progressed, the TVs began to report the initial plane crash into the World Trade Center in New York.  Of course, at first it just seemed like another weird news story.  Then the second plane struck.  Now it was obvious something was wrong.  However, there was no time to sit and watch the TV for news.  There were more patients to be seen.  And so we moved on…to the next room and the next TV in the upper corner of the room.

My memories of the series of events that occurred that day are all blurred for me – a collection of TVs in the upper corners of the rooms.  The World Trade Center collisions and subsequent collapse.  The crash into the Pentagon. The crash into a field in Pennsylvania.  All memories are a series of TVs in the upper corners of the rooms – mixed with the smell of a surgical ICU.

I think back to the many thoughts that went through my mind.  I was worried about my wife and two very young daughters at home.  I was worried about my sister-in-law and her husband who lived in DC.  I thought about my many friends who were still in the military and would very likely be called into action.  But mostly, I thought of the many, many people who lost their lives that day.

Interesting things about hospitals and working in the medical field – there’s not time to just sit and dwell on events.  There was no going home early to be with the family.  There was no closing shop for a few days to mourn.  Patients were still sick and still needed care – so we did just that.  We just kept working.  In the end, I think it was good for me to be able to work through the hurt and shock.  The country eventually did the same thing – we worked through the hurt and the shock.

Things are different today – some good and some not-so-good.  However, we’re still a strong country.  And we will never forget the thousands of men and women who lost their lives in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania.  Never forget.

Meeting Litto Gomez…again

Thursday night found me in the heart of Jayhawk land as I took one of my best friends to meet his hero, Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana cigars.

I met Mr. Gomez for the first time a little over 3 years ago.  Many of you know that I regularly attend cigar events where I get to meet and talk with the “celebrity” manufacturer of the cigars being featured.  There are usually special retail offers available that day and plenty of food and libations.  Mr. Gomez was the honored guest at one my first cigar events in the summer of 2007.  He is a quiet man who is truly passionate about his product and a real master.  At that event in 2007, I was introduced to his cigars and found a brand of cigars that is absolutely fantastic.

Like authors touring at book-signings, cigar manufacturers tour to promote a new line of cigars.  La Flor Dominicana has the Air Bender line (released earlier this year) and one particular size that was released just a few weeks ago.  I had that particular cigar last night and was transported to a higher level of enjoyment.  Sitting there with Krishna, Mr. Gomez, and all of the other cigar appasionados, I really enjoyed myself.

First K-State Football Game of the Season

Kansas State University had their first football game of the season on Saturday, September 4.  The game was against UCLA – a very tough season opener.  KSU is kinda known for scheduling fairly easy teams for the first few games of the season and often win by a lot.  However, this year was a payback of the one-and-one scheduling we had with UCLA (we played there last year – and lost).

The opening game was everything one could want in a football game.  It was a beautiful, sunny day – but not hot.  The game was close and well-played.  Most importantly, we won the game despite going behind a couple times.  Last year, we would’ve folded after going behind; this year the team bounced back and answered scores and showed great composure.  The team still needs improvement in some areas, but they already look better than they did last year.

A highlight of the season is Harley Day – where 100+ Harley-Davidson motorcycles are paraded around the field just before kickoff.  This is a highly coveted thing to do – and many pay very well for the opportunity to ride their hog around the stadium.  Willie the Wildcat leads the whole parade from his own Harley.  The stadium is filled with a roar that can be felt down in the deepest portions of your chest.  It is fun!  Click on the video above to experience a about 30 seconds of it (PS – this video is from my iPhone).

Next week is Missouri State – should be a much easier game for the Cats.