It was the end of an era. Assuming of course, that a time span of just over three months qualifies as an “era”.
On this day, the U.S. Synchronized Team Skating Championships would proudly round out the winter sports portion of the “It’s Game Time Somewhere” Tour.
I have to admit that, once actually onsite I’ve enjoyed each and every one of my Ice & Snow events. It was the process of getting to each venue that provided a steady stream of…how do I put this…“opportunities to exhibit problem-solving skills”. Yeah, that’s it – opportunities. Two feet of opportunity one day. Negative 29 wind-chilled degrees of opportunity the next.
So I reveled in the irony that the last Ice & Snow event would take place in the winter wonderland of Ontario. Ontario, California, that is, with its 80 degrees of sunshine bathing at least the outer confines of Citizens Business Bank Arena. Granted, it felt a little odd wearing two layers of clothing (and carrying a third) as I crossed the parking lot, but at least I could be sure that here the ice and chill would be confined to the arena.
While I’ve had a few years to familiarize myself with the more obvious differences in the sexes, I had to admit that I’d never considered the question in the context of ice hockey. So when presented with the perfect opportunity to come up to speed on that topic, I jumped on it.
I had spent the previous night at a sold-out TD Garden, home of the tradition-laden Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics…and a pretty popular 59-year-old college hockey get-together they call the Beanpot.
On this night I was headed to Conte Forum, on the campus of Boston College, where I would experience that event’s little sister – the 33rd annual Women’s Beanpot.
As far as I know, never in the annals of misguided sports odysseys has this been done before. I refer, of course, to chronicling two sporting events at once.
Not two events in one day. That’s child’s play. Not two events in one day in two separate cities. Yawn…did it.
I’m talking two separate events in two different states. Simultaneously. You tell me one other person doing a sports walkabout that has pulled that off. I’ll wait…
Live roller derby is charming. Yes, charming. Borderline cute. Definitely endearing.
When I bought a Derby Dolls ticket to see the San Diego Hard Corps host the L.A. Sirens, I didn’t know if I was expecting classic Bay City Bombers mean girl shtick, spacey Drew Barrymore in the movie Whip It, or something in between. But what I got was more like Halloween – the trick or treating kind, not the Michael Myers kind.
This was my second attempt to catch live roller derby, having been left staring at a “Sold Out” sign in L.A.’s suddenly chic Echo Park entertainment district in December. Derby Dolls action is part of the overall scene there and understandably the province of the young and hip. At the San Diego Fairgrounds in suburban Del Mar though, a roller derby “bout” seemed more like a destination for the curious.
Just walking into Loyola Marymount’s Gersten Pavilion brought about a wave of nostalgia – if it’s possible to be nostalgic about something that happened only ten months ago. For it was here that I went “live” with the first test event that ultimately led to the formation and international accreditation of the “It’s Game Time Somewhere” Tour.
That was a memorable evening, made more so by the LMU Lions’ upset of #9-ranked Gonzaga University. It was the first and only time that Gersten had ever played host to an LMU victory over a Top 10 team. A good omen, to say the least.
In this, the second consecutive rendition of “forward into the past”, join me as I return to the Claremont Club, in the shade of the majestic San Gabriel mountain range. Back in June I had traveled to see the CIF Southern Section Boys Tennis Championships, and now for the second time in three days, I was on a mission to see if the Girls Championships could one-up the boys in terms of athletic drama.
One thing immediately apparent on my arrival was that the girls could one-up the boys in terms of athletic spectators.
In my last visit, I was met with a robust selection of available parking spots, all within a short stroll of the tennis courts. I chose something from the “shady” collection and wandered in.
This time around, despite arriving at an earlier hour, and with only two of the five Division Championships set to begin, I was shown simply…the satellite lot. It was sufficiently far enough away from the tennis courts to make me wonder whether it was even on the Claremont Club property. I had to park between two buses, for crying out loud! Is this any way to treat an old friend?
But you take the bad with the good, because another difference I noticed immediately was tremendously enhanced signage. Truth be told, there were actually just two signs, but that was two more than were there in June. And one directed me to the restrooms – a strong value-add since it had been a two-Starbucks drive.
You know you’ve been doing this for a while when you start coming back to the same venues for season-ending events – and it’s a different season.
In late May, in Event # 15 on the “It’s Game Time Somewhere” Tour, I visited Cypress College to take in the spectacle that was the CIF Southern Section Boys Volleyball Championships. Now half a year and 57 events later, there I was again – only this time to witness the distaff side do battle.
While one of the Boys Championships featured a school not too far away from the rustic home office of the IGTS Tour, the Girls Championships went one step further in terms of providing a rooting interest. The featured bout (there’s that boxing influence sneaking in again…) of the day-long volleyball extravaganza was the Division 1AA Championship match-up between heavily favored Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Redondo Union High School.
Long Beach Poly has spent a good bit of time this season at #1 in the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings. Not #1 in SoCal. Not #1 in the state of California. No, we’re talking #1 in the entire U.S. of A. Their appearance in the title game was, how shall I say it…not exactly breaking news. In fact, they had lost just one game in their combined play-off matches prior to the finals – and that by a score of 25 to 23. So they’re fairly good.
I’m starting a movement. I haven’t got a name for it yet…alright, I admit it – virtually none of the organizational details have progressed beyond the half-baked stage. But I have a cause: I will not rest until it is decreed that all aquatic sporting events must be conducted outside.
I didn’t even know that I was possessed of this passion until I arrived recently at the Splash Aquatics Center in La Mirada, CA. On my way there to watch the U.S. Masters Synchronized Swimming Championships, I had been assuming the event would take place in the same environment that I’d experienced when I attended the U.S. Nationals in April.
Now, I love the smell of chlorine as much as the next person. And what can be more inviting than the still air of a humid, over-heated natatorium? OK, pretty much anything. But my newfound love affair with “synchro” had made the conditions bearable in the Spring, and I knew that the same would hold true now in the Fall.
…Continued from the previous post.
I like to think that I know my way around a volleyball court. In fact, I’ve got a Certificate Of Recognition kicking around somewhere that identifies me as a member of an Ithaca College co-rec intramural championship team. I don’t recall the year, or what our team name was, but this I do remember: Our girls won it for us.
In classic co-rec volleyball, all of the tall goofy guys constantly reaching over the net trying to block the shot of the opposing tall goofy guys pretty much cancel each other out. The girls who do the digging, passing and setting are really the deciding factor. My team had Daryl and Donna, both varsity athletes in other women’s sports. As long as we guys didn’t screw it up, we were destined for all the glory and perks that come with a co-rec intramural championship. I did mention the Certificate, didn’t I?
I thought about that as I sat in USC’s Galen Center watching the Women of Troy volleyball team warm up prior to their match against the Stanford Cardinal, the top-ranked team in the nation. And I wondered how many guys were wandering around with Certificates of Recognition thanks to these girls.
From a purely “live and die with my team” standpoint, it’s been a tough year for this Sports Fan. Who would have thought that the Anaheim Angels posting a losing record and being eliminated from post-season play in roughly mid-June would have been the second worst thing to afflict my fan-dom in 2010?
I’m speaking of course of the trumped-up charges against the USC football program, and the egregious sanctions that followed. And the beginning of the, sigh, Kiffen years (note the avoidance of the word “era”, which otherwise signifies lengthiness).
After back-to-back Trojan losses on opponent field goals that sailed through the uprights as time expired, I needed a little boost – some sort of pick me up. I decided to go visit the trophies.