Talking Sports

I mentioned in one of my e-mails last summer that Lexington is an overgrown college town, because of the presence of the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, and sports seems to be the favorite topic of conversation. For those who missed that e-mail, here is what I said. Quote:

“Of course Lexington is famous for the horses, but most of the horse races take place in April and October, which I presume are the times when the weather is just right for them to run. For the rest of the year, the sport of choice is anything played by the University of Kentucky team, the Wildcats. When somebody uses the term UK around here, they don’t mean the United Kingdom! In fact, that’s why the area code around here is 859–on a telephone dialpad it spells out U-K-Y. There aren’t any major-league teams in Kentucky, but a lot of folks travel to Cinncinati to see the Reds play there. A minor-league baseball team, the Lexington Legends, is also popular. Last month the Legends were in the local news when a real legend, Roger Clemens (the pitcher for the Houston Astros), got to play ball with them for a few days. Normally I don’t follow baseball, but I knew Clemens had been a baseball player for a long time, when the news announced that his son was also on the Legends team.”

Unquote: Since then I have learned that the Cincinnati Bengals have their training camp on this side of the Ohio-Kentucky border. That probably works the same way for the locals as the “Grapefruit League” spring training baseball games do in Florida.

Oh sure, in Orlando we have the Magic, and sports is a topic of conversation there, too. But in Orlando we are also inclined to talk about the weather and bad traffic, because we’re all I-4 hostages at one time or another. I guess in that sense, sports talk leaves you feeling in a better mood afterwards.

I am mentioning this because in the local news, both of Monday’s headlines were sports-related:  the tragic death of Barbaro, last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, eight months after he broke his leg, and the announcement that tickets for UK basketball games are going to be more expensive.  What’s more, the Superbowl is coming up on Sunday, and my workplace seems to be splitting into two groups, those favoring the Chicago Bears and those favoring the Indianapolis Colts. It reminds me how in ancient Rome, political factions formed around fans of the blue and green teams at the chariot races.

We all know that Superbowl Sunday is the biggest American holiday that doesn’t appear on most calendars. But do you ever get the feeling that the Superbowl isn’t so much a sporting event as a religious one? Consider these parallels:

  1. It’s on a Sunday.
  2. There’s a choir.
  3. There’s a worship service.
  4. And boy, is there a collection!

Myself, I haven’t been inclined to follow sports since I worked at Ticketmaster, so I’ll probably be right here in front of my computer that night, or taking Leive out to see another furniture store. The rest of you, have fun, and tell me about those clever commercials they only run for that game!

Cabin Fever in a Brick House

Well, it turns out Leive has got cabin fever.  I guess it was bound to happen, since she sold her car instead of bringing it up from Florida, and because the weather is cold (and promising to get even colder next week), she is not inclined to go outside.  I got my first inkling of it last Friday, when she remarked that the house seems so empty without the kids we’re planning on adopting.  That told me two things:  (1.) she’s done moving in at last, and (2.) she’s bored.

I suppose it doesn’t help that we’re only 15-20 miles from Boonesborough, the spot where Daniel Boone built his fort in 1775.  I took Leive by there last New Year’s Day, and while the nearest houses and restaurants to the fort are probably modern enough on the inside, on the outside they’re decorated to look like real log cabins!

Today I offered to take her out, when I went to the men’s prayer group, but she said no, in part because “American Idol,” one of her favorite TV shows, is back on the air.  I guess she won’t feel so cooped up as long as she can see that program; that takes care of Tuesday and Wednesday nights, anyway.

A Few Updates to What I Wrote Yesterday

It’s still below freezing here, and it looks like it will be that way all week. However, the snow is all gone, except for a few patches. How can the white powder on the grass melt so easily, if the thermometer hasn’t gone above 30? Do they put salt on the grass, too?

I’ve also been hearing of a possible freeze in my former Florida home, with a low tonight of 26-30. The last two winters there were so mild that I barely wore a jacket at all. From Atlanta, talk show host Neal Boortz talked about the cold snap, and claims that the Gore Effect has struck again!

According to Leive, Lindy and Adam arrived in Georgia without incident. Good, that’s one prayer answered. And since I last wrote about our house in Florida, we’ve had two visits to it and one offer. The offer was too small, but it’s good to see some activity at last. Keep praying that we sell, the sooner the better.

Super Chiller Sunday

My oh my, I thought it was cold the last time I wrote about the weather! Well, it was 23 degrees F when I woke up this morning, and it never got warmer than that. It was 15 when we went out in the afternoon to look at furniture stores, and it’s 10 as I write this. Snow fell on-and-off throughout the day, and while it tried to melt every time the sun came out, more came down before it could disappear completely. In the morning I went to pick up a prescription, and stopped at a gas station for coffee; the cashier must have taken pity on me, because when I handed him the receipt from last time which said I had won a free cup, he told me to keep it because it’s such a cold day, and use it again on my next visit. Can you imagine that ever happening in Florida? When we went furniture shopping, one of the stores was closed, and Leive got out of the car to look in the store window; she thinks she got frostbite on her right leg as a result.  I don’t think I’ll be taking her out in this weather again, unless she wants to go.

In another news, today Lindy and Adam move from Lakeland, FL to Portal, GA.  I haven’t talked with them since Friday, and I probably won’t call them until tomorrow evening.  Hopefully their day wasn’t as “interesting” as ours.

(I’m referring to “interesting” in the sense of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”)

In Search of Sesame Bagels

Brrr! It looks like the temperatures won’t get higher than the 30s for at least another week. We got some more snow yesterday, but it didn’t start falling until 6 AM (too late to affect my driving), and most of it melted by lunchtime, so I don’t know if I should even count it. Today was still cold, but sunny enough to briefly attract Leive outside.

I am starting to realize that it’s not easy to get a good bagel in Kentucky. Leive has been craving them this week, so I’ve been looking for her favorite kind: sesame. They weren’t that hard to find in Florida, being the state with the second largest Jewish population, and I must have taken it for granted that they would be just as easy to find here. Well, I checked first at Kroger, and while they had some frozen sesame bagels, they didn’t have fresh ones; I ended up buying half a dozen frozen, plus a few kaiser rolls, which aren’t too different if you leave out the hole. The other grocery stores (Wal-Mart, Meijer and Save-A-Lot) didn’t have sesame bagels in any form. Nor do there appear to be any bagel bakeries, like Einstein Bros., the fancy deli that had stores in my part of Florida. For what’s it’s worth, I checked the Einstein Brothers website, and their nearest store to here is at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 125 miles away; even Cincinnati doesn’t have one.

Gosh, I thought sesame was one of the more common flavors! It’s not as if I’m looking for spinach, orange & walnut, or one of the other exotic flavors that Einstein Brothers stocks. The phone book had an ad for a place that calls itself an authentic New York deli; maybe they’ll have sesame bagels. In the meantime, have you seen the Saturday Night Live parody of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” that ends with a Mayan kid whispering, “I smell bagels?” I guess I shouldn’t expect to hear anyone say that in Bluegrass country.

Driving in the Snow

Well, it finally snowed again this morning, and this time we got enough of it to make driving dangerous. Just 1/4 inch, but it caught the city off guard; no salt was put on the road beforehand. I was warned that in the winter I would have to learn how to drive all over again, and sure enough, I had trouble braking every time I slowed down. On the radio, they were reporting one accident after another, and all the schools were closed.

When I got to work at the usual time, the parking lot was almost empty, so I wondered if the office had been closed. Those who know me also know I have a knack for getting stuck outside on the worst weather days (remember how I drove through the rain, fallen trees and green lightning of Hurricane Erin in 1995 to get to work, only to find that the place had been closed after I left the house). Well, the office was open, but a lot of folks chose to play it safe by coming in late, even the co-worker who’s normally there by 5 AM.

Although the temperature never even reached 40 today, the snow was nearly all gone by the afternoon, meaning I was able to go home normally. In fact, on the way back, I visited the new Wal-Mart Supercenter that just opened last Friday on this side of town.

Last Monday, I called my pastor in Florida and asked him to pray over my house there, and annoint it with oil. Leive heard from her niece about somebody trying that after her house failed to sell for two years, and it sold a week later. Well, I heard another prospective buyer is going to look at it on Friday, so things are looking up, but keep praying that it sells anyway, the sooner the better.