Saturday, December 31, 2005

TCU Defeats Iowa State at Houston Bowl

Photo by Darla Tamulitis
Story by Robert H. Kelly

With less than six minutes left in the game, place kicker Peter LoCoco kicked a 44-yard field gold to give favored the TCU Horned Frogs a three point victory, 27-24 over the Iowa State Cyclone at the Houston Bowl at Reliant Stadium.

TCU scored all but LaCoco’s points in the first half, after leading the Cyclones 24-17 at halftime.

In a game that was clearly affected by errors, both teams combine for twenty penalties, four fumbles, and three interceptions.

The Horned Frogs claimed an early lead when running back Robert Merrill scored on a 20-yard run that culminated a twelve play, 80-yard drive. They increased their lead with a seven yard run by tailback Aaron Brown following a Cyclone fumble.

Iowa State scrambled back in the second quarter to score seventeen unanswered points, followed by an 84-yard pass from Ballard to wide receiver Michael DePriest to allow the Horn Frogs to take back the lead 21-17.

Chris Manfredini kicked a 29-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the half to make the score 24-17 in favor of the Horned Frogs.

The Cyclones scored again with 1:53 left in the third quarter on a 22-yard pass from Bret Meyer to Todd Blythe, followed by a Bret Culbertson conversion to tie the score at 24.

The Horned Frogs had a total of 410 yard offensively (135 yards rushing and 275 yards passing) along with being penalized fourteen times for a total of 134 yards.

The Cyclones totaled 288 yards offensively (254 yards passing and 34 yards rushing) with six penalties for 51 yards.

The victory extended TCU winning streak to ten games and gave them an 11-1 record for the season. Only Texas and USC have longer winning streaks, with 19 and 34 wins, respectively.

The Horned Frogs had more to prove than just winning a bowl title, after being snubbed by the BCS and locked out of a chance to play for a possible national championship.

TCU had faced the Cyclone twice previously in their long football history. The Horned Frog won both meetings; a 31-17 victory in the 1998 season opener and a 27-10 win in the 1995 season opener. Houston Bowl-Third Quarter Update

by Robert Kelly

The third quarter saw little action until Iowa State mounted a six play, 53 yard drive, ending in a 22 yard touchdown pass to Todd Blythe with the PAT good to tie the score at 24 all. The scoring drive took one minute 51 seconds and left 1:53 left on the clock.

No other important action happened the in quarter. Houston Bowl-Halftime Update

by Robert Kelly

The first quarter of the Houston Bowl, it is evident to everyone in the stands at Relient Stadium that TCU had come to play ball.

Touchdowns came on a 20 yard scoring run by Robert Merrill and a 7 yard run by Aaron Brown. Both one point conversionsby Chris Manfreini were good to make the score 14-0 in favor of TCU.

Iowa State showed very litttle offense in the quarter rushing for eleven yard and passing for a scant 32 yards.

TCU was 12 for 55 on the ground while completing 8 for 12 and 88 yards.

In a dramatic change of events during the second quarter, Iowa State came to life, and began to mount a comeback.

Iowa State scored seventeen points in the second quarter on a 48 yard touchdown pass from Todd Blythe to Bret Meyer to take the score to 14-7 in favor of TCU.

Two points were added on a safety at 12:50 in the quarter to take the score to 14-9 in favor of TCU.

Jon Davis scored on a six yard pass from Bret Meyer and followed with a two point conversion to take the score to 17-14 in favor of the Cyclones.

TCU then answered with an 84 yard pass from Micha Depriest to Jeff Ballard, and a one poin conversion to take the lead 21-17.

With fifteen seconds left int he half, Manafredini kicked a 29 yard field goal to take the score to TCU 24, Iowa State 17.


As fans from Iowa State and TCU converge on Houston for the 2005 Houston Bowl, one can only wonder what surprises will be in store for this year's match up.

The Houston Bowl had been the scene of high caliber college football, with the added aspect that many of the players will be playing their last college game.

Those who will return next season will have the option of living up or down to their performances on this Saturday afternoon at Reliant Stadium.

TCU (10-1) is a heavy favorite, but one could not see that affecting the demeanor of the Iowa State players, coaches and staff. Iowa State (7-4) is playing in their fifth post season game in six years, while TCU is making their seventh post season appearance in eight years.

The Horned Frogs and Cyclones have met twice previously in their long football history. In 1998, TCU scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win 31-21 in Ames, Iowa. In their first meeting in 1995, TCU won 27-10 in Fort Worth.

None of this will matter at 1:30 pm on Saturday, as both teams take to the field in their attempt to take home a bowl victory and the glory and prestige that goes with it.

The game is scheduled to be telecast on ESPN2 with Dave Barnett on the play-by-play, Tim Brant on color analysis, with Suzy Shuster on the sideline.

TexSport Publications will be on hand to bring their unique perspective of the game.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Surfer Arrested on Galveston Island

It was reported by a few news outlets that a surfer was arrested off the shore of Galveston, Texas for not following evacuation orders and surfing the large waves created by Hurricane Rita.

Reports stated that he was taken into custody after leaving the water by Galveston Police.

Should the police involve themselves in a case of a citizen not following mandatory evacuation orders?

That is a double edged sword.

The authorities have the power to forcibly remove and arrest any individual, for their own safety, when their actions endanger their own life.

I have never heard this happening during an approaching hurricane, but it has happened now.

Doesn’t this person have the right to choice when it comes to his desires and interests? That is not a question I am in the position to answer.

But look at the other side of the coin.

If the authorities had allowed the man to surf to his heart’s content, and he had been injured or perhaps killed, what would have happened?

Some may have blamed the police for not looking out for the person. Others would say it was the police’s fault for not doing their job.

I think the police have better things to do than look out for this guy. If he was stupid enough to surf an approaching hurricane, he gets what he deserves.

Surfing is a sport, and people have the right to participate to their heart’s content, but they should use their your head.

Kudos goes out to the police for arresting this guy. I guess his actions will inspire some to surf and others to rally around him. “To each his own,” as my late father would have said.

I think he should thank the police for looking out for him.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Flip Flops at the White House. A Good Idea?

Should a certain type of dress be expected for special occasions? Should a person be required to dress a particular way when an event is considered formal or semiformal?
What would you wear on a visit to the White House?

I don’t mean your everyday tourist visit. I mean a formal, official meeting with the President of the United States.

It has become a tradition for the President of our country to invite members of various championship sports teams to the White House.

I don’t know when the tradition started, or which President started it. Honoring champions at the White House makes for a nice photo op and allows the athletes and coaches to receive recognition for a job well done.

However, a recent visit has raised the eyebrows of some.

The Northwestern University Women’s Lacrosse Team won the 2005 NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championships. Subsequently, they were invited to the White House to meet President George W. Bush and be honored for their achievement.

According to all reports, everything went well. Everyone had a great time, and the athletes and coaches were given an experience they would never forget.

As in any event, the participants stood for a photo. President Bush was in the middle of the group, surrounded by these fine, young women and their coaches.

The photo was sent out over the wire services, and that is when the questions started.

It seems that some of the young ladies chose to wear flip flops.

None of the ladies seemed to be dressed inappropriately. They all wore nice dresses, blouses and skirts, or pants and shirts.

The question that has been brought up and been asked by many; are flip flops acceptable footwear for a formal visit to the White House?

Do shoes really matter? Does an occasion dictate your selection of footwear? I would have to say that it does. I feel that certain events dictate the selection of footwear.

Would a man wear running shoes to his wedding? Would a woman wear house shoes to the opera? Would a person wear flip flops to a job interview with any major corporation?

The answer to all three of the above questions is a resounding “no.”

In today’s society, many things are just brushed off as unimportant. It is obvious to me that this issue does not rank up there with the War on Terror or the cost of a gallon on gas.

What it does bring to mind is what is acceptable in today’s society. Some have stated that flip flops are acceptable footwear for today’s youth. They view flip flops as comfortable, stylish, and as a fashion statement of their generation.

One of they young ladies was quoted in saying that the flip flops that were worn were not the cheap kind. They were brown, decorated with sequins and had a cost of about sixteen dollars.

All of this really doesn’t matter. The offending young ladies should have made a better choice of footwear. The coaching staff should have insured that the ladies were properly dressed. The university should have a dress code for athletes when they are representing their school.

I know many athletic teams, whether they are professional, college, high school or club, have dress and attire requirements when they are representing their organization.

I know of a long time high school swimming coach, who has coached swimmers at every level from novice to national champion. She always has a dress code for her athletes, be it at practice, competition, or travel.

She would tell her athletes they represented four entities: their coach, their team or school, their parents, and themselves.

Society has placed an unwise idea in the youth of today. Allowing them to believe that people shouldn’t judge them on their appearance and that they have the right to self expression with their choice of dress, will do more to hurt them in society then they will benefit.

People are judged on their appearance. Even if it is something as simple as wearing flip flops to the White House, people do judge you.

In reaction to the furor, some of the young ladies have said they will donate their flip flops to the White House, to be auctioned off to benefit a young fan who has brain cancer,

Whether they came to their senses about their inappropriate choice of footwear or are trying to make an unfortunate situation better is unclear. What is clear is they have thought about the issue and are trying to rectify the situation.

Perhaps the university’s athletic department will enact a policy concerning appropriate dress for their athletics teams.

Perhaps the coaches of these young women will enact a team policy concerning appropriate dress for their athletes and coaches.

Perhaps the young women involved will think about appropriate dress and footwear for activities and events they are involved in.

After all, this isn’t brain surgery. It is about some young people making a poor choice. They will all live through it, as we all will. I hope this will take them, along with many others, use common sense when it comes to appropriate dress and footwear.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

IOC Removes Softball from Olympic Games

When the announcement came out of the International Olympic Committee meetings in Singapore that softball and baseball dropped were being eliminated from the Olympic program in 2012, many including myself, were stunned.

I could understand why baseball was eliminated. The fact that Olympic teams do not include the best players in the world was one of the major factors in that decision.

Major League Baseball has no vested interest in the Olympics. Why should they? Participating in the Olympics would not give the teams, players, and owners any benefits that would be tangible. Could you see the owners shutting down the season for a few weeks so some of their best could participate? I think not!

I think Major League Baseball’s transparent drug policy might also have had something to do with the decision.

Participation in the Olympic Games would require all professional players submitting to year round, mandatory and random drug tests. The Players Union would never go for that.

My belief is “so what.” The Olympic didn’t need major league players. Participate with those that wanted to follow the IOC rules and to play for the love of the game. But none of these statements mean anything now. Baseball is gone from the Olympics.

However, none of this relates to softball, but some will try to tell you it does.

In the nine years since softball was included in the Olympic Games, I have never heard of a softball player testing positive for performance drugs.

Softball is participated in over one hundred countries around the world. Girls are gravitating to the sport in record numbers. The sport is gaining in leaps and bounds at the local, national, and international level. In the past three Olympics, all games were sold out to record setting crowds.

Prior to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, I was in Columbus, Georgia for the 1995 Superball Classic. It was the first international softball tournament I had ever covered as a journalist.

Not knowing what to expect, I arrived in Columbus, notepad and camera in hand, with the naiveté of a novice softball reporter. It didn’t take me long to realize that softball had gone big time, and this was not the softball that I knew.

I remembered softball as the old slow-pitch variety of my youth. The games played in Columbus were the softball of the future. The girls were athletes, with the skills reviling many professional baseball players. However, that is where the resemblance ended.

It is very possible that members of the IOC thought of softball and baseball as the same sport. It is also possible that many of those same members had no idea what softball was.

If they did lump the problems of Major League Baseball in with softball, there could be no greater crime.

The IOC has stated on numerous times their desire to increase the participation of females in the Games. So why did they eliminate one of the most popular team sports in the Games?

If any of the IOC members had ever picked up at bat, stepped up to the plate and faced the likes of Jennie Finch, Christa Williams, Lisa Fernandez, or even a Cat Osterman, they would know the love, intensity, and competitiveness that many feel for the sport.

They would have understood that softball gives many young girls and women the chance to achieve their goals, and how their success on the diamond would carry over to their everyday and future lives.

The IOC really missed the boat on this decision. I wonder how many of those members would own up to their true votes. The IOC did not release the voting tallies or the outcome of the votes. I wonder why?

If they truly cared about Olympic ideals, increasing female participation in the Games, or even had a sense of fair play, they would reinstate softball immediately.

Only time will tell if their decision was correct. I am sure with the passage of time, history will view their decision with the same disgust and disdain that it deserves.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Canada Defeats USA 2-1 at World Cup of Softball

by Robert H. Kelly

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. (July 14, 2005) Using six of their eight 2004 Olympians on their roster, Canada scored two unearned runs in the first and third innings to hold off the United States to take a 2-1 decision in the first game of the 2005 World Cup of Softball at the Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The win marked only Canada’s third victory over the USA in the history of international play.

Walking into the stadium one had to wonder if the players, coaches, and fans had something on their minds other that the tournament.

Just a scant one week from learning that Beijing would be the last Olympic Games in which softball would be contested; the players took to the field and tried to give the fans what they came out for, a softball game.

Both Canada and the USA, playing before a crowd of 2, 014, seemed at times, to be playing with less enthusiasm than normal. Nonetheless, both squads gave the fans a match that produced three runs off ten hits, along with five errors.

The fans didn’t seem to mind, as they understood that much was on their minds other that the game. But in the words of show business, “The show must go on.”

Canada struck first early in the first inning, off a single up the middle by Sheena Lawrick, which enabled Kristy Odamura to score from second.

The USA answered back off a Jessica Mendoza single through the right side, allowing Caitlin Lowe to take the score to 1-1 at the bottom of the first.

Canada came back in the third, with Kristy Odamura singling to third base off an Alicia Hollowell pitch. Odamura advanced to second base off a throwing error, which lead to her second score off a Lawrick single to center field.

The USA had one hit in the fifth of a fielding error by Canada third baseman Megan MacKenzie. That ended the American’s offense for the game.

Canada didn’t seriously threaten the USA after that and the score remained the same thought the seventh inning.

Canada finished the game with two runs off five hits with two errors. The United States tallied one run off five hits, along with three errors.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Houston Astros Fail To Give Back To Fans?

In a letter to the sports editor of the Houston Chronicle on June 27, a fan wrote that the Houston Astros are failing to give back to the fans. It is stated that he and his family attended the Astros-Rockies games, and was disappointed as to the way the Astros treated the fans.

He further stated that the games were not open until 11:30am (after the Astros had completed batting practice) and only three Astros came out to sign autographs before the game. In conclusion, he stated that the high ticket, concession, and souvenir prices are needed pay the salaries of their hometown heros.

After reading this letter, it made me think about what the gentleman had written. Should the fans expect the team to treat them with respect, taking care of them, and providing for their needs, to keep them coming back? I guess that is a hard question to ask.

I think that fans should be treated a bit better. They spend their hard earned money to go to the games, and without the fans, the teams would play to empty seats.

Fans want to be part of the game. What is wrong with that? I think the teams should have policies concerning the activities that come "with" the game. Allowing fans to watch batting practice is not a big deal. Having some players on the rail, signing autographs, is not a big deal. Providing for the fans should be a team's number one priority. Baseball is a business to the owners and players, but it is entertainment for the fans.

Most companies figured out many years ago that the "customer is always right." Perhaps Major League Baseball and their teams should realize that with all the negative issues out there concerning professional baseball, they should turn their attention to putting and keeping people in the stands. Baseball has slipped to number three among professional sports in the USA. They must get more "fan friendly" in order to keep the masses coming back.

Just something to think about.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Spurs Win! Not A Pretty Thing, But WHO CARES!

The San Antonio Spurs won game one of the 2005 NBA Finals last night. Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix said it was without style. I totally agree. Who said a team must have style to win? As long as the players bond and work together, who cares about their style? That is exactly the point he wa strying to make. They worked together and got the job done. That is what sports is suppose to be about. It was a great show for the masses. I just wish that more teams could play like the Spurs did last night. It was a pleasure to watch players that don't care about their image and their "style." They just pulled together and got the job done.

Link to Chris Mannix's article here--->

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More Danica Patrick "Musings"

It seems others have picked up on the idea that Robby Gordon might be acting like a spoiled kid brat, stating Danica Patrick might have had an unfair advantage because she weights only 100 pounds. Please check out an article that has the same views as this blog. <---- click here

It is a wonder than others had the same view as I did. But remember who posted it first.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Danica Patrick-The "Real" Thing

A woman in the Indy 500. Oh no...It must not be allowed! That is what Robby Gordon must be thinking.

Yesterday, Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indy 500 because she only weighs 100 pounds. Talk about the whining and complaining of an immature little man who can't handle the pressure.

So what if she weights only 100 pounds? Can't a man weigh 100 pounds and drive at Indy? This was such a ridiculous statement, and the fact that he even made it is an indication that perhaps, just maybe, he is a bit worried that he couldn't beat her, no matter what her weight.

Patrick finished 4th today at Indy. If she had been able to run full out, with her fuel wide open, she would have won. Did she complain? NO. Did she make excuses? NO! Did she handle the post race interview with class? YES! She said she was very proud of what she had accomplished. She praised her crew, her sponsors, her owners, and everybody else that were involved in the race.

You could tell by her mannerisms that she was disappointed. Who wouldn't be? But did she act like a "little baby" who didn't want to participate any more when she lost? NO!

Perhaps Robby Gordon should take a clue from Danica. Grow up and get the job done. Don't act like a little baby.

What's the matter Robby? Are you feeling a bit threatened by a girl? Or should I say "woman?' A woman, by the way that can drive. Indy cars don't know who is driving them? Male or female? It doesn't matter, as long as you can drive, and that is what REALLY matters.

And drive she did! Go Danica. Go get 'em.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Houston Cougars + Leroy Burrell = Championships

The University of Houston Cougars men’s and women’s track and field team won the Conference USA Outdoor Championships yesterday at the Lewis/Tellez Complex on the UH campus. The men’s program became the first team in C-USA history to win the big three: outdoor, indoor, and cross country championships.

I can remember back to the days when track at UH was the primary sport of the university. I worked, and still do, as a track official at numerous meets around Texas. I “cut my teeth” in the world of track officiating at UH. The likes of Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell, Carol Lewis, and Jenny Adams were always there. It was so very exciting to be in attendance at those meet. Even when they were not in the competition, Lewis, Burrell, and their cohorts could be counted on the inspire those competing to the higher levels of the sport.

When veteran UH Head Coach Tom Tellez retired, many wondered where the program would go? How would it survive? During Tellez’s final years, the quality of track had dropped significantly at UH. Many yearned for the old times when Olympic and world class athletes ran, jumped, and threw at every meet.

I remember when it was announce that Leroy Burrell had been named as Tellez’s replacement. Some said it was public relations stunt to get athletes to sign with the Cougars. Imagine a high school runner, sitting in his living room with his or her parents bring talked to an Olympic Gold Medalist, a person who had gone to the pinnacle in his sport. Many though it was in the same jest as Clyde Drexler being hired as the UH basketball coach. Drexler didn’t last long, but I am sure he gave it is best.

Burrell is succeeding in his sport after being a world class athlete. There are so many people that think they can make the transition from player to coach. You know the mind set: I played the sport, so I can coach it. Many find that the transition is not all that easy. Just because you were a world class athlete does not mean you can be a world class coach.

It is refreshing to see a former athlete succeeding as a coach. Leroy Burrell is such a pleasant individual to be around. I have seen many cases of him being approached by individuals; fans and athletes, young and old, and no matter what time of day or how tired he was, being pleasant and accommodating to all of them.

It is obvious that he is committed to his athletes. He is always there for encouragement, pumping them up and giving them that last bit of coaching advice to help them achieve to their best.

Famous people, athletes and coaches alike, sometimes attempt to live off of their past. They use their success in their chosen sport to fuel their life as long as they can. Coach Burrell is not one of them. That is what sets him above the others. He has lived the dream of every athlete, rising to the top of their sport, with all its glory and everything that it implies. Now he is rising to the top as a coach. That is a wonderful thing to watch.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tiger Misses Cut: The End Of A Streak.

It happened today.
A day that was going to happen!
A day that no self respecting golf fan wanted to see!
A day that will live in infamy!
And it happened on Friday the 13th.

Some people view this day with the eyes of a pessimist. Friday the 13th. Long thought to be the unluckiest day of the year. A day when bad things are suppose to happen. A day that few want to admit they view as unlucky, but deep down harbor thoughts that if bad happens, it happens.

When I heard the news, I couldn't believe it. This couldn't happen. It wouldn't happen. It can't happen.

If you haven't heard, the great Tiger Woods did something today that hasn't occurred in seven years, three months, and seven days.

The King of the Links went home empty handed.

Woods, whom arguably the best golf in the history of sport, failed to make the cut at the EDS Byron Nelson Championships in Irving, Texas.

Having made the cut in 142 consecutive tournaments and having brought home a paycheck from all those 142 starts, it was assumed that Tiger would always make the cut.

Well, the Golf Gods, or should I say "Golf Devils," had something to say about that. After missing a 15-foot putt for par on the 18th green of Cottonwood Valley, Tiger just collected his gear and called it a day.

But don't shed any tears for Tiger. It is not as if he will go home hungry. This is a man who was quoted saying "This is more intestinal fortitude than anything else. Days when you have it, you don't mail it in, you don't pack it in. You give it everything you've got. That's part of my attitude and my belief. That you should always have the switch on. You can't turn it on and off."

So while the lucky one who made the cut play two more rounds on Saturday and Sunday, Tiger will spend some time doing what he hasn't done during golf season for the past seven years. He will have the weekend off.

After all, we all get weekends off. Some of us use our weekends to play golf. I should perhaps say play "at" golf. On my best day, I couldn't even carry Tiger's clubs. He spends more on a wallet than I spent on my clubs, bag, and accessories.

But to watch him play is to see an artist painting a masterpiece. The way he swings the clubs and makes it look so easy. It is obvious to me that he is having fun play golf. He is having fun doing something he loves. He is having fun being Tiger Woods.

Don't cry for Tiger. He will be back. Back in a big way. I would not be surprised to see him beat his own PGA Tour-record streak of 142 consecutive events of finishing in the money.

Tiger will be back. That you can count on.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby. The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. That is what I always heard growing up. I can remember my mother and father taking time out of their busy Saturday, every May, to sit and watch the race. As a child, I was more interested in playing Army in the yard or being at the field down the street playing football, than watching a silly horse race. Little did I realize that I would get caught up in the excitement of that race later in life.

My mom and dad used to play a little game with the Derby. They would pick "even" or "odd" and bet a dollar with each other on the outcome of the race. My father, being a son of the south (born and bred in Arkansas) was always the traditional gentleman. He would always let my mother pick, and he would take what she didn't want.

I can't remember over all those years which one of them ever won. All I know is that they made that same bet every year. I don't think I ever remember seeing the money change hands. But it must have been fun for them, because they continued to do it right up until my mother passed away in 1988.

My wife, Darla, and I continued the tradition, and every year we bet each other. As my father did, I allow my wife to make her choice. Seems it is easier that way, because if I pick, I might think too much about it, try to analyze all the horses, and that is just too much work.

This year we added a new twist to the bet. In a round about way, we ended up in Louisville, Kentucky the evening before the race. To make a long story short, we had decided to take a short trip before school got out, and we are tied up with our summer commitments.

We flew to Nashville, Tennessee, as we had some good tickets on Southwest Airlines we had to use. You know the drill, "use the tickets or lose the tickets." We decided Nashville would be a nice weekend trip and since the Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Championships would be held up the road in Clarksville, we could make it a short working vacation.

In our "other jobs" as journalists, we knew there might be a story or two at the championships. We drove to Clarksville, picked up out press passes, and watched the meet. We got a few interviews with some of the athletes from Texas, along with some photos and watched the first session of the meet.

As the session came to a close, we decided not to stay for the evening session. We got in our rented SUV and began to head back to Nashville. Darla was reading the Nashville paper as I drove and she short of jumped out of the seat, asking me if I realized that the Kentucky Derby was the next day. She said we were only three hours from Louisville and we should drive up and look around. I told her we had been up all day and I really was not looking forward to a six to seven hour round trip drive.

She looked at me and asked what else we had to do. This could be another adventure, and we never know what it might produce. So, I just shrugged my shoulders and headed down the road towards Louisville.

Three hours and a few wrong turns later we arrived in Louisville, following the signs directing traffic to Churchill Downs. As we approached the track, we found roads blocked, police barricades, and traffic being diverted away from the track. A few parking lot cut throughs, one or two alleys, and some quick turn-a-rounds, and we finally got to the front of the track.

The streets were packed with people walking around, vendors selling everything from t-shirts to beer, and the whole range of humanity just hanging out. I pulled into a station to get gas, buy a drink, and watch the excitement. As soon as I turned off the SUV, Darla grabbed her cameras and dashed off with an “I will be back later. Wait for me.”

So there I am, trying to pump gas as slowly as I can, in an attempt to buy her time while she goes off in search of photo ops. Everywhere you looked, people were getting caught up in Derby Fever. The race was twenty-four hours away and it seemed that it was already going on.

Businesses and homes had given up their lots around Churchill Downs to get into the carnival atmosphere. Families were selling drinks and renting their yard out for parking space. I guess somebody was paying twenty to fifty dollars to park in these yards, as I did see cars parked everywhere.

Storefronts and driveways were given over to bands and humanity was more than willing to participate in the excitement. Bikers, in all their leather, and gentlemen in three piece suits enjoyed the celebration. Both drinking and talking, enjoying their mutual interest in a horse race has been run for 131 years.

After about forty minutes and a great deal of hanging around, I look up to see my lovely photographer wife running across a four lane street. She had her cameras slung over both shoulders carrying a large bag of souvenirs. She jumped in the SUV and was like a child on Christmas Day. She had gotten great shots of a few of the partiers and some of the small cerebrations that were going on all around the track.

People always are eager to have their photo taken, no matter what condition they are in. She just walked up to groups of people, told them she was looking for some good photo ops, and all were eager to pose.

It seemed everyone, no matter what their background, wanted to be a part of the Kentucky Derby. Bikers and suits, men and women, young and old; they all came together to experience this annual happening.

As we began our three hour drive back to Nashville, I listened to my wife as she told me about the things she has seen and the great photos she had taken. She had even gotten a few names and addresses from people that wanted copies of her photos. Any time you can sell a photo or a story, it helps with the expenses.

As I drove down the road, listening to the joy and excitement that Darla was describing, it hit me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized what all the excitement was about. Going back over forty years in my mind, I saw my mother and father and that silly little bet. I thought about my wife and me continuing the tradition. It is the Kentucky Derby. The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. That is what I always heard growing up. We were a part of a tradition that had been going on for 131 years.

It is amazing what a two minute horse race can do to bring the masses together and create so much excitement. It is what life is all about. It is what my wife and I are all about; an adventure, an experience, and a great story to tell.

We are planning to attend the Kentucky Derby next year. We will try to get press credentials and record in detail all the excitement and experiences of the Derby. This two minute race is sure to have the same appeal as it did this year.