Archive for Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces

World of sports widened after weekend’s events

August 15, 2001

"And they call the thing rodeo."

In the immortal words of Garth Brooks, the rodeo means hard work.

I've sometimes questioned whether we can call the thing sport, but after watching Thursday night's competition, I have more respect for it. Riding a violent bull or bronco or jumping off a galloping horse while simultaneously trying to lasso a steer and tie it up, the sport deserves some respect.

I was disappointed when Kansas State's newest contribution to Title IX was women's equestrian considering the school has neither softball nor soccer.

After further review, competing in a rodeo requires much skill even if it doesn't involve a ball.

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The demolition derby on Saturday night was another introduction to a new sport for me. Much strategy is used in reinforcing cars so they can withstand the mashing and crunching of a derby. Then there's the work in between heats if cars advance. One could see an occasional welding job in the pit area and other adjustments.

Chriz Blauvelt of Tonganoxie put an extra spin on the event by inviting anyone with a 1971 quarter to drive his car. His No. 71 car took third, but he wasn't driving. Jim Hansen of Leavenworth had the quarter and took home a trophy after signing a waiver. Pretty impressive considering Hansen hadn't driven in a derby before.

This type of sweepstakes might be good for high school and youth sports. If parents get too hostile toward referees or coaches, a drawing could be administered and one lucky winner could referee or coach for the remainder of the game. Of course, they should probably sign a waiver, too.

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Ticket sales for Kansas football have gone up slightly from last year at this time.

Maybe people are starting to jump on the bandwagon. It's questionable whether the wagon will move very far with the Jayhawks playing the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation, but if your team hasn't had a winning season in five years after going 10-2, maybe extreme urgency will bring more wins.

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After discussing fall high school sports practice with a Tonganoxian, we discovered that kids have it easier than in our day. I played football, and the Tonganoxian played volleyball. We agreed that two-a-day practices were usually two weeks long as opposed to today's schedule. School starts Thursday, so the teams will have three two-a-days.

Back in the olden days (1992-95), we had to practice much more. If memory serves me correctly, the football field and my house were both on hills as well.

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