Are You Ready For Some Quidditch?

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Believe it or not this is an actual sport.  No, really.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) is a professional quidditch league based in the United States and Canada.  The 16 teams play from June to August with each team playing nine games.  The current list of teams are:

East Division:  Boston Night Riders, New York Titans, Ottawa Black Bears, Washington Admirals

North Division:  Cleveland Riff, Detroit Innovators, Indianapolis Intensity, Rochester Whiteout

South Division:  Austin Outlaws, Kansas City Stampede, League City Legends, New Orleans Curse

West Division:  Los Angeles Guardians, Phoenix Sol, Salt Lake City Hive, San Francisco Argonauts

Major League Quidditch was founded in 2014 by Ethan Sturm, who joined with Amanda Dallas in hopes of developing quidditch further.  Sturm and Dallas currently co-commission the league.  The first season took place in 2015 with eight teams. MLQ had an extremely successful first season, picking up a sponsorship with SAVAGE The Ultimate Apparel Company, hosting twelve regular season 3 game series, and putting together a Championship Weekend.

Let me say that I have yet to read the first Harry Potter book or watch a Harry Potter movie but I think I can safely say that the players do NOT actually fly on brooms in this league.    The game incorporates a gender-integrated contact sport with elements of rugby, dodgeball, wrestling, flag football and other sports.  Each team is made up of at least seven players who play with brooms between their legs at all times.  Well, not actually the entire broom.  Mostly a stick without the broom.  Each team has three chasers, two beaters and one keeper in play at all times.  Each team also sends one seeker into the game at the end of the seeker floor.  Chasers and keepers – also known as quaffle players, attempt to score goals and prevent the other team from scoring goals with the quaffle (ball).  Goals are worth ten points.  The seekers try to remove the snitch ball from the snitch to score 30 points and end the period.

mlq2Don’t worry.  You really need to watch a game on YouTube or on the league’s website:  http://www.mlquidditch.com.   Trust me.  You will need to see it to believe it.  I was cringing while watching them play and holding a stick between their legs to play the game.   Honestly it looks like total chaos but somehow these dedicated athletes have made it a sport.   You won’t see the games played in major league stadiums but you can stay informed about the teams and the league on just about any social media network.

The 2017 MLQ Championship will be played this weekend in League City, Texas.  The weekend will feature 12 teams that have qualified after regular season play.  In the first round it will be:  Rochester vs. Salt Lake City, the winner to play Austin.  New Orleans plays San Francisco with the winner playing Boston.  League City faces New York and the winner will advance to play Indianapolis.  Finally, Detroit will take on Washington with the winner moving on to play Los Angeles.  Boston is the defending MLQ champions.

If you’re good with a broom, there may be hope for you to make it to the major leagues.

 

 

Unclicking Kroger’s Clicklist

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Okay, I’m officially done with Kroger’s Click List service.

In one of my first posts of this blog I applauded and supported Kroger’s Clicklist service when it was first rolled out.  Today, I am retracting my support for it after last night’s experience.  Actually, since my last three experiences with the services.

After the third strike, they are out.

The service starting unclicking for me when the folks picking out my produce on the list just threw in whatever was close to expiring into my basket.  I got some lettuce home and discovered it was already brown.  They clearly don’t pick it out as if they were picking it out for themselves.  In fact, most of the people working the clicklist are too young to care about stuff like that.

milkSo, I decided that except for produce items, I would just get the bulk of our groceries.  Certainly they couldn’t get that wrong.   Assuming was my mistake.  I started getting the review of items that were out-of-stock or substituted on my list.  First, I never approved that anything was to be substituted on the list yet they did it anyway.   Second, one of the things out-of-stock was the milk we usually get.  When I questioned it, I got an attitude from the employee.  So after getting my stuff I went inside and – guess what?

I then went home after buying my milk and produce to find that they put two giant coffee cans that I never ordered and weren’t on my list! 

There is a serious problem with this service and nothing is being done about it.

You might be asking if I have spoken to a manager about this.  I have.  I got promises that they were working on it and improving it but nothing changes.  Nothing.    They are being “retrained” on the service or changed or some other excuse.  Why was it better in the beginning than now?  I personally think they are overwhelmed and not capable of keeping up with the demand. 

So you would think it would be best to go inside and buy the groceries the old fashioned way?  Have you tried to buy groceries with employees working the ClickList and trying to navigate round them in their hummer-like shopping carts?  Yeah, good luck with that and don’t expect them to move out of your way. 

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I’m done with the ClickList.  Just hire a personal shopper if you want better service.

Seriously, if I had some suggestions to improve the service I would add an “in-store pickup” so that a customer can go in and pick up the groceries so they could check them before leaving the store.  In addition, add the option to tip the employee if they did a good job picking out the groceries for your cart.

Grocery shopping shouldn’t be this complicated.  Unfortunately, it is a necessity of being an adult.  Kroger is still my favorite store simply because they have the brands I can get in one store and at a better price.  Honestly, I would shop a Publix if they weren’t higher.  I would do Walmart but I just have a problem buying groceries at a store that also sells everything else.

So, over a year later, the idea I thought was the best idea at the time has deteriorated into a service that is not worth using.  Until I see a marked improvement in the service, I will go back to grocery shopping the old-fashioned way and do my best to navigate my cart around the ClickList people. 

 

Thunderbirds Win Another Playoff Thriller

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The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds are used to playing these kinds of games in the playoffs.  In 2015, they edged Chicago 24-23 in overtime and last season they beat Minnesota 20-18 in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) playoffs.

On Saturday, they overcame a five goal deficit on the road to once again hand the Minnesota Wind Chill an early exit in the playoffs.

The Thunderbirds won 26-25 to advance to the Midwest Division final this weekend at Madison.

Minnesota had the crowd and the lead on their side for much of the game in what was the first playoff home game in the franchise’s five-year history. The Wind Chill took a decisive 4-0 lead from the get go thanks to their tenacious defensive play, and steady offensive execution. The highlight of the first half came with with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter. Minnesota defender Dylan DeClerck burst on a Pittsburgh pass for a layout block, and then continued his energy into the momentum for the bookends score and the 15-11 Wind Chill lead.

But Pittsburgh continued to hang tough throughout the contest. Despite trailing 18-13 midway through the third quarter, the Thunderbirds offense continued to find their rhythm while the defense dug deep to produce opportunities late in the game.

Following a Minnesota goal that put the score at 23-19, the Thunderbirds went on a 6-0 run during the fourth quarter to take the decisive lead. Max Thorne contributed on three scores during the rally, and finished the game with a team-high four assists and seven goals.

There will be a full slate of playoff action this weekend:

Friday, August 11

  • Montreal at DC

Saturday, August 12

  • Dallas at Raleigh
  • Pittsburgh at Madison
  • Los Angeles at San Jose

Sunday, August 13

  • Montreal/DC winner at Toronto
  • Los Angeles/San Jose winner at San Francisco

(Pittsburgh-Minnesota game story from AUDL website)

First Sunday In August

I have some memories about the first Sunday in August.   

Growing up as a preachers kid in Georgia, this particular Sunday signaled the beginning of a new church year in our church organization.   Six times while I was living at home, this was our first Sunday at a new church.  Meeting people I had never met before and being guarded about what I did and what I said.  It was a fish bowl existence for me and probably the main reason I have an introverted personality today.  Even now, it takes me a while to warm up to new people or a new place.  I am also careful to not open up too much too soon. 

There are some things we learned about these experiences.  

  • The first person to tell you all the problems of a church was always the one that was the troublemaker.  I remember at one church we had barely got moved into the parsonage before someone came and told us about the problems of the church.  That was the person who turned out to be the problem.  
  • You learn to be very observant and know the motives of people.  Just watch and it doesn’t take long until their true colors come out.  You would assume that you shouldn’t have to think about these things with church people but the reality can be very sobering.  
  • People who bragged on themselves and what they did in the church were usually the ones that you couldn’t get to do anything after the “honeymoon period” was over.   Some people just simply resist submitting to authority.  They don’t want a pastor to lead them.

I know it sounds negative but I’m just telling you the experience I had with this.  Opinions will vary depending on who you ask but I know other preacher’s kids who had very similar experiences.  It just always amazed me how things developed from that first Sunday.   God – and people – work in mysterious ways.

If I can be totally transparent with you, I would have to admit the worst first Sunday experience was in a tiny community church in Axson, Georgia.  Man, those folks were tough and the kids my age didn’t cut me any slack at all.  They made fun of me and keep me as the outsider.  On the other end of the first Sunday in August was the first Sunday in Villa Rica.  The kids there accepted me from the first time we met.  Both of those experiences have stayed with me even today.  I look at some fondly and others not so much.  

Thankfully I don’t have to deal with the first Sunday of August the same anymore.  

Friday Flashback: Atlanta Chiefs

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In case you missed it, the Atlanta United of Major League Soccer (MLS) is leading the league in attendance in their first season.  This is something you wouldn’t have thought possible 10 years ago.

Back in the old North American Soccer League (NASL) days in the early 80s, the Atlanta Chiefs were lucky to break 10,000 in a single game.  In fact, the Atlanta Chiefs brought the city their first professional sports title in 1968 when they won the NASL title but very few knew about it and it didn’t really mean much to sports fans in those days compared to the Super Bowl or the World Series.

The Atlanta Chiefs played from 1967-1973 and then again from 1979-1981.  The Chiefs best regular season was their championship season of 1968 when they went 18-6-7 and won the Atlantic Division.   They defended the Cleveland Stokers 1-1 and 2-1 in the conference finals then beat the San Diego Toros 0-0 and 3-0 for the championship.  The Chiefs won the championship in front of 14,994 fans in Atlanta Stadium on September 28, 1968.   The Chiefs were sold to the owners of the Atlanta Hawks in 1973 and changed their name to the Apollos.  The team folded a year later.

Ted Turner brought the Chiefs back to life in 1979 when he purchased the Colorado Caribous franchise and moved it to Atlanta.   The “new” Chiefs were a box office flop in Atlanta.  The team fared poorly in 1979 under Head Coach Dan Wood, a holdover from the Caribous days, finishing at 12-18.  Average attendance of 7,350 ranked 20th among the NASL’s 24 clubs.  A bright spot was English striker Jeff Bourne, who finished 4th in the NASL in scoring in 1979 with 18 goals and 15 assists. The 1980 season was even worse.  Wood was fired midway through the season.  The Chiefs finished with the league’s worst record (7-25), limpest offense (34 goals in 32 matches) and lowest attendance (4,884 per match at 52,000-seat Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium).

Oddly enough, the Chiefs drew better playing indoor soccer than they did outdoor in the summer.  In the winter of 1979, the Chiefs had the league’s best record (10-2) and their attendance of 5,069 for six home games was above the league average.  The Chiefs were 13-5 the next season and led the league in attendance with 10,287 per game.

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Unfortunately, the indoor success couldn’t sustain the Chiefs as they eventually folded after the 1981 outdoor season.

Atlanta Chiefs Seasons:

  • 1967 – 10-9-2 (4th place)
  • 1968 – 18-6-7 (1st Place – NASL Champions)
  • 1969 – 11-2-3 (2nd place)
  • 1970 – 11-5-8 (2nd place)
  • 1971 – 12-5-7 (1st Place – Lost to Dallas in Final)
  • 1972 – 5-3-6 (3rd Place)
  • 1973 – 3-7-9 (3rd Place)
  • 1979 – 12-18 (4th Place)
    • Indoor Season – 10-2 (1st Place – Lost to Tampa Bay in Division Finals)
  • 1980 – 7-25 (4th Place)
    • Indoor Season – 13-5 (1st Place – Lost to Chicago in Semifinals)
  • 1981 – 17-15 (1st Place Lost to Jacksonville in First Round)

 

 

My Thoughts On Mike Fisher’s Retirement

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Nashville Predators

I had a feeling this was going to happen.   This morning I turned on the news to see that Nashville Predators’ team captain, Mike Fisher, announced his retirement.   Fisher, who is sometimes affectionately referred to as “Mr. Underwood” as the husband of Country Music Superstar, Carrie Underwood, has decided to hang up the skates after 17 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Fisher started his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators in 1999.  In 2010 he was traded to the Nashville Predators.

Fisher was named the team captain to start the 2016-17 season and led the team to their first Stanley Cup finals where they came up short to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

The reason I said I had a feeling this was coming could have been when Fisher sustained an injury in the Western Conference Finals against the Anaheim Ducks.  He did not complete that series and when he came on the ice to accept the Western Conference trophy, he didn’t look good.  It seemed that the injury was more serious than they reported.  He also struggled to score in the playoffs as he went scoreless and only recorded four assists but those four assists were huge and at pivotal points in the game.

Fisher played seven seasons with the Predators, scoring 237 points on 109 goals and 128 assists.  In 11 seasons with the Senators, he recorded 167 goals along with 181 assists.

In the past few seasons, Fisher was the diplomat of the Predators and one of the stable figures of the franchise as the Predators continued to rise as one of the top teams in the NHL.

Fisher was a competitor but he always had the right perspective on life.

“Everyone wants to win in this game, no one probably more than me.  But there’s other things.  At the end of the day, this is a game.  It’s an important part of my life, but it’s not everything.”

For me, the most exciting goal by Fisher was the triple-overtime winner in Game 4 against the San Jose Sharks in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.   You can see the goal here: Mike Fisher Game Winner.

Mike Fisher is one of the classiest players in the NHL.  The game will miss his presence.  He’s a man of integrity, family and faith.

 

 

 

Dallas, St. Louis and Arkansas Claim Women’s Football Alliance Crowns

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The championships of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) were decided last week and here are the results of the games in each division:

Division I – Dallas Elite 31, Boston Renegades 21

After losing to the D.C. Divas in the last two title games, the Elite defense shut down the Renegades.  The Elite capitalized with touchdown runs of 13 and 77 yards from Odessa Jenkins to put the Elite up 12-0.  The defense gave the Elite another chance later when they stopped the Renegades on fourth down then took possession to drive down to the Renegades’ 9-yard line.  Jessica Gerhart connected with Umeki Webb for the third Dallas touchdown to give the Elite a 19-0 advantage in the first quarter.  Trailing 31-14, the Renegades scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Allison Cahill to Adrienne Smith to make it 31-21.  Eshombi Singleton sealed the win for the Elite when she intercepted Cahill’s pass in the final minutes for their first national championship.

Division II – St. Louis Slam 42, Tampa Bay Inferno 15

The Slam repeated as national champions in a rematch with the Tampa Bay Inferno.  Tampa Bay won an earlier meeting in the regular season 38-7 but the Slam took control early to cruise to their second-straight title.  The Slam scored on its first possession.  Keeping the ball on the ground and running over Tampa Bay defenders, Taylor Hay scored the early touchdown for the Slam.  On the Inferno possession, a bad lateral pass bounced and was scooped up by the Slam and taken to the 3-yard line.  St. Louis scored right away on a run by Mary Altepeter.  The Inferno were plagued by turnovers in the game and in the first quarter the Slam’s Keyonna Smith intercepted a pass.  Once again, the Slam capitalized on the turnover with a pass from Jamie Gaal to Kaylee Neutzling to make the score 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Division III – Arkansas Wildcats 42, Orlando Anarchy 26

The Wildcats broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter.  With a 28-26 lead, Raquel Williams scored on a 44-yard touchdown run.  Kiara Vinson converted on the two-point attempt to push the lead to 38-26.  Dekeidra Brewer intercepted a pass on the next play and returned it for a touchdown to put the game away.    The Wildcats remarkably won the title with only 13 players on the roster and battling 88 degree heat in the game.