There are a few things in life outside of my family that I really invest myself emotionally in. Of course, storm chasing and photography of western landscapes is one. The other is sports. I love sports. Especially football and basketball, and at one time in my life I even loved baseball. Growing up in Oklahoma I naturally have a connection with the Sooners, and now that Oklahoma City has established itself as a professional sports city, the Thunder are almost on the same level as my beloved Sooners.
There are few things more satisfying than your favorite team winning, and being the best in the land. Bragging rights, going to bed after a great game and sleeping real well, and getting to feel like a part of being "the best". But, only a small percentage of the population actually gets this satisfaction.
In the last week, the Thunder and Grizzlies have went to overtime four times in the last four games. That's right, four times in a row. The Thunder have won one of these games, and lost three and subsequently have fallen behind 3-2 in the series after taking the first game. Each of these games has been such a roller coaster ride, mainly with the Thunder making a miraculous comeback after being behind only to lose it in overtime. As a fan it's such a gut wrenching trip, with the highs of the comebacks and the lows of poor play, and ultimately the disappointment of another loss. One has to wonder, why do we invest ourselves so heavily when the chances are extremely high that our investment will return only heartbreak?
Think about it. Most sports have a tournament, and in those tournaments only one team can walk away a winner in the last game. So, of the sixteen NBA teams only one fan base will walk away satisfied. Of the 64 teams in college basketball, 63 will be empty handed at the end of the season and tears get shed for each. Same for pro football. The only sport that really lets a fan finish the season with somewhat of a warm fuzzy is college football. If you win the Independence Bowl, you finish the year on a winning note. If you don't win the national championship, you still can finish the year with a victory in post season play.
Often I watch the Sooners play and most times they win and it satisfies my expectation that they should win. Rarely, the Sooners lose and it really sucks. Why does it affect me in that way? I didn't play in the game and I had no impact on the outcome. But yet it stings. For some it ruins the whole day or week. Why? Because of the emotional investment, because the payoff if you win feels so good. Unfortunately, it comes around rarely...but when it does it reminds you why you love sports so much in the first place.
Another opportunity for storm chasing and another chance to get a good batch of storm photography, and this led me to the Eastern Texas Panhandle and into Western Oklahoma on Wednesday, and it didn't disappoint. Storms went up early at around 3:30pm in the afternoon and blew up quickly near Wellington, Tx and drifted to the northeast slowly allowing for a lot of photos and a chance to just soak up the storms. Here are a few photos and some video from the chase.
Sunday, April 13th saw a sharp cold front move through the state and crash its way south, and out in front of it the ingredients for severe weather took shape and brought rain, hail, heavy winds, and even three small tornadoes. Oklahoma hadn't had a tornado warning in over 300 days, the last being the El Reno tornado day on May 31st. This time though it was much less of a risk, if storms fired at all. To the north in Oklahoma City a linear squall line broke out bringing pea sized hail and heavy rains, but to the south storms were expected to be more discrete as the dry line moved east ahead of the cold front. It pushed the triple point down to the Ardmore area and developed some impressive super cells that soon went linear.
As for my chase, I went south to Pauls Valley and hung around there for quite a while and then moved south and west to Ratliff City, then ended up east of Duncan somewhat. As the day wore on and storms were developing to the north I got impatient, concerned I wouldn't see any storms at all. I drove north and captured some pretty good photos at the south end of the line, but just as I caught tail end charlie, storms kept developing to the south and I quickly found myself along the front line of thunderstorms. Finally I dropped to the south and got on a tornado warned storm, but I was directly to the east and I couldn't get around to the south side before the storms filled in. Here are a few photos from Sunday's chase.
There was a time many years ago when wrestling had my attention and the wrestlers themselves captivated me. When I say many years ago, I mean twenty five years ago when the organization then known as the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) was just getting its foundation set and the stars were young and looking to make a name for themselves. At the time, wrestling was dominated by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake Roberts, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, the list could go on forever. Then came a wrestler that was as unique and energetic as ever had been seen, the Ultimate Warrior. The guy more chiseled than anyone, and could fly through the air as if he had rockets attached to his back. I remember the colors of the bands he wore around his arms, always wondering why he had bands around his arms. I know now that the bands help make the muscles look bigger, but it was a unique look for the time. He was the most colorful guy in wrestling and part of the childhood characters that I admired.
I didn't know his real name until today, but James Hellwig a.k.a. the Ultimate Warrior passed away yesterday at the age of 54. Another of many wrestlers who passed away too soon, all of them tough guys who could seemingly do anything, take any kind of punishment, or literally fly around the ring, all somehow larger than life both in physicality and personality. He was one of my favorite wrestlers, when I liked wrestling. After I grew older, wrestling changed with new characters like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the like. The WWF became the WWE, and many of the guys I grew up with grew older and retired one after another. Through the years, the news of the passing of another great wrestler became commonplace, almost all seemingly while they were in their 40's or 50's. Maybe it had to do with steroids, or the physical abuse their bodies took night after night, or the mental toll of being on the road a lot and staying in character. Maybe it
I still look back at that time of wrestling (mid 80's to early 90's) as its peak for me, and another person from my childhood has passed on. Goodbye Ultimate Warrior, and thank you for the memories.
Officially it was the second chase of the season, but to me it was the first real chase of the 2014 Spring season. A warm front was advancing its way northward while a dryline was pushing its way eastward, creating conditions for a stormy day. A tornado watch had been issued for the area around 3pm and it would last until 10pm for a sliver of territory ranging from Western Oklahoma all the way up to Eastern Missouri, but there was no guarantee that there would be any storms at all. I drove north through Kingfisher, up to Hennessey where I made my first stop of the day. After looking at the forecast models again, I figured the storms would fire a little farther north so I drove up to Helena and ultimately ended up along the Oklahoma/Kansas border when the first storm developed. I raced north only to see it give way to a second storm that had developed to the southwest. I then drove west of Anthony, KS and waited for it to come to me. It was a fairly quick moving storm but was heading more n/ne so I was able to intercept it fairly easily. I ended up getting a lot of good photos and although I didn't see any tornadic activity the chase was far from a bust. I also ended up getting some video of a wall of dust coming at me from the downburst of winds underneath the storm.
Click an ad to support this site!