Archive for the 'Sports & Recreation' Category

Kayaking Sykes Creek

After spending a few days at Walt Disney World last week we moved over to Cocoa Beach for some relaxing in the sun. Most of the days were spent relaxing around the pool or playing at the beach. We did drive up to Port Canaveral to watch the SpaceX rocket launch, but that was the extent of our excitement until the last day, when a few of us rented kayaks from SoBe Surf and explored Sykes Creek.

Our Group With A Manatee

Our Group With A Manatee

Rather than taking a guided tour we decided just to rent the kayaks and go out exploring on our own. We met up with one of the SoBe employees at their shop and then followed him in our car out to the launching pad, less than a half mile down the road. We were given our equipment and some suggestions on where we could find some wildlife.

Manatee Attack

Manatee Attack

Once we paddled out to Sykes Creek from the launch we decided to head about 300 yards south to a little cove where we were told manatees liked to hang out. We paddled all the way to the back of the cove before without seeing more than a few birds, but as we began to paddle back out toward the main creek we were surrounded by manatees!

Belly Up

Belly Up

The giant sea cows were very slow-moving and gentle, though one of them found Nick’s kayak to be very interesting. He even went belly up to get his mouth fully on the bottom of the kayak. Immediately I was mad at myself for not bringing my GoPro as I would love to have seen what they were doing under the murky water.

Manatee Zone - Minimum Wake

Manatee Zone – Minimum Wake

We spent a good amount of time in the southern cove before paddling north to a larger cove that didn’t seem to have any manatees in it. We continued north to the Merritt Island Causeway bridge, where we spotted a dolphin. We tried to follow it as it continued north but we quickly lost track. On our way back toward the launch, we found a dolphin who was busying trying to catch a meal along the shore wall.

When we finally made it back to the launch we had been out for roughly three hours. I think if it weren’t so hot we could have paddled all day, but we still saw plenty in the few hours that we were out, and managed to get some exercise in as well.

FC Cincinnati

This past Saturday was the first ever home game for new local soccer team, FC Cincinnati. Their home stadium is Nippert on the University of Cincinnati campus. The 35,000 seat capacity is much larger than they should expect to draw, but a very respectable crowd of nearly 15,000 turned out on a chilly night to see the first of fifteen home games for this season.

Nippert Stadium

Nippert Stadium

Having the upper deck on the east side of stadium closed (along with some of the lower sections) makes the crowd more compacted and looks good. The Bailey section behind the north goal was especially packed and rowdy. It featured members of a couple of fan clubs that have already started up, along with anyone else who wants to buy a general admission ticket and stand for the entire game. I think I will go for this next time, but with the kids with us for opening night it would not have been a good idea.

The Bailey

The Bailey

I will admit that I am not the most knowledgeable fan of soccer, not even close to being an average fan I would say. However I found the game to be extremely exciting and full of action. It was almost as if either team could have scored at any time throughout the match. Fortunately for the hometown fans the home team scored more than their opponents, with one of the goals being featured on SportsCenter, and went on to win 2-1. I will definitely be back for more soon, though I have prior plans that will keep me away from this coming Saturday’s game.

Coming Home

After nearly two years the Cincinnati Bearcat football team finally returned home to Nippert Stadium this past Saturday night. The stadium was closed while major renovations were complete to increase the number of seats at the stadium, add new concession and restroom options, and majorly change the flow through the stadium.

It seemed that all around campus and even offsite things were being done for the big reveal. I know I hadn’t been on campus for months and it was awesome to be back and everyone was so excited to see the big changes.

Short Vine Mural

Short Vine Mural

My family and I had been tailgating down on campus at The Grid for at least two years before the temporary move of the games downtown, and we returned back to The Grid again this year. The crowd on Saturday afternoon was larger than any I had ever seen. It was hot and humid, but the drinks were flowing and everyone was having a great time.

Packed Tailgate

Packed Tailgate

I went in to the game early with my parents to see the renovations up close. We didn’t make it too far around the new massive press box and club suite structure before the skies opened and it started to pour. Unfortunately the game ended up being delayed almost two hours, but the majority of the crowd stuck around to see the Cats triumphant return including the big win over Alabama A&M.

Nippert 2015 Panorama

Nippert 2015 Panorama

The stadium seemed louder than ever! The new concessions are nice and I was really happy to see all the craft beer options. The restroom closest to our section near the students hasn’t changed much at all, but I didn’t encounter any lines so that was very nice. Overall the game experience seems better than before and that is about all you can ask for. I look forward to better weather this coming Saturday to see more of the changes first hand. Go Cats!

Dayton Dragons

Last month I attended my first Dayton Dragons baseball game. The Dragons are the Class A affiliate of the Reds. They play their home games at Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton, Ohio. The 8,200 seat stadium has great amenities including a craft beer bar and plenty of activities for the kids too.

Seat View

Seat View

As with every game in their sixteen year existence, this game was a sellout. On July 9, 2011, the Dragons officially set a new record of 815 consecutive sellout games. The sellout streak is the longest across all professional sports in the U.S. and is still going strong. They are well over 1,000 games at this point. Needless to say, the games are the place to be!

Outfield View

Outfield View

With just a month left in their regular season (15 games), time is quickly running out to attend a game this year. Tickets cost roughly $15-20, making it a great place to take the entire family for a fun night out in Dayton.

MLB All-Star Week

The MLB All-Star Game events started over the weekend and Cincinnati is alive more than I’ve ever seen. My family and I took some time yesterday to walk through the jam-packed Block Party adjacent to the ball park, see the zip line fly overhead, and run through the newly expanded Smale Riverfront Park, which was filled with families overflowing from the nearby events.

All-Star Mustache Statue

All-Star Mustache Statue

Tonight the Home Run Derby is schedule and tomorrow night is the main event. I’ve been very impressed by the work that has taken place to make our city look better than ever. I hope all of those who visit from out-of-town truly appreciate it all as much as we do and will continue to for years to come. Go Reds!

Opening Day 2015

Yesterday was opening day for the Reds. My parents joined my family for the opening day parade and then kept the kids for a few hours so Kim and I could go to the game. This was my first time attending the opening day game but definitely not the last. We had a great time at the park, despite the often rainy weather, and the Reds did their part by bringing home an exciting winner.

Sea Eagle NeedleNose

We opened up our Williamstown Lake house this past weekend. To help kick off another summer of fun my in-laws purchased an inflatable Sea Eagle NeedleNose Stand-Up Paddleboard. This board has the performance of a rigid board with the convenience of an inflatable.

NeedleNose Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard

NeedleNose Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard

Though it was fairly warm outside, the lake was still super cold. That didn’t stop a few from our family from giving the paddleboard a try. Most got back to land mostly dry but we did have one younger victim take a quick dip into the lake.

Chip Staying Dry

Chip Staying Dry

I did not give it a try this time but I will definitely be giving it a go once the weather really starts to heat up. Check out this video to see the board in action!

Little Kings Broomball 2015

Last night we wrapped up the best season in the Fountains Square Broomball League for the Little Kings. Our 5-1-1 record was the first winning record in club history and we finished in 3rd place overall.

Winning Team

Winning Team

The playoffs were different this year, with every team making it into the playoffs and simply playing the team with the next closest record. There were no rounds and every team played just one extra game. I think had we not lost our first game of the season we could have had our chance at the league championship.

Award Ceremony

Award Ceremony

Word on the street is that some of us may join forces in the Washington Park Kickball League this summer, so be on the lookout for that.

Blue Jackets Hockey

Over the weekend I drove up to Columbus with a couple of friends to meet another friend who currently lives in the state capital. The primary destination of the trip was to attend the Columbus Blue Jackets game versus the St. Louis Blues. Growing up playing hockey, I’m happy to have a NHL team somewhat nearby, but I don’t make it to nearly enough games.

Nationwide Arena

Nationwide Arena

Rather than making the two-hour drive north, most professional hockey I watch is provided by the Cincinnati Cyclones. But really there is no comparison. Aside from the obvious difference in talent, Nationwide Arena blows US Bank Arena away. Even the view from some of the highest seats at Nationwide are great.

Games at Intermission

Games at Intermission

There is a lot to do around the arena during intermissions too. My friends and I challenged some of the local kids to a game of table hockey and ended up losing badly. It was as if my friends and I were the Blues and these local kids were the Blue Jackets, though our score wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as the real Blues 7-1 loss to the Blue Jackets this night.

High School Hall of Hockey

High School Hall of Hockey

Connected to Nationwide Arena is the OhioHealth Ice Haus, the practice facility for the Blue Jackets. This rink also serves as the home ice for many of the high school teams in the area. In fact there was a game going on during the Blue Jackets game, and we could watch a little of the action from the concourse of Nationwide. Next season I may try to make a weekend trip to catch my alma mater play a road game as the Ice Haus along with another Blue Jackets game.

Homecoming Zinzinnati

This past Saturday was the University of Cincinnati homecoming football game against Miami University. It all kicked off with a parade across downtown. Normally the parade would take place up on campus, but as I mentioned earlier the on-campus stadium is being renovated this season and all games are taking place downtown instead.

The Bearcat and Cheerleaders

The Bearcat and Cheerleaders

The UC Band is Damn Good

The UC Band is Damn Good

President Santa Ono

President Santa Ono

This weekend was also Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, America’s largest Oktoberfest with more than 500,000 people attending every year. So the parade and other weekend activities took on the Homecoming Zinzinnati theme.

Alumni Association

Alumni Association

Maypole Float

Maypole Float

After the parade was over we spent some time tailgating in one of the large lots surrounding the stadium before heading in for the 119th Battle for the Victory Bell.

Kim and Paige at the Tailgate

Kim and Paige at the Tailgate

A record 41,926 people turned out to watch the Battle for the Victory Bell. The game started off a slow for the Cats but they eventually took control of the game and brought home the Victory Bell for the ninth straight year, 31-24.

Ring of Red

Ring of Red

Next up for the Bearcats is an away game at Ohio State this weekend before returning back to town October 4th to take on Memphis.