Archive for the 'Sports & Recreation' Category

Bulldog Fishing Charters

My son Trey has really developed a love for fishing over the last year or two. During our summer vacation to Hilton Head Island my wife searched hard for a fishing trip to take our six year old and his five year old buddy. We struggled to find a boat large enough for group of eleven and eventually found it would be easiest to just have the four guys take the boys out for this trip. Once the group was reduced down to six we quickly found Bulldog Fishing Charters and reserved their 2 hour fishing trip that was marked as great for kids ($350 for up to 6 people).

The Bulldog is 32 foot long and is captained by Christiaan Politzer, a second generation Hilton Head fishing captain for over 25 years. Christiaan’s teenage son Stratton was also on board for our trip serving as first mate. Both were extremely helpful and courteous throughout our entire trip. After cruising out for awhile we had reached our fishing destination above a pile of rocks that local legend says was formed by old sailing ships dropping their rock ballasts on their way into Savannah.

Once our anchor was in, the crew immediately threw in some lines for the boys. While doing so we were told of the history of the area and how the rock pile is full of sea bass that should given plenty of entertainment for the boys. Before the lines were even in the water for a minute they had already hooked one of these black seas bass. None that the boys caught were large enough to keep, but they still had a blast reeling them in and probably caught a dozen throughout the trip.

While that was going on they also threw in some larger rods for the adults. Though we didn’t see any sharks on this short trip, we did reel in 2 cobia and thought we might have had a shark or sting ray on but it broke the line after a good fight from my dad. We had an amazing trip on the Bulldog and would not hesitate to go on another trip with Captain Christiaan in the future.

French Broad Rafting

On our way back from Hilton Head, my family I and stopped for the night in Asheville, NC and the next morning visited the nearby town of Hot Springs. I had booked us on a calm water rafting trip with French Broad Rafting.

Given that my wife and I had both rafted a handful of times in the past, I booked the unguided 4 mile trip through class I-II rapids. The minimum age limit for this trip is 4 years old, so our little one just barely qualified.

After checking in at Hot Springs, we grabbed our gear and headed immediately for the water. There was another group that was going with a guide at the same time we were, so we let them go ahead and tried to follow them. But with only two paddlers we soon lost sight of them. Fortunately they have given us some verbal directions on which way was easiest to navigate throughout our three-hour float. Once our trip was over the staff was waiting with a van to drive us back to our car and where we started.

Our entire family loved the trip and wanted to go again right away. We will definitely be back.

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.