Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arizona Trip: Baseball, Ostrich Race Tragedy and Thunder Game in Phoenix

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! Yesterday was March 16th which marked my 22 year anniversary with the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder. March 16, 1987 the Sonics defeated the San Antonio Spurs 122-111 and on March 16, 2009 the Thunder defeated the San Antonio Spurs 78-76.

Got back late Sunday night from a quick 3 day trip out to Arizona to spend some time with my parents. Great trip that won't soon be forgotten for a number of reasons.

Friday we went to a Spring Training baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers. Usually I go watch the Mariners play every March however we decided to go check out the Dodgers brand new training facility in Glendale. Very nice place that has a southwestern motiff (will try to never use that word again) with a rust colored stadium. The biggest shocker was that half of the seats were empty. The Dodgers have always conducted their Spring Training in Floriday before this season so I thought the folks in SoCal would flock to Arizona but apparently that isn't the case. Perhaps another sign of a struggling economy?

Saturday had us witness an event that initially appeared to be very tragic. The city of Chandler is near the home that my parents own so we decided to head over and check out their Ostrich Festival. I thought this was going to be a tiny little town carnival however it was fairly large. Lots of carnival rides, food stands, arts and craft tables, entertainment shows and live bands (Foghat, Starship and The Grass Roots were all scheduled to play over the 3 days). One of the main features are the Ostrich Races that take place a few times over the course of the festival so we decided to catch the 2 pm races along with probably 2,000 other people. The very first event was a race between 3 ostriches each with a rider (a man, a woman and a 9 year old kid). The ostriches took off and as they came around the corner the ostrich with the kid came right toward the fence I was near and dumped the youngster. My initial reaction was that the kid could have been hurt and I was grateful he wasn't, unfortunately there was another accident off to my left that I didn't see and the woman rider wasn't so lucky. Her ostrich ran into the metal fence about 20 yards from where we were and she was knocked unconscious. A few seconds later her leg started shaking uncontrollably and the man on the PA system started asking someone to immediately call an ambulance and was asking the crowd if there were EMTs or doctors in attendence. Here is a link to the video that shows the accident but doesn't show the aftermath: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/ostrich-race-accident/4058248597/?icid=VIDLRVNWS03

Apparently she was thrown into the ground and the ostrich landed right on top of her. It was a very scary moment as various people ran to help and we waited for 10-15 minutes for an ambulance to arrive to take her away. They mentioned that she was alert and moving her toes and the show continued on (have since read on the internet that she was later released from the hospital and is doing well). It was a little strange watching the remainder of the show that lasted about 30 minutes but the positive announcement put our minds at ease and we were able to enjoy ostriches and camels race around.

Later that night my Dad and I attended a basketball game in downtown Phoenix between the hometown Suns and my OKC Thunder. The Thunder had an early 10 point lead but the Suns came back and pulled away in the 4th Quarter for a106-95 victory. I still had a great time and posed for some pictures with the Suns player cut outs on my way out the door.

Sunday I went for a 12 mile run late morning in the Arizona heat that kicked my butt. I wasn't ready for that kind of heat and probably should have done out a couple hours earlier. Oh well, I survived. Hung out with my parents and we had a good dinner in Tempe before heading for the airport.

At the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport I ran into my Thunder co-worker Christina as we were on the same flight (picture of Christina and I at the airport is included). She flew out to Phoenix to escort 2 sisters that won a trip to watch the Thunder-Suns game that had been given away at one of our viewer watch parties. Ended up sitting by all 3 of them on the plane and it sounded like they all had a good time.

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