Monday, August 1, 2011

Outer Space

It was "One small step for Man," combined with "One giant leap for mankind." It was the summer of 1969, while myself, a boy of not quite 8 years of age, marveled at the sight of Neil Armstrong, setting foot on the same moon I continue to gaze and admire well into my elder years. All this while making a transition from New York City to Los Angeles, not knowing what life ahead would be.

The Space Travel program has always been on the strong side of my personal interest, even dreaming of being part of it myself, a common thing for young boys of my era, as well as many before and after me as well. The Apollo program continued into the early 1970's soon to be taken over by the Space Shuttle program a decade later.

With interest in the space program at its peak and a visit to the Kennedy Space Center in the mid 1980's I would continue to keep up with NASA and the excitement of the news of the advancement of Space Travel. I say many blessings to those astronauts who gave their lives for the good of the program, especially the ones on board the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986.

As the Space Shuttle program came to a close a few weeks ago, I reflected on 30 years of an interesting side of life and reflect on what may be ahead in the distant future. I continue to listen to stories, mostly rumors, I'm sure, about the possibility of sendind humans to Mars and other distant planets, as well as civillian space travel, none of which I really expect to happen during the course of my lifetime.

With the high tech of today, as I'm sure in the distant future, the Space Travel Program will continue to be a big part of everyday life, news stories, and personal interests for now and many generations to come. Godspeed to all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Solo of Hope

Sports? Some people think I eat, sleep and think them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. NOT! Soccer? NOT one of my favorites but an interesting game indeed. Over the last few years, to include a few photo assignments at Arizona State University, I've only seen the opposite gender play the game.

In most parts of the world, the game is called "football," which, all things considered, is a sensible name. In most of those countries, especially Europe, the game is as popular as the NFL is here in the United States. Going into this year, there's even a Women's Pro Soccer League here in the United States. It doesn't compare in popularity to the WNBA, at least not yet, but only time will tell in more ways than one.

Hope Solo? That's the Goalkeeper (or "goalie" if you prefer) for the U.S. Women's National Team, who were recently defeated in the FIFA World Cup by Japan. No harsh feelings there as Japan really needed something to be proud of after all they've been through.

Hope Solo was the winner of the Golden Gloves for being the best goalkeeper in the FIFA World Cup tournament, which, by my "guesstamation," is equivalent to a Gold Glove award in Major League Baseball. Currently playing pro soccer in Boca Raton Florida, there seems to be a good future on the horizon.

The way things look to me, the game of soccer is at the point of being popular enough to be taken to a new level in all parts of the world. The tournaments like the FIFA World Cup must do away with thos VUVAZELAS or whatever those horns are called to prevent the stadiums from sounding like beehives.

As for Miss Solo, she's going to turn 30 years old on July 30 and seems to be in the prime of life in the world of a not so popular sport that will only get better with time with the growth of its popularity. David Beckham et al, eat our hearts out!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"It's Miller Time."

"Get your iced cold beer here!" is one of the most familiar cries of a vendor at any sports event. Me personally, I've never been much of a beer drinker, even decided to quit in the summer of 1991 in preparation to enter the military service, looking forward to life with a much healthier mind and body that I'd had up to that point.

Cheryl Miller is no "light beer." Most likely one of the best female athletes most of us have ever seen, hailing from the Southern California (Los Angeles area) like myself, a member of a family with a name as common as their athletic genes.

Cheryl's younger brother Reggie is a former NBA basketball player. A good one all around who, unfortunately, was never able to obtain a championship ring during his playing career with the Indiana Pacers. Lesser known older brother Darrell, was a professional baseball player, a catcher, who spent a portion of his short career in the (then) California Angels organization.

As for Cheryl, I first learned of her during her high school basketball playing days at Riverside-Polytechnic girls varsity basketball team. I mean, hey, what other good reasons would there be to be published in newspapaers and magazines than scoring 105 points in one game?

I would continue to watch Cheryl guide her University of Southern California women's basketball team, along side the "Twin Towers (Pam and Paula) Mcghee" to consecutive NCAA titles. Cheryl's icing on her own cake would come with the gold medal winning U.S. Women's Basketball Team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angelas.

Cheryl would soon achieve a personal goal as a TV sports commentator, covering basketball games, mainly on the sidelines, at many levels, most recently on the TNT network. She had Jim Hill, a TV news sports reporter in Los Angeles as an idol and mentor along the way. She'd even go back to USC to serve as the head coach for her old collegiate team to place another good note on the personal resume.

Then came the Women's National Professional Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1997 with Cheryl becoming the first head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Mercury. The Murcury and the WNBA have been a subject of my sports photography coverage for the third year in a row and I'm still amazed at the success the concept of a professional sport for women has achieved.

There are times that have me wondering what kind of professional level player Cheryl could have been if--let's say the WNBA had been founded ten years earlier. No telling, but it was great to have the chance to see and meet one of the female genders most prominent sports figures on July 15, 2011 at the game in which the Phoenix Mercury gave a much deserved honor to their first head coach and general manager.

Monday, July 18, 2011

FIT going on FIFTY.

OK, how many of you out there have known me since childhood? Remember me, razorblade thin, not the one to stick up for himself, as a result often bullied? I'm still here, but changed by leaps and bounds since then.

Social media has been my thing for the last couple of years. Facebook? I was so reluctant to join at first, but now often wonder how I could have ever gotten along without it. I've located so many people from the distant past, often those I've have had no contact of any kind for more than 40 years.

A lot of things in life have paid dividends, to include a part time military career that went the distance, lasting twenty years, not quite as successful as I'd hoped but a start relatively late in life was better for the body and mind.

Until that summer of 1991, when I stepped off the bus there at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, I was not that serious about good diet and fitness, never really thinking I had what it takes to really get anything out of it.

The military fitness changed me in more than one way, both body and mind. I found strength in me that I never even knew existed. The decision to stop drinking beer and soft drinks were one of the many things that helped out alot.

Hey, look at me now, did anyone ever think I could possibly become a 200 pound hunk of muscle? No, I certainly did not, but I know one thing, it's not something I will let go of anytime soon, or ever again for that matter. The goal is to keep fit to live long and prosper.

Back in the Saddle!

Yes, it's been quite sometime since I posted here, about nine months if I'm counting correctly. Hey, life is what it is, a lot of ups and downs to deal with, a lot of wrong paths to get off of, and a lot of the wrong people to be gotten rid of. There's nothing in life that's too hard to get things back on the right track, no mater how much time it takes.

I'm still here in the Phoenix area, it's right in the middle of one of the hottest summers I've ever experienced. I don't know for sure, but my instincts tell me that the rapid growth of the population, more so on the side of property than people, is to blame for that.

The education at the University of Phoenix is going well. I'm continuing my studies to earn a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, with a concentration in Networking and Telecommunications, a key to a secure career that i can take well into my elderly years and never be dissatisfied.

It's time in life for a new milestone to be reached, coming up on the 50 year mark in a few months and it's great to have a good feeling to take into it as well. Those of us, I feel, who give it all we've got and take what we do seriously, as I have, are the ones who get the most out of life and have better things to come. It's never too late to start over.

As much as I think highly of living in these modern times, I often wonder what life would have been like if I'd been born one century earlier. The American Southwest is a great place to live and work and has an interesting side of history for me.

Oddly enough, the Pony Express was disbanded on October 27, 1861 and I was born 100 years to that day. I often wonder if I could have lived in the great American Southwest of that era and been one of the cowboys that we marvel on by way of old TV movies,pictures, books, etc. as I would see myself the same hard worker of adolecence that I remember myself actually being.

Those who know me well enough to know of my temporary relocation to the Boston area should know that it is also the story of my first taste of personal responsibility with what I call my first real job.

Even to this day I can't help but reflect on the enjoyment I had of getting up early every morning, yes, seven days a week, in all kinds of weather, to include the brutal winter, mounting up on my bicycle, or on foot to deliver, on average 50 newspapers to a customer base that I became well known in, earning about $25 per week, a little more than the average kis weekly allowance, I thought. I know one thing, $25 in 1876 would have gon a long way.

Oh what the heck, I like shooting pictures better than shooting guns. The images I record of sports, or any other event for that matter, will continue to be displayed in cyberspace like stars in outerspace. Life itself is not endless, but I only want to pick up and continue to make the most of it.