Sunday, March 31, 2013

Where on Earth is Wichita?

Last night I found myself in a bar watching college basketball with a couple of mates. It was either that or dressing up as Scary Easter Bunny - strapping on some big teeth and growling : "No chocolate eggs for you!"

Seriously, what have chocolate eggs got to do with Easter and resurrection etc? What came first, the chicken or the egg?


Wichita by night (Andrea Allen)

Back to college basketball. The honest truth is I haven't assimilated well to American sports. I saw one Super Bowl that was won by the Green Bay Packers and found myself wondering:

1 What are the rules here?

2 Why is it so long?

3 Why do they stop all the time?

I was glad the packers won because they were playing the Steelers and Steelers fans always strike me as loud, overly pale and in-yer-face. Packers fans are probably pale too but I guess it's so cold up there they are probably green so that's OK.

I knew bugger all about NCAA basketball but at least basketball is easy to understand. I played it a bit at school in England, although it's nothing like the US experience in that there was little expectation and no cheer leaders. Generally I sucked but there was one majestic game in which I shot almost from the half way line and it went in the hoop.

I'm not saying I was like John Updike's antihero Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom who goes through his midlife crisis with dreams of his basketball glory days at school. In fact, I had forgotten about the magical trajectory of ball through hoop, until I started writing this post.



The game I was watching on Saturday was Wichita State v Ohio State and I instantly found myself identifying with Wichita. This was no surprise because Brits normally relate to the underdog. But all the way through this unlikely victory it bothered me that I had no real idea where Wichita was, although a song from the White Stripes kept going through my head.

I concluded Wichita was somewhere flat and cold, North Dakota probably. But when I checked it out today  I discovered it's the biggest city in Kansas, with a population of 384,000 plus which doesn't strike me as very many people for a largest city, unless they are all crowded into a phone box at one time.

This surprised me because I assumed Kansas would be the biggest city in Kansas, but there's some speculation it might not even be in Kansas which is all screwed up if you ask me.

I pulled up some pics of Wichita and concluded I'd be bored there after a couple of days. No wonder the students get a lot of basketball practice in. Wichita is known as the air capital of the world and is also responsible for giving us Pizza Hut. This made me realize it has been a long time since I've been in Pizza Hut and they really might want to replace those dumb looking buildings with red roofs with something that cries out : "Visit me now."

Anyhow I have no desire to live in Wichita as it appears to be far too far away from the ocean. But I may take more interest in basketball and check out Wichita's progress in the Final Four or the Fab Four, or whatever it calls itself.

In saying that, as I left the sports bar I saw an English Premiership game being played in another room on a glass screen. It was Manchester City v. Newcastle.

At this point one of my friends asked me if I was OK. I was drooling on the glass.

14 comments:

  1. Kansas City actually straddles the border of MO & KS, so it's in both states. When I was little, I thought Wichita was pronounced 'Wih-CHEE-ta', till I heard Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman'. And of course the Grateful Dead's 'Jack Straw'. As for ghetto ball, I mean basketball, I just can't stand that game. I was hoping Gonzaga would advance since they were the only team from Washington State in the March Madness thing.

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    1. hey JoJo - hmm it sort of grew on me, although only in the last 10 mins when it got exciting..

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    2. I only ever watched Boston Celtics games in the last 10 minutes. lol Really, that's all you need to see.

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  2. I've never been to Wichita, but it looks pretty in that photo. If I had more of a choice, I'd definitely live closer to the ocean if I could. Ohio is also too far from the ocean, but here I am just the same.

    "Why is it so long?" and "Why do they stop all the time?" are both questions I've asked for years about most sports on TV. I have yet to get any answers.

    Happy Easter to you and your family!

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    1. I know Daisy - I guess they pander to advertising.

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  3. Wichita is known as the "air capital of the world"?? It's windy? They fart a lot? They've got a lot of wind turbines? They're air heads? It's just as perplexing as the sports they play. At least in cricket you get to watch the seagulls...and daydream.

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    1. ah for cricket Sue - doing the challenge this year?

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    2. Nah, just got back from the US of A and I'm a tad jetlagged. Blergh ... 15 hours in a flying metal cigar is waaaay too much for me, my brain is gloopy and I'm adjusting back to driving on the correct side of the road without flinching constantly at the oncoming traffic.
      BTW footy (aka Aussie rules) is apparently fast paced and interesting - I went to one game, once, and was bored, but I seem to be in the minority ;-)

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  4. What about baseball? Is that any good? I suppose as a Brit you have to resist the urge to call it rounders. Basketball (and football) big sports here. The local school plays volleyball, but they have to hurry matches against visiting teams so they are in time to catch the ferry back to the mainland. Your blog is now on my roll, as they say.

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    1. rounders chortle - maybe I'll say that over here to watch people's nonplussed expressions...

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  5. I was born and raised in the US, and I'd rather watch Man City v Newcastle than college basketball any day. :)I have 3 huge futbol fans in my house who all cheer for different teams - Chelsea, Man U, and Barcelona.

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    1. Yay for that, of course being a Liverpool fan I keep it quiet these days, thx for the visit TaMara

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  6. Witchita, Watchita, Eh? I'm totally with you on American football. It's sooo stoppy/starty/yards and all that! Give me a great game with Chelsea v Man U any day and I'd be drooling over my half a shandy and packet of Monster Munch.
    Anyway - where's your A? I'm excited!

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    1. OMG suddenly I am all nostalgic for pickled onion Monster Munch. Tis there now. Still excited re the challenge?

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