Tuesday, April 24, 2007

FC Dallas 3 -- Colorado cRapids 1

Went down to Dallas last weekend for FC Dallas' home opener.

It was a good game, FC Dallas won 3-1 over the much hated Colorado Rapids. I had a good time, I guess, except for a bit of wackiness that took place while trying to get into the game.

I brought in my camera bag with me (like I've done before) and opened it up for them to search. They took one look inside and said that I couldn't go in because the lens on the camera was "too long." Apparently there is a rule in place that states that a camera that is able to get decent shots of action on field should be baned. Make any sense? It doesn't really to me, but as it was explained to me by someone on Bigsoccer.com, to take in what is considered to be "professional" quality cameras and lenses one needs to get press credentials. To get credentials then one must agree to certain terms and agreements, such as commercial use rights that pretty much say that people can't sell images of players without the team's approval.

I've never sold or had published a picture that I took at a soccer game. But I like the idea of getting press credentials to get to stand on the sidelines during a game. That is something I'll look into before the next trip to Dallas. But anyways, there aren't too many media outlets knocking down my door asking for pictures I've taken in Dallas, such as this brilliant gem:

Pizza Hut Pizza at Pizza Hut Park

A Pizza Hut Pizza, at Pizza Hut Park.

But the person at the gate told me to go back to the car and put the camera up. I thought that was bullcrap, so I went down to the next gate, where they again looked at my camera bag and then let me in without another word otherwise. Oh well. If they were really worried about me smuggling something into the park they should have noticed the four cans of beer I had hidden in my pants.

So, here are some pictures. Hopefully it is not illegal to show off pictures...


Since it was the home opener the people in Dallas were going all-out to make the game special. As the game started there were people throwing confetti and streamers. Here is where someone threw a streamer and it seems as if it is almost racing a few of the players:


And this one is of one of the Dallas players, Dax McCarty - who is only 19. 19! It makes me feel old just typing that.

Dax McCarty

I like this shot because it looks like the Dallas player on the left (Ramon Nunez) is just sitting back with his legs crossed on some sort of invisible chair:

Sit back and relax


Dax & Vanney - the showdown...

Ramon Nunez

This shot is of Nunez again, right after Dallas nearly scored. Wonder what he was trying to say?


Well whatever he was trying to say probably should have been "please try not to get kicked in the face."

Foot to face - ouch

This was when FCD player Carlos Ruiz got a foot to the face. Surprisingly, the Colorado player didn't get carded for that, it was seen as accidental contact. That would be the first of many questionable calls that day...

So the game went on...

Drew Moor

Perhaps in retaliation for getting kicked in the face, Ruiz was given a yellow card after he made a "reckless foul" against the Colorado player Kyle Beckerman.


But it didn't matter cause a few minutes later this happened:


Well that shot is a bit blurry, but it is right before Nunez scored the first goal of the game. Here is a official write-up thanks to MLSnet.com:

Nunez, who missed most of training last week while he was in his native Honduras waiting to receive his U.S. green card, finally converted for the home side in the 29th minute after receiving a great pass from second-year midfielder Dax McCarty just outside the 18. After McCarty found Nunez, the Dallas native worked his way into the Rapids box and faked out defender Brandon Prideaux to give himself an open look at goal. He then beat Colorado goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul at the near post to make it 1-0. It was McCarty's first career MLS assist.

It all resulted in this:


And of course there was much rejoicing and celebrating


And for the people in the stands it meant more streamers...yay streamers!


Sadly, Colorado would come back and score just five minutes later. The score was controversial since there was an apparent handball, but the refs didn't see it and the goal stood. It was a bit awesome when everyone in the stands started chanting "HANDBALL!" loudly after that. Good job crowd.

And the game went on...




The game went 2-1 when this happened:


Again, from MLSnet.com:

In the 78th minute, Nunez converted a free kick from about 23 yards out to make it 2-1. His bending effort clipped the outstretched Coundoul's hands before finding the back of the net. It's the second straight time Nunez has beaten the Rapids for two goals in a regular season game in Frisco; he also bagged a double against the Rocky Mountain side on June 29, 2006.

Again there was much celebrating:


And also more streamers, though the ugly side of streamers came out when this poor guy had to run out onto the field to get everything cleaned up:





With regulation time over and a few seconds of stoppage time remaining, not many people expected this, another FCD goal!

The only shot I got was just of FCD player Kenny Cooper rushing towards the box...


The write-up from MLSnet.com:

Oduro finished the game off in the third minute of stoppage time. The Ghanaian played Cooper into the penalty area, and after eluding a defender, Cooper stalled in front of Coundoul while Oduro moved into position in the heart of the area. With the 'keeper pulled away from the goal, Oduro easily hammered home Cooper's square ball.

And seemingly just a few seconds later the final whistle blew and FCD won the game 3-1.


So hooray, 3-1 FCD!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Found at Lost Valley

I'm been a bit lazy and haven't gotten around to posting pictures on here for a very long time. But I did take out the ol' camera last weekend, so if you'd like, here are some of the shots! Yipee!

Now if you've become as big of a dork as I have for taking pictures, there are certain conditions that get you a bit excited, especially for waterfall pictures. To take good waterfall pictures, you need a few things:

(a) Lots of water (obviously)

(b) cloudy weather.

Last Saturday was a perfect day. It stormed and rained the day before (in fact it stormed so hard it knocked the power off at work, which I thought was amusing). Plus it was overcast the next day...you couldn't ask for anything better than that. So on the spur of the moment I decided to head on up to the hills on Saturday, along with my cousin Patty who was happy to get away from being a Mom for a day. My initial plan was to wake up dreadfully early in the morning (8:00!) which is crazy early to me. I needed to get some stuff done on my car, which would probably be a good thing to do before driving a few hundred miles up into the mountains. It ended up taking longer than I thought, including several hours sitting around in the waiting room watching bad cartoons (something about a dragon, VeggieTales, etc). Finally, after noon everything was done and we were on our way...

The first stop was at Falling Water Falls, a little waterfall north of Russellville along the aptly named Falling Water Creek. The falls are located right off the side of a dirt road, so they are amazingly easy to get too. The only downside was the number of scary-looking rednecks out there.

Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls

Fallen tree in Falling Water Creek

Falling Water Falls

When the water is high people will go kayaking over these falls. People are crazy.

Falling Water Falls

After Falling Water Falls we drove north up to the Buffalo River. It was a long drive but worth it. One odd thing about the drive was that there were hardly any green leaves on the trees. It was almost like Spring stopped as soon as you got high into the mountains. Apparently, in the cold snap last week it got below freezing and the cold killed off all the leaves. It was like driving around in the middle of January instead of April.

There was a bit of green at Lost Valley though -

Trail through Lost Valley

Lost Valley is a great little hiking trail. It is short - only about 2.5 miles long. It is relatively easy, the first half is level and the last half has some hills to climb but nothing as bad as Pinnacle Mountain or the Cedar Falls Trail. And the trail goes to tons of neat things - a natural bridge, tall bluffs, huge trees, waterfalls, and a cave that has a 35 foot tall waterfall inside of it. Pretty neat.

The first really neat area is the natural bridge, which really isn't that much of a bridge. It's really just a cave where the creek pours through the hillside into a neat pool:

Lost Valley

When the water isn't as high you can actually climb up into the cave and look around. There are some neat formations and stuff growing along the wall in there.

Lost Valley

The trail continues on past the natural bridge and soon goes right up under Cobb Cave. The cave is right under this huge bluff:

Cobb Cave

It was named Cobb Cave because some people found old remnants of corn cobs which are thought to have been left by some Native American tribes. They must have thought it was a neat place, because the cave has a nice view of Eden Falls, probably one of the neater waterfalls in the state:

Eden Falls

The falls are awesome, but it is hard to catch it when it was a decent amount of water flowing through.

Eden Falls

It's been a few years since I've been to Lost Valley, but last time when I was trying to get a shot of Eden Falls someone walked up and asked me if I happened to have seen anything dark go over the waterfall. Turns out he had dropped his camera up by the cave and it went downstream. He did eventually find it at the pool at the bottom of the falls. Poor guy, don't think the camera was waterproof or falling on rocks-proof either.

Eden Falls

Eden Falls

Eden Falls

Eden Falls

Since it was getting dark we skipped the upper falls and cave and headed back to the car. But we did get to stop at one last scenic area, this little area called Moss Falls, which is where some water falls over lots of moss...

Moss Falls

Moss Falls

Moss Falls

Moss Falls

Moss Falls

Then it was a long drive back home, but not getting to bump into (almost literally) the herd of elk that live in Boxley Valley. They were actually crossing the road next to the Buffalo River, which was kinda neat since I'd never actually been that close to them.

The next day seemed like a good day to go to a baseball game (why not?), so we went to a game at the new baseball stadium in North Little Rock...

Dickey-Stephens Park

As much it hurts to say it since ol' Ray Winder was abandoned so that this park could be built - but the place is awesome. It is actually a big improvement over Ray Winder, mostly for the skyline view. There will have to be some kinks to be worked out, but it was a pretty good game. The Travs even won, 9-3.

These were all taken at the game...

The shot below is a bit funny because the right fielder completely missed the ball, which most of the people in the stands around us let out a sympathetic groan. Not all of them, though. A few people sitting near us, which was along the first base line and within hearing distance of the guy, yelled out "YOU SUCK!" The player didn't say or do anything, of course, but someone in the crowd must have felt sorry for him because she encouragingly yelled out: "Good job!" I'm sure it made him feel better.


Not too long after that, though, there was a foul ball that zoomed by on the ground by the fence. All the people in the section were yelling for the guy, who was told that he sucked just a few minutes earlier, to give them the ball. Surprisingly he did, tossing it into the stands a few rows behind where I was sitting. Of course, there were some younger girls behind us who screamed as the ball came towards them, which gave the people sitting around us something else to laugh at. The view wasn't that awesome of the game from there (the cheap seats), so we got up and moved to a section closer to home base...


A hit

This was taken right before this guy hit a home-run, you can see the ball barely, it's on the right side of the brown folding chair that is sitting outside of the fence. The Travs won the game 9-3, which included them scoring 7 runs in one inning...



First base

So at the end of the weekend it was a few hundred miles on the car and one tank of gas gone, but I didn't manage to lose my camera down a waterfall or get hit by a foul ball, so I guess it turned out ok in the end....