Living on Tulsa time was a complete surprise. We had heard that the downtown area around the BOK Center had little to offer in terms of entertainment. Certainly there are no Bricktown or Power & Light District bar and restaurant areas found in Oklahoma City or Kansas City. That doesn’t mean that much to us. What we found was a downtown filled with wonderful art deco buildings from the 1920s that helped give a town built with oil money the feel of a major eastern city. These wondrous works have been carefully maintained and mix well with the newer sky scrapers.
Old signs that signal the heritage of the buildings remain though new tenants reside in the refurbished buildings. One of the still active city bus terminals near the BOK Center was a perfect trip back to older times as was the 1952 Chevy pickup sitting outside a local church. The Boston Street United Methodist Cathedral was truly inspiring thanks to its dramatic spire. The “Super Moon” that battled to shine brightly through the overcast added a surreal feeling to the setting given the fact the moon was closer to the earth than it has been in over 20 years. We saw all this after a fabulous dinner of hanger steak with avocado salad for me and grilled scallops with bacon and cheddar cheese grits for Laura at SMOKE in the very hip and trendy Cherry Street District not far from downtown.
Clearly everyone in the downtown area wanted to make a positive impression on their guests. Business owners asked often where we were from and what we thought of the city. The area bore a cleaned and polished face. As we strolled the streets in the mornings after breakfast in the Blue Dome District, interesting and pleasing treasures revealed themselves everywhere.
Now for the great day for KU sports. Softball won another tournament to improve their record to 26-3 heading into Wednesday’s home-opening conference games against hated, but nationally ranked, Missouri. That is the best start in KU softball history. Baseball swept a doubleheader at home against Oklahoma State. Of course, KU men’s basketball was impressive. The upsets in their Southwest bracket have all their fans dreaming with some confidence now of a trip to the Final Four and another National Championship.
However, none of them can match Gary Woodland winning his first PGA golf tournament. While KU was his golfing home for his final three years of college, Woodland is a Topekan through and through. It has been my good fortune to know Gary’s father, Dan, since high school and have photographed and played golf with them over many years. What an accomplishment for Gary.
Planning new signs to honor Woodland on all highways leading into Topeka must be underway. Yesterday was Woodland’s first tour title, but with all his tools Woodland should win many more. Watching Woodland drain so many key putts, including his last 17 in a row on Sunday, made the wait for the KU game very sweet.
Finally, curses on all you basketball junkies. If you hoop crazies had not complained so much about missing every single second of every game, KU’s NCAA game yesterday against Illinois would have tipped off at a sane hour in the afternoon. CBS’ Sunday night lineup starting with the iconic 60 Minutes would have ruled. In the past, early completion of games was paramount so as not to interfere with the penetrating interviews and Andy Rooney’s droll humor.
Instead, the lineup of games was spread over four networks so that no one missed their favorite team’s action. The eight p.m. tip-off on TNT led to a long, late-night drive home. Here is where getting old really sucks. Three hours of sleep simply does not work anymore. The idea of sleeping late is hopeless as well. My internal alarm clock seems to have been permanently set to go off at 6:30, just as it did this morning. Guess that leaves plenty of time to do laundry and get ready for round two of our march through March.
On we go to San Antonio, the River Walk, the Alamo and the dome where KU won their 2008 Championship. Laura flies down Wednesday with the team while I hold back a day to photograph softball at my request. We have many favorite spots and many romantic memories of San Antonio, so we look forward to another round of round ball if only we can catch up on our sleep.