Tuesday, February 26, 2008

CU 88, MSU 67; CU 65, ORU 64

The Kids Are Alright

How would they respond? That’s the question I asked myself almost once an hour starting last Saturday after 3 p.m. or so. As I wrote in the last installment, the Jays had just used one week of poor play to unravel what they had spent the three previous games creating — momentum and a decent at-large NCAA tournament resume.

I didn’t have to ask the same question in regards to my friends and fellow Bluejay die-hards. My cell phone started to buzz with activity shortly after Bradley demolished Dana Altman’s Jays, on the heels of Evansville once again upsetting the Bluejays in Roberts Stadium. Calls. Text messages. Heck, I almost expected to walk out onto my porch overlooking the Keystone Trail and see someone sending angry smoke signals from the trees across the creek, spelling “R-E-B-O-U-N-D” or something. Bluejays Nation, for lack of a better term, was freaking out.

But the only question running through my mind from the minute the final buzzer sounded against Bradley up until the starting lineups were announced against Missouri State was: how would they respond? Only the players know what they have gone through during this long and grueling season, both individually and as a team. Not the fans. Not the national media members, who have all but dismissed the Missouri Valley Conference this year as the mid-major conference du jour. Only the players know how much they wanted to win for each other, for the seniors, and for the coaches. Only the players know how important it is to continue on the streaks of consecutive 20-win seasons and consecutive 10-win conference years.

Watts' strong play in the past few games has led a Jays resurgence

And only the players could make the change. Get tougher. Show more energy and passion. Sure, coming home and playing within the friendly surroundings of The Phone Booth helped, but after looking at the stats I wonder if it would have mattered if only 5,000 people filled the seats last Tuesday night at Qwest Center. Dane Watts and the rest of the Jays, half of whom are entering the stretch run of their first season of Division I basketball, left little doubt against MSU and then at Oral Roberts that in fact they are alright, that they have something left in the tank, and that they aren’t done winning basketball games this season.

If P’Allen’s past two games are any indication, he’s still got something left in the tank

A Top 10 Effort

If you could tell already, the above clip is yet another digital delight featuring yet another ferocious dunk by frosh P’Allen Stinnett. The nasty alley-oop, thrown by this past week’s Valley Newcomer of the Week Booker Woodfox, was included in SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays last Tuesday night. See below:

Creighton’s win, along with Stinnett, got some love on The Sports Leader

That play embodies the Jays’ effort in what could very well be Barry Hinson’s last game as the head coach of Missouri State in the Qwest Center. The Bluejays came out of the gates aggressive, matched the Bears basket for basket in the first 15 minutes, and then turned on the defensive pressure to pull away from MSU. A few stats:

  • The Jays shot 47% from the field; MSU hit 38%.

  • The Jays outrebounded MSU 45-31 and led 13-6 in second-chance points.

  • The Jays scored 24 points off of 14 Bears turnovers, while only giving the ball up 9 times themselves.

  • The Jays swiped 10 steals.

Creighton took the lead for good with 12 minutes to play in the first half, pushed the halftime margin to 11 points, and then outscored the Bears by 10 more points in the final 20 minutes. All things considered, it was exactly the way Altman needed both his seniors and his young nucleus of talented players to respond.

A few more stat lines that jump out from the box score:

  • Watts – 14 points (only missed 2 shots); 7 rebounds; 3 assists; 3 blocks; 4 steals. Nice.

  • Stinnett – 19 points; 4-9 from 3-point range; 6 rebounds; 2 assists, 3 steals; only 1 turnover and 1 personal foul.

  • Woodfox – 14 points; 3 rebounds; career-high 6 rebounds, only 1 turnover.

  • Cavel Witter – 19 points (on 8-11 shooting); 5 rebounds; 5 assists; only 3 turnovers.

Witter’s line says it all. He scored no points, grabbed no rebounds, and generally looked disinterested in the action on the court during the loss at Bradley. But whatever he heard from teammates and coaches in the three days between the loss and the MSU game made an impact; he was on his game in every facet. He took shots at perfect times, he made the extra pass, and he made the simple plays. That’s all Altman is looking for at this stage of the season. Even though the win against MSU was a blow out, making the simple plays is what wins close games. See: CU’s win on the road at Oral Roberts.

Cavel erased a poor effort at Bradley with two controlled showings last week

Forget Busting Brackets and Focus on Getting Better

With a win in their pocket, the Jays packed their bags yet again for the annual ESPN BracketBusters event. I shouldn’t say “yet again,” though, because Creighton’s only been the road team one previous time during the first 5 years of the made-for-television mid-major showcase. They lost that game, at Kent State in 2004, a game that for all intents and purposes marked the end of the energy for that season’s Jays team.

So with any realistic chances of an at-large bid barely staying warm on the farthest of all back burners, Altman’s message to his team was probably relatively simple: use this game to get better. In preparation for the weekend-long spectacle that has become Arch Madness, the Jays will need any and all experiences under their belts to win three straight games in St. Louis a week and a half from now. The game at Oral Roberts offered a few things:

  • A game at a true home court advantage: ORU hadn’t lost a home game all season.

  • A game against a leader of another mid-major conference: ORU was 20-6 overall, with just one conference loss.

  • A game against a taller, stronger team: ORU’s roster is loaded with beefy post players.

  • A game against a team trying to send its seniors out on a winning note: it was Senior Day in Tulsa.
So far this season, those ingredients would add to spell trouble for this young Jays squad. But Creighton came out as the aggressors for the second consecutive game. Watts had another tremendous game against the taller, stronger Golden Eagles front line. He posted 18 points and 8 rebounds while battling foul trouble. But his most important play might have been the perfect screen he set for Woodfox, who attempted and nailed the go-ahead, game-winning basket with less than 30 seconds to play in the game.

The entire ballgame was back and forth, with neither team giving in to the other. It was a study in solid play, with neither team committing an extended string of poor decisions throughout the afternoon. It came down to hitting some clutch shots, and for awhile it looked like ORU would take the cake in that battle. Stinnett missed the front end of a one-and-one attempt at the free throw line, and ORU got the rebound and drew a foul. They hit both free throw attempts, putting the Jays down by 2 points with less than 40 seconds left.

Enter Woodfox, the marksman from Texas who has spent the past two months warming up his shooting range until it has now reached a boiling point. The kid can flat out stroke shots from anywhere on the court.

(NOTE: My cousin from Lewisville, Texas, was in town this weekend. Watching the game, I pointed out Booker is from Lewisville and was set to represent the 972 that afternoon. Good thing he didn’t disappoint. Way to step up, Lewisville.)

Booker's deft shooting has made him among the most potent players in the MVC

So, just like that the Jays are 19-8 with two regular season games left. First up, a long-awaited rematch against Illinois State. The Redbirds handed the Jays their first MVC loss of the season (at The Phone Booth, no less), and it will be a couple of months since the two teams have seen each other. Then it is Senior Night on Saturday, against the possibly Daniel Ruffin-less Bradley Braves.

The kids are alright. They responded to a losing streak yet again. What they do from here out will define yet another year of Altman’s legacy. Despite the disappointment many casual fans have felt after the Jays posted 7 losses since starting the season 9-1, this year’s coaching effort by Altman has to be considered among some of his greatest seasons. Hopefully they reach deep and pull out a few more efforts like the wins against MSU and Oral Roberts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

UE 60, CU 56; BU 87, CU 59

“A Pretty Bad Week”

We thought we had things going pretty good (with three wins a row). But we've had a pretty bad week. ~ Dana Altman
What a difference a few days and a few hundred miles makes. When I wrote my last entry the Jays had rattled off three consecutive home wins against familiar foes Wichita State, Northern Iowa, and Southern Illinois. The Jays were all alone in third place in the Valley standings, looking up at probable league champion Drake and an Illinois State team well within the Jays’ reach with five MVC games left on the schedule.

Not anymore. Not after the “pretty bad week” Altman referenced in the quote above, offered up after his Bluejays were thoroughly dismantled in every aspect of their game against the Bradley Braves. Most of my fellow Jays fans didn’t expect to go into Carver Arena and win for a second straight year; they didn’t expect to get throttled, either. But these same fans did figure the Jays would be able to beat Evansville on the road. Nope. A close, mistake-filled loss to one of the two worst teams in the Valley, combined with a definitive drilling at the hands of an athletic-yet-defensively challenged team, is an equation that equals exactly what Altman noted: a frustrating couple of days in league play.

Roberts Stadium = The Black Hole

A few notes:
  • Creighton shot a higher percentage (42%) from the field than Evansville (30%).
  • Creighton outrebounded Evansville, 34-28
  • Creighton blocked 7 Purple Aces shots; Evansville didn’t touch one Bluejay attempt
  • Creighton scored more points in the paint than the Aces, 20-16
So, how did the Jays lose to the Aces, a team with just two conference wins coming into their home game against CU?
  • 22 turnovers by the Jays
  • 32 free-throw attempts by Evansville

The game wasn’t on television. I followed the action via the Internet and one of those in-game stats providers. Half the time I thought the program was broken; for all I could tell, it was stuck on “Creighton Turnover” or “Evansville Free Throw Attempt”. The Jays turned the ball over 9 more times than Evansville and committed 4 more personal fouls. The Jays got to the charity stripe 20 times; not too shabby, but they only hit 65% of their free throws. Evansville, on the other hand, made 30 of 32 free shots — 94%.

(NOTE: In their next game, a loss to Missouri State this past Saturday, Evansville only scored 38 points … just 8 points more than they scored from the free-throw line only against the Jays. Ugh.)

Flat out, the Jays came out … flat. And it isn’t something new to Altman’s Jays during their visits to Evansville. During Altman’s tenure at CU, the Jays have lost 6 road games to the Purple Aces. Two of those losses were in the 1994-95 and 1996-97 seasons, when the Aces were 18-9 and 17-14, respectively, and Altman was in the midst of trying to get his program to postseason play. The other four losses Dana’s teams have suffered in Roberts Stadium were all by teams that played in the NCAA tournament later those seasons — the 1999-2000 squad (automatic qualifiers); the 2000-01 team (the regular-season Valley champions that got an at-large bid); the 2002-2003 Jays (arguably one of the school’s best teams record-wise, these Jays won the automatic bid but lost to Evansville while ranked #10 in the nation coming into that game); and the 2004-2005 team (auto qualifiers in St. Louis).

I’m not saying the Jays are going to win Arch Madness because they lost to Evansville on the road. I’m just saying that even some of Altman’s most successful teams dropped their games at Roberts Stadium. Life on the road is tough, but something about Southern Indiana just doesn’t fit well with the Jays (campus is just 100 miles from Carbondale, so maybe that’s the reason...).

The Red Storm

The Jays lost to Bradley by 28 points, but it wasn’t even that close. Sure, after giving up the first 11 points of the game Creighton clawed back into the contest a few minutes later and trailed only by 4, but Bradley hit the gas again and never looked back.

With 3 minutes to play in the second half, the Braves held a commanding 38-point lead. THIRTY-EIGHT POINTS. Creighton allowed Bradley to play its game, complete with crisp passing, more than a dozen made three-pointers, aggressive rebounding, and superior hustle on the defensive end. Needing to respond after a lackluster effort against the Purple Aces just a few days earlier, Creighton instead failed to match (or even come close, really) to the intensity displayed by Jim Les’ team.

The Jays turned the ball over 11 fewer times against BU than they did against Evansville, yet they were absolutely destroyed on the glass (minus-13) and only made 34% of their shots from the field. Dane Watts scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, looking visibly frustrated throughout the contest, while young guns P’Allen Stinnett (18 points, 4 rebounds) and Booker Woodfox (16 points on 50% shooting) tried their hardest on the offensive end to keep the Jays somewhat close. None of it mattered in the end, though, as Bradley completed Altman’s self-professed “bad week” by sending the Jays back into the middle of the MVC pack with just 3 conference games to play.

Creighton and Bradley will square off one more time this season; the Braves will make the trek to Qwest Center for Senior Night in a couple of weeks. However, barring any unexpected 3-0 or 0-3 finishes by the Jays or Braves or Salukis or Panthers, the two teams will possibly meet in the first round of Arch Madness as the #4-#5 contest on Friday afternoon.

If that sounds familiar, it is probably because the similarities between Altman’s 2003-2004 team and this year’s squad are slowly coming into focus. That team followed one of the more successful squads in CU history; this year’s team is doing the same. That team spent a preseason trip playing exhibition games in Canada; this year’s team went North as well. That team ran wild throughout its non-conference schedule (8-0); this year’s team went 9-1. That team was destroyed in one of its final road games against the team it would eventually play (and lose to) in the #4-#5 game in St. Louis (Missouri State); hopefully this year’s squad won’t endure the same fate.

It will take a strong effort tonight against MSU for the Jays to regain the momentum that was seemingly overflowing from The Hilltop one week ago. They’ve shown the ability to string together a few good games in a row a few different times this season; hopefully Altman’s Jays can erase the “pretty bad week” starting against the Bears.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CU 65, WSU 63; CU 74, UNI 50; CU 72, SIU 53

Captivated at the Q

I know it has been awhile since I last wrote, but there’s good reason. Reasons, actually. First, as you all know, I hate writing after a loss. Luckily, during the past few seasons of putting my thoughts on the web regarding Dana Altman’s Bluejay teams, I have been able to scribe much more victory-inspired memoirs than loss-induced drivel.

Following a gut-wrenching overtime loss to Drake in Omaha and a complete offensive meltdown at Southern Illinois, the Jays promptly went to Des Moines and shot 36% in the first half of the return game against Drake. Nationally-ranked Drake. I know, it still doesn’t read/sound/look correct to find a big number next to the Bulldogs’ name in the paper/web/Sports Center. Creighton stayed in the contest most of the evening, took the lead midway through the second half, but eventually stalled with a few minutes left while DU scored the final 10 points for the win.

That’s right, a three-game losing streak. Not since 2003-2004 had Altman’s Jays suffered back-to-back-to-back defeats. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for putting together any prose. But, there was some light at the end of the tunnel. It involved one of the best guitarists in rock history, a rock-hard Olympian (and a rock-hard Olympian’s husband), the other Qwest Center tenant, and three straight home games for the Bluejays.

9 Days, 6 Nights

Beginning Saturday night, Feb. 2, with a home game against Wichita State and ending after the last few seconds ticked off the clock in a long-evasive home win against SIU on Feb. 10, I went to six events at the Qwest Center in nine days. Let’s take a journey through a week and a half of one of The Slowdown’s repeat customers.

The sight of many parking adventures, Omaha's Slowdown club

Creighton vs. Wichita State (Saturday, 2/2)

If it is possible, you could add the first half against the Shockers to the list of three consecutive losses posted by the Jays. CU scored just 21 points, trailed by 12 going into the locker room, lost the battle of the boards 20-10, and had six of their shots blocked in the first 20 minutes of action. Dane Watts was completely silent in the first half, WSU’s Gal Mekel dribble penetrated at will and scored 10 first half points, and the crowd was agitated with the effort (not to mention the results of the previous three games). A storm was brewing.

The Jays tried to chip away slowly but surely after intermission, but the Shockers had revenge on their minds. With just under 10 minutes to play, WSU scored yet another layup in the paint, Altman took a timeout, and four new Bluejays joined P’Allen Stinnett on the court with CU trailing by 15. It was do-or-die time for Creighton, as the Jays sat squarely in the middle of the pack among Valley teams in the standings and was letting a bottom-division team thoroughly spank them in front of 16,600-plus home fans.

The new nucleus on the floor – Stinnett, Booker Woodfox, Kenton Walker, Casey Harriman, and Cavel Witter (no player with any Division-I game experience coming into this season) – responded. Woodfox drilled a 3-pointer, Stinnett forced a turnover with a steal, Walker had a layup, the Jays took a charge, and then Witter drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 7 after just 3 minutes of game clock had ticked off. By that time, Watts and Chad Millard had rested up for the stretch run, and they subbed in for Walker and Harriman to work for the last few minutes of action. In the end, Watts gave CU its first lead since 13 minutes were left in the first half with a tip-in with 16 seconds to play, then took a charge on the other end and corralled the final rebound at the buzzer to secure another finish indicative of why the Qwest Center has been known for the past four years as the Cardiac Q.

So with that, Wichita State lost in Omaha again. They haven’t won in the Big O since 1992, which is just an amazingly long time. Considering the teams Mark Turgeon brought to Omaha the past 5 or 6 years (featuring the likes of Randy Burns, Jamar Howard, Kyle Wilson, Paul Miller, and P.J. Cousinard), that is astonishing. Not that I’m complaining or anything.

Van Halen (Monday, 2/4)

The Patriots and Giants played the Super Bowl the day after the win against Wichita. You might have seen it. It was a pretty good game.

ANYWAY, the game isn’t what was important. It was the halftime show featuring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. NOTE: Petty is only 57 years old. He looks at least 15 years older than that. They sounded good, I thought to myself, but I wouldn’t spend a ton of money to see them, no matter how many great songs they’ve recorded.

Then I remembered how much money I had paid a few months ago to get the chance to catch Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and the rest of one of the most entertaining bands of the late 70s and early 80s hit the Qwest Center Stage the next night. And right after that, I remembered that Eddie Van Halen, arguably one of the greatest guitar players ever, is 53 years old. Would the money be worth it?

From the first guitar chords of “You’ve Really Got Me” to Eddie’s extended guitar showcase toward the end of the night to the very last drum beat of “Jump,” the Van Halen brothers, Roth, and Eddie’s kid Wolfgang brought the house down. Panon and I rocked out, which is kind of funny considering we were both 4 years old when the band released the epic “1984”.

Well worth the money and the quick turnaround to The Phone Booth.

I won't comment on looks, but musically Van Halen have aged well

Creighton vs. Northern Iowa (Tuesday, 2/5)

Fat Tuesday! Time to feast on another team the Jays have completely devoured at home (and on the road for that matter) during the past 10 years. Creighton has lost a total of three games to the Panthers in the past decade, with all three of those losses coming in Cedar Falls. Ever since the Jays lost to UNI in January 2004, they’ve beaten the Panthers eight straight times by an average of nearly 7 points per game.

So, just as they did to Wichita State a few days earlier, Creighton took care of business yet again against a team they’ve pretty much controlled in recent history. But instead of having to claw their way back from a double-digit deficit in the second half like was the case against the Shockers, the Jays opened up a 17-point first-half lead against UNI and didn’t look back. The final score was 74-50, but it could have been much worse. The Jays had a 32-point lead with just under 8 minutes to play, and some hot shooting saved them from a sure 30-point loss.

As the last day of Mardi Gras, excess was in order. P’Allen had the Jays covered in that realm yet again. He scored a career-high 24 points, making 7 of 10 field goal attempts in the first half en route to 17 points in 14 minutes of first-half action. He also pulled down a team-high 6 rebounds on a night when the Jays out-boarded the Purple Kitties 36-27.

The Omaha World-Herald's highlights of the win over UNI

Rebounding was a great concern for Altman and the coaching staff, even more so than usual because of the absolute beating they took on the glass at the hands of the Shockers during the previous contest. To try and make their point in another way, Altman and his staff held an open competition between the California Kids, Kenton Walker and Kenny Lawson, to see who wanted to hit the boards. At stake? The starting nod against UNI. A simple rebound contest, and Walker beat out Lawson, meaning the true freshman earned his first career start. He played 10 total minutes to Lawson’s 16, but the point was clear: both will earn their time and accolades by winning the war for rebounds. It was a message clearly not lost on Lawson, as Jays fans would see in the upcoming tilt against Southern Illinois.

Ash Wednesday (2/6)

No event at The Q tonight; just a lot of ashes and fish. Good stuff.

AVP Hot Winter Nights (Thursday, 2/7)

I dabble in beach volleyball. And by dabble I mean “our team has won less than five total contests in the past two springs and summers combined,” and by beach I mean “the sand in the back parking lot at Barrett’s Barleycorn.” Not blessed with height, speed, nor jumping prowess, it is probably the sport I’m least physically suited to succeed in, even at a recreational level. But what can I say … I love it!

People who are blessed with those physical attributes, not to mention the talent and experience, were in Omaha last week as part of the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) “Hot Winter Nights” tour. The premise is simple: bring the wild and rowdy sport of professional beach volleyball to some of the cities least likely to secure a spot on the summer AVP tour. Omaha definitely hits that target, and the temperature outside as we walked into The Phone Booth for the event was barely in the ‘teens.

So, who were the amazing athletes myself and members of my summer volleyball team saw on this cold winter night? Olympian Holly McPeak, one of just five women worldwide to have completed in all three Olympics in beach volleyball. Jenny Kropp, a local product (Grand Island, NE) who led Nebraska to an NCAA volleyball title in 2000. On the men’s side of the bracket, Jake Gibb, Matt Fuerbringer (a four-time All-American at Stanford), Sean Rosenthal, and Casey Jennings, who is married to one of the most dominant female beach volleyball players of all time, Kerri Walsh (who was in attendance at The Q, too).

Needless to say, these folks put on an exhibition of amazing effort and skill. It was a great way to spend a Thursday night in February, and with the Qwest Center heaters pumping warm air into the building and people in swimsuits cruising around on a huge indoor beach it was hard not to think about summertime. So close, yet so far away, I guess.

What does an Olympian look like? Here's one view of McPeak calling a play

Friday, 2/8

Whew. Catch my breath, save some gas by not driving downtown, and eat more fish. Just another Lenten Friday.

UNO Hockey vs. THE Ohio State University (Saturday, 2/9)

Saturday was a guy’s night out. Sports were on the menu. First, for the appetizer, a group of us went to the Creighton Baseball Steak Fry. This was my first trip to the annual fundraiser, and it certainly won’t be my last. Coach Ed Servais took some time to reflect on last year’s successes and introduce each and every player on this year’s team. Again, the temperature outside didn’t do justice to the fact that Ed’s team will hit the road next week to start their season, one that has a lot of people around the community excited about the possibilities of an extended post season run. This summer marks the 17th anniversary of Jim Hendry’s Creighton baseball team’s appearance in the College World Series. According to this year’s team, a trip to Rosenblatt in June is definitely among their goals.

The appetizer included a hefty portion of steak, which we decided to wash down with a couple Qwest Center Beers and some hockey action. And unlike some of their home games this season, the Mavericks came out on the winning end versus the Buckeyes, posting a 5-2 win and sending us into the rest of our night with yet another solid Phone Booth Performance under our belts for the week.

Creighton vs. Southern Illinois (Sunday, 2/10)

During this epic six-night stand at the local entertainment, the encore was just as it should be: we saved the best for last. Save for the championship game of last year’s Arch Madness tournament in St. Louis, Creighton’s struggles against the Salukis have been well documented here, here, here, here, here, and here. I was getting sick and tired of writing the same recap.

Coming into Sunday night, SIU was undefeated at The Phone Booth. Hate is a strong word, but there are many CU fans that hate Southern Illinois. It was evident Sunday night, and the Jays fed off the crowd’s energy to post one of the most important efforts of this young team’s season.

The Bluejays with some of the least amounts of experience against the Salukis were the ones who led the way to the win. Booker Woodfox was unstoppable with the ball in his hands, scoring 20 points and hitting 7 of 10 shots for the game. I’ll have more on Booker’s meteoric rise in production during the MVC season later this week. While Woodfox was efficient, Stinnett was exuberant. He scored 14 of the most energetic points of his season, which is saying something considering the impressive offensive numbers he’s put up in his freshman campaign. Two huge dunks, a nice three-point basket, and one of the most acrobatic shots I’ve ever seen in a Bluejay uniform.

Something CU fans will see for years to come, a dunk by P'Allen...

... and something you might never see in a basketball game again. Amazing.

Seriously, watch that second video again. That is a 270-degree turn-and-shoot from Stinnett, who continues to amaze all those watching this year’s Bluejay team closely.

Creighton scored 44 points during their road loss at SIU earlier this season. They scored 45 points IN THE FIRST HALF of Sunday’s game. The Jays led by 19 at the break, fought off a mini-run by the Salukis in the second half, and finished the game with a 19-point win. And while Woodfox and Stinnett were amazing, the win marked a milestone for Lawson.

As mentioned previously, Kenny’s been struggling a little bit with consistency issues, especially in rebounding. He earned his starting position back between the UNI and SIU games, and he made his presence felt early and often on both ends of the floor against the Salukis. Lawson scored 9 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds (4 offensive boards) in a career-high 28 minutes of action. He outplayed MVC preseason player of the year Randal Falker, and yet again gave Jays fans reasons to believe that the next three or four seasons of Creighton basketball are going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before.


Life is back to normal, now. The Jays have four of their next five games on the road. The weather’s still cold, and the impending trip to St. Louis is just a figment of my imagination for the next couple of weeks. But my last couple of weeks of using The Q as my second home was great, and believe it or not I’m looking forward to getting back to the blue beacon on the Mighty Missouri next week.
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