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Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Sports – Midnight Madness

The University of Maryland basketball season will kick off with Midnight Madness on Oct 17, 2014 at 8pm. This being the first season in the Big 10 means some old games won’t be on the calendar. Some tee shirts with specific team references like my bright read “Beat DUKE” won’t be needed.

It’s very hard for me to accept this move. I loved the traditions and rivals in the ACC. Even though the deck seemed stacked for anyone to win but us from time to time over the history, we still overcame and were one of the top schools in the conference. Not to mention a original member of the ACC. While I understand the move for financial reasons, it just struck me as sad. And really the ACC was no longer the old ACC anyway, given all the changes, it is still hard to change to another conference and start over.

Just like it was hard to change, when they closed Cole Field house and opened the Comcast Center. You know the students come and go. Allot faster than they used to but that is part of the cycle. This isn’t a cycle. This is taking the train off the track and putting it on a boat. Not really worried that we can’t compete in the Big 10 or that we won’t be one of the top schools at all levels. It’s that tradition is broken.

But as I think about it even the tradition of Midnight Madness is broken. For when I went to the first one and many that followed they used to be say what time??? Maybe MIDNIGHT. Yeah I know most older people didn’t like that time. But that is what it was for, the kids. Now it’s another marketing gig and entertainment extravaganza.

I will stick with College Basketball as my favorite sport though. I love the crowds energy. I like that the players still look at it as a game (even though that is changing also). I like that its a wonderfully exciting playoff system. And while the pro’s play the game at another level, there is something special about watching young adults start to come into their own with abilities and leadership and courage. And strength when faced with adversity.

Good bye ACC, hello Big10

So for the last time for a while I echo the sentiment on this SUV’s license plate…..  “DOOKSUX”

MD vs Duke no more Photo by Mike Hartley

MD vs Duke no more
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Maryland – Sports

I was invited to a Aberdeen Ironbirds game at Ripkin Stadium this past weekend. It was a family thing, my Son in-law had gotten my Son tickets for his birthday. 6 of them so they invited the family and it was a wonderful event and more importantly a wonderful family time.

Scoreboard at night Photo by Mike Hartley

Scoreboard at night
Photo by Mike Hartley

For some reason there is something special about these small ballparks. This was my first visit to this ballpark (Ripken Stadium) and it didn’t disappoint at all. The concessions were OK, the facilities were real nice and the baseball was baseball. Not your major league cal-abler but I enjoy the game at all levels. In some ways it’s more exciting to see some prospect at this level then it is at the higher ones. And a good play or home run at any level is exciting as hell. I’ve been out to see the Frederick Keys a few times and that is a great spot to catch a game also. I hear Bowie also does it up right with the Baysox. I’ll have to spring for that one next year.

Pre-game stretch Photo by Mike Hartley

Pre-game stretch
Photo by Mike Hartley

When you go to these games you are at a game. Not at an elevation that makes your nose bleed. Your basically in box seats no mater where you site unless your in a box which is closer also. You also have a few dollars in your pocket as you walk in the front gate because it doesn’t cost to PARK. I think they said attendance was 5,300 for the 6,300 seat stadium.

It's not the size of the fan its the size of the spirit in the fan. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s not the size of the fan its the size of the spirit in the fan.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Baseball is a game to be enjoyed at every level. I recall many fond days watching my kids play and even helping manage some teams. I remember covering ballgames for my local paper. I’ve made many reproductions of peoples sons and daughters. I loved playing the game when I was young.I love the human spirit that comes out.

Now there is a creative way to get a child to use a toothbrush. Photo by Mike Hartley

Now there is a creative way to get a child to use a toothbrush.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Now there is an interesting date.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Now there is an interesting date.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Rita's satisfies.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Rita’s satisfies.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I can't believe your going to eat that DAD. Photo by Mike Hartley

I can’t believe your going to eat that DAD.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Catching a ballgame is like sitting on the boardwalk watching people go but but everyone is seated. It’s where kids are allowed to be kids. It’s where adults sometimes turn into kids. But one that that I have noticed at these small ballparks is that you don’t have adults turning into assholes because too much beer is consumed. To me that has been one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the professional level less in recent years.

It was MEANS to and end because the Ironbirds won 5-2.  Photo by Mike Hartley

It was MEANS to an end because the Ironbirds won 5-2.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh yeah, just to make it special they had a very good fireworks display after the game. I would estimate it lasted a good 20+ minutes. Very cool indeed.

Fireworks over center field. Photo by Mike Hartley

Fireworks over center field.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Seems like a lot of guys on the field. Photo by Mike Hartley

Seems like a lot of guys on the field.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So get off the couch and go visit a real game that doesn’t cost you and arm and a leg to attend. I think you’ll be a happy camper after the experience.