Kentucky Stories and Tips

Week 34 & 35 - A Professional Sportsman? (USA)

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens Photo, Cincinnati, Ohio

It has been a while since my last update from Kentucky, but as I have moved house and celebrated 25 years on this planet, I thought it was about time!

I will start by being typically English and talking about the weather as Kentucky has made the news quite a lot in the past week due to the horrendous storms we had a few nights ago. I have never known so much thunder and lightning and we were on tornado alert for most of the night. There were about eight tornadoes detected within the vicinity of Lexington, but luckily they all seemed to blow themselves out before they started, which was a relief, as I really didn't fancy having my house blown away.

Unfortunately one young girl, who lives a few streets away from me in Lexington will remember this storm for as long as she lives. As the storm was in full force, the little girl’s grandmother decided to give her a strong lecture on the dangers of electrical storms and the chances of being struck by lightning. After the stern words, the grandmother decided it would be the perfect time to take the rubbish out. As the hail fell ferociously to the ground she managed just a few steps from her front door before getting struck by a huge bolt of lightning. This all happened in front of her granddaughters eyes. Why she decided to take the rubbish out in the middle of such a severe storm, and totally disagreeing with the lecture she was giving her granddaughter I will never know. Neither am I sure will her granddaughter, although she will probably remember the wise words given by her grandmother for the rest of her life.

Other than horrendous storms I have realised my life long ambition and on Monday evening I will be partaking in my first ever professional sports event. The sport is the internationally famous profession of Putt-Putt, or as the English calls it, Crazy Golf. Yes, you have heard me correct, in America there are people who are professional Putt-Putt players, who make their living out of this fascinating game. I was happily playing a round down the local Putt-Putt course (in America they have these in more or less every big urban area, unlike England where you will only find them at traditional seaside resorts!) when upon finishing I was personally invited to play in the forthcoming tournament by the 'resident club professional'. I suppose I should be honoured with such an invitation, but I was always brought up thinking this game was played for fun by families with small children. Obviously I was wrong!! I must say I am quite looking forward to the event (played over a full 72 holes of magical fun!), although I have a feeling there will be far too many people taking everything ridiculously seriously and I will find it hard not to act like Happy Gilmore (as I am sure the only reason I was invited was due to my English accent and not my Putt-Putt skills!!). We shall see!!

Another milestone was also reached in the last week—my 25th birthday. As part of my birthday celebrations my girlfriend surprised me by taking me to Cincinnati for the day, where we spent the afternoon visiting the zoo (and seeing enough animal erections to last me a lifetime—there must have been something in the air!!), and then the evening I had the pleasure of attending my first ever baseball game where the Cincinnati Reds took on the Milwaukee Brewers.

Just like American football, baseball has a strange atmosphere, nothing like that what I'm use to when attending the real version of football. For a start, there are absolutely no away supporters, and clapping seems to be the only method of making any sound. When one of the opposition players dropped a simple catch I decided to point and laugh at him at the top of my voice. Upon doing this I was treated like someone with a contagious disease and was shunned by those sitting around me! How rude!!

I also received numerous evil glares off one of the stewards, as after walking us down to our seats and then cleaning them (they weren't even dirty in the first place!) he stood around waiting for me to tip him. Of course being as stingy as I am, he left empty handed. It still amazes me how you are supposed to tip for virtually everything over here. No offence, but if I can't find my seat then I will ask someone and if I want it clean, I will clean it with the ass that will be sitting on it!! Saying all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed my first baseball experience and hopefully will get the chance of another visit before I leave.

Ever since coming over to America, one problem that I have always had is buying alcohol. Not because I look 12, or that I don't have any ID but because people can never seem to be able to understand my date of birth due to the British having the day before month. Normally when people can't read my ID, they just nod approvingly and give it back, but this time the woman cashier point blankly refused to serve me saying that they do not accept international ID!! What made it worse was that she asked if she could have my driving license after I had given it to her, so she obviously had no idea what she was doing! I can fully relate to people not understanding how foreign ID works, but to be so obnoxious and rude, as to say that it’s not accepted, steps over the line!! If this is the case, then surely it’s a little racist to allow only Americans to drink in their own country!!!!

My girlfriend also graduated from university this week, and compared to English graduations (I only have one of each to make comparisons with!) they seem much more professional and make students feel like they have accomplished an amazing feat. They make the students feel like a million dollars when walking away from university, where as I would have been happy to pay a million dollars walking away from my university in Stoke-on-Trent, although this says a lot more about the place rather than the university!

As university is now finished, I have moved from the city of Lexington to the city of Louisville, still living in Kentucky, where I am living with my girlfriend’s parents. Although it's only for 6 weeks until I travel to Costa Rica, it will be an interesting time for sure. Luckily I have a friend coming to visit to help if things get too tense!!

I am sure it's the same anywhere you go in the world but one thing that I have been noticing recently is the strange fascination that Americans seem to have with tunnels and places where they can hear their voices echo. I have never seen so many grown men squeal like a little girl upon entering a tunnel and then leaving with the biggest smiles of satisfaction I have ever scene. You would never expect such things from a country with high gun crime!! Maybe if you stick all the criminals in tunnels instead of prisons then crime would be a thing of the past??!!

Well that's it for now. Next week like I already mentioned, I have a friend coming over to visit so at least I have an English friend to watch the World Cup with. For some reason the Americans don't seem to like the way the English watch football over here (or maybe they just don't like me!!). I had the next door neighbour come round when watching the Champions League Final to tell me to shut up. Obviously I obeyed him as he was twice the size of me and has a pit bull, so I wasn't going to argue!

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