Strength and determination in wheelchair rugby.

Today I watched some of the world’s best athletes compete. I headed up to Balboa Park to experience the 28th Annual Best of the West Quad Rugby Tournament in the Municipal Gymnasium. Most people know the sport as wheelchair rugby, or murderball. That last name sounds rather tough, but it’s for a good reason.

The quad rugby players that participated in this tournament are among the best in the world. Some have competed in the Paralympic Games. There were teams from California, Arizona, Texas and Minnesota, and even from London and Australia. The amazing team from Australia was this year’s Best of the West champion.

At the very top level, wheelchair rugby players are unbelievable athletes. They are strong, fast, agile, and can turn and accelerate on a dime. To block opposing players, trap them defensively, or upset an unfolding strategy, players will literally smash their chairs into one another. As if in some sort of crazy demolition derby, the bashing wheelchairs sometimes tip sideways, even turn over. And the players don’t seem fazed in the least. Each is an irresistible force, determined to assist their teammates and find a way through the opposition to score, no matter how.

Here are a few photos that capture a bit of the action.

The composition of one photograph turned out to be exceptionally dynamic, but the image was completely unfocused, so I altered it to appear like a cool oil painting.

You really have to see quad rugby in person to appreciate the heart of these players.

Raw human determination can be unstoppable.

Watching quad rugby is inspirational.

For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.
For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.

The victorious Australian quad rugby team celebrates by joining hands.
The Australian quad rugby team celebrated their championship by forming a circle, joining hands and rocking the gymnasium with a spirited, victorious shout!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Friday food trucks and fun in Balboa Park!

People stroll down El Prado, checking out a variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.
People stroll down El Prado, checking out a huge variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.

If you haven’t been to Food Truck Friday in Balboa Park, you’re missing out!

Not only is there all sorts of yummy food, but there is grass to picnic on and live music and juggling and hula hoops and checkers and crafts for the kids and colorful flowers and splashing fountains and amazing architecture and smiles and . . . I could go on and on! And the museums are open late, too!

Balboa Park’s special magic adds spice to an already tasty meal!

Balboa Park Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama.
Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama and along the length of El Prado.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a fun and festive dinner.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a festive family-friendly dinner.
Kenny Shelton the friendly juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
Kenny Shelton the awesome juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the sunlit House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where kids could paint pictures of trains!
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where young kids could apply dots of paint to fun trains!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own fun table where kids could be creative!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own cool table where kids could be creative!
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate...
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate…
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego's always amazing Balboa Park.
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park.

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Fun pics from World Baseball Classic in San Diego!

Team USA fans in line to buy merchandise at Petco Park during the World Baseball Classic in San Diego.
Team USA fans in line to buy merchandise at Petco Park during the World Baseball Classic in San Diego.

Team USA beat Venezuela tonight in an exciting World Baseball Classic game in San Diego! The United States won 4-2 with an amazing come-from-behind victory! Today’s baseball game was the second in a round robin between four international teams– the Second Round’s Pool F.

I’ve got an assortment of fun photos! It was a perfect San Diego evening to take in the sights, sounds, pageantry and great play of what turned out to be classic baseball game!

Fans for the four different teams in the World Baseball Classic's Second Round Pool F could be seen all around San Diego's Petco Park.
Fans of the four different teams in the World Baseball Classic’s Second Round Pool F could be seen all around San Diego’s Petco Park.
Fans of all ages were having fun before the game began in the Park at the Park.
Baseball lovers of all ages were having fun before the game began in the Park at the Park.
Some outrageous costumes and lots of patriotic clothing could be seen all about the stadium.
Some outrageous costumes and lots of patriotic clothing could be seen all about the baseball stadium. And many Padres fans, too!
It's approaching game time. Fans walk up a ramp to the upper level.
It’s approaching game time. Families walk up a ramp to the upper level.
Fans at the World Baseball Classic in San Diego point to the outfield.
Fans at the World Baseball Classic in San Diego point to the outfield.
Fans of Team USA watch their baseball heroes warm up on the field before the game.
Young supporters of Team USA watch their baseball heroes warm up on the field before the game.
Players for Team USA come out of the dugout for the opening ceremony.
Players for Team USA come out of the dugout for the opening ceremony.
Players for both Venezuela and the United States were given a rousing introduction.
Players for both Venezuela and the United States were given a rousing introduction.
Fans watching the opening ceremony hold up an American flag.
Team USA fans watching the opening ceremony hold up an American flag.
The players for the United States and Venezuela shake hands at the end of the opening ceremony.
The players for the United States and Venezuela shake hands at the end of the opening ceremony.
The game has begun! It's a beautiful evening for baseball in San Diego, of course!
The game has begun! It’s a beautiful evening for baseball in San Diego, of course!  Even some Dodgers fans have come to Petco Park for the fun.
Venezuela is at bat as the sun sets and Petco's lights come on. They were first to score.
Venezuela is at bat as the sun sets and Petco’s lights come on. Venezuela has a great team and was first to score.
As I walked about the stadium, I took a photo of the Chair of Honor. The empty chair honors prisoners of war and those missing in action.
As I walked about Petco Park, which USA Today rated the finest stadium in Major League Baseball, I took a photo of the Chair of Honor. The empty chair represents Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.
Team USA loaded the bases in the early innings, but unfortunately failed to score.
Team USA loaded the bases in the early innings, but unfortunately failed to score.
These fans of Team USA scored, however, on the Kiss Cam!
These fans of Team USA scored, however, on the Kiss Cam!
George Washington was in attendance, rooting on Team USA during the World Baseball Classic in San Diego! And his team won!
George Washington was in attendance, rooting on Team USA during the World Baseball Classic in San Diego! And his team won!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Talking Baseball during the All-Star Game in San Diego!

One brief moment in a 63 second video that relives MLB All-Star Game history, seen in the San Diego library's auditorium during the Talking Baseball event!
One brief moment in a 63 second video that relives MLB All-Star Game history, seen in the San Diego library’s auditorium during today’s special “Talking Baseball” event!

A very cool event was held today, Saturday, at downtown San Diego’s beautiful Central Library! “Talking Baseball” was the title an all-day program held in the Neil Morgan Auditorium, and featured diverse speakers and entertainers celebrating baseball and its rich history. Speakers included Bob Kendrick, Negro League Baseball Museum president and Gene Locklear, former Padres outfielder, who talked about his life as a Native American professional baseball player.

Talking Baseball was organized by Andy Strasberg, who served for twenty years as the Padres baseball team’s Vice President of Marketing. This cool event was held in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Week, which is taking place right here and now in San Diego!

I lingered and enjoyed the programming for about an hour and a half. I listened to the hilarious and heart-warming tunes of San Diego baseball singer/songwriter Joe Rathburn, then watched a rarely seen 63 second video that was shown on the scoreboard during the 1992 All-Star Game in San Diego. Every second represented one year of 63 All-Star Games. This was the first time the video has been seen in 26 years! Finally, I watched with amazement as former Yankees catcher Matt Nokes narrated a film that showed every pitch of Jim Abbott’s 1993 Yankees no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Now that was inspirational . . . and just plain exciting! That was easily the highlight of my day!

Here are a few captioned photographs that provide a taste of this very cool event. Some photos, taken in the dark auditorium, came out a bit blurry.

Talking Baseball was a special event programmed in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego this year. It was held in the downtown library.
Talking Baseball was a special event programmed to coincide with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego this year. It was held in the downtown library.
Just before stepping into the Neil Morgan Auditorium visitors are greeted with lots of professional baseball memorabilia!
Just before stepping into the Neil Morgan Auditorium, visitors are greeted with lots of cool posters and professional baseball memorabilia!
A huge collection of baseball memorabilia on display was courtesy of Andy Strasberg, who was once Vice President of Marketing for the San Diego Padres.
A huge collection of baseball memorabilia on display was courtesy of Andy Strasberg, who was once Vice President of Marketing for the San Diego Padres.
There were so many cool baseball sights to absorb! Displayed were old magazines, autographed baseballs, pennants, souvenir bats--you name it.
There were so many cool baseball sights to absorb! Displayed were old magazines, programs, autographed baseballs, pennants, baseball cards, souvenir bats–you name it.
Collectibles remember New York Yankee Sparky Lyle and San Diego's own Wizard of Oz shortstop, Ozzie Smith!
Collectibles remember New York Yankee reliever Sparky Lyle and San Diego’s own superhuman Wizard of Oz shortstop, Ozzie Smith!
Cool old team photograph of the 1952 San Diego Padres, with the players' names and autographs!
Cool old team photograph of the 1952 San Diego Padres, with the players’ names and autographs!
San Diego's gifted baseball musician and songwriter Joe Rathburn. His lyrics are really good and touch a warm spot in the heart.
San Diego’s gifted baseball musician and songwriter Joe Rathburn performs. His lyrics are really good and touch a warm spot in the heart.
Next, a 63 second video that was last played at the 1992 All-Star Game shows the history of the Midsummer Classic. One second equals one year!
Next, a 63 second video that was last played at the 1992 All-Star Game shows the history of the Midsummer Classic. One second equals one year!
Matt Nokes, former catcher for the New York Yankees, narrates a special video which documents--pitch by pitch-- Jim Abbott's 1993 Yankees no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
Matt Nokes, former catcher for the New York Yankees, narrates a special video which documents–pitch by pitch– Jim Abbott’s 1993 Yankees no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
Jim Abbott was born in 1967 without a right hand. That didn't stop him from becoming an accomplished professional baseball pitcher. He spent 10 years in the major leagues.
Jim Abbott was born in 1967 without a right hand. That didn’t stop him from becoming an accomplished professional baseball pitcher. He spent 10 years in the major leagues.
Suspense builds as pitch by pitch, inning by inning, Jim Abbott works his way brilliantly (with some sparkling Yankees defense) toward a rare no-hitter.
Suspense builds as pitch by pitch, inning by inning, Jim Abbott works his way brilliantly (with some sparkling Yankees defense) toward a rare no-hitter.
The amazing no-hitter is achieved! Jim Abbott's teammates swarm around the triumphant pitcher with excitement. At the time, this was only the Yankees' 8th ever no-hitter.
The amazing no-hitter is achieved! Jim Abbott’s teammates swarm around the triumphant pitcher with excitement. At the time, this was only the Yankees’ 8th ever no-hitter.
Jim Abbott overcomes a difficult physical challenge and great odds, adding his name to a list of baseball's immortals. Today he is a motivational speaker.
Jim Abbott overcomes a difficult physical challenge and great odds, adding his name to a list of baseball’s immortals. Today he is a motivational speaker.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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San Diego gets ready for 2016 MLB All-Star Game!

A booth anticipating this year's 2016 MLB All-Star Game sells official merchandise at Padres FanFest, the weekend before Opening Day.
A booth anticipating this year’s 2016 MLB All-Star Game sells official merchandise at Padres FanFest, the weekend before Opening Day.

I’ve taken more photos anticipating baseball’s Midsummer Classic!

San Diego will host the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July, just one week separated from the internationally famous and wildly popular San Diego Comic-Con. Things are going to get crazy!

I live downtown, and I’ll be taking most of those two weeks off from work, so I promise to walk around and take loads of fun photos! Even though both events are several months away, I’m already getting excited!

2016 All-Star Game merchandise includes clothing, keychains, pins, commemorative baseballs and other collectible items. Major League Baseball will put on a big show this summer in San Diego!
2016 All-Star Game merchandise includes clothing, keychains, pins, commemorative baseballs and other collectible items. Major League Baseball will put on a big show this summer in San Diego!
2016 San Diego All-Star Game logo at end of pedestrian ramp inside Petco Park, stadium home of the MLB Padres.
2016 San Diego All-Star Game logo at end of pedestrian ramp inside Petco Park, cool stadium home of the MLB Padres.
This large sign at the top of Petco Park announces that San Diego is home of the 2016 All-Star Game.
This large sign at the top of Petco Park announces that San Diego is home of the 2016 All-Star Game.
The upcoming All-Star Game appears on a street lamp near Petco Park. These banners can now be seen around East Village.
The upcoming All-Star Game appears on a street lamp near Petco Park. These banners can now be seen around East Village.
Cool vintage baseball photo at entrance to DiamondView Tower overlooking Petco Park. More history will be made in San Diego this year.
Vintage baseball photo at entrance to DiamondView Tower overlooking Petco Park. More history will be made in San Diego this year.
Guy attending 2016 Padres FanFest wears an old 1992 San Diego All-Star Game jacket, reminding everyone that the Midsummer Classic is returning this year!
Guy attending 2016 Padres FanFest wears an old 1992 San Diego All-Star Game jacket, reminding everyone that the Midsummer Classic is returning this year!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

This year I’ll be covering some huge events! Stand by for excitement!

Street art depicts history of baseball scandals.

Urban artwork depicts various professional baseball scandals over the years.
Urban artwork depicts professional baseball scandals.

Over the years, in San Diego’s bustling Gaslamp Quarter, countless businesses have come and gone. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs crowd the streets, so there always seems to be some construction or renovation taking place.

In professional baseball, over the decades, headlines have come and gone concerning a variety of scandals.

A temporary wall surrounds some current construction activity in the Gaslamp.  The wall features a collage of images depicting baseball’s history of scandals. The two themes that I noted are gambling and doping. There is particular emphasis on the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.

I took some photos a week or so ago…

Unusual street art at a construction site on Fifth Avenue in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
Unusual street art at a construction site on Fifth Avenue in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Images in the collage include Pete Rose and the 1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal.
Images in the collage include Pete Rose and the 1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal.
The MLB logo is transformed. A doping baseball player holds a syringe. Images also include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens.
The MLB logo is transformed. A doping baseball player holds a syringe. Images also include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens.
1919 is spray painted repeatedly on this bold street art in downtown San Diego.
1919 is spray painted repeatedly on this bold street art in downtown San Diego.
During the 1919 World Series, Chicago White Sox players were paid by gamblers to lose games.
During the 1919 World Series, Chicago White Sox players were paid by gamblers to lose games.
A collage of baseball scandals on a temporary construction wall in the Gaslamp Quarter.
A collage of baseball scandals on a temporary construction wall in the Gaslamp Quarter.

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Wisconsin Badgers fans go wild in San Diego!

Wisconsin Badgers fans go wild! Passion runs amok at the base of the Unconditional Surrender statue near the USS Midway Museum.
Wisconsin Badgers fans go wild! Passion runs amok at the base of the Unconditional Surrender statue near the USS Midway Museum.

In the past few days, during my walks, I’ve noticed that a dedicated army of Wisconsin Badgers (and Green Bay Packers) fans has descended upon San Diego for the 2015 Holiday Bowl. The University of Wisconsin–Madison football team will be competing against USC at Qualcomm Stadium on Wednesday. By all accounts, it should be a great game!

Here are some random fun pics that I’ve assembled!

Wisconsin Football semi-trailer truck parked conspicuously behind the San Diego Convention Center. The years of their 14 Big Ten Championships are proudly displayed.
Wisconsin Football semi-trailer truck parked conspicuously behind the San Diego Convention Center. The years of their 14 Big Ten Championships are proudly displayed.
The red rig is almost obscured by decals dedicated to Wisconsin's numerous past bowl game appearances.
The red rig is almost obscured by decals dedicated to Wisconsin’s numerous past bowl game appearances.
Billboard on Pacific Coast Highway just north of downtown San Diego reads: JUMP AROUND AND BUCKLE DOWN. THAT'S WISCONSIN.
Billboard on Pacific Coast Highway just north of downtown San Diego reads: JUMP AROUND AND BUCKLE DOWN. THAT’S WISCONSIN.
Opposite side of the same billboard proudly reads BADGERS NEVER TAKE A HOLIDAY UNLESS IT'S FOLLOWED BY A BOWL.
Opposite side of the same billboard proudly reads: BADGERS NEVER TAKE A HOLIDAY UNLESS IT’S FOLLOWED BY A BOWL.
Alamo Flags in Seaport Village has a big University of Wisconsin banner in one window.
Alamo Flags in Seaport Village has a bold University of Wisconsin banner filling one window.
Wisconsin Badgers fans check out a street performer on San Diego's Embarcadero. What do you think of our weather?
Wisconsin Badgers fans check out a street performer on San Diego’s Embarcadero. Hey, guys–what do you think of our weather?

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