It was a little over a week ago the sun was shining, the temperature hovered at 70 degrees, and I was playing golf in Topeka in a polo shirt without a jacket.
Jump one week later, just seven short days, to me standing on the sidelines of a soccer game in Overland Park, freezing. Thursday’s snowstorm wasn’t even as cold as my soccer field experience Friday night.
Though dressed similar to an Antarctic scientist, my hands were numb and I couldn’t feel my feet. The temperature was 20 degrees but with the blowing wind, it felt like -5.
And yet I was counting my blessings.
See, last weekend was a grandfather/grandson weekend.
Twelve-year-old Landon was the captain of the soccer team playing in a 6:20 p.m. Overland Park match some 40 miles from where he lives. The complex was not on the edge of Overland Park where you might think a soccer field that has a dozen lit synthetic turf fields would be located.
Oh, no! It may have been on the outskirts of town when it was built, but today it is surrounded by houses, malls, restaurants, businesses and traffic.
Getting there presented a couple problems.
While daughter Robin printed out a complete set of instructions and driving directions, my chief navigator, wife Kathy, wasn’t with me to shout out directions.
Having driven in the city many, many times I knew that by the time I saw Switzer Road, 1) I would be four lanes away from it and 2) I would be past it.
Also, did any of you readers catch the time of the event a few paragraphs back?
Yeah, he was to be at the soccer field, a normal 45 minute drive away from his home, at 6 p.m.
Which part of Kansas City wasn’t going to be bumper-to-bumper at 5:30 p.m.?
I guessed if we left at noon we might get there on time.
But not to worry.
I had dusted off a Garmin GPS for my Jeep, uploaded a fresh set of maps and programmed into the favorites addresses of the soccer field, Faurot Field in Columbia where we were going to see the Missouri Tigers attempt to be bowl eligible with a win over Vanderbilt on Saturday, and my grandson’s house.
We did have to get back after all!
So it was up to Glinda — the name we gave the voice of our Garmin — to get us to both events and back safely. If we made a wrong turn, she sweetly would say “recalculating, you blockhead driver.”
It’s not that we country hicks can’t drive in the city (or not know a double negative), we just don’t know the roads.
For example, eastbound on Interstate 670 in downtown Kansas City, I know that I have to quickly get into the left lane in order to catch the exit onto north Interstate 35 or I’m St. Louis bound.
Plus, my Jeep has a six-speed manual transmission. No time to take a sip of the hot cocoa that we had made for our adventure.
The big-city motorists must have seen the sign on the back of my Jeep that read “I’m from out of town and have no idea where I am going” because drivers were really respectful.
When I needed to change lanes, most would give me just enough room to do so without a “rub.”
What speed limit?
They may have been posted but drivers ignored them, probably afraid in the split second it took to glance at the speedometer someone would pull in front and slam on the brakes.
My GPS told me we topped out at 89 miles per hour at some point but mostly it was bumper-to-bumper.
Believe it or not, we arrived about 30 minutes early, thanks to Glinda.
Next was finding soccer field No. 12.
I guess I am not a manly man because I actually went to the concession stand, which looked more like a short-order restaurant, to ask directions.
The two young attendees produced deer in the headlight looks back at me.
“We can call our manager,” one offered.
But luckily, a gentlemen escorting his 9-year-old daughter to her match helped us with directions because otherwise we could have walked a couple miles before finding the field which was hidden by a stream and a row of trees.
Hoping we were at the right place, we waited 15 minutes before Coach Gui, Landon’s coach and a player for the Kansas City Comets, arrived.
I don’t know which team my Missouri kid and his friends were playing, but all of the parents on that team had all-weather popup tents to prevent all those soccer moms and dads from getting cold.
I have watched a lot of sporting events but have never seen a popup tent. Three sides were see-though plastic. I’ll bet Tucker, one of the players of the other team, wished the one his dad was in had soundproof plastic all the way around since he yelled at him the entire game.
What about the football game, you ask.
The cold weather made for a small crowd of 48,342.
Though Missouri was a 14-point favorite, it came down to a pass from the Vanderbilt quarterback into the end zone which was knocked down by the Missouri defense to win 33-28.
I would call that a nail biter but everyone, including Landon and me, were wearing gloves.