Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

It’s the most wonderful time of year… and I’m not talking about Christmas… I’m talking about baseball season! America’s pastime strikes a special feeling in the hearts of Americans across the country, including my own. Opening Day 2017 started yesterday, April 2, with three games and continues today with 12 games.


Without a doubt, my family would be put in the category as Cincinnati Reds “superfans.” After all, the Reds organization is the oldest professional baseball team, so why not root for the first?  I’ve been going to Reds games for as long as I can remember. Here are some old pictures of me at Great American Ballpark.

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My mom and I go to at least one game a year and listen to the rest of the games religiously on the radio. Marty Brennaman is our eyes and ears onto the field, no matter how near or far they’re playing; it’s almost as if we are in on the action ourselves.

Growing up a Cincinnati Reds fan, the ball park has always been one of my favorite places. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after you stand in line anxiously waiting to get in the stadium, and then finally making it in the door. Once you’re inside, you are immediately struck with sensory overload. You see and weave through crowds of people, painted in your team’s colors just like you (we are better off “RED”). You smell the freshly grilled hot dogs and salty peanuts. You feel a sense of excitement that you just quite can’t put your finger on. You finally get to your seat. No matter the weather, or how uncomfortable your plastic chair may be in theory, you can’t help but ignore it all and smile when you look out onto the vibrant green field to see your favorite players warming up. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, the first pitch finally sails across the plate. You hear the crack of the bat. What follows is a dynamic struggle between two teams… and one comes out the victor. Some may think baseball is boring, but I think the exact opposite. Watching a baseball game is a magical, unforgettable experience.

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This past weekend, I was excited to see my glorious Reds take the field for the first time this season in an exhibition game versus Louisville’s own Bats, the Reds minor league team. The two teams ended up tying, of course, because really, they are all Reds at heart. I loved getting to see two of my favorite players, Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Billy Hamilton when he was still just a young Bat. Now he’s in the Major League and stealing bases like a pro!

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Opening Day is a magical time, a time when the promises of a new season full of homeruns, strikeouts, stolen bases, and amazing catches seem sure to end in a World Series victory.  Baseball means summer will soon be here. Get to the ballpark. It’s time to play ball! 

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Are You Ready to Escape?

Do you like mystery? Or, a good brain teaser? Work well under pressure? Looking for a physical and mental challenge? We all have a competitive side, and who doesn’t like to win? Grab some friends and hit one of the newest entertainment crazes… escape games.

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If you haven’t seen or been to one of the escape games, they are basically rooms where you pit your wits against the riddles of the room and try to escape in an hour. They teach teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity. If you’ve dreamed of intrigue and thrilling adventures, then this game is right for you.

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Escape games have been popping up all over the country and Kentucky. Here’s a link to the top 10 escape rooms in Kentucky.

Top 10 Escape Rooms in Kentucky

And for my Louisvillians here’s a link to the top 5 escape rooms in Louisville.

Top 5 Escape Rooms in Louisville

My first escape experience was at The Escape Game at the Island in Pigeon Forge, TN. I escaped a room called “Gold Rush.” The description reads: “For nearly two centuries, the hope of gold has lured people to the hills of Northern California. No one was captivated more than Clyde Hamilton, a greedy gold prospector who loved to gamble. Clyde made too many bets with the wrong crowd and now he’s missing. You’ve been tipped off to where he stashed his gold…But so has the mob. Finders keepers.” My mom, my best friend, and I successfully escaped by collecting all the gold just in the nick of time. The game included three rooms that truly brought the outdoors indoor.  It felt as if we were on a movie set with realistic trees, shrubbery, and props. The realness of the set added a lot to the enjoyment.

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We had such a great time, we also escaped an Egyptian themed game called The Tomb in Pigeon Forge.  There, we had a guide follow us as we descended into a tomb and used our flashlights to hunt clues – until the lights went out, and we had to solve the puzzle to reach the next step on our journey.

We were hooked.  We are officially escape junkies.

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I escaped an Atlantis-themed room in Myrtle Beach, and most recently a submarine-themed room in my own hometown of Pikeville, KY! “The Deep,” part of the Epic Escape Game, allowed my team to save humanity by launching a nuclear weapon successfully to repair Mariana’s Trench.  Pikeville’s game also has rooms that focus on the history of our town with “The Feud” and “Buried Alive” (based on the true story of Octavia Hatcher).  I can’t wait to go back! Escape centers have multiple rooms from which to choose with varying themes and levels of difficulty.

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To escape – choose your team wisely.  Ask friends and family to accompany you that you can get along with and that complement your own skills. Listen to others. No one has all the answers.  Use your team members to your advantage. Brainstorm. Everyone should contribute and talk out loud because one person might trigger someone else to discover a solution. Pay attention. Be observant. Look everywhere for clues. You never know when something small will end up being a big key to your escape.

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The next time you’re looking for something different to get into on a Saturday night, get ready to escape.