A pyrotechnics mishap in Cincinnati and getting shut out at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.
Other than working on our biggest project of the year, the annual Pigskin Preview, several events I went to in the last two weeks were anything but normal.
It was a hot time in the Queen City a week ago Monday when grandson Brice and I went to the weekly live TV WWE Raw pro wrestling show.
As we walked across the Ohio River on the bridge from Newport, Ky., the closer we got to the arena at the Ohio end of the bridge, you couldn't help but see a phylanx of fire trucks, police cars, emergency squads and rescue vehicles with all their lights flashing blocking the road on the lower level running past the arena.
That plus, we also could see long lines of people waiting to get into the arena, although it was almost 7:20 p.m. and the show was supposed to start at 7:30 p.m., so you knew something wasn't going right,
Even when we got in line, at first people didn't know what was happening or had happened. But then that word, ''Fire,'' started to spread, and everyone began to wonder what went wrong.
Suddenly, people behind us started moving backwards as several doors in back of us opened - a little past 7:30. We followed suit and when asked, the ticket-taker explained there had been a fire in the arena, but it was OK now.
But as you walked into the open expanse of the arena itself, you could plainly see the fire damage at the end where the Raw stage was located and the wrestlers enter to their music and especially a barrage of pyrotechnics.
The side panels - like big blinds you would find in a home - stretching from the floor to ceiling were burnt, some rather badly. And the WWE didn't try to hide what happened, in fact showing video of the fire numerous times on the Titantron during the course of the night.
The likely scenario for the fire everyone in the arena learned during the three-hour show were the pyros had been placed too close to the side panels during rehearsals and caught them on fire.
But other than no pyrotechnics that night, the show went on as usual, and Brice and I had a good time.
- Now to Canton and the Hall of Fame Game Sunday night, after which we usually talk to players on the two teams who played at WVU, Ohio State, Marshall, Ohio U., etc. and are now in the NFL.
Watching the game, I had singled out three post-game possibilities - Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells from OSU and punter Dave Zastudil from OU who used to kick for the Cleveland Browns along with former Buckeye DB Malcolm Jenkins, who had an interception in the game for the New Orleans Saints from his safety spot.
But alas, the best-laid plans didn't pan out. I should have known - or at least remembered from previous experience - to never, never try to talk to someone after the game who's a local (from the northeast Ohio area - Akron, Canton, Cleveland, etc) because they are in the locker room and out in a flash right after the game to visit with family and friends.
By the time I got in the Cards' locker room, I was told Beanie, from Akron, had just left and never could find Zastudil, from Bay Village outside Cleveland, who I assumed was gone as well. Hurrying over to the Saints' locker room, I tried to find Jenkins, but all that was in his locker was his bag that was all packed up and ready to go.
Talk about being shut out!
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at firstname.lastname@example.org