This game was competitive for the first half. Notre Dame made a couple of runs to close the gap to 29 – 27 at the half. The Vols came out scoring in the second half going on an 11-2 run immediately, and never looked back. Candice Parker had a great game as usual for the Volunteers. She had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks to lead the team. The only thing missing from her game was a dunk. She has the body of a center, and the skills of a guard. She was fun to watch. Charel Allen had 16 points for the Irish in a losing cause. This is a great arena to see a game from, and the people were very friendly. This was the second blowout in two days that I have seen, and the people and the stadiums made the experience much better than it should have been.
The only fireworks during this game were at the beginning for Purdue. The offense looked terrible except for the two minute drill that resulted in a touchdown just before the half. My first bowl game did not turn out very well according to the score. The experience was well worth it though. The Citrus Bowl stadium was very nice, and I met some really great people along the way. This game pretty much mirrored the season for Purdue. Neither side of the ball could play well when the other one was. The defense had trouble stopping the run and the pass. They looked like the team from the beginning of the season. The offense really could not get anything going. They had a chance to take the lead, but a missed field goal ended that. The first drive saw them have two chances to keep a drive alive by gaining one yard, but they could not get the job done. When Painter did make a pass on the mark it seemed like the receivers dropped the ball. This was the 12th Purdue game that I attended this year, and I will recap the season in a future post.
I had an entire day to kill before the bowl game so I decided to spend it at the Kennedy Space Center. I love the history of the early space program, so this was like Disney World to me. You can see the pads that made history as well as the pads currently in use. The picture is of pad 34 where the Apollo 1 fire occured. In the background in the picture is the pad that launched the first unmanned Apollo missions and is used today for the Delta IV rockets. You get to see a lot of the equipment that was used to send these men up in the old days. It was very primitive, and makes the mystery of how we did it even greater. The new Tom Hanks’ IMAX movie makes you feel like you are on the moon, and is a great way to start your trip. I was at the museum for eight hours, and still had much more to see. I will have to find a reason to go back in the future to spend another day or two.
After visiting Andersonville I went to the birthplace of Jimmy Carter just down the road in Plains, Georgia. He obviously meant a lot to this small town that he still lives in. The whole town is just about a monument to him. Some of the sites to visit include his boyhood home that he talks about in his book “An hour before daylight”, his school, his campaign headquarters (an old train depot), and the town itself. The Carter compound is right on the main highway, but the secret service does not like it if you stop and gawk. This was a great little town that I did not get to see too much of because I got there so late in the day. I was able to spend a couple of hours in the footsteps of a president. Hard to believe someone from such a small town would grow to become on of the most powerful leaders of the world.
In a time of great tragedy already, the Andersonville prison was an even larger tragedy. Union soldiers were forced to live in inhumane conditions in this prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. I had seen the movie on the prison, but did not know too much about it beyond that except for what Ken Burns taught me. This was a huge prison that many of the men did not make it out of. This was on the way to the boyhood home of Carter in Plains so it made sense to stop and check it out. I was glad that I was able to after I left. The place is full of history, and I can appreciate the movie a little more now that I see what they were dealing with first hand. Proof that almost 150 years has not healed any wounds I overheard someone with southern accent say “serves them right” when reading about the conditions. The Prisoner of War cemetery is on the same grounds, and has graves of prisoners of war from every war since the Civil War. This was a great place to help appreciate the price that was paid to keep this country the way that it is.
…that I will not get shot. The Martin Luther King Historical site in downtown Atlanta looks pleasant enough as you get off of the Freedom Parkway, but as you soon find out it is in a bad part of town. If you have armed security it looks like it would be a great place to visit. You have his birthplace, his tomb, his church, and the historic fire station all within a block. The only problem is that the block is in a bad part of town. For the short time I was there I had a good time learning about one of the great leaders of the last century.