For a slight change of pace, I actually spent two days in Canton, Ohio. I had some work I needed to catch up on and I found a great MMA gym that was nice enough to let me come in and train with their team for a few days. There was also some amazing hiking near Canton at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
One of the things that I realized about the US is that there is so much beautiful nature and not that much time to take advantage of what’s out there. It also comes in pockets and the 33,000 acres of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (which also has a lot of waterfalls) is one of those pockets. There is also a few really interesting geologic phenomena that occurr in the Cuyahoga Valley that created the park that I wanted to see first hand.
The way the glaciers drifted and subsequently melted, there was something happening in front of them called ponding. Ponding is basically the unwanted pooling of water and other materials. In this case, as the ponding occurred in front of the glacial drift, it carved out a 400 foot deep rolling valley which is now a national park. It also eventually created waterfalls and a winding river that V’s and drains in multiple places throughout the region. You can see the deposits of various types of materials from the ponding in the streams coming from and leading up to the waterfalls everywhere (and in the pictures). The V in river is also atypical because it represents drainage from two completely different time periods; a preglacial valley that drains in to Lake Erie and newer “drainage” of varying origins. There was also a really cool remnant of the Champion Electric Company which used the falls to generate power using Brandywine Falls (pictured here). In (what I would consider to be) an ironic twist of fate, the power plant was destroyed by lightning. What’s left are the cinder blocks you see in the picture. All in all, a really cool day of exploring in the park.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Having watched football with regularity my entire life, I have been looking forward to going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame since I was a little kid. I was so in to watching football that I even had my friends parents record and ship the 2004-2005 NY Giants games to me on DVD while I was stationed in Iraq so I could watch them. The hall of fame did not disappoint. I learned a ton about the old uniforms, where football came from, and how things were progressing in terms of safety (not fast enough). It was also really interesting to learn the histories of all the teams including things about when they merged, what happened to them during wars where players were scarce, and how football advanced and came in to the new age of technology and the internet. And here’s your random football fact. Apparently, the Super Bowl, one of the most watched yearly TV events in the current era and the game that changed football forever for the first time on January 15, 1967, owes its name to a bouncy ball.
There was also a lot of NY Giants memorabilia since there have been many famous Giants players. There players include the likes of Fran Tarkenton and Y.A Tittle to more modern era guys like Lawrence Taylor and Odell Beckham Jr. It really brought me back to all the Sundays and Monday nights that I remember sitting around with friends, family, soldiers, or whomever it might have been watching football. Whether or not Baseball is the American past time, football too really brings people together. Watching video clips of the amazing catches, tackles, run, and hits took me back to where I was when I first saw them. And there was a constant stream of conversation with other folks in the hall of fame reminiscing and having the same feelings to where they were when they saw those plays. I left the hall of fame excited for the next football season, which, as a Giants fan, isn’t always the easiest thing to get excited about.
Elbows and Chokes
While staying in Canton, I found a great MMA gym called Victory MMA. I ended up spending two days training here. The team was really friendly and a lot of fun. The people were definitely there to learn and have a good time (which isn’t always the case in MMA gyms). I got in some really great workouts from one of the instructors Terry Blackwell. He taught an awesome class that included instruction on rolling the wrist to throw strong elbows while in the guard executing ground and pound. This is a heavily underutilized technique in MMA and it was awesome to see it taught in detail.
It has admittedly been a while since I’ve done any MMA as I’ve been sticking mostly to jiujitsu. But getting right back in to the striking and throwing elbows and knees felt natural even after years off. It’s always great to come in to a new place and immediately have a way to bond with a group of people over similar interests. You can easily tell how much fun they have as a group by looking at the way everyone posed. This picture hilariously took about 10 tries.
The gallery of pictures from Canton and Cuyahoga is available on Google Photos.