Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flashback Friday

A couple of weeks after Luke's first trip to Indiana, we loaded up the car again to go to the SEC basketball tournament in Atlanta.

Everyone in Ryan's family is a huge Kentucky basketball fan, and we all go to this tournament every year to cheer on the wildcats.

We were very excited to bring Luke to his first tournament to experience what it's really like to be a wildcat basketball fan. For those of you who aren't that into basketball (me before I met Ryan), being a Kentucky basketball fan is akin to being an Alabama football fan...the tradition, legacy, and expectations.

Ryan's family(& thousands of other UK fans) look forward to the tournament all year long. We always stay in the same hotel as the team, which means we get little sleep when the team wins because there are fans down in the hotel lobby cheering "C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats" all night long!

Luke & Parker on Day 1 of the tournament
Parker's daddy is a huge Florida fan and I'm an Auburn fan
Day 2, go Wildcats!
Luke did great at the games, he was either eating or sleeping in the baby bjorn.

In between games we dressed the kids in their matching dachshund outfits

The tournament starts on a Thursday and ends Sunday, Kentucky wasn't scheduled to play until the last game on Friday night.

During the first game Friday night, the seats began to fill with a sea of Kentucky blue as we anxiously awaited UK's 10:00 tip off. Some of the family was intently watching the game, while others (me included) were chatting away or tending to the babies.

All of the sudden we hear this loud noise that sounds like a train rushing toward us, we look up and see the white ceiling panels of the dome ripping open, and the giant metal rafters swaying back and forth above our heads.
Everyone was frozen in panic and had no idea what was going on.

I must confess, my first thought was that the Lord was coming back!

After about 30 seconds the noise left as quickly as it came.

As people began to realize that a tornado had just hit, there was a mad rush for the exits.

We stayed put and tried to access the damage...all we could see from the inside were several ceiling panels torn and some completely ripped open exposing the dark, gloomy sky still lit by lightning.

Luke was not phased in the least by the tornado, he slept soundly during the whole thing!

We waited at the dome for what seemed like hours for the storms to pass and to finally get to watch Kentucky play...believe it or not that's all most of the fans could think about!

About midnight they announced that the Kentucky game would have to be postponed until Saturday.

As we walked out of the Georgia Dome we could not believe what we saw.

There was enormous pieces of debris everywhere...we saw everything from twisted metal to chunks of sheetrock to broken glass and pieces of insulation strewn all over the street and sidewalks.

We looked up at the buildings around (CNN center, World Congress building, & Omni hotel) us and saw hundreds of windows blown out exposing insulation, curtains, and office materials.

There were firetrucks, ambulances, and polices cars lining the streets, along with about 20 news trucks.

Our hotel was about 15 blocks from the dome and the first 5 blocks were like walking through a maze trying to avoid all the debris. There was less damage the closer we got to our hotel, but there was still huge pieces of sheetrock and broken glass in the streets.

I've lived in the south my entire life and been through many tornado watches and warnings, but I have never been right in the center of an actual tornado, and have definitely never seen firsthand the damage that such a storm can do!

I didn't get any pictures of the damage that night, but here's some pictures of the city the next day

View of the city, many of the buildings had lots of windows blown out

The Weston Hotel
Very small pieces of debris at Centennial Olympic Park...
these were nothing compared to the debris by the dome

We didn't sleep much that night because it continued to storm on an off all night and we heard the tornado sirens going off a few times.

There was enough damage to the Georgia Dome that the powers that be wouldn't allow any more tournament games to be played there until it was fixed.
The tournament was moved to
Georgia Tech's basketball arena which only seats a couple thousand people, so the only fans allowed to go to the games were family members of the teams.

We had to watch the rest of the games on TV and find other activities to occupy our time.

Family picture at the World of Coke

So unfortunately Luke wasn't able to experience his first UK basketball game, but he did witness his first tornado.

After two road trips that brought us a blizzard and a tornado we tried to hang around Auburn for awhile to avoid anymore natural disasters!


Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

Your photos are just adorable!

Yikes, I think I would avoid traveling with all that extreme weather!

Rachel said...

I remember that, but I thought it had been two years ago. The bizarre thing is that the hotels STILL have windows unfixed from that storm, which makes no sense to me. Glad Luke got to experience the "real" south!! :)

Did you get a refund on the ticket price??