San Jose professional sports: San Jose Earthquakes vs Toronto and Sharks vs Penguins

In any major US or Canada city, there are always opportunities to do interesting things in them. Even if the cities appear to be the same cookie-cutter buildings, streets, and cement jungles – there’s some differences that can make a visitor more exciting and/or interesting to do. One of them is professional sports – you may not be a fan of the team nor the sport, but at least, it’s something that everyone can do which is buy a ticket and then attend the game. No special equipment required.

In San Jose, California, there are two major professional sports teams: the San Jose Earthquakes that play in MLS (Major League Soccer) and the San Jose Sharks of the NHL (National Hockey League). I’ve already covered the Sharks as I look at them as a placeholder team so I can watch the visiting teams play but the Earthquakes are a relatively newer team (they lost their initial team after the originals left to go elsewhere but years afterward, was granted an expansion team to restart the Earthquakes). So as a result, the Earthquakes got new colors, new identity, and a new stadium.

So I looked up the schedule and found out that both San Jose teams were going to play so why not?

Why not go to both and see the teams play?

avaya stadium earthquakes quakes san jose soccer stadium near airport FC MLS soccer estadio futbol football

Well before the start of the game, I checked the grounds before getting into my seat to hunker down. Wear a jacket! It can get cold with the winds blowing!

First up were the Earthquakes playing against Toronto F.C. in Avaya Stadium. Upon arrival, I felt that atmosphere was trying wayyyyyy too hard to be like in Europe. Too much partying and not enough seriousness in the game itself.

scoreboard airport estadio fussball major league soccer american pro sport aeroport

When you look at the scoreboard, yes, you can see San Jose International Airport. Why they built a stadium near the airport – no idea. Must have ran out of land. Could have just played in Levi’s Stadium instead…. which they do once a year.

Second was the play. Gosh…. it was horrendous. The league has a lot more to go in order to catch up with the European leagues. I felt as if any of the Bundesliga 3 teams would beat anyone in MLS. The team I had in mind: SV Wiesbaden – that team could beat the MLS’s best. And don’t try to compare the MLS to the powerhouse teams such as Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, FC Barcelona – these teams would easily win with the quality that they have. And the tactics of the MLS are limited compared to the European teams. The quality is just not there.

earthquakes quakes soccer playing sport against visiting team

They run back and forth with lots of mistakes. Better to run back to Europe for better football play.

But nevertheless, the Earthquakes put on a great show at the end of the game. Down 1-2 while in stoppage time, the Quakes draw a foul outside of the penalty box which set them up for a free kick. The Quakes plan it out to where they take the free kick towards the goal…. and he makes it! 2-2! What a wild finish to rescue the loss and transform into a tie!

Okay!

Next game: Sharks vs Penguins.

penguins fans in hp pavilion sharks san jose stadium arena club

There was a quite a number of Penguins fans in “da house” which is not surprising due to their outreaching popular fan base.

Evgeni Malkin during practice

Another good reason to go to the games early: watch the players warm up. Particularly, the superstars. Number 71 of the Penguins is Evgeni Malkin.

There wasn’t much to say about this game over than the Penguins that won 2 Stanley Cups in the last 4-5 years was in complete struggle mode having lost 5 straight games going into San Jose. Well, make it 6 straight losses. The team just struggled and it showed.

Sometimes going to see a superstar such as Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby – doesn’t produce much in great memories. More like duds. But that’s sports for ya.

Sidney Crosby looking on skating in San Jose

I thought that the “Next One” or #87 aka Sidney Crosby was going to put on a show. Instead, there wasn’t much to see in terms of goals. The Penguins got shutout in what was a Sharks barrage.

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Return to Sturgeon Fishing in California

I really liked catching Sturgeon that I had to do it again like the last time. Back to the Bay Area to see if I can catch another one of these prehistoric-looking fish. And on a day that looked like it was going to be tough one, I managed to draw the card of luck to shoo away the “skunk” out.

white sturgeon prehistoric looking fish bay california keeper white bayarea sfbayarea fishin lets go

Took awhile to get this unlike the last time when I waited 1.5 hours to get my keeper Sturgeon. Instead, it took almost 6-7 hours for a good bite and a good fight in the end.

Again, I get a lot of comments from people, “How can fish that big live in the San Francisco Bay waters?” Well, these fish have been here for years and haven’t evolved much for millennia so it’s worked for them. Some even grow to such enormous sizes that some thought that they actually ate people!

So to catch one of these fish, you just have to get out there but I recommend getting a guide if you don’t know what you are doing. The times that I’ve targeted Sturgeon, I didn’t know what I was doing and often I’d catch other fish in the area such as Halibut and Striped Bass.

Contact:

http://www.dragonsportfishing.com/

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Pheasant and Chukar hunting in California

There are places to hunt in California particularly for those who have never hunted before. I personally prefer taking people who have never hunted before to go to these “pay to play” places so novices can learn. It’s also a great group activity to walk around looking for these birds while utilizing a dog to go out and smell and track them down. That way, people understand how this whole thing works and aren’t walking around in circles complaining that they didn’t see any birds.

Actually, you use the dog to help you find the birds and even retrieve them in case the flying meat hamburgers decide to high-tail away to a safe place.

hunting chukar pheasants birds hunted harvested cazar caza faisanes chukares aves pajaros para comer la carne

Some of the birds that were harvested from the hunt.

hunting hunter birds bird pheasant chukar walking around with guide dog

On this group hunt, I got a pheasant and 3 Chukars while being part of a group hunt. I think we were supposed to get 16 birds but we ended up harvesting 18! All because the other groups lost a few in our field.

The problem about these places is that they might be located quite far so it can be a long drive to get to these locations. But there’s a good reason for it as they have a LOT of real estate where they can provide hunters plenty of space to track down birds like in real hunting. For those who come from an area where hunting is difficult to do then this is a great place to do it! Good to do some practice shooting because shooting sporting clays is totally different from the real thing!

Contact:

Quail Point

http://www.quailpoint.com/

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California Duck Hunting – New season in session

Finally, I get some time to hunt something in motion in the air AND at multiple targets. Other than hunting pheasants on Jeju Island or going pig hunting, it’s been long while since I’ve gone hunting and harvested some meat! Better late than never – living with no regrets now. Time to go after these birds since the winter winds and weather have been forthcoming. Bad weather such as the cold and winds from the north will result in the best time to go duck hunting (or for geese as well). So time to put on the camo, bust out the duck calls, the shotgun and shells, and prepare thyself for the incoming ducks.

puddle duck harvest california caza de patos cazar rice chek field

Whenever I go duck hunting, I’m usually aiming for puddle ducks, but a diver duck hunt sounded very interesting to go do.

And yes, people do go a little bonkers when they find out that I hunt and it’s in the state of California. C’mon now, people do have to eat but I guess they just don’t remove the invisible barrier in their minds or so that this kind of stuff happens like what our caveman ancestors used to do. Unfortunately, most people nowadays do their food hunting in stores and restaurants so there is a major gap of understanding of where our food comes from.

Unfortunately, duck hunting is kind of a difficult to show off in pictures as the birds are small and pale in comparison to big deer or pigs or even fish. However, duck hunting is still fun as you have to pick your chances to shoot the birds out of the air and the one trip that I took was a very interesting one as I went for diver ducks as we’re hunting an area that I visited before for sturgeon fishing except we’re on this jutting small peninsula into brackish waters. The guides set up the blinds and explained how it worked – we’d shoot when clear/safe to do so and the other guide would retrieve the ducks with the boat.

dawn hunting duck hunting ducks cali bay area san francisco east

Real early in the morning and you can see industrial facilities with their lights on.

rainbow while hunting california

Then the weather changes to where it’s raining and sunny all at the same time, producing a rainbow.

I limited out while diver duck hunting and I learned a lot on how to shoot these diver ducks. Most of the diver ducks are not that good-looking with the exception of the Bufflehead, but even then you have to look up at it to get the full spectrum of colors.

Diver duck hunting guide:

https://www.nwindoutfitters.com/index.php

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The year in review: 2019

I feel as if this was year, of 2019, was most characterized by a lot of traveling but also more heavily punctuated by the following highlights.

Scuba diving in these locations:
Canary Islands, Spain – First time going to these islands.
Azores, Portugal – First time going to out to the islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Balearic Islands, Spain – First time to these islands despite the bad weather.
Madeira, Portugal – Diving on a Portuguese corvette!
South Korea – Jeju Island! First time scuba diving in Asia for the first time of my life!
Thailand – First time I ever went on a liveaboard and it was niceeeeeee!

scuba in thailand waters

I’ve been upclose with a Whale Shark before but this one circled around several times in Thailand. You have to appreciate these times because you might not get another moment like this again. That’s what other divers have told me.

Fishing in these locations:
United Kingdom – I went there several times but I still remember that 12 pound Rainbow Trout and 22 pound Pike!!!!!
Germany – First time I finally fished in this country – caught sea-run Brown Trout.
Azores, Portugal – I caught plenty of reef fish out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Czech Republic – First time fishing in a landlocked country! Big Carp! And Wels Catfish!
Madeira, Portugal – Red Snapper mania with a few bruisers in there to bend the fishing rod.
Spain – Zebra Trout! And catching tons of them!
Slovenia – Rainbow Trout and the awesome Marble Trout! And of course, the ultra rare Hybrid Marble/Brown Trout!
California, United States – After many years of catching my first halibut, I finally catch my second one. As well as my first Sturgeon of my life!
South Korea – Caught mostly reef fish and Mackerels but also caught a lot of Carp in a Fishing Cafe!
Japan – Fishing in Hokkaido for 3 days and I finally, finally land a Taimen!
Thailand – Mahi Mahi heaven and caught epic freshwater fish such as Mekong Catfish, Arapaima, Siamese Carp, Alligator Gar, and more!

I’m still trying to decide what was the most memorable fish of 2019 and it’s difficult to decide which one… I will take all of them! Ha. Maybe the 22 pound Pike might be the winner after trying for 2 years fly-fishing for them. But that Marble Trout and its half-brother, the Hybrid Marble/Brown Trout, were awesome as well after working so hard to catch something! The Taimen was a nice gift of a surprise as well. And then again, Thailand delivering an 80+ kg Arapaima and the biggest fish that I’ve ever caught in my life, a 120+ kg Mekong Catfish, are the fish that I’ll never, ever forget in my life!

pike mini england UK

Many a fish was caught this year including this mini-Pike in England where I later landed a 22 pound monster of a fish! You have to keep trying and going at it until success finally comes around. Never know, success might be drunk and stupid at that moment and time that you can easily grab it!

Hunting in these locations:
South Korea – Shot some pheasants in what was my first time hunting in Asia even though it wasn’t really hunting.
California – Open season on wild pigs!

100+ wild euro pig

I didn’t hunt much this year but I still got a 100+ pound pig. Decisions have to be made whether I fish, hunt, or scuba dive more…..

Sports games, particularly football, in these locations:
Koln Haie – My first German hockey game!
FC Barcelona – Went several times but the game that really comes out on my mind is my first Champions League game and when the team won the La Liga trophy in Camp Nou!
Chelsea – Big time London football club, one of the big three clubs (the other two being Tottenham and Arsenal).
SV Wehen Wiesbaden – Former third league Wiesbaden team got promoted to second league pushing FC Koln to the limits in the German Cup game.
Manchester United – First time going to Manchester and going to the famous Old Trafford stadium!
Union Berlin – I’ve seen their crosstown rivals, Hertha BSC, several times but this was a first for the other major Berlin team. This team later got promoted to first league for the first time in the club’s history where there was a major 2 day long celebration. Finally, the German capital will have a proper Berlin Derby that will actually mean something!
Eintracht Frankfurt – An improved Bundesliga team compared to past seasons to where the team was going deep in the Europa League.
VfB Stuttgart – Went to watch the visiting St. Pauli play and its hardcore fans.
Los Angeles Lakers – Two of the best basketball world’s players: Anthony Davis and LeBron James showcased their talents at the Staples Center
San Jose Sharks – Went to watch the visiting Edmonton Oilers and later the Washington Capitals, not the San Jose Chokers.
San Francisco 49ers – An NFL game in a very long time!

la liga trophy trofeo won in camp nou

Messi lifts the 2018-19 La Liga trophy in Camp Nou, Barcelona after winning the league on points.

I’ve always stated that traveling is far better when the trips involve sporting activities because you go through far more emotions of anticipation as well as the full utilization of your own experience and technical abilities. I recommend doing this as it’s not only just a test of your skills in new environments, but you just never know what might happen. Other people have noticed that I’ve spoken with far more passion about certain locations even though they themselves have also gone to the same places as I have.

I can easily hone into this vibe of jealously from other people that I really, really enjoyed my time of being at all these places while picking the more technical, difficult experiences/activities while everyone else picked the default option of being a tourist drone. I can sense that they want to do the same things like I do but they don’t do it for whatever reason. It’s easily assumed that most people out there picked the well-traveled path so the rewards are not as great as putting in the sweat, pain, frustration, failure, and hard work being put in. But as I stated before, people don’t want to put in the required hard work so they will continue to have the minimal mental reward experience – it’s like watching sports athletes perform so well out in front of the fans but the hard practices, training sessions, time spent in the gym are never, ever shown.

Someone asked me why didn’t I go to a certain FC Barcelona game? They played amazingly well during that game and won! Well… I went fishing instead… sometimes you have to make those hard choices in life – to do this or that! That’s what traveling is all about!

With the completion of the year of 2019, I look forward to 2020 with open arms to see what other challenges and adventures are out there for me. Bring on 2020! Let me do more! There certainly more things to do and achieve so I’m looking forward to whatever might come to me. Just note that if you are traveling, decide for yourself what you really want to do especially with the year 2020 coming up. Do not compare yourself to me and instead pick what it is that you really want in life because when people say that comparison is the thief of joy… it really is. It’s up to you and only you to figure out what are your true goals are and how you decide to achieve them. In my travels, particularly involving physical activities where failure is a possibility, continuous adaptation is a requirement for succeeding in new environments and situations. In other words, survive, adapt, and grow! Just don’t become a Dodo and die off as an extinct species.

marble trout slovenia

My first day was a horrid day in Slovenia for fishing as the fish weren’t biting but I kept trying and trying… I finally caught my Marble Trout! You should do the same in traveling – keep expanding and growing to adapt to become successful.

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