First-time Preakness goers soak up unique experience


First-time Preakness goers soak up unique experience

BALTIMORE – Most first time Preakness goers were having a grand time.

Shep Olsen of Richmond, Va. and his fiancee, Katie of Durham, N.C. described themselves as being a little older than much of the crowd. They’re in their mid-thirties.

Shep has been to the Kentucky Derby and wants to attend each of the Triple Crown races.

“You can’t publish it,” Shep joked about his description of the experience. Katie said it was a lot like a state fair.

“We did the infield at the Derby last year. It’s a lot like that, but this is bigger,” Shep said. “And every once in a while, you see a horse.”

Mike Brown of Timonium, Md., has lived in Maryland his entire life. He was with a group of friends from Loyola University.

“I was born and raised in Maryland, so I’m not going to come to the Preakness,” Brown said.

“I’ll be here next year.”

He wasn’t worried about the talk that the Preakness would move to Laurel.

“The Preakness will always be in Baltimore,” he vows.

Julia Simpson, a cosmetology student from Frederick, Md., met up with some friends from Towson University.

“Oh my gosh, probably the best experience I could ever have. There will a lot of people. The energy was high. There were more people than I’ve ever seen at an event like this,” Simpson said

“I did not get to the see the horse race, but I got to see all the music, and all the people that came here to perform. It was awesome. It was the best time of my life.”

Simpson spoke about two hours before the Preakness, and she looked as if she was getting ready to leave.

“Honestly, it was so crazy here, and it was so much that I don’t think that I could continue until tonight, but more the power to everyone that stays,” Simpson said.

Would she come next year?

“One hundred percent.”

Not everyone was having such a good time. In the clubhouse, Pam from Asheville, N.C. stood in an extremely long line for the bathroom and said she got tickets through her husband’s former company.

“It’s pretty grueling,” she said with a smile. “I’m hot and my feet hurt.”

Her party left their hotel at 10 a.m.

“It’s a long day,” she said.

Pam won’t be back.

“No,” she said emphatically. “But I’m sure my husband would come. I will be at a spa or something.”

MORE PREAKNESS: Where and when will Preakness be run?

Quick Links

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

Quick Links

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.


**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.


**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.