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NAIA 2021 Women’s Division 2 National Basketball Championship Tournament, Sioux City

22 Mar
A University of St. Francis player sports a floral cross on her arm and waits to toss the ball from out of bounds after a foul was called in game action as Campbellsville plays Lewis-Clark State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sioux City is hosting the NAIA National Women’s Collegiate Division II basketball tournament for 2021 at a local events arena here in Siouxland. An honor the community and area folk have held for a number of years, working hard for visiting schools, athletes and fans, and family to feel welcomed and enjoy a bit of Midwestern hospitality as teams compete for the top honors. The division is made up of the smaller liberal arts and faith-based colleges and universities, but the athleticism and drive to excel and win is none the less present as these young women play to be crowned this year’s winner.

Thomas More plays Dakota State in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sterling plays Dakota State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Concordia plays Morningside College in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I previously worked for newspapers I shot a lot of sports, ranging from pee wee stick ball, little league, high school and some college. And on occasion I also photographed some professional football games. When you work as a photographer for a newspaper, you shoot some everything. Sports is not my forte. I always felt more at ease covering spot news and shooting features and portraits. Assisting a friend in covering these games I felt a little trepidation as I had not covered for a number of years, only sporadically photographing various events as was necessitated by freelance work.

Capturing fast-paced action in a tight environment, say under the basket where one might find 4-5 bodies vying for a loose ball, or players stopping someone from driving to the basket or shooting a three pointer to score, has always been a challenge. Stopping the action and framing it well is one thing. Then add in tack sharp focus on moving subjects is another. These hell bent for leather young women are not going to stop and pose for a picture, as they have an agenda to win. And they all play hard.

Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
MidAmerica Nazarene plays Clarke in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The first two rounds of action are completed and four teams out of 16 (this year paired down from a 32-field possibility due to COVID-19) are still in play the next couple of days, with the championship game being played this week. It’s been fun being able to photograph such a high level of sports action again and regaining some “sea legs” after so many years of not shooting sports.

All the teams are deserving of being the champion, but that determination is playing out on the court as the teams have good and not so good performances. And then as most fans know if slightly disappointed, there is always next years.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Lyon in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Concordia plays Morningside College in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Lewis-Clark State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sterling plays Dakota State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Thomas More plays Dakota State in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
MidAmerica Nazarene plays Clarke in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Thomas More of Kentucky plays Mount Vernon Nazarene of Ohio in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Southeastern plays Indiana Wesleyan in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sterling plays Dakota State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter in Siouxland, Sioux City

16 Feb
Birds, possibly starlings, fluff out their feathers to fight off the cold on a chilly winter’s day in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, February 2, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The little rodent, affectionately known as Punxsutawney Phil, has decided it’s seen its shadow, allowing another 6 weeks of winter to linger around the Siouxland area and other places as well. Boogers. It has been a pleasant weather so far as winters go, but the next couple of weeks temps are predicted to stay below freezing and below zero with wind chill taking them down into double digits. Not something I am looking forward too. Bird activity has been mixed with the backyard neighbors scarce some days and around the next.

A red-bellied woodpecker feasts on some bird food in a backyard on a chilly winter’s day in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, February 2, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Long winters can be okay until the temperature dips below zero and then heads into minus double digits because of wind chill, which there seems to be a lot of that in Iowa. One could only imagine settlers on these plains in the 19th century with mud houses on an open plain with the wind howling and dipping temperatures into lows that impossibly frigid.

So spring is on my mind with temperatures in the 30’s. I even like 40’s. Thinking of greening grass and the warm rays of the sun. It will arrive, but at this point seems like somewhere in a distant future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Backyard birds, possibly starlings, sit on a neighbor’s chimney on a chilly winter’s day in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, February 2, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Snack on a Cold Day, Sioux City

9 Jan
A squirrel checks a fence line as another squirrel looks interested in a backyard snack time Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I watch neighborhood squirrels throughout the year it’s fun to watch their antics and for the most part play with one another in backyards. But when it comes to snack time, they are a wary bunch and chowing as fast as they can before any interruption affects their meal time. Be it friend or foe.

A squirrel digs in while eating at a backyard feeder Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With fresh snow on the ground the furry visitors drop by a bit more often, sometimes sitting on the fence chattering, which I interpret as “Can’t you put out a little more for us, please, sir, another serving?” to co-opt a famous line from a favorite seasonal story.

A squirrel spends time eating at a backyard feeder Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the forecast predicts some warmer days ahead, and possibly more snow. So backyard neighbors will probably be about again looking for any snack on a cold day, which I certainly don’t fault them for. And, what are neighbors for?

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel waits its turn to eat at a backyard feeder Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Performance Art Mezmerises in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 Oct

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in life an occurrence happens in a person’s life that may have a profound influence and unbeknownst to them guides them on a path later in life. During a festival in Siouxland recently a young girl stood transfixed as she watches a performance artist dance with a couple of hoola hoops. The young lass stared intensely hardly ever moving her eyes until seeing the dancer so a particular move then looked at her mother to see if she saw.

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl looks back at her mother during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I remember as a young child looking at a particular Sunday edition of a Chicago newspaper, transfixed by a page or two of feature images that appeared every week. I can remember sitting in a room in my parent’s house just looking over the images. I can’t remember why I was fascinated or how that fascination came about. But sometimes these unexplained occurrences manifests the results later in life, a necessary spark to start one down a particular road.

I have spent a lifetime photographing events and people for a variety of newspapers I previously worked for, and continue while finding images for this blog. The intensity of sole purpose of the young girl standing so still, watching the street performer makes me speculate that somewhere and sometime in the future seeing this person perform gracefully and appearing to enjoy her work might influence this young lass to pursue her dreams and find a way to fulfill a desire to create, no matter the art form or platform through which she gives voice to a future talent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering History in Siouxland, South Bottoms, Sioux City

18 Jul

A memorial that commemorates a former area of Sioux City, Iowa known as the South Bottoms is situated along the Missouri River seen Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In Siouxland like elsewhere there was a portion of the community that settled when first arriving in the early years of the town, this was South Bottoms. People lived in this area from the latter 1800’s through the 1950’s, and were at that time living on the “other side of the tracks” or “wrong side of the tracks” as it was referred to for poorer or immigrant families. Although none of that was necessarily true. Because the Floyd River ran through the area there were some years when horrific flooding was an issue. And later, when a north-south interstate came through the area an enormous part of that community was affected.

A memorial that commemorates a former area of Sioux City, Iowa known as the South Bottoms is situated along the Missouri River seen Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was in recent years that the city of Sioux City has made note of the former “residential” area by erecting a memorial marker with some information about the place, although there isn’t a lot of information available at the site itself, or a reference where information can be found. People living here now and those who will call Sioux City home in the future should know a little about its past. Times change, as do the places where events take place and as people come and go.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A memorial plaque shows the boundaries which commemorates a former area of Sioux City, Iowa known as the South Bottoms is situated along the Missouri River seen Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A memorial that commemorates a former area of Sioux City, Iowa known as the South Bottoms is situated along the Missouri River seen Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering in Siouxland on Memorial Day, Sioux City

25 May

Flags flutter in the breeze at city owned Graceland Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Memorial Day is an annual event of remembrance in Siouxland and elsewhere in the U.S. A time to reflect and honor our loved ones and those who have served in the armed forces of this nation. This year’s day like other days going forward will be a new experience for many.

A wife watches her husband clean his parents’ grave site at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Helping her grandmother, a young woman looks for grave sites of those who served in the military to place a flag at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Her grandfather is a member of the American Legion. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The coronavirus pandemic has given all people a moment of pause. Creating a variety of stress for some and only adding to stress others already felt because of life’s circumstances. And going forward this year’s remembrance may cause people to reflect more deeply as the official start of summer. But maybe I am too optimistic in that respect  that people will actually take stock and be thankful for those who have come before and continue to protect this nation and give it a sense of honor where others who should do not.

Families decorate grave sites of loved ones at Graceland Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grounds keeper trims grave sites at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And in a year’s time, will folk look back and be thankful for such a pause in routine, or still curse and not think of it at all but for being a disruption they should have done without. Human beings are a fickled lot. While many are thankful, I sometimes wonder if most are just expectant of what they deserve, some more than others. Life’s circumstances have benefited some more than others, sometimes unfairly. But that is for someone else to judge, and sometimes I kind of hope, harshly.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grounds keeper puts up a tent for a Honor Guard at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Backyard Acrobatics in Siouxland, Sioux City

9 May

Sometimes simple things are best, even in Siouxland. Generations ago, now another century, people’s tastes for entertainment were probably much different. Then no internet, no TV, movies on cd’s, movie theatres and other musical venues that have populated the current landscape.

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching a show titled “Wild Kingdom” while growing up one could always see nature entertaining viewers, in person or on the air because some took the time to film and share what is a natural occurrence but viewed by a larger number of people.

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Animal antics are still popular, evident in the number of cat videos and other pet videos that people now share online.

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But sometimes a private showing is just the ticket. No screens, in person, and an appreciation for the creatures that visit.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Just looking in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 May

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes simple is better. While out and about in Siouxland the obvious is almost always overlooked. Angles, shapes, light, dark, contrasts and colors. Can they all get along within a frame?

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing a bit of Spring in Siouxland, Hinton and Sioux City

29 Apr

A house finch sits in a newly budded tree in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There have been snippets of spring popping up in Siouxland between recent snowfalls and temperatures in the 20’s. Patches of green and here and there, surviving those cold days that are becoming fewer, but nevertheless still here. While not yet widespread, the green is a nice reminder of warmer days approaching and sunny skies with light breezes and shirt sleeved weather.

Pathways are beginning to green up at the Hillview Recreation Area in Hinton, Iowa Thursday, April 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A maple tree begins to bud Sunday, March 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At least with warmer temperatures the opportunity to take a walk these days will become more tempting as long as people continue to use common sense and share the space respectfully and give everyone a chance to enjoy the day as the long wait continues before we see an all clear somewhere down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bush begins to bud at the Hillview Recreation Area in Hinton, Iowa Thursday, April 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Snowy Easter in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Apr

Like in many parts of the U.S., people will always say, “Just wait 5 minutes and the weather will change.” It’s also true in Siouxland. This area of Iowa as probably others in the state and beyond got a snowy, chilly Easter Sunday with which to celebrate. Just some visiting neighbors in a backyard didn’t seem to mind and actually enjoyed their “brunch” while the snow fell, and continued falling throughout much of the day.

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was convenient to see them enjoying themselves, or at least getting a meal during this untimely weather event. I didn’t see many robins and am guessing they were trying to stay warm and decide what the heck happened to spring.

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am kind of wondering that myself. And like most, am trying to be patient and looking forward to enjoying a cup of morning coffee outside, without a scarf, jacket or hat and boots. Hopefully sooner than later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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