In some circles, navigation is actually an organized sport. Orienteering, the art of racing through the wilderness to plot unfamiliar territory, is done around the world on foot, on skis, on mountain bikes and in canoes.The practice, which began in nineteenth-century Scandinavia as a military training tactic, involves craftiness, compasses and detailed maps with symbols for rocks, landforms, water and vegetation. Instructions lead to a series of checkpoints ("Go to #2, the small cliff"), and the first finisher wins.
The Possom Trot Orienteering Club hosts a meet today at Shawnee Mission Park (7900 Renner Road in Shawnee). For four bucks, anyone can get a map and a chance to prove his or her treasure-hunting prowess (without the treasure). Plus, orienteers get to pick cool code names -- at the last meet, Pink Pickles and Mad Dog made impressive showings. The Mushroom Lovin' Rudolf's Raiders, on the other hand, waltzed across the finish a full hour behind the third-place team. Perhaps they came across some interesting vegetation on their way to the finishing mark.
Registration begins at 10 a.m., instruction for beginners starts at 10:30, and the last chance to embark on a timed mission is at noon. For more details, write to Mroodhouse@aol.com. (Sorry, there's no phone number.) For information, call 913-831-3355 or 913-764-7759. --Sarah Smarsh
These softball players are tough.
The Royals' winning start has reminded Kansas Citians how fun it is to watch someone hit a ball really high into the air. Fittingly, Kansas City hosts this year's postseason Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association softball tournament, starting today at Happy Rock Park (76th Street and Antioch in Gladstone). The winner of the eight-team, double-elimination tourney earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II North Carolina Regional Tournament. Watch for No. 1 seed Truman State University. Led by sophomore shortstop Elizabeth Economon, the Bulldogs have lost only once in league play. Games begin at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday's schedule is the same, with the first championship game scheduled for 4 p.m. For tickets, which cost $5, call 816-436-2200. --Sarah Smarsh