In the office, time is a precious commodity for today's busy physicians. Away from work, many doctors find unique activities and hobbies to help them unwind and to enrich their lives. This article offers a glimpse at a few of our doctors' favorite pastimes. The following stories are a continuation from a feature story in the Winter 2012 edition of Living Healthy magazine.
Ask Greg Sweat, MD, “What’s cooking?” when he’s not working, and you’re likely to get a surprisingly tasty answer. That’s because Sweat is part of a powerhouse competitive barbecue team called Meat Mitch.
“I started barbecuing with a couple of good friends (including team namesake, Mitch Benjamin) who share an interest in barbecuing,” explains Sweat. “In fact, my wife, (Shawnee Mission Medical Center urologist Susan Sweat, MD) and I have been barbecuing for years. But it’s gotten way more serious over the last four to five years. We have our own sauces, which are sold all over the metro area, and we’re working on rubs.”
Just how seriously competitive is Sweat’s team? In a word, very. Last May, they placed third in the 2011 Memphis in May World Championships, which is comparable in size to the local American Royal competition. And in an Austin, Texas competition last summer, two of their Meat Mitch™ sauces earned first and second place in the People Choice awards.
To top it all off, Sweat adds, “We were Reserve Champion at last year’s Wild Blue BBQ competition in Burlington, Kan., and we took first place for ribs.”
When they switched from casual to competitive barbecuing, Sweat and the rest of his team quickly learned that, “We had a lot to learn about judging, presentation, rules and more. For example, people love ribs when they’re so tender the meat just falls of the bone. But judges hate that. They want to see the marks where you’ve taken a bite.”
And where does Sweat like to go for barbecue when someone else is doing the cooking? “Our favorite place to go out for ribs is Oklahoma Joe’s. I just think their barbecue is the best,” says Sweat.
Besides their team’s competitive successes, Sweat points to some other events as some of his team’s biggest highlights. “We’ve cooked for the KC Royals on four different occasions,” notes Sweat. That includes last season when the Yankees were in town. “Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, feasted on Naked Whomp and Meat Mitch™ ribs at the Royals vs. Yankee’s game in Kansas City!” recalls Sweat. “We fired up dinner for both teams after the game.”
Meat Mitch™ also hosted a Harvester’s fundraiser last July. Two of baseball’s Hall-of-Fame legends, Tommy Lasorda and George Brett, attended. They sold more than 300 racks of ribs and raised over $16,000 for the kids BackSnacks program.
Even though Meat Mitch™ sauces keeps growing and is sold all over the metro area and online, Sweat isn’t thinking about quitting his day job. “We don’t distribute beyond that because there are only four of us and we just don’t have the time,” explains Sweat. “It’s just our hobby and passion. That’s what keeps it fun.”
Memphis in May World Championships Wild Blue BBQ competition in Burlington, Kan.
To tell the truth, ear, nose and throat specialist Fred Katz, MD, had never thought of art as a fun, relaxing and rewarding way to get away from the stress and strain of his medical profession.
Instead, the native Kansas Citian had always been a sports enthusiast, enjoying the head-to-head competition of tennis, along with the gratifying feeling of being in top-notch physical condition.
Unfortunately, his body starting wearing out long before his enthusiasm for sports did. After fracturing both ankles and developing bulging discs, Katz finally threw in the towel and focused on a less physical but equally satisfying pursuit: creating computer-generated images.
“I use the same 3-D software to manipulate my images that many editors in Hollywood use,” Katz explains. “I create all the imagery, placing objects in time and space. Most pieces are so detailed and dimensional, it can take two or three days for the computer program to finalize or ‘render’ the finished art.”
Katz has approached this new passion with the same boundless energy he brought to sports, creating hundreds of pieces of art, many abstract, but some human forms. In fact, while Katz generally creates art for his own enjoyment, he also accepts assignments. He has created pieces for other medical professionals, including one artwork for a plastic surgeon as well as another for a dentist. “For that one, I had multiple laser beams shooting out from a tooth,” Katz recalls.
Katz’ 3-D artwork is framed in 2-D and in formats ranging from archival prints or watercolor to metal or C-prints. For an up-close look at these surrealistic wonders, stop by the Shawnee Mission Surgery Center at 9301 W. 74th St., in Shawnee Mission, Kan., where you can feast your eyes on several of Katz’ finest works.