Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Christmas Card

Instead of mailing everybody an annual Christmas card detailing how plain and bland my 2008 was and boring them with tidbits of my uneventful life, I figured I could spice things up by letting the reader choose how this past year went for me in the same concept of those choose-your-own-adventure books we grew up reading in grade school.

Dear friends and family:

This past year has been absolutely amazing for me. January started off the year with me working with home construction loans for Zions Bank, but things started taking off.

To read about my adventures at the Super Bowl, go to item (a)

(a) After interning with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003, I ran into my former boss at the Ravens vs. Seahawks game (who has been working Super Bowls for the past 30 years), and asked if the NFL needed a PR intern for the upcoming Super Bowl between the underdog Giants and the undefeated Patriots. He agreed with my request, so I spent a week in Phoenix, Arizona. During the crazy week leading up to the biggest Super Bowl ever, I met Maria Menunous from the E! network on media day. Later that night we went clubbing with Tom Brady and Giselle and things got a little freaky. After the game, Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress (who scored the game-winning touchdown) and I went to a club and the vibe got a little weird with some crazed Patriots fans and, needless to say, things got a little Tupac whack, so I advised him to carry a gun when he goes clubbing for his own personal protection…

To read about what really happened in January, I actually got in a minor car accident and I had to drive a rental and pay my $500 deductible.

In February, things got a little back to normal; but I had to face my former ward in the annual churchball game. It was weird to play against my former teammates and friends, but I was glad that my team won on a last second shot after a controversial no-call push off at the buzzer. Sorry, Ben.

Or did this really happen during Valentine’s month?

(b) After my man crush Jazz superstar point guard Deron Williams got snubbed in the All-Star voting, I ran into him at the bowling alley on Feb 14th. He had told me that he was depressed about not making the All-Star weekend, and was trying to drink his depression away. As I always like to take advantage of a perfect situation, we ended up spooning on the couch watching old Jazz playoff games where John Stockton always deferred to Karl Malone in the clutch and the Jazz blew their chances to win it all. I told Deron to avoid giving the ball to Carlos Boozer in the playoffs and that he was THE MAN! But he didn’t listen to me as Carlos putrified in the playoffs this past spring. So much for drunk spooning, plus he never returned my calls…

In March, I took a trip out to Moab with my friend Nick and his MBA schoolmates where I remember how great it was to be at BYU.

Then March Madness came around and BYU men’s basketball (sorry ladies) once again made the tournament. For the first time in decades, they were favored to make it out of the first round against Texas A&M... to read what happened go to (c)

(c) ESPN.com has this predictor thingy online. I tried it out several times and each time BYU kept advancing to the Final Four. It felt like fate to me! BYU was finally going to shed their Danny Ainge glory days with new head coach Dave Rose and we were going deep! The game was in Los Angeles, so it was practically a home game for the Cougars. I stopped in Vegas on the way down and wagered my car on the game because it was a total lock. I got there, and BYU lost (as they always do in the first round of the tournament). Knowing that my Toyota now belonged to a Vegas bookie named Orlando, I bought an extra strength pair of white socks and sandals and walked the 415 miles back from Vegas to SLC. Needing a new pair of wheels, I invested in a pair of Heelys and found a new passion. With my commute from downtown to Draper everyday, I got really good and enrolled in the X-games and out Heely’d Tony Hawk in a skate off and received the moniker “the rollerskatin' Zoobie” and got to chill with Shaun White and others in Aspen: where the beer flows like wine!

April rolled around and Spring was in the air. My grandpa passed away that month so I attended his funeral down near Coachella, CA. It was a good funeral because he had a long battle with colon cancer, so I’ll keep it serious for April. My '90s cover band also had our first gig that month where tons of friends and family showed up.

In May, I joined a play. Yup, I played bass in the rhythm section for a '60s musical up in Centerville. It was actually pretty fun, and I got paid to do it, so it was pretty cool.

To read about the May that should have happened go to (d) or to read what really happened, go to (e)

(d) After the Utah Jazz defeated first-round virgin Tracy McGrady in the opening round, the rival Lakers were up next. After hurting his finger in the regular season, MVP Kobe Bryant went up for a dunk on Jazz reserve forward Paul Millsap, who was playing for the non-existent Carlos Boozer. Millsap rejected the dunk so hard that Kobe’s pinky finger actually broke off, leaving a bloody stump. Without Kobe, the Lakers were rudderless and the Jazz cruised to a victory.

(e) As always, the Jazz lost to the better opponent because in 20 years, Sloan has never outcoached anyone in the playoffs, but we have sure lost to several under-seeded teams.

June rolled around and the Utah Blaze of Arena Football made the playoffs again. Like the previous three playoffs, we couldn’t get past the first round. To read on, see (f)

(f) The full-time PR position with the Blaze opened. I didn’t get the job, but in this choose-your-own adventure story, it was a blessing. The Blaze just shut their doors this week for 2009 and may never open again. Whew! Dodged a career bullet there.

July was awesome. It’s always one of my favorite months. I went to St. George with some church friends where I witnessed “Les Miserables” for the first time. I was a little miserable after three hours of people singing their lines.

A quick shout out to my friend Alex and our wonderful trip in Las Vegas in July. While there we went to see my favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan with third row seats. Instead of going to the “Redeem Team” exhibition Olympic basketball game between USA vs. Canada we met two-time World Series Championship bracelet winner Johnny Chan.

(g) Chan, Alex and I made a quick bond and the three of us immediately entered the World Series of Poker Main Event. After four grueling days of bluffing, winning and chip bullying our way to the last 12 people; Alex and I went heads up for the last seat at the “November Nine” final table. I was badly beaten with aces full because she had quad sevens to make the final table, where she went heads up against Chan for the bracelet and beat him and his own game to become the first woman to win the Main Event!

In August, after my final gig with my '90s cover band, I moved in with my buddy Scott. I also went and saw my second favorite comedian, Brian Regan, as he came to do a show in American Fork. I attended the Twin Falls temple open house as I played bass for LDS artist Alex Boye in front of thousands of screaming 15-year olds in a rodeo in rural Idaho. No, I didn’t just make that up. It really happened. The bathroom there was nuts!

In September, our summer softball league team “Jim’s Orphans” wrapped up a third epic losing season once again. On the last game of the year, we faced our arch nemesis “The Slumpbusters” who had destroyed us in our two previous meetings. Our team captain Johnny asked me for a prediction before facing another humiliating blowout in front of our lady spectators. I gave him the Average Joe guarantee that we would win that game.

(h) we lost predictably like the Jazz and Cougars every year

or (i) we stormed back to win the final game of the season and celebrate with pizza and IBC rootbeer… you make the call.

(pssst, we won! It was an Average Joe guarantee.)

October: you tell me what really happened.

(j) BYU's undefeated season came to an end.

(k) I got a man perm.

(l) I taught a class about money management. Really? Me!

(m) I starred in a Halloween horror flick and got run over by a car.

(n) I worked at a haunted forest for a night.

(o) I played organized team handball for the first time.

(p) Deron Williams sprained his ankle and was out six weeks.

(q) a semi-off-and-on-complicated relationship finally ended after two years.

(r) I interviewed for a full-time job as the PR guy for the BYU Cougar basketball team.

(s) all of the above.

November rolled around and we all know what happened the night of November 22, but I did give a talk in church for the first time in eight years and rekindled a distant family relationship after eight years. Did I mention that Michael Phelps won eight golds in 2008?

December is here and what seemed like a super boring year actually ended up being more eventful than first thought. I’ve been on three different blind dates in the last eight days with a fourth on the way. Plus, my Ravens might actually make the playoffs with a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback (fingers crossed). What will happen in next year? I’ll let the readers vote for the following possible "9 possibilities for 2009":

(t) After three years at Zions Bank of Draper, I make a career change to something new and exciting downtown.

(u) I decided that I will study for the GMAT and get accepted into graduate school.

(v) I enter a World Series poker event on my 30th birthday and become another rags to riches bracelet winner.

(w) After toiling in bands for years, I find the golden lead singer and get working on an original album that starts the next Grunge revolution knocking off all the Nickleback garbage that is currently playing on rock stations.

(x) I bump into Britney Spears at the Grand America breakfast buffet in April and we hit it off and lo and behold the third time really is the charm. After we wed, we win full custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James from K-Fed and have three more kids of our own.

(y) One of my blind dates or someone new comes along and turns into something special and I end up with a 9/9/09 wedding.

(z) Or I’m still stuck at Z bank for the fourth straight year in this cubicle... kill me!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Courtside With The Jazz

I had to work the day after Thanksgiving. Most people would dread working the day after the holiday, but I actually don’t mind it because nobody is in and there is usually nothing to do.

Out of the blue, I received a text from my awesome friend who invited me to sit courtside for the Utah Jazz vs. New Jersey Nets game on Saturday night!

Holy Radical! I’ve been to several Jazz games in the past. I have even sat in the Huntsman suite, but nothing could have prepared me to an entire game right next to the Jazz bench.

Plus we weren’t looking at the back of their heads. We were perpendicular to them so we could watch the bench the entire game! It’s almost like we were an extension of the bench. We could hear almost everything said from the coaches, players, refs, and opposing team.

It all started out with glorious parking right next to the Arena with the 100 Club. Then we were treated to a glorious pre-game meal with shrimp scampi, beef tenderloin and ice cream that we could bring down to our courtside seats!

Jon, Alex, Jen and I were practically jumping up and down in sheer joy as we approached our seats. Ok, ok. Jen and I were literally (not figuratively) jumping up and down in glee as we approached our seats.

video
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We were able to scream stuff at the Nets like “Hey Sean Williams! Boston College called and they wanted their integrity back!” (he was busted for a lot of stuff in college). Or “Hey Rookie! Is it OK if I call you B-Lo? (Brooke Lopez shortened like Jennifer Lopez aka J-Lo).

I even learned the ref's name and was yelling fun stuff back at them. It’s amazing how the rich people sitting around us acted just as childish as I was.

The Jazz were down by almost twenty points to start the fourth quarter and I yelled out “Hey C.J. This is OUR house!” and he looked at me and he seriously looked disappointed that he was letting us down. Yeah, that’s right! He acknowledged me, but looked seriously concerned that he had personally let me down. The look on his face and the nod from him showed that he practically took it personally. He is now in my Top 5 of Jazz players.

But honestly, even though the Jazz ended up losing, it was an incredible experience. I was able to watch my favorite dunker of all-time (Vince Carter) and feel like I really was an extension of the team.

It’s practically motivated me to start a business so that if it were successful, I’d be able to afford to attend games like this all the time! (if anybody has any good ideas, just let me know…)

So here is a quick recap of all the Jazz games so that I can get caught up for the month of November:

November 17th - Jazz 109 Phoenix 97: I had nose-bleed tickets to this game but ended up attending a friend's wedding banquet. The Jazz were without Deron and Okur, but AK47, Brevin Knight, and (gasp!) Jarron Collins actually stepped up for this one. Shaq was held to one rebound and the Jazz blocked him three straight times in the 4th quarter for the win!

November 19th - Jazz 105 Milwaukee 94: Deron and Brevin Knight were both out, so Ronnie Price was the only point guard on the Jazz roster. He played a season-high 40 minutes while C.J. Miles (my new favorite Jazz player this month) scored a season-high 25 points to lead the Jazz to victory!

November 21st - Spurs 119 Jazz 94: No Boozer, Deron or Kyle Korver, but the Jazz actually played pretty well. The only problem: The Spurs shot the lights out! They made 15 of 25 three-pointers that led to a blowout.

November 22nd - Jazz 102 Memphis 94: No Boozer, no Deron, and no Korver. No problem. The Grizzlies are so young and bad, that the Jazz actually won the second game of a back-to-back on the road. But holy cow, Rudy Gay of the Grizzlies can dunk! Mehmet Okur had his best game of the season.

November 24th - Chicago Bulls 101 Jazz 100: No Boozer, no Deron, No Korver and no Harpring. The final 60 seconds of this game were insane with the Jazz and Bulls trading five buckets and no timeouts. Unfortunately, the Bulls missed their second to last shot, but the rebound bounced out to Bulls guard Larry Hughes who drained a difficult jumper as time expired to give the Bulls the win.

November 26th - Jazz 117 Memphis 100: Deron’s back! Deron finally came back from his ankle injury and dished out 15 assists in this blowout! Paul Millsap had a career night with 24 points and 16 rebounds while starting in place for Carlos Boozer, who has been out since bumping his knee in the Milwaukee game last week.

November 28th - Jazz 120 Sacramento 94: Another blowout thanks to the return of Deron Williams and a crappy opponent. The game was tied at the half, but the Jazz answered with 44 points in the 3rd quarter, including Williams bouncing a pass off the backboard alley-oop for a C.J. Miles dunk -- something John Stockton would have never done.

November 29th New Jersey Nets 105 Jazz 88: (revert back to beginning of article). Again a shout out to my friend Alex! One of the funnest nights of my life! It was nuts! And to make the night even better, we all went and played Gears of War 2 until 4 a.m.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Pastry

Pepperidge Farm announced the newest flavor in its pastry line this morning:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Utah 48 BYU 24: A Eulogy

Eulogy:

It was a good season. 10 wins and only 2 losses to ranked teams on the road. As two-time champions, a third-place finish underachieved our quest for perfection. But there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.

The enemy grounds were not as hostile as I expected. Props to our Ute supporters who sat in front of us this season. They were actually some of the most cordial rival fans I ever met.

As a Coug, I shall be fully invested. Max, Harvey, Pitta, Collie, and Jorgensen return for another go around next year.

The Vegas Bowl is our new Holiday Bowl. The only positive from the game is that Boise State and the WAC didn't steal the MWC's money.

Max is a competitor. He'll use his poor performance as motivation for the next 363 days. When his career is over, he'll be remembered one of the Top 3 to 5 BYU quaterbacks ever.

And now, for a long winter... hopefully spring will come with BYU basketball finally winning a game in March Madness.

Maybe the Jazz will finally get healthy and do some damage in the playoffs. Deron's ankle injury really put a damper on this season.

Until next year, RIP Cougar season 2008.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Only 24 more hours

Only 24 more hours left until the big game!

Here are some of my favorite Ute trash stuff. (see pics)

I hope for a big win from BYU tomorrow, but I expect the game to be in the 20's due to Utah's good defense and Utah's average offense.

My guess is BYU 28 Utah 26 with BYU getting another miracle win as BYU blocks a Louis Sakoda field goal to win the game. That would show that the UCLA bowl win from last year and the Washington close win this year was no fluke.

Plus, I don't want Brian Johnson to record one single win against the Cougars.

If BYU wins, I'll give up McDonald's food for a year.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why I Hate the U

I can't really begin to describe my disdain towards the University of Utah, its athletic programs, and especially its fans.

I grew up in the state of Washington, so I wasn't really exposed to this rivalry until my 20s.

I went to BYU my freshman year when I was 18 and living in the dorms. I remember that the U won the game in Provo that year, but I wasn't fully aware of the hated rivalry.

After my mission, I worked for the BYU sports information department and I started to learn more about BYU and its rivalry with the U. I remember listening to Lavell Edwards' final game as a coach as Brandon Doman led a miraculous comeback to beat the Utes at Rice-Eccles stadium in 2000.

Then I remember being in the press box for the 2001 game when an undefeated Cougar team scored on an option pitch to Luke Staley for the game winning touchdown to keep our undefeated hopes alive.

I think that game was the turning point of when I really started to understand the hatred between the two teams.

BYU lost the following four years to the Utes, including the infamous 3-0 defeat in 2003 at home, marking the first time the Cougars had been shutout since the 1970s. I was in Baltimore at the time, so I was thankful that I didn't witness that.

The following year I moved to Salt Lake only to witness all the bandwagon Ute fans jump on the undefeated 2004 season with Urban Meyer. I think Urban was key to get this rivalry really fueled up again. He only referred to BYU as "the school down south," and this really got things going for me.

Since Urban's departure as he used the school for a footstool to get the Florida job, Rice-Eccles stadium can be seen half-full as usual on Saturdays as the Ute fans crawled back into their duplexes for some hibernation as Klassless Kyle Whittingham brought them back down to respectable mediocrity.

But after the Michigan win to start off the season, Ute-mania was back. Although the yewts failed to fill the stadium against the likes of Weber State and Colorado State this year, they have had their highest attendance ever this season as they have filled up the stands for UNLV, Oregon State and TCU.

But what I am trying to say is being around all the Utah fans in 2004 with their program being at their peak and BYU being at its worst really helped intensify my hatred toward the school and its fans.

In 2005, I accepted a job at the University of Utah for a summer and I really grew to dislike their second-rate facilities and atmosphere. I won't lie. The campus is kind of dumpish.

It's funny. Utah owned basketball in this region under Rick Majerus and his crazy ways for nearly twenty years (including a national runner up finish to Kentucky in March Madness in 1998). So Utah was considered a basketball school.

Side note: My boss with the Baltimore Ravens was the roommate of Rick Majerus' back in Marquette in the 1970s. His wife always told the best stories on how much of a slob Rick Majerus is. Terrific basketball coach, but a polarizing individual. Caring, but crazy would be the best way to describe him as this Sports Illustrated article points out.

During Urban Meyer's two grandioso seasons there, all of a sudden it was a football school for its fans and its basketball program didn't even exist anymore. Interesting...

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that my hatred towards Utah and its fans is still in its budding stages and will only continue to grow as I live in SLC.

I guess if I were a lifetime Utah fan, and all of a sudden moved to Utah County, I would probably feel the same growth in angst towards my rival with the submersion into a different culture.

If it's this bad here with only 45 miles of distance between the schools, I cannot begin to imagine what Duke and North Carolina basketball fans feel towards each other with a much deeper tradition and only 7 miles of separation.

Speaking of Utah basketball, how about that season opening loss to Division II Southwest Baptist at the Huntsman Center?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rivalry Week: Best Prank Ever

It's rivalry week! Time for Cougs to make fun of Utes and Utes to come back with witty retorts. It's the only week of the year where Mormons really do hate other Mormons.

The "Holy War" is on! BYU vs. Utah. It's the biggest matchup ever! BYU is 10-1 while the hated Yewts are 11-0 and looking to bust the stupid BCS for the second time in the past five seasons.

BYU has won the past two games on some miraculous plays, thank you. But this year, more has been on the line than in any previous season in a century!
The following is a true story.

To get the week started off on the right foot, a few Cougar fans who work at Zions Bank decided to pull a sweet prank on one of the big wigs, who happens to be a big University of Utah fan.

They actually found and hired a window washer for the corporate building in downtown Salt Lake City. (notice the blue collar contractee is wearing a Utah hat received when he got his degree in commercial window washing from the U, plus he's a SELLOUT for accepting the bid.)


Then, they had him climb up the building.

The professional then applied big "Y" logo to the outside his office window

This way, he would be unable to rip the sign down.


Oh, the ingenuity!


Here is the official quote of the boss who was punked:

"We will hunt you down and kill you!"


Paying a guy to put up a "Y" sign on the outside of a building: about $150
Paying a guy to take down that same "Y" sign a week later: $150
Rubbin it in a Utes face: Worth every single penny

Monday, November 17, 2008

Game 10: The LeBrons 105 Utah Backups 93

No Deron, no Memo, no AK47 and no Harpring = another Jazz road loss.

I will have to say, LeBron James has the ability to be the best player in NBA history by the time he retires. Yes, better than Wilt, better than Oscar Robertson, better than Kareem, Magic, Bird and Kobe. And yes... better than Michael Jordan. That's right, I said it!

LeBron is a freak of nature. He has the body of Karl Malone, the quickness of Michael Jordan, and the passing ability of Magic Johnson, all combined into one. With his body and talent, he makes plays that no other player can make: jumpers, 3-pointers, drives, dunks, steals, passes and even blocks. There isn't anything he can't do!

The only thing that could make Jordan better is the number of championships and his desire and competitiveness to win every single game. LeBron hasn't shown us that killer instinct that Jordan possessed that even drove him to his first "retirement" (remember when he played minor league baseball) because of his gambling problems.

Jordan wanted to win everything! But he taught us a lesson that nobody can beat the casinos, nobody! Not even his Airness. Kobe has that drive, but last years NBA Finals taught us that he is no Jordan.

LeBron can be the best ever, but only if he wants it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Game 9: Bobkittys 104 Jazz 96

No Deron, no Memo, no AK47 = Jazz loss. But really, the Charlotte Bobcats? Really?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Game 8: Washington DC 95 Utah 87 + DILEMMA

Remember that Michael Jordan played for the Wizards? That was the only time I ever saw Jordan in person. His final game at the Delta Center. He scored only 11 points and the Jazz won by 40. But hey, I can tell my grandkids that I saw Jordan play.

So the Wizards were 0-5 before this game, but leave it up to the Jazz to blow this one on the road in the final 2 minutes. Nuff said about the Jazz on the road.

DILEMMA

Back in July, my friend Rhett had a great idea. We both knew that Utah and BYU had very good teams and very winnable schedules, and we decided after Beck-to-Harline in 2006, that we wanted to be at the next BYU vs. Utah football game.

He researched every angle to purchase tickets to the game. Single game tickets were expensive and not guaranteed. The BYU Cougar Club only got tickets for its biggest sponsors, and we don't have that kind of cash. Finally, he purchased 4 Utah season tickets in the north end zone at only $87 bucks for the entire season. We decided that the BYU game on November 22 was worth the money spent before the season ever started.

Well, Utah took care of business at Michigan in the season opener, and BYU looked really, really good until the TCU game. Right now tickets are going for the highly anticipated matchup on November 22 for an average of $250 dollars on craigslist.

I've been in this mental dilemma since the TCU game about whether it's worth it to just sell the tickets and triple my initial investment. After watching Utah defeat TCU, I'm convinced that if the two teams played right now, Utah has a 70% chance of winning. Before BYU lost to TCU, I would have said that BYU had the 70% chance of winning.

If BYU wins at Air Force next week, I'd say that Utah would only have about a 60% chance of winning the week of the BYU vs. Utah game.

Anyway, if I sell my tickets and BYU loses, I'd feel good 'cause I'd make some money. But the decision to buy the season tickets this summer was not about the money. It was about watching BYU win at Rice Eccles Stadium. If I sell the tickets and BYU wins, it will nullify the decision I made 5 months ago.

If I go the game and BYU loses, I'll have to sit there and watch Utah fans celebrate not only their favorite victory of the season (the one that usually redeems Kyle Whittingham and his typical mediocrity), but I'll get to watch Utah bust the BCS for their second time (2004 and 2008), where BYU will have fallen short of busting the BCS for the second time (2001 and 2008). I can't imagine being present to witness this nightmare.

But.................... If I go to the game and BYU wins and ruins the Utes chance to get into the BCS, I can stand there in my blue shirt and hold up my fingers to let them know who is No. 1 (I can't tell you which finger I might choose for this expression of glee)!

I don't think I am emotionally ready to handle a Cougar loss to the in-state rival, but if Max Hall and company to generate a win, I'm totally there, which was the plan the entire time.

I guess I may have to wait to make my decision to see what happens at Air Force. It's nerve racking to be a Cougar alumnus.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Game 7: Utah 93 Philadelphia 80 PLUS Forever Strong

Deron Williams is back! My mancrush is back! With Mehmet Okur's father in intensive care back in Turkey, I believe Deron came back to the team a little earlier than he wanted to, but hey, we won!

Rookie Kosta Koufos (C) started for the Jazz in Okur's absence. I dunno how many white 7-footers who don't block shots the Jazz need to draft, but the 19-year old did okay in his first start. A little nervous and tentative at first, but he did okay.

Ronnie Brewer (SG) is just simply amazing. I'm so glad the Jazz did not draft another Duke washout in J.J. Redick or undeveloped Sene, the 7' 3'' shot blocker who isn't even in the league anymore. Brewer is improving and even hitting three-pointers now!

MOVIE REVIEW: FOREVER STRONG

Yesterday was Veteran's Day and I didn't have to work. So we went to the movies and decided to watch the movie "Forever Strong" about the Salt Lake City high school Highland High's rugby team.

I'd have to say it was a very good movie considering it was about a sport no American understands, rugby.

The main actor, Sean Faris, looks a lot like a young Tom Cruise. He was also in a recent teenage sports movie about mixed martial arts called "Never Back Down." Although that terrible movie had its moments, "Forever Strong" was much, much better. Not even in the same league.

The movie featured Gary Cole (Mr. Lumberg from "Office Space"), Sean Astin ("Rudy") and Penn Badgley from "Gossip Girl." Ladies, I think Penn Badgley should have been Edward Cullen in "Twilight" instead of British lame-o Robert Pattinson.

Even Chris Farley's girlfriend from "Tommy Boy" makes an appearance as the mom.

The only girl in the movie looked way too Mormon and had some funky blond mom hairdo that kept throwing me off. But this movie never really developed any relationships except for the important relationship between the main boy and his coach and the boy and his domineering father.

The movie was very well done for a local story and a local budget. It is one that you should definitely see on a date, or just to see a sports movie or take the family to it.

The Highland High rugby team has had such starts as current BYU running back Fui Vakapuna, and current Baltimore Ravens star defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, who is on the verge of making his first Pro Bowl as the Ravens are on a four-game winning streak.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game 6: New York 107 Utah 99

Well, this is the first loss of the year, so I should rip this team apart. I won't. Although the Knicks aren't very good, they have a lot of perimeter scorers, which is ideal for their new system under head coach Mike D'Antoni.

New York SG Jamal Crawford got hot and stayed that way the entire game. The Jazz held the lead most of the game, but lost it toward the end of the third quarter and could not get it back in the fourth.

AK47 continues to play great in his new role as a 6th man coming off the bench as soon as C.J. Miles picks up two quick fouls because he is not capable of playing defense.

But the one guy that stands out to me is SG Ronnie Brewer. He just keeps getting better and better. He can score, slash, play a little defense and shoot from the perimeter. He has been the most pleasant surprise of the beginning of the season so far. He's just plain awesome and the Jazz need him to stay for a really, really long time.

So the Jazz are 5-1 without Deron Williams, I can accept that. I'm grateful for such a good start without their best player.

Mehmet Okur left the team after this game to attend to a family illness back in Turkey. My guess is it's either his grandparents or one of his parents. With him out, my mancrush PG Deron Williams will return from his ankle sprain a little early. I just hope he doesn't get hurt.

Also, first-round draft choise Kosta Koufos will be starting with Okur being gone. It'll be a little weird, but a great chance to see how good he does. Boozer will need to lead this team against the 76ers on Tuesday night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Game 5: Utah 104, Former Sonics 97

In this game, which was decided in the first quarter, Jerry Sloan notched his 1,000th win with the Utah Jazz over 21 seasons. Since Sloan joined the Jazz, no other team in the entire league besides the Spurs, have had a better record. Congrats.

Now, I've been known to criticize coach Jerry Sloan before. I personally believe a lot of coaches could have done what he has done. Look at the facts:

1) He had Stockton and Malone, the two best at their position during his tenure with the Jazz. They are the two most consistent players in NBA history! Plus, since Stockton and Malone retired, he has a super GM in Kevin O'Conner (although he is a bigtime jerk) who delivered him Boozer, Okur and Deron Wiliams.

2) So to win 60% of your games by having Stockton and Malone, then Boozer and Williams doesn't show me much. I think any average coach could have done that. Plus the fact that the Jazz have ZERO titles to show for having the two best players at their respective positions since 1988 means that he could have celebrated his 1,000th victory.

3) But did he? No! Immediately after the final buzzer, he ran into the locker room and wouldn't even do his local media the courtesy of an interview. Instead we had to listen to Kyle Korver talk about his only dunk of the year, yippee! Some people think that it's awesome that Sloan is so "humble," but I just think he is a old cantankerous sourpuss.

Dear Jerry:

Please retire soon so that Williams and Boozer can win us a title, and you won't be the one holding them back. Because you've never won a playoff series as the lower seed, even if you had the better players. But shucks, you've lost plenty of playoff series where we had the higher seed, and always blamed the players lack of effort. How about your lack of mental effort to always be outcoached by a less talented team?

Sincerely,

Disgruntled Jazz fan with an ultimatum.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Note From the Editor: The Haka Is Stupid

Hello. This is Jon, the editor of Average Joe's Sports Blog. For those of you that don't know me, I upload Joe's posts, put pictures in and correct any misspellings i happen to come across.

If you don't mind, I'd like to voice a sports opinion that has been bugging me lately and this is a better venue for it than my own blog.

You know the "haka," that "intense" dance that some BYU players perform for the east stands before home games? Well, It's stupid. I know that may potentially be offensive, but it's true. Trust me on this. It sucks and I think it's a silly deterrent to BYU football.

I may be culturally insensitive, but I'm not culturally ignorant. I served my mission in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand and I'm very much aware of the haka. That's probably the biggest reason I hate it actually. I've seen the haka performed 4 1/2 jillion times. The first jillion times was, honestly, pretty cool. Now, after being home for like five years or so I'm sick of dealing with it here as well. It was cool when I first saw it, but it's played out now. And when I say "now" I mean the last two centuries.

Also, the haka they perform is the Maori haka. I haven't bothered to do the research, but I'm pretty sure the percentage of Maori or New Zealand players on the BYU football team is less than 2% (and I think I'm being plenty generous there). What are these guys doing performing someone else's war dance. We have plenty of other Polynesians on the team. Why not do a Samoan war dance? Doesn't that make sense? Wouldn't that stir up more legitimate emotion? Perhaps if it was a rugby match the use of the haka would be slightly more justified, but we play football in Lavell Edwards Stadium.

But here's the biggest reason why the haka should be stopped. It's not, and never has been, for the entertainment of the home crowd. The haka is a war dance. It's meant to be directed at the enemy. The BYU players who participate in the haka need to be facing the opposition when they perform it. Why would our players be attempting to intimidate the fans?

Check out this picture of the New Zealand All-Blacks. Notice that they're facing the rugby team they're playing. In this case it's the hand-holding nation of South Africa. They're performing the haka just like the Maoris used to -- just before battle and facing their foes. Of course that's also when the British open-fired on them. See, that's another reason not to do it.

The haka doesn't work. It doesn't do anything. And I think we can all see why.

Game 4: Utah 103 Portland 96

So, my car wouldn't start (dead battery) and I couldn't teach my usual Wednesday night financial class. I decided to watch the Portland game live (instead of the usual TiVo'd recap).

The pre-game introductions still bug me, but hey if Chicago won six titles with those, maybe the Jazz can get just one, so that I can remain a Jazz fan for the rest of my life.

Portland was on fire in the first half. They couldn't miss a three pointer in the first half, and led at the half by four points. AK47 still impresses me off the bench. Kirilenko plus Paul Millsap just wreaked havoc as a second unit.

The Jazz finally started to get in gear in the second half. Mehmet Okur was money all night long and finished with 22 points. I'll take a 4-0 start without Deron Williams all day, no matter who we play. I think he can help this team immensely with the offense upon his return. I have been impressed with the Jazz defense through the first four games.

Side note: I went to the TCU vs. Utah game Thursday night. The entire stadium wore black and the effect worked. Utah saved its best for last -- similar to the Oregon State game. Some of the meanest, crudest, b-tchiest girls I have ever witnessed sat in front of us during the first half. It was a train wreck. I couldn't keep my eyes off their behavior and tried to figure out why they thought they could act like that. If they would have messed with us, I might have dropped a few choice words, but I am glad it didn't come to that.

The upcoming game on November 22 looms with even greater purpose. I may be willing to sell my ticket to the highest bidder...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Game 3: Jazz 89 L.A. Clippers 73

THIS IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT for all you ladies out there who love Kyle Korver. If you go to the game on Friday night against the Thunder and bring in a new coat to donate to charity, you and a guest will get a voucher for an autograph session after the game with Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer Kyler Korver. Maybe he'll even sign like Happy Gilmore...

Since the game was in Los Angeles, there were no pregame introductions to rant about.

1st Quarter: The Jazz looked a little lethargic. Boozer played well, but C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver cannot guard anybody.

2nd Quarter: Andrei Kirilenko coming off the bench is just awesome. He gets rebounds, scores, passes and plays incredible defense. It's nice to have him back and in a role he can excel at. It's not even awkward if he takes a long jumper anymore with his new role.

3rd Quarter: Somehow the Jazz cannot seem to break this game open like they did on Saturday night in Salt Lake.

4th Quarter: The game is close, then Paul Millsap takes over. He scores 15 straight points, capping it off with an in-your-face-dunk over 7-foot center Chris "Caveman" Kaman. He played so well that Carlos Boozer didn't even have to come back into the game and got some rest for the upcoming Blazers game.

I still mean it that this is the year for the Jazz to win the title, or else I pick a new team to follow. It's like trying to date a girl who won't commit to a all-out relationship, but she likes to keep you close and gets stupidly jealous even when you're not boyfriend & girlfriend. The Jazz have just been teasing me all these years, and unless they commit to my fanhood desires for a championship, it's time to find someone who will.

Boozer, Korver, Okur and Millsap are up for a new contract. Not to mention that Sloan may just retire after this year. I'm getting the feeling that it's coming very soon for him.

Now is the time to take advantage of it! Hopefully Kobe's decision to not get surgury on his pinky will come back to haunt him so the Jazz can win the West, then take care of business in the Finals. We need homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs for this to happen, so 3-0 without Deron Williams is a good start. Thanks lowly Clippers!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Game 2: Utah 101 L.A. Clippers 79

I missed most of this game because I was working. But I was able to watch it on TiVo.

Pre-tip: I still can't believe that the Jazz spent 2 million dollars for the introduction of the starters, then copied the 1990 Chicago Bulls. Way to be original.

1st Quarter: Ronnie Price looked good running the point. Clippers forward Tim Thomas is the biggest waste of 6' 10'' and basketball talent ever. He plays the power forward because of his height, but he plays like a shooting guard. He doesn't rebound and can't play a lick of defense.

2nd Quarter: Andrei Kirilenko will win the 6th man of the year award since All-Star Manu Ginobili of the Spurs is missing the first two months of the season. AK47 was the difference in the game: rebounds, passing, scoring and defense. He does it all!

3rd Quarter: The Jazz blew this game open late in the third, but I missed how because my TiVo wouldn't work.

4th Quarter: Garbage time. It was interesting to see the trade the Jazz made in the offseason, where we gave up PG Jason Hart to get PG Brevin Knight from the Clippers and the Jazz saved money. These two battled a bit in the 4th quarter and Brevin is clearly the better player, and better for the Jazz. Jazz color commentator Ron Boone, who should be stripped of his media credential for being a moron, keeps calling him Brever, rhymes with Trevor, Knight. He is by far the dumbest color commentator I have ever witnessed, and there are some pretty lame ones out there.

In all, the Jazz move to 2-0 against a Carmelo-less Nuggets team, and a Baron Davis-less Clippers team. Granted, the Jazz are missing their best player in my man crush Deron Williams. The Clippers are so bad that head coach Jerry Sloan missed the game due to the flu.

Side note: BYU barely beat Colorado State 45-42 in dramatic fashion in Fort Collins. Utah barely beat New Mexico 13-10 in Albuquerque. Texas Tech upset No. 1 Texas is an amazing finish. And Real Salt Lake won their first ever playoff game 1-0 with a goal scored in the final minute. All exciting stuff! Go state of Utah.

Friday, October 31, 2008

GAME 1: Utah 98 Denver 94

I decided that since this will be my last season following sports (the NBA especially) I would try to watch every Jazz game and write my own synopsis after each game. We'll start with the season opener Wednesday night.   

Pregame: The Jazz decided to go lights out for the pre-game introductions for the first time ever. They even spent two million dollars upgrading their sound and light system to do so. It only took them 28 years to do this. The Utah Blaze, who pay Larry H. Miller to use his building, have been doing it since their innagural game back in 2006.   

But before the lights went out, let's hear the national anthem sung by platinum selling recording country artist Collin Ray. Wow, if this guy can make millions with his vocal talents, I need to get into country music after this season. His voice was marginally above average at best. I've heard better at Karaoke night minus the country twang. Arghhh, I have a firm belief that country music will be on a continuous loop down in hell.   

So, the lights go out and the music starts blaring pump up music. Everything's fine except for one thing: THE UTAH JAZZ STOLE MICHAEL JORDAN'S MUSIC FROM THE CHICAGO BULLS DYNASTY! What the hell! How unoriginal is that! Hey let's copy the Bulls. The team who kicked our butts for two years in the Finals. What a great idea! If I were a member of the marketing committee of the team, and I were in that planning meeting, as a Jazz fan, I would fight this with all my soul even if it cost me my job. I know that the Jazz always play music that is ten years behind the times, but to be this unoriginal to borrow the dynasty music from the 1990s Chicago Bulls is just infuriating! Maybe I should just quit my fanhood right now!   

(steam coming out of my ears)...........................................   

Ok. Now that I've calmed down to the point where my fingers stopped shaking, I can type again.   
Game Summary: Jazz were without my mancrush Deron Williams. Nuggets were without notorious wannabe homegrown Baltimore "gangsta" Carmelo Anthony who was suspended for a DUI arrest in the summer. UVSC (yes, Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah) graduate Ronnie Price started at the point guard.   

The game went back and forth for pretty much the first half. Ronnie Brewer looks even better this year because he actually knocked down a few jumpers in this game. Andrei Kirilenko (AK47) played really well as the Jazz new sixth man off the bench. I like him in this role, especially because it looks like new starter C.J. Miles can't help himself from getting into foul trouble. KORVER ALERT: Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer Kyle Korver got a haircut! I wonder which Utah bombshell talked him into that.   

Carlos Boozer dominated the game on the inside. He finished with his usual double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds. I expect a good year out of him. He can opt out for more money this year, so he'll play well. Also, his family now lives with him in Utah.   

If you wanna see a very inspirational story, check this link to Carlos Boozer and his wife CeCe battle their baby boy's sickel cell disease. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=boozers&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab6pos1 What amazing faith and determination!   

Only 81 more games to my fanhood funeral. See ya next time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Williams vs. Stockton: Joe's NBA Preview

This post has been sponsored by our new sponsor in Canada.

Ok. Since the BYU loss to TCU, I've really started to question my fanhood in sports altogether. What's the point?!?!?! It's just a bunch of millionaires or college "gods" playing a game. My life should mean more than this...

I also recently applied to be the PR person for the BYU football team, but finally received my rejection letter in the mail yesterday. A nice little wake up call that sports get plenty out of you, but give little in return.

To really hit the point home, I recently received a message on MySpace from a dude back in high school who found me online to see how the last 10 years went. He told me that I came up in a conversation he had with another high school buddy, and wondered if I had made it big in the music industry. Arghhh... So I decided that since BYU is cooked after their really scary win against UNLV last weekend (yes, I ate another Bratwurst in a maple bar!), that if the Jazz don't win it all this year, music will become my passion once again, whether I like it or not.

I'll even have to change my blog to www.averagejoesmusic.com, because I have no future in the entertainment business in sports or acting after our 2008 Halloween movie.

So that's my NBA preview. I don't really care who wins or what happens. The Jazz are the deepest they have ever been since I started caring about sports in 1990. I don't care about the Lakers or Celtics or even Chris Paul or Greg Oden. All I care about is if Jerry Sloan will finally win a playoff series as a lower seed. It hasn't happen after 1,000 career wins or 20 seasons (and you can't count the Houston series the last two years because we were the division champs). Maybe Utah will have to have home court advantage throughout the playoffs (oh yeah, that already happened in 1998 when we lost to Jordan).

If anybody knew me in high school in the state of Washington, I was the biggest John Stockton and Jazz fan outside the state of Utah. I lived and breathed the Utah Jazz as much as I could. Back before the internet, I would call a local sports line every night the Jazz played as I crawled into bed to find out the scores, and then I would note them in my Jazz season schedule I had to get from my brother-in-law in Utah. I noted every single game.

So anyway, I wanted to be the next John Stockton so bad (as you read in my regret column a few weeks ago), and I had over 50 basketball cards of him. I even went to Niketown in Portland, Oregon and requested to find out which shoes he wore (Nike Force) so I could get myself a pair.
But my newest man-crush is Deron Williams. I will have to put myself on trial for high treason for me to say that I may like Deron Williams better than my childhood hero of John Stockton, but I just might do that. I know this is blasphemous, but here are some of my reasons:

1) Deron dunks: I know Stockton never did in a game, and he is the all-time assists and steals leader who nobody will catch before World War III, but I always wished he would throw down on a fast break, just once. Deron's dunk on 7-foot shot blocker Tyson Chander last season was surreal!

2) Deron is clutch: I know Stockton was clutch with his 3-pointer over Charles Barkley that put the Jazz in the NBA Finals back in 1997, but Stockton almost always referred to Karl Malone in the clutch moments, which is one of the reasons why the Jazz choked during his 18-seasons. The few times he took the game over, they won. Deron is more inclined to take over the game, and will be selfish when he needs to be. Stockton was too pure of a point guard in the Bob Cousy mold to do that.

3) Deron's beard: I know that Stockton had the hairy chest and the short shorts that even got a mention from Jennifer Aniston from Friends when Friends was at their ultimate peak, which nobody can take from him, BUT Deron's new beard is freakin' awesome! It lets the team know that he's in charge, even though he's only 24.

4) Deron actually likes Utah: Stockton always shied away from public appearances, and lived in Spokane, WA next door to his dad during the offseason. He never did commercials, and the second he retired, he jettisoned from town almost never to be seen again. Deron lives in Utah during the offseason. He does public appearances and charity golf courses. He smiles and signs autographs when kids show up. You'd never, EVER get that out of Stockton, EVER!

5) Deron speaks to the media: Stockton never liked the media, and that was it. His retirement announcement was super awkward the day as he was cleaning out his locker. Deron does a weekly radio broadcast, even if it is with that mega tool David Locke on 1320 KFAN. Even Deron knows he's an absolute tool, and you can tell he has a hard time putting up with him each Wednesday at 5 p.m., but he likes being on the radio and gives decent movie reviews, too.

That's all I have for now. I know that Stockton has 20 years of professionalism and stats to prove that he is the better point guard... for now. I just think that the Jazz may go further under 10 years of Deron than the 20 years that we got with Stockton. Although we never missed the playoffs with Stockton as the starter, we haven't yet with Deron as the starting point guard either. This years team is very deep on paper, and if that translates into an NBA Championship this season, then I'll take that over the assists and steals record, PERIOD. Plus, this argument will be settled once and for all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My First Handball Experience

Many of you may not know, but I recently applied to be the Public Relations Manager for USA Team Handball. No, not the handball where a pair of old sweaty dudes use their hands to slap a raquetball against the wall. But team handball is an official Olympic sport. It was the last gold medal given in Beijing to France, who beat the underdog Iceland team in the Final match of the Olympics before Closing Ceremonies.

Needless to say, I didn't get this part-time job due to my conflict of working at the bank 40 hours a week. But my interviewer, Steve Pastorino (former general manager of Real Salt Lake), hired me as a freelance writer for the official website. Apparently, the United States is now committed to getting a team in the Olympics in London 2012. We haven't qualified since 1996, when we were the host country in Atlanta.

It's a pretty cool sports, although many Americans don't even know what it is. I'll admit, I had no idea what Handball was when I applied for the job, but since the headquarters had been moved to Salt Lake City only a few months ago, I figured it could be a way of getting involved in something pretty epic from the ground level.

After writing a few articles and learning more about the sport, I figured it would be fun to actually play it, then blog what it was all about. That led me to a normal Tuesday evening headed to the Taylorsville Rec Center.

I arrived and found a bunch of teenagers doing warm ups with two indoor soccer nets set up on each end of the basketball courts. I figured I found the right place but I wasn't sure.

I went over an introduced myself to the man in charge, Amir (originally from Bosnia). I recognized his face from the team website and my initial interview at the team office. He told me to go and warm up on the sidelines as he was starting to get the drills going.

I went and streched (something I normally don't do when I play basketball and dunkball with the guys) and then a nice gentleman named Fong (originally from Vietnam) introduced himself and started teaching me the basic techniques one-on-one.

In handball, you always throw with the ball high behind your head as if you are throwing a javelin. Chest passes are rare, and you can never be lazy with your passes.

Also, you can take three steps once you catch a pass or pick up your dribble, so 15 years of basketball training is out the window because you feel like you are always traveling.

The ball is slightly bigger than a mini-basketball and is not super leathery like a basketball, but heavy enough that you can get some velocity on your throws. You need to throw the ball hard if you're going to get it past the goalkeeper.

After warming up with Fong for about 20 minutes of throwing, catching and jumping, I realized how out of shape I was. I had to take a water break to run to the bathroom where I felt I was going to hurl. And I hadn't even played a game yet!

It felt like my chest would explode, but after about 10 minutes of heavy breathing the nausea wore off. and I was able to return to the drills. It reminded me a lot like the first week of basketball practice back in my sad glory days of high school that I blogged about last week.

We then started to play the game. It felt a little chaotic at first because I wasn't aware of the rules. There is a 6-meter line around the goal where neither the defense nor offense can enter into this "neutral zone".

Playing defense was pretty basic. It's like basketball where you have to get between your man and the goal, but you are allowed to be a lot more physical than basketball, so it was like the physical ugly-style of Knicks basketball that Pat Riley introduced in the 1990's.

Playing offense felt a lot like the Air Force basketball team, where you pass the ball around a "three-point line" (aka the 6-meter line) and take shots on goal once you feel you get an opening between the defense and the goalie.

It's very fast paced, like soccer or Ultimate Frisbee, even though Ultimate is not a sport. I didn't score any goals, but I did clank the ball off the goal posts twice. One poor kid took a ball right in the face from a much bigger player. Wrong place, wrong time. Just part of the game.

Afterwards I ran into an old colleague at BYU who coaches the goalkeepers on the men's team, and he was also there for the first time. I also met a BYU student who just started up the handball club on Provo campus to help find athletes for the U.S. National tryouts coming in a few months.

The team is looking for exciting new athletes, most likely not me. I would guess the ideal potential Olympic player would be a running back/pitcher/volleyball or just Lebron James himself. You'll also need your speed guys on the wings to be your offensive specialists, and a point guard type player who can score and set up his/her teammates. Not to mention a few bigger guys in the trenches and an experienced indoor soccer goalie.

Would I play handball again? Absolutely! It was the best workout I have had in a long time, and it used muscles that have atrophied over the years at my cubicle. My arms, shoulders, back and legs ache. I just sneezed at my desk and it hurt my entire torso.

I was so ninja-pumped about my experience I immediately went home and watched some highlight's on NBC's website and started spreading the word to my friends. But overall it's still not as fun as Dunkball, Kristi.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TCU 32 BYU 7: Recovering...

So, I purposely didn't write a blog entry after the BYU vs. TCU debacle last Thursday night. I was too down in the dumps. My whole year went out the tube. My BCS dreams were smashed. November 22 suddenly didn't mean as much to me. It took a few days to console the pain. But since my unrealistic expecations of the Cougars were brought back down to earth, I can remember that BYU fans, like myself, think that our team is a lot better than it really is.

I don't have a good segue for my next few lines, but I just thought I would put out some random thoughts:

a) BYU got totally outplayed from the opening kickoff. It was such a shocker that we turned it off at the start of the 4th quarter. I can't believe that the senior-laden offensive line would allow that much pressure, and I can't believe how poorly Max Hall handled the pressure.

b) I was surprised that BYU dropped no lower that 20 in the AP and Coach's poll, but it also helped that several teams behind BYU also lost.

c) I went to the Colorado State vs. Utah game on Saturday with a friend who invited me to a tailgate thing for her work with super delicious food. I was a little unnerved that Utah fans (including the "loyal" Muss student section) decided not to show up for the game. There were empty seats everywhere.

If I were a Ute fan and BYU just lost, meaning I was the frontrunner for the BCS Bowl game, then I would totally turn out to support my team on such a beautiful day of football weather, even if it was to trounce Colorado State.

d) If things couldn't get any worse over the weekend, Utah Jazz PG Deron Williams sprained his ankle over the weekend and will miss the first few games of the Jazz season.

e) Our 2008 Halloween movie is done filming. Hopefully we can get it edited before Monday.

f) San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan was fired last night. I was really bummed to hear about that because he is a great man. I knew him when he coached the defense of the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. His wife brought in excellent chocolate chip cookies every Tuesday. Good luck, Mike. I know you'll find a new coaching job.

g) I finally watched Joe Thiesman's leg snap in half on Sports Center last night. I dunno if any of you remember this from the '80s, but he was the quarterback of the Redskins who got tackled funny, and his shin snapped in two like a twig. I missed it growing up, but it's probably the most famous sports injury of all-time. It was supremely grosteque, but I couldn't help but to rewind it a few times just to witness it first hand. Arghhhhhhh! OUCH! I'm sure there is a clip on Youtube, but it doesn't do it as much justice as a big screen TV.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BYU 21 New Mexico 3 + Man Food Reviews (+ Video and Picture)

October 11, 2008:

How to start out a Saturday morning.... woke up around 11. Friday night was a super late night because we were filming Jon's Halloween movie '08 until 2:30 in the morning. P.S. It may be better than Massacre on West Capitol '05. More stunts! More Action! More to come later...

I realized that I left my ticket to the game at work, so I had to go to my office on a Saturday. First time I've done that in 2 1/2 years working at Zions Bank. It felt really weird going into a closed bank (except for the Drive thru) and searching through my cubicle. It's probably as close to a bank heist as I'll ever experience. No van. No machine guns. Sorry to disappoint.

I had dreaded the game all weekend because it was supposed to be cold, rainy, and snowy all at the same time. I can take the cold, but I CANNOT stand being cold and WET. It's the worst combination ever.

But speaking of combinations... This was my reason for attending the game. Yes it was cold. Luckily, it didn't rain on us. (I even had my emergency poncho ready with the 5 layers of clothes I wore over my thermals). It was time to taste test the Brat-tail.

What is a Brat Tail? Bratwurst in a maple bar! The maple bars are called Cougar Tails on BYU campus. Here is video footage of the taste test. Thanks to Zack, Nick, Jon and Scott for trying them out. Scott was missed in the video because he cannot leave his seat 1 minute before the half to beat the lines due to his fan credo...



Overall impression: Excellent. It's like a McGriddle without the egg and cheese. BTW, I would have happily put some melted cheese on it, maybe even nacho! I thought it was a tiny bit dry so I would pour some more maple on it and eat it with a knife and fork. I plan on eating a Brat-Tail at the final two home games.

Anyway, BYU won a bore-fest, 21-3, over New Mexico. They had problems on third downs. BYU didn't convert enough, and New Mexico converted way too many, but we won without dropping in the polls.


I also found a few other Man Food joints over the past week. Here are some quick reviews...

The Philadelphian (9800 S 700 E in Sandy): Amazing, amazing food. I don't even like Philly Cheese Steaks, but there were monstrous. Plus the fries, onion rings, and fried mushrooms are made and deep fried fresh. The cleanliness of the restaurant was about a zero on a scale of 1-10, but that's what man food is all about.

The Wing Coup (4100 S and Redwood): It's like Wingers on crack! Over 20 different wing sauces to choose from with tons of dipping sauces and sides. It's a little slow, but the food is fresh and made to order. I would recommend getting a take out order and picking it up before a Super Bowl party or something. There are some sauces that aren't so great, but I'll keep going back for more until I find the perfect Average Joe Flavor.

Charlie Chow's (4th South and 3rd East Downtown): Ask for the grill. It's basically Mongolian BBQ and you can pick all the stuff out yourself. It's only about 9 bucks and it's all you can eat. So after you've tried orange beef with noodles, go back for lemon chicken with rice, or add many water chestnuts as your bowl will hold. Toss on a fried egg for protein. Excellent grub.

Please submit any ideas for other locations I can check out for Man Food. No more sissy chick places were you pay 20 bucks for ambiance and tiny portions. The greasier and dive-ier, the better.

Next week: No. 8 BYU at No. 24 TCU, Thursday night 6 p.m. on VS. BYU hasn't beaten one ranked team on the road in 10 years... Guess who, the last time they played TCU in Texas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How Did I Get Involved With Sports?

Last night, I went to the Weezer concert just a few blocks from my current residence. I have to admit, I wasn't that excited to pay 50 bucks to see them. I haven't seen Weezer since their "Pinkerton" tour with No Doubt in 1996. Weezer is one of my all-time favorite bands from my high school days.   

The concert got off to an awkward start thanks to the opener Angels & Airwaves, featuring Tom DeLonge of Blink 182. Tom is trying to be more serious after his "punk" boy band Blink 182. I can respect his over-the-top theatrics. One can sense his seriousness in the project and not help but take note that he has matured beyond the glory days of all the high school girls his band swooned of my kid sister's generation.   

"Epic" rock is so hot right now in the music world, anyway. Many bands like Angels & Airwaves, My Chemical Romance, Dream Theater and Muse are going for the epic feel of U2's "Rattle and Hum" or Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." But with Tom's gaping-hole-sized-lack of vocal talent, I'd have to call his new project "Shepic Rock" as in sh-tty epic rock.   

Weezer came on stage dressed in cool white jump suits and opened with the first track "My Name is Jonas" off their first self-titled Blue record. They played almost all of their hit singles from their six albums and stayed on stage for over 120 minutes. They tried to promote some of their new songs from their new Red self-title album, and all the members of the band (including the drummer) even took turns singing the lead vocals of their own songs that nobody recognized. During these songs, we all clapped at their efforts like the way the Beatles treated Ringo.   

Overall, I'm very glad I attended. It seems that Weezer, and especially Rivers Cuomo, have reached the appreciative stage of their careers where they realize they truly do have a boatload of fans who appreciate them for who they truly are: Nerd Rock. Weezer fans have always been very loyal, and their hit singles have always delivered great pop hooks to attract music lovers from all genres.   

While I was there, I realized that going to a Weezer concert fits me and my personality a lot more than following the NFL draft.   

Which led me to ask myself, "How did I ever get so enveloped in sports in the first place?"  

Growing up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, sports were never a part of my life. My life consisted of piano lessons and Legos. I could play Mozart, Bach, Beethoven by the age of 10; but couldn't have begun to tell you how to play football because there are so many complicated rules, unlike soccer where you just ran around at recess and kicked the ball.   

It all started in 5th grade in Mr. Butts' class after my family moved to Kennewick, Washington. Unfortunately his first name was Dave and not something more funny as in Harry or Seymour. He had some basic elementary books about the NFL. I would read those during reading time and discovered Barry Sanders, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.   

That led to Ken Griffey Jr., Upperdeck baseball cards and playing hoop at the local neighborhood park.  

I never played Little League baseball or youth soccer growing up. Finally in 6th grade, my mom signed me up for Pee Wee football and I think I weighed about 80-100 pounds at the time. I had never played football before, and was one of the last players off the bench. Our team went undefeated until the championship game, which we lost.   

I hated my first experience with football. Sure, we won, but it stunk -- hard. My teammates and even my coaches were very mean, and they would purposely throw the ball as hard as they could at me after practice because I was such a wimp. They pretended like it was extra practice to help me catch the ball better, but I knew they were mocking me.   

For some stupid reason, I signed up to play in 7th and 8th grade, but I never started. I was always too small, too skinny, too slow and too unskilled. At that time, I attended a summer basketball camp by the Seattle Supersonics with the "X-man," Xavier McDaniel. I thought I was much better at basketball than football because I scored two layups in my first game.   

I was still involved in orchestra and jazz band, but sports moved moved way ahead of music and video games on my interest list.   

All through high school, all I ever wanted to do was make the varsity basketball team. Former Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton became my new idol as the-skinny-white-guy-who-could from Spokane, WA. I've met several male peers from Utah with the same childhood hero and dreams.    

I got cut from the freshman team and the sophomore team. I remember crying after seeing my name on the list of cuts that sophomore year. That one hurt. I knew that I had no shot of making the varsity team after that.   

Out of nowhere during my junior year, my family decided to move 25 miles outside of town to the tiny town of Benton City, WA that boasted not a single street light. My graduating class only had 75 students, so there weren't as many jocks to compete with as my previous high school.   

That year, I didn't make the varsity but I did make the junior varsity team in both basketball and football. There was hope for my senior year, but I knew the coach had his favorites and I wasn't one of them.   

My senior year came and there was a new football and new basketball coach. I missed the summer camps because I was in Utah that summer working for my brother-in-law's business in his hot garage. When I got back just in time for school to start, the new coaches had no idea who I was, and I was out of shape from not playing all summer.   

I got off to a bad start and found myself on the bench. Our team was terribly horrific. We lost every single game... by a lot! We lost our homecoming game 63-0. Each game, I had my opportunities off the bench to come in and play and I thought I did ok. A couple of guys ahead of me got hurt or quit the team, so I knew I was due because of what I believed were strong performances off the bench. But every Monday at practice where I had an opportunity to become the starting cornerback, the coach would bring in someone else from a different position, thus not taking a chance on me to start.    

The football coach even asked me to play junior varsity for a chance to play more, but I had too much pride in being a senior so I declined. I played a lot in our final game, and our dimwitted coach gave me the pat on the back I had been begging for, but it was too little, too late. I wanted to quit football that year to focus on basketball, but the defensive coordinator was also the basketball coach, so I couldn't let him see me as a quitter.   

Basketball tryouts came, and I gave it my all. After a week of sweaty drills, the moment came when the coach announced the team. As each name was read off, I saw my friends and peers walk over next to the coach to form the varsity team that he had selected. My name was not called.   

In disbelief, I stood with the rest of the castoffs as they started to form the junior varsity team. I was about ready to walk into the locker room to change and go home, because I wasn't sure if a senior could even play on the JV. As I turned around, I heard my friends and coaches yell "Evans!" as I really was on the team, but they had forgotten to call my name.   

Glorious! Pure rapture! I had met my goal since 7th grade. I had made varsity basketball! As I was the last name called, that meant I was the last man on the team. Each practice, I had to fight to earn the respect of the coaches. I had always envisioned myself as a point guard after my hero John Stockton. I always practiced and played point, but due to the lack of size on our team, I was put in as a backup power forward. I wasn't good at rebounding or the low block stuff. My strength was passing.   

The season went on, and we won only one or two games. I even missed one of the two wins because of a family emergency that occurred. I finally started the last game of the year: Senior Night. I scored a few buckets in the first quarter, but soon found my way to the back of the bench. With just a few minutes left in the game, and we were losing by 20 points as usual, the coach put all the seniors back in.   

With just under two seconds left in the game, I took the inbounds pass and made a turnaround three-pointer as the buzzer expired. Game. Season. High School Career. Done.   

Not your typical Hollywood ending because of how the game and the season ended, but for me, it was a huge personal victory. I had made the team. Years of effort were condensed into those six months where I had earned my varsity letters in football and basketball.   

I never bought a letterman's jacket to put those letters on. All those hours of trying to prove to the coaches that I was good enough weren't happy memories for me.   

If I had re-focused those countless hours of practicing basketball and football into the piano, bass, viola or any other instrument, I probably would've gone to college on music scholarship.   

Somewhere between the 7th and 8th grade, my focus and attention switched from music (where I was naturally gifted) to sports (where I was never gifted). My parents had never pushed me into sports. My dad was a band geek. My oldest brother was a skater. My next older brother is a computer geek. I was the musician, not the jock.   

After watching Rivers on stage last night reflecting on the art that he had created as Weezer took their final stage bow, I sometimes wonder if that could have been me with the musical talent that I had been given...   

To answer my question of how I got involved with sports, I don't know the answer. It just happened. Maybe I really liked the challenge that sports offered since it didn't come as easy to me as music did. I think the key to a successful life is not becoming so well-rounded and being good at a lot of things, but the key is focusing all your efforts on the gifts that God gave you to become the best at what you are good at, as long as you're happy.   

I recently read an article on ESPN about a top basketball prospect that had more natural ability than almost anyone in the country, but he never loved basketball and it drove his coaches and peers crazy. He liked books and working on cars. The pressure built on him with the basketball expectations that it eventually drove him to drinking and depression, and he recently died broke and "unfulfilled."   

His wife said that he was perfectly happy not playing basketball, but the heavy drinking helped him cope with the "unfulfiled" expectations.   

I guess the real lesson learned is that you have to do what makes you happy, and not what you're good at. In 7th and 8th grade, playing basketball made me happy and that's what I did.   

I can still pick up a bass, piano, guitar or drums and play my heart out. I get a huge rush out of playing on stage in front of people. The nice thing about music: your skills don't deteriorate as you get old like they do in sports so a rocker pushing 40 years old like Rivers can still play his trade well past his prime, and I suspect I'll keep doing the same... in sports, music and writing :)