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. 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, 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 :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

BYU 34 Utah State 14: A Trip to Logan

October 3, 2008:

This may be the only road game that I travel for BYU this season. I will want to go to a bowl game, especially if it is a BCS game.

8:00 A.M. - I woke up to go to the bathroom. Normally I would be late for work, but I took the day off to enjoy my time to Logan.

10:00 A.M. - OK. I can't sleep in any longer. Got up, took a shower and watched TV.

12:00 P.M. - Went to the Graywhale to look for a rare CD for a birthday present for a good friend.

2:30 P.M. - Left SLC to head up to Logan for the game.

4:00 P.M. - Arrived in Logan and looked for lunch... We ate at Juniper. First time I've eaten in 24 hours. It felt goooood.

6:00 P.M. - Kickoff. I had never been to a game at Romney Stadium in Logan. It was kind of cool, because the field is located in what feels like a pit. Our tickets were on the upper side of the student section. You could look past the west side of the stadium and catch a picturesque view of Cache Valley.

7:00 P.M. - BYU jumped out to a 24-0 lead after the 1st quarter thanks to a long 76-yard touchdown pass to WR Austin Collie and two key turnovers that led to points for the Cougars.

8:00 P.M. - The halftime score is 24-0 as neither team scores in the 2nd quarter. It felt a little disturbing that BYU could not score against a very bad Utah State team for 15 minutes. Side note: with Romney stadium experiencing a near sellout, there was a people jam to try and get to the concessions. It took the entire halftime just to make it to the concessions stands. That was super aggravating.

8:45 P.M. - After missing most of the third quarter thanks to the mosh pit and slow lines of high schoolers running the concessions, BYU scores twice to take a 34-0 lead. That marks 2 3/4 games of shutout football by the BYU defense. BYU has now outscored its opponents (UCLA, Wyoming, and Utah State) a combined 137-0 over the span. Wow.

Side Note: I went to get some famous Aggie Ice Cream after the half. They had a sign with 5 different ice cream flavors. I walked up to order and asked for a certain flavor. They gave me this snide, "Why do you think we are standing here serving only vanilla?" (like I was an idiot for asking for chocolate fudge.) First, vanilla wasn't even on their stupid menu! Second, I know I was wearing a BYU t-shirt, but why the 'tude? I am a paying customer. Beloved BYU creamery, I know that you would treat an Aggie customer with kindness had the situation been switched. You have just made certain to me that BYU creamery ice cream is better than Aggie ice cream, and Utah State is an agricultural university!

9:30 P.M. - Utah State breaks through on a 40-yard run to score the first points against the Cougars in nearly three games.

Another side note: There were nine BYU fans that went in our group and we were sandwiched with Aggie fans in front and behind us. They were actually really cool fans, and they weren't acting like annoying Ute fans. I doubt I'll get such luck at Rice Eccles stadium. But hey, isn't that what a great rivalry is about?

9:40 P.M. - Utah State scores again. 34-14. Utah State nearly recovers the onside kick. After 10 more exciting minutes where Utah State threatens to score a few more times, the game ends with almost everybody still there. Aggie fans leave happy that they only lost by 20 points. BYU fans are upset by the poor 4th quarter performance by the Cougars. But on the bright side, at least we had a humbling moment in a sure victory so that we will not overlook New Mexico and TCU looming on the schedule.

10:45 P.M. - A last minute stop to Arctic Circle with friends to celebrate the win over sweet potatoes fries and shakes!

Overall, an awesome adventure. Would I go back to Logan again? Yes! Would I buy Aggie Ice Cream? No! Will BYU drop in the polls? Yes. One spot. No major upsets occurred in the top 10. So the fight for higher rankings continue...