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.

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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.