Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Working" for the Utah Jazz

You know how you sign up for all those free drawings you see at the store, even though deep down, you know your odds of winning are almost nothing? Well, my perspective on all that changed this month after I mailed in my entry from a Zions Bank branch in Draper to “work” for the Utah Jazz for one game.

Last week, I received a phone call from Meikle, director of marketing with the Utah Jazz, informing me that I had won and would assist with the game night promotions staff for the Jazz as they played an upcoming important game against Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets on national TV!

The Utah Jazz, partnered with my employer Zions Bank, provided me with two tickets for the game, a pre-game meal, and a chance to work like a real employee of the Utah Jazz.

My guest and I arrived before the game and were treated to a delicious full course meal including Oreo cheesecake for dessert. The other winning entrants and I met Vice-President of Marketing for the Jazz, who explained our duties for this unique experience. I had actually met this dude a few years back as my former roommate Paul and I interviewed to become marketing interns for the Jazz. He got the job and I didn’t, but I think he just ended working a bunch of minor league baseball Bees games and out at the car race track in Tooele. yipee

During the first half, we were able to enjoy the game from our decent seats in the upper bowl.

At halftime, me and the other winning contestants were brought out to center court and received a plaque as the True Blue Jazz winners with the president of Zions Bank president and the vice president of public relations, Scott Brough, who I also interviewed for a PR job with Zions bank last year.

The halftime entertainer was “Rubber Boy”, who climbed into a tiny box and then did all these weird circus double jointed moves in his awkward routine. It was like a freak show, but I was trying to put myself into his shoes as he uses his unique ability to contort his body to make money, and realized that he’s just a normal person in a weird situation.

Then I put on the headset to help out with game night operations for the second half. I actually really didn’t do squat, but I was able to watch the second half standing courtside as Jazz dancers walked back and forth between the tunnels in between timeouts. I was even able to meet my favorite Jazz dancer, Jocelyn, who also writes a blog for the official Jazz website.

At the end of the third quarter, we made sure that the “Win a date with a Jazz dancer” promotion went smoothly as the Jazz dancer chose the winning dancing contestant to win a date with her, but she was shafted as he chose a pair of autographed Carlos Boozer sneakers instead! SPOILER: The “winner” was actually a plant, as "contest" was all a sham because they actually don’t want real, creepy fans to win dates with Jazz dancers. I guess I’ll have to earn my dates with Jazz dancers, psyche!

During the fourth quarter, the Jazz took control and won the game. I’d have to say it was a cool experience that I won’t get everyday. It made me really wanna achieve my lifelong dream to work for the Jazz, a dream that I had squashed out of my brain a few years back. Only time will tell, but at least I was able to re-establish a few contacts I had with the team.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I went snowboarding last night. I’ve never really written about my snowboarding experiences. There isn’t much to write about really. They're pretty much the same as any average Joe (pun definitely intended).

I went for the first time when I was about 15. My first experience was pretty much just like everybody else. I crashed A LOT, all the way down the hill in fact. It took me over an hour to get down the mountain. I was so sore the next day that my friends and I were smacking each other just revel in the others pain.

After about 2-4 more times, I got the hang of it. Then in college, they offered a sweet price on a season pass for students so I decided to get it my junior and senior year at school.

My junior year, I was going down some awesome treacherous slopes that we had to hike to (I improved greatly that season). While going down, I was boarding by a ravine, and all of a sudden it curved right in front of me. I crashed in the small ditch, but my board hit the other side and my knee smacked me in the mouth.

I rose from the crash and my knee was hurting. I felt around and in my mouth and noticed that my teeth were all jacked up. My front tooth was broken in half, and the tooth next to it was pushed into the canine tooth next to it! So in all, three teeth were jacked. I looked like Sloth from “The Goonies.”

The worst part about the ordeal was that my band had a “important” gig that night I missed which disappointed my fellow band members because I went to the hospital (because all the dentists were closed). They called in an oral surgeon and he yanked my broken front tooth and braced the crooked tooth to the canine so it would go back into place.

So I had to wear a flipper tooth that I could pull in and out for over a year to cover up the gap from my missing front tooth. Needless to say, I didn’t kiss any girls that year.

Cool story: I opted to do an implant instead of a bridge, but because my dental insurance didn’t cover implants, I got the first part of the implant (the post) done in Brazil. I was studying abroad during the summer in Brazil and was walking in a neighborhood, saw a dentist sign, and went it. It sounds shady, but it was a nicer neighborhood and the dentist ended up being great.

The post is when they open your gums, drill into your skull, and put a metal screw in, and close the gums. Then you wait six months to let the bone grow around the screw, re-open the gums and attached a tooth to it. I did the second part in Provo from one of the best implant dentists in the country, Dr. Christiansen. He said that my Brazilian dentist did a fine job, but when he opened my gums, the “American” screw he put in my mouth was a screw he wasn’t familiar with, so he had to jimmy rig a tooth on the screw that would fit.

But my teeth look great now, and every dentist I’ve been to since says that the implant looks great (even on the X-rays)! So the Brazilian and Provo dentist fixed up my snowboarding accident quite nice. In fact, I would have to say that I like my teeth even better now.

So, that’s my only interesting snowboarding story to share.

Friday, March 20, 2009

BYU B-B-Bawk-sketball

(100th post!)

Embarrassing. That is the only word I have to describe another BYU flame-out in the first-round of the NCAA tournament yesterday morning. As always I felt a pain of disgust on the first day of March Madness once again, like I do every season.

The Cougars played scared, tentative and weak. They never challenged Texas A&M, not once! The game was decided in the first four minutes, which should not happen in a #8 vs. #9 matchup. It was plain disgusting.

BYU needs to figure out a way to get past the first round of the Big Dance. Just like football, BYU needs to find away to get past the Las Vegas Bowl.

Maybe my expectations are just too high. Just like the Utah Jazz, I should be happy with making the playoffs. In reality, I should not think of my local teams to be ready to compete at a championship level.

But I know that type of thinking is wrong. If the University of Utah can reach and WIN a Sugar Bowl, if their basketball team can make a Final Four (like in 1998), then what is holding BYU back?

Is it trouble recruiting top athletes due to the Honor Code? Is it terrible coaching in the post-season? Just like Bronco Mendenhall, BYU basketball head coach Dave Rose will be on a short leash with fans if we don’t get out of the first-round of the tournament soon.

I’m sure the administration is delighted with these two coaches because they continue to win plenty of Mountain West Conference games and Honor Code infractions stay at a minimum, but I don’t want to lower my expectations -- especially if Utah has figured a way to play at a championship caliber level.

It makes me sick.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Joe's Jabs

Here are some quick thoughts about sports and stuff this week:

Jazz: The Jazz are riding their best win-streak in 11 years. I’ve kept quiet because I don’t want to jinx it (knock on wood). The sad thing is the NBA playoffs are too long and WAY too predictable. The best Utah can do is the Western Conference Finals, but no way the Jazz get past the Lakers and the NBA’s atrocious refs. It’s way too conspiracy theory if it is in the best interest of the league and its ratings.

Terrell Owens: I have no thoughts on him being cut by the Cowboys and then being signed by the Buffalo Bills, but I happened to be watching Sports Center when the news broke and they treated it like an earthquake just rocked New York and brought in like 15 analysts to talk about it. Dear Disney, I really don’t want to hear 15 different opinions of “experts” that are on your payroll that all say the exact same thing! The only thing that should happen from this is that reporters need to start calling him TerrELL Owens because he goes by TERRell, and I personally know that it drives him crazy.

Watchmen: I didn’t know what to think before seeing this movie because I read the graphic novel last month (first comic book I’ve ever read). But I went, and it really brought the novel to life. Jackie Earle Haley really brought Rorschach to life! Great performance, but don’t see this movie if you have a weak stomach.

March Madness: Selection Sunday is this week! BYU is making the tournament again, but like always, they will probably disappoint. I have really followed college basketball this season, and it will be an absolute crapshoot when I pick my brackets.

Daylight Saving Time: It’s so nice that it won’t be dark when I get home from work! It also signifies that it is time for Dunkball.

My Job: My Office is moving this week. Why is this significant? Not only will it be a shorter commute, but I have been working in a basement for three solid years without seeing sunlight during the day. One would think that I am turning into Edward Cullen and we all know that he is a tool! I don’t wanna be a vampire.

Bingo: My gambling problem has just gone from poker, to craps, and now Bingo. My friends and I drove 150 miles to Pocatello, Idaho to play Bingo in a dirty, dirty casino on a Saturday! It was actually a lot of fun to play bingo in a crowded, smoke infested room with all the regular locals.

Encore: Encore is my new favorite game to play in a group (besides Gears of War on the Xbox 360, of course). It’s where you pick a word, and teams try to come up with as many songs as possible with that word to win the round. The game is actually really stressful, but I love thinking about songs and lyrics for the following 24 hours AFTER you play. It makes you want to learn more music!

Family: Oh yeah, my baby sister just had her first baby, and so that makes me feel like the old creepy uncle that’ll never have his own family. Plus, my other younger sister is getting married on Saturday, so I’ll be the last unwed child in my family. Now if I ever get married, my wedding will feel like people cheering the fat kid on the track team as he comes in last place in the 400, sure I’ll eventually cross the finish line, but you know when you are getting the pity clap. Ha! Pity clap!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dunkball: The Movie -- It's Coming!

Last night, I had the chance to attend my first film festival. It was called the BANFF Film Festival and it featured a lot of extreme outdoor "sports." It’s a Canadian non-profit organization to endorse wild outdoor adventures.

I watched several short 10-15 minute movies on snowboarding, BMX biking, base jumping, rock climbing, and slick-roping. I even witnessed new sport called speed skiing which combines extreme downhill skiing while wearing a parachute so a person can now ski previously impossible slopes using the cushion of a small parachute. The adrenaline junkie dude that invented the sport recently died because it is still so untested and extremely, extremely dangerous.

With springtime just around the corner, my friends and I have a summer sport that we want to claim we invented to call dunkball where we get together and play outdoor hoops at the local elementary school and the 8 foot rims because we are unable to dunk a basketball on regulation 10 foot rims.

It sounds silly, but it is extremely fun and addicting and I’ve been doing it since I was about 14. We have played somewhat consistently for the past four summers and we are looking forward to playing our fifth season here in a few weeks.

We’ve also filmed quite a few of our dunkball experiences with our camcorder, and I’ve always wanted to make a movie featuring our experiences. There are already a few videos (not ours) posted on Youtube BUT I’d like to make the ultimate “mockumentary” to show how silly it is to watch a bunch of guys in their late 20s still enjoying this sport.

I recently discovered via this blog that there is a sports film festival coming up in Los Angeles on July 10th (my 30th birthday) that I could submit our video-graphied experiences of our summer exploits to. Now that I have a deadline, I cannot procrastinate this any longer.

Like UFOs, it is widely known that dunkball exists. We want to let people know that it’s okay to let the skeleton out of the closet and let millions know that it’s okay to enjoy dunking on non-regulation sized hoops. It’s just like an adult owning a pair of Heelys. Embrace it! So what if they laugh, they don’t know the fun they are missing out on!