Why I Hate Third Down Songs

With the first full weekend of college football now in the books, I can say that my ears have become well-accustomed once again to certain sounds. No, I am not talking about the roar of the crowd, the collision of big hits, or the tunes of the band. Rather, I am talking about the playing of songs such as Sandstorm, Zombie Nation’s “Kernkraft  400″, and Crazy Train. More specifically, I am talking about third down songs…

I hate third down songs.

As a former stadium DJ, I have always held a disdain for programs that use a certain song for each time the down marker has a big number three showing. I prefer playing different, yet appropriate, third down songs throughout the game. I feel this lets you engage the audience more, utilize some of the more powerful song selections for more crucial third downs, and to keep things fresh. I do have a few major reasons on why I strongly discourage against sticking to a third down song:

First, I think third down songs are annoying. No, not just for the visiting team, visiting fans, or television crew…but for the home folks too. Sorry, but hearing Ozzie’s maniacal laugh twenty times a game gets really irritating. Even if your team has a big third down coming up in the fourth quarter by that time the song has played itself out. “Turn Down For What” all of a sudden isn’t as fun anymore.

Like I said above, I made it a point to change the third down song selection when I was the stadium DJ because I felt I could get more out of the fans in doing so. If you have a big, rocking pump up song that means a lot to your fan base, maximize it. Don’t give it to them every single third down through the course of the game. That will lose the impact of the song very quickly. Instead, keep them guessing. Play the kick-ass song on a big third down and inches play in the second half of a close game. When that powerful song hits for the first time in a crucial situation it will energize the crowd and the players in a way that would never occur if you played it frequently. As for other third downs, play rocking selections as well, just make sure to build up and always include a wide variety.

Finally, I HATE third down songs because they can grow to be jokes and symbols for losing. I have to pick on the rival of my former school, Montana State. For every third down in Bozeman they would play “Hells Bells.” I had the opportunity to be on the sideline for the past two Brawl of the Wild football games in Bozeman (Griz-Cat rivalry game) and even when the Griz would be kicking the snot out of the Bobcats, “Hells Bells” would be playing late in the game. It was garbage time, the stadium was half full, and you could hear a collective groan from the Bobcat fans in the seats when the song was played. It totally turned a decent AC/DC song into a mockery. No one was into it. Whenever I hear the song, a melody that was supposed to conjure up a big play for the Bobcats, I just think of Montana State getting their clocks cleaned.

Of course, when it all comes down to it, the stadium experience should be all about the student-athletes. If the football team is dead-set on a third down song then you have to honor their request. But this never happened at Montana and I know it doesn’t happen at many other schools. Most football teams are concentrated on the actual game, not the music being played over the public address system. I caution stadium DJs not to turn the game day experience into an automated bore. Get the fans pumped up for every third down, but do it in a way that will maximize and keep the integrity of the music. Don’t Blink.

Watching College Football at The Citadel

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on a little road trip to watch some college football. With Coastal Carolina opening the season against The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina, I knew I wanted to make the short two hour drive. At around 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sidney and I hit the road.

We arrived in Charelston at around 3 p.m. that afternoon. With kickoff at 6 p.m., Sidney and I went to a neighborhood bar called Moe’s to pass the time. In between appetizers and drinks, the bar staff was nice enough to turn on the Montana-Wyoming football game for us. It was a thrill for me to watch the first half of the game and see players, coaches, and athletic department officials who I used to see on a daily basis but hadn’t seen in over four months.

When the second quarter of the Montana game concluded, we made the walk to Johnson Hagood Stadium, home of The Citadel Bulldogs. We arrived right in time to watch the cadets march inside the stadium. As we entered the front gate of the facility we were greeted by the fierce bulldog sculpture that stands guard. We walked inside the stadium and after some confusion in the concourse we got re-directed to the opposite concourse where we eventually found our seats.

The Cadets marching in and Sidney and I outside by the bulldog.

The Cadets marching in and Sidney and I outside by the bulldog.

What stands out about Johnson Hagood Stadium is the castle-like structure built behind the south endzone. Or, as Sidney corrected me, the fortress looking structure. Castle or fortress, it looks really cool and definitely gives a distinguishing look to the stadium. Besides looking sweet it serves a very practical role as it houses locker rooms and athletic department offices. Another unique part about the stadium are three sections located in the southwest corner. This area serves as the cadet section and as all of them are dressed in their white uniforms, it looks really neat. Finally, there is a lot of history with Johnson Hagood. As I read on its Wikipedia page, soldiers were once buried underneath the stadium. If you have time, read the history.

A photo I snapped of the south endzone.

A photo I snapped of the south endzone.

As far as the fan experience it was very traditional. Until the very end of the game there was no canned music. The bands played the whole time. They don’t incorporate very many video board elements and in-game advertisements over the public address were kept to a minimum. It was pretty much just football.

The Cadets filled the three sections last night.

The Cadets filled the three sections last night.

Some other things to note: The stadium seats 21,000 and the playing surface is grass. After the game Sidney and I walked around on it. Although I never heard an official attendance number, I would estimate that there were probably 13,000 people there. Coastal Carolina traveled really well, both in fans and students. Thanks to two buses that took our students to the game free of charge, a whole section was filled just with them. Fans filled up another section plus some of another.

A look at some of the game action.

A look at some of the game action.

As for the game, Coastal Carolina controlled the contest the whole way through and won 31-16. Afterwards the public address announcer gave the cadets instructions on when they had to report in for the night. He gave a time for the seniors and juniors, a slightly earlier time for the sophomores, and then told the freshmen to retire back to the barracks immediately. It drew laughs.

Sidney and I on the field after the game. We had a good time. GO CHANTS!

Sidney and I on the field after the game. We had a good time. GO CHANTS!

I had a good time yesterday supporting my new university on the road. I am eager to travel to other away sites as well and cheer on the Chanticleers. Being able to do these things as a fan is a new concept for me and I am relishing the opportunity. Go Chants! Don’t Blink.

Worst Marriage Proposal EVER + Gators

It is Thursday night so that means it is time for me to zip through five topics. It is also opening night of college football so that means I have to go even faster than usual. So just like a wide receiver trying to get past that cornerback it is time to fly!

Tacky Proposal - This was beyond bad. This past Tuesday night, Sidney and I went to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball game. After one of the innings a man brought his girlfriend on top of the home team dugout, got down on one knee, and proposed to her. Playing over the public address system was “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. I hate to criticize but my idea of a classy proposal is not in the middle of a Single A minor league baseball game. Kudos to him because she said yes, but I think that marriage is probably doomed.

Alligator on the Loose - Our students blew up social media this past week when an alligator crept out from one of our ponds on campus. Students took photos of the gator and posted on Twitter with captions such as “My college has a pet gator, how about yours?” and “I literally almost jumped into this pond last night.” For me, this was just another reminder that I no longer live in the northwest. While I know that I am living in gator country now, I didn’t realize they would be on campus! I must say it is pretty cool.

This was one of the pictures taken of the gator. It is much bigger up close but this was the only photo I could find after doing a quick Twitter search (photo courtesy of @LHSfootball67).

This was one of the pictures taken of the gator. It is much bigger up close but this was the only photo I could find after doing a quick Twitter search (photo courtesy of @LHSfootball67).

Finding A Needle in a Haystack - After the baseball game on Tuesday night, Sidney and I stopped at a gas station. I went inside the store to purchase a bottled water when suddenly I saw something that made me freak out. On the bottom of the energy drink section was a fully stocked row of Xyience energy drinks. As I have explained before, there is no energy drink that comes even remotely close to the effect and taste of Xyience. Headquartered in Las Vegas, I thought I would never see one again when I moved to the South. Let me tell you, it was like Christmas for me on Tuesday night! I consume energy drinks on a sparingly basis so I haven’t cracked one open yet but when I do it is going to be a nice taste of home.

I was so excited when I found Xyience that I had to take a selfie with it outside of the gas station.

I was so excited when I found Xyience that I had to take a selfie with it outside of the gas station.

College Football Begins - When it comes to sports, there is nothing that I love more than college football. In my opinion, I don’t think there is anything better. Making this season extra special is the fact that for the first time in five years I won’t be pouring my soul into working for one team. While I will still be rooting hard for the Griz, I won’t be working hard for them anymore. I am a fan now. The stress-free fun starts tonight!

These are the college football teams I root for.

These are the college football teams I root for.

Movies Watched - Since last Thursday I have watched the following movies: “Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For,” “When the Game Stands Tall,” “The Quiet Ones,” “Cheap Thrills,” and “Fugitive at 17.” All those listed movies were either bad or mediocre except for “Cheap Thrills.” Much like the movie “13 Sins,” the film chronicles the crazy and harmful things people will do for money. You have to understand my twisted brain though. While I did enjoy the movie, it made Sidney sick to her stomach. Let’s just say “Cheap Thrills” is unrated for a reason.

I saw "Sin City" and "When the Game Stands Tall" on the same night in different theaters last Friday.

I saw “Sin City” and “When the Game Stands Tall” on the same night in different theaters last Friday.

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College football season here we go!! Go Chants, Go Griz, Go Cougs, and Go Irish!! Who do you got? Don’t Blink.

My Current Three Most Favorite, Most Hated Songs

Between commuting back and forth to Coastal Carolina, working out in the gym, and just paying attention to the background noise in public places, I hear a lot of music. In fact, I become quite familiar with the modern music of today based on my daily routines. This is both a blessing and a curse because I hear some great songs and then some really awful songs as well. For tonight’s blog post I want to recognize my top three favorite current songs out right now and my top three most hated current songs. Here we go.

Top Three Favorites (no particular order)

“Boom Clap” by Charli XCX – Catchy hook with straight forward lyrics I immediately liked this song the first time I heard it. Not only is the original version a winner but I have heard really cool remixes of this song too. I am looking forward to hearing more from Charli XCX.

“Where’s It At (Yep, Yep)” by Dustin Lynch - My favorite country song out right now. I don’t think this can be categorized anything less than a feel good anthem. This is a song I can sing out loud in my car on the way to campus at 5:30 a.m. each morning. This melody contains pride and happiness, two elements that are evident throughout the whole track.

“Break Free” by Arianna Grande featuring Zedd - A great arrangement with an incredible voice makes this song a winner. Does anyone in music right now have a more distinctive and powerful singing voice than Arianna Grande? I really don’t think so. Lyrics roll out of her mouth perfectly and effectively. Of course any track that is produced by Zedd is going to be gold. Two current big players in the music industry combined to make “Break Free” an awesome song.

 

Top Three Most Hated (no particular order)

“Wiggle” by Jason DeRulo - I haven’t heard a song that I hate more than this one in a long time. “Wiggle” by Jason DeRulo is flat out garbage. Degrading and stupid, I get severely uncomfortable listening to this song with anyone close by. I think it is just disgusting. The beat itself sounds sleazy even without the raunchy lyrics. Listening to this song makes me angry. I hate the music industry for allowing it to become a single.

“Rude” by MAGIC! – Overplayed songs are one thing. Overplayed songs that also happen to be incredibly annoying are another. I never came around on this track, in fact the exact opposite occurred…I just continued to hate it more and more. The song is just too slow and it comes across to me as four minutes of complaining. I can’t turn the radio fast enough when it comes on and it SUCKS as a workout song. I can’t wait until this disaster finally dies out.

“Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj - Speaking of annoying songs, how many out there have reached the limit of hearing the phrase “Oh my gosh, like at her butt”? and “My anaconda don’t…my anaconda don’t”? I am a huge Nicki Minaj fan but this song is brutal. A couple weeks ago one of those stupid lists came out highlighting songs that are played on repeat to make prisoners of war go insane. Well, they can add this one to the mix. It drives my head bonkers to hear the repetitious trash of this track. I would rather hear “Super Bass” played ten times in a row over “Anaconda” once.

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I am through with being a music critic tonight. I don’t think I have much more to say other than I really, really hate “Wiggle.” Don’t Blink.

The #HappyCCU Video

The #HappyCCU Video

Very rarely does a high-quality production turn around so quickly. However, at Coastal Carolina University it does.

Classes started here on campus last Monday. At the end of the week prior to school starting, Bill Plate, our Associate Vice President for University Communication, had an idea. Inspired by the success that some other universities had with showcasing campus life with a certain wildly popular song, he believed that CCU would also generate enthusiasm and pride doing something similar. He was right on.

Several universities out east have featured their students and faculty/staff dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell. These videos show the university community dancing at different spots all over campus. With smiles and interesting/awkward/questionable moves, the videos paint the picture of joyful and beautiful learning institutions. Even though everyone already knows that Coastal is a joyful and beautiful place, we wanted to drive home the point even more.

On Tuesday of last week Bill, Martha, our video crew, and myself sat down for a meeting. We discussed the project and the locations that we wanted to film. Our award-winning video team then went to work.

During the hottest and one of the busiest weeks of the year our video guys outdid themselves. Going all around campus in the brutal heat while convincing students to dance on camera, they logged plenty of long, hot hours. Besides the impromptu video shoots they also organized and executed several planned shoots as well. With the “Happy” song playing in their heads when they went to bed at night, the project really started to come together. Only a few days after that Tuesday morning meeting most of the shooting was completed. Then came of course the significant task of editing all of the dancing, moving, and grooving into an organized piece.

Yesterday afternoon, the video guys invited all of us in University Communication to come over to their stomping grounds of Hampton Hall for a premiere showing. We sat down, Bryan Stalvey (video mastermind) gave us an introduction, and then we watched the 2:24 minute piece. When the screen went dark there was an enthusiastic round of applause and a unanimous request to play it again.

Rather than talk about the parts in the video that make it so great, I will just let you watch it. The whole piece screams Coastal. It is fresh, well-done, and logical. I have seen several of these videos and the version put together by Coastal Carolina University is one of the best. Our social media audience thinks so too. With over 200 shares and 3,000 views, the Coastal community gave this project two thumbs up.

Credit to Bill for pushing to have this project done and credit/respect/thankfulness to our video team for putting in an amazing effort and creating a truly awesome piece. Coastal Carolina University just became even more attractive to prospective students. Don’t Blink.

Darius Rucker Concert Review

Yesterday I wrote at length about my experience taking part in the Darius Rucker music video for “Homegrown Honey.” While those couple hours of filming definitely made my Saturday there was still one more thrill to experience …the actual concert! In case you want them, here are my thoughts on the show:

Because I was working the concert I had a credential to get me around the intimate HTC Center. However, from a social media perspective I didn’t want to be in a box, on top of the bleachers, or with the traditional media. Rather, I wanted to be right in the middle of the action. I converged onto the floor section early on in the opening act’s set and took up shop very close to the stage.

By the time Darius came on I had situated myself probably 10 feet from the stage. His entrance paralleled the rest of his show: Nothing too flashy, nothing too gimmicky. Some doors at the back of his stage opened up and he came through. There was a medium sized video screen in the middle back of the stage with two smaller screens on either side of the main one. The lighting was adequate but nothing special. The guy on the piano and the drummer were situated on elevated pedestals at the back of the stage while Darius and everyone else performed on ground level at the front. Darius’ stage was on par with a stage you would see for an opening act on a major tour with a big headliner.

I got some great shots of Darius Rucker during the show.

I got some great shots of Darius Rucker during the show.

He came out and opened with “Radio” and everything from there flowed smoothly. Other early notable songs in his set were “Alright” and “This.” It didn’t take me long to realize that Darius Rucker wasn’t the type of artist that was going to try to blow the roof off of the place or try desperately hard to win fans over. He was there to simply be himself and sing his songs. He didn’t kneel down on the ground and bow to the over 3,300 people in attendance. He didn’t come up with any corny stories on what he did during his day in the area. He didn’t suck up to the crowd and say how much he loved them or how much he loved Myrtle Beach. Instead he was totally genuine about the things he loved and didn’t hide away from sharing them…his kids, football, and the University of South Carolina.

This is my favorite shot that I took of Darius Rucker during the concert.

This is my favorite shot that I took of Darius Rucker during the concert.

As the middle of his set started he performed some of his new songs and some of his popular songs. Prefacing his performance of “Homegrown Honey” by saying the footage would be used in the actual music video of the song, the crowd seemed to really respond. They responded again when about 30 minutes later Darius told the crowd that he would have to perform “Homegrown Honey” again to secure additional footage for the video. In between he sang my favorite melody, “Come Back Song,” while also singing the Hootie smash hit “Only Wanna Be With You.”

Toward the end of the show Darius put on his hat.

Toward the end of the show Darius put on his hat.

You wouldn’t find Darius sprinting from one end of the stage to the other or rocking out hardcore on Saturday night. That just isn’t his style. While he did do a nice job of working the whole stage he was never in a hurry. He swung his hips, danced in his own space, and used his hands a lot while singing. It was enough to get a healthy sweat going but keep in mind it was a country star in his forties performing…not Macklemore.

Darius Rucker had a good sweat going the whole show.

Darius Rucker had a good sweat going the whole show.

As the show started to wind down he brought his opening act, Ricky Young, up on stage for a duet. He also performed “True Believers.” Then for his two song encore he sang “Wagon Wheel” followed by “Purple Rain.” The stage looked the coolest during that final song, even though I wish he would have ended with a more upbeat selection.

Darius Rucker and Ricky Young performing together.

Darius Rucker and Ricky Young performing together.

I watched that whole show by myself, without any beer…and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t need the pyrotechnics, the confetti, the social media interactions, the catwalk stage, the dazzling light show, or the numerous other spectacles you see on big time tours. I just needed Darius and his guitar. I found the simple and straight-forward show extremely refreshing and thought it was a great reflection of Rucker’s talent. While he isn’t the best performer in the world he is definitely worth a Saturday night in a cozy setting. I will remember my first southern concert very fondly. Don’t Blink.

Taking Part in a Darius Rucker Music Video

Last night I had the opportunity to watch Darius Rucker rock a concert from a stone’s throw away. It was an awesome show but it wasn’t even the coolest thing I did that day. You see, while I was a stone’s throw away from Darius during his show I was practically chest-to-chest with him that afternoon when I had the opportunity to be in his newest music video. It really is a great story.

Seeing Darius Rucker up close and personal in concert wasn't even the best part of yesterday.

Seeing Darius Rucker up close and personal in concert wasn’t even the best part of yesterday.

For the better half of this past week we knew that Darius Rucker was going to do some filming for his next music video during his stop in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area. Come Friday we got word that his team wanted Coastal Carolina University students to come out several hours before the show and help with the filming of a scene. It was all set up, students would meet by the track at 3:30 p.m. where the shooting would take place.

Our students came out to take part. However, 3:30 p.m. rolled around and Darius’ people were having second thoughts. On a sweltering hot southern day, the director of the music video decided to ax the outdoor concept and invite all of the students inside the HTC Center (our campus arena where Darius would be performing that night) and do the shoot there. We migrated the students inside to the main concourse of the HTC Center. It was there that the video team started to play on repeat “Homegrown Honey,” the new Darius single that they were producing the video for. At the same time, students were signing waivers as consent to participate in the shoot. With everything under control and the concert not set to start for a few more hours I said “What the heck” and signed the waiver to participate myself.

#CCU Students ready to sign the waiver and take part in the music video.

#CCU Students ready to sign the waiver and take part in the music video.

After the waiver signing we walked to a hallway outside of the locker rooms in the HTC Center. They lined the 40-50 of us up on both walls of the hallway. First thing you need to know: The people who made up this video crew were different animals. Although a little stressed with shooting a video they joked around and had fun with us the whole time. The director came over to me and tried to give me a high five but I awkwardly left him hanging! He joked with me and then gave me a Darius Rucker t-shirt to put on. I then took photos of his crew with one of their iphones and redeemed myself.

The main camera man was an interesting and funny guy!

The main camera man was an interesting and funny guy!

After the photo session they started going over the concept of the scene we were shooting. Darius would simply walk down the hallway singing “Homegrown Honey” with us lining his pathway. During his walk down the hallway five actors would come in at different times and dance around him. The star of the music video (besides Darius) was a tall, skinny blonde whose part in the hallway scene was to cut in when Darius walked by and take a selfie with him. She stood exactly across from me. After they went through the directions and did several rehearsals with someone playing the role of Darius, we had to play the waiting game for Darius to actually arrive. One crew member kept saying “We gave him the 15 minute warning” then 15 minutes later “We gave him the 10 minute warning” then 15 minutes later “We gave him the five minute warning.” It was after this that another crew member quickly chimed in by saying “That means he will be here in 15 minutes.” Everyone laughed.

Lyric cards were set up so we could memorize the words to "Homegrown Honey."

Lyric cards were set up so we could memorize the words to “Homegrown Honey.”

You could tell people were starting to get anxious. Many of these students had tickets to the show and wanted to get back home real fast to get their concert attire on. As the minds of several of us extras started to wander, Darius Rucker walked from one end of the hallway down to the starting point of the hallway where the shooting would start. While many people didn’t even realize he was walking right by us I threw my hand out and he shook it while replying “What’s up man?”

Rehearsal in the hallway before Darius arrived.

Rehearsal in the hallway before Darius arrived.

The whole shoot Darius Rucker was businesslike. Wearing his traditional black garb he made a couple jokes about not caring too much for video shoots. When a crew member told Darius that the director thought the first take was “okay,” Rucker responded by saying “That means he hates it.” We probably did five takes of the scene. They had us dancing at first. Then they changed it to no dancing. Then they changed it to us moving into Darius’s path right when he got close to us. Then they changed it to us filling in after Darius passed us by. They finally seemed to get what they wanted and then they kicked us all out of the hallway and instructed us to wait outside in the lobby area. They said to not leave because they were going to pick a handful of us for additional shooting.

The star of the music video danced with Darius on stage during the concert that night. The footage will also be used in the music video.

The star of the music video danced with Darius on stage during the concert that night. The footage will also be used in the music video.

After we all went out into the lobby the second-in-command to the director came out. In the mass of 50 people he looked at me, grabbed me by the shoulders, and said “go back in.” I was the first person asked to do additional shooting! I went back in the hallway where the paid actors were standing around. Then six other extras, all completely elated at getting chosen for additional shooting, joined me. Darius came back in the hallway and welcomed us! This time when Darius walked down the hallway for the shooting, the director instructed us to not pay any attention to him at all except to subtly acknowledge his presence. We did the shot three different times. We were then released.

I have no idea why I was asked to go back for the second shoot. There were many younger and better looking people than me. But I embraced it and did my best to not look like the biggest idiot alive. They gave me a blue solo cup to use the whole time as a prop. Now I am totally prepared to watch the video and see that my ugly mug is deleted from the entire video but I admit it would be kind of cool if I make the cut. I enjoyed the opportunity to witness the creation of a music video and meet Darius Rucker. I will forever be a big fan of the song “Homegrown Honey.” Don’t Blink.

Sporting the Darius Rucker shirt I was given by the video team. I am now a big fan of not only "Homegrown Honey" but of Darius Rucker himself.

Sporting the Darius Rucker shirt I was given by the video team. I am now a big fan of not only “Homegrown Honey” but of Darius Rucker himself.

Bonus Notes:
* As I said, Darius was dressed in black clothing for the shoot. He wore no hat.
* Pictures and video were strictly forbidden during the shoot.
* Those of us lucky enough to hold a blue solo cup had it filled with water by one of the crew members.
* The actors also had solo cups…but they were filled with booze.
* The actress who stood directly across from me was gorgeous and she knew it. She spent majority of the time in the hallway looking at her image through her iphone and fixing her hair.
* The crew was awesome. They kept the mood light and positive.
* Darius Rucker’s smile could light up the darkest, biggest cave on the planet. While the smile wasn’t there in between takes it turned on the second the camera did.
* They filmed the concert scenes of the music video during the show last night. In fact, Darius had to perform “Homegrown Honey” twice to get the footage they needed.
* The star of the video, the one who stood across from me, danced with him on stage during the “Homegrown Honey” performances.

My Connection to “When The Game Stands Tall”

If you asked me my lowest point either playing or working in athletics I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you: It was Saturday, September 4, 2004. I was a senior in high school playing football for the Mead High Panthers of Spokane, Washington. We entered that season ranked as one of the top teams in the state and had a dream game to open the season. Invited to take part in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic in Seattle, we had the opportunity to play in CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

I was the starting center on the 2014 Mead High School football team. This is me in CenturyLink Stadium.

I was the starting center on the 2014 Mead High School football team. This is me in CenturyLink Stadium.

It all started off so great. We piled onto charter buses and made the trip across the state where we had our walkthrough practice the day before in Husky Stadium. We stayed the night in the dorms on the University of Washington campus. The next morning, we drove from campus to the stadium where we felt like kings in the locker room of the Seahawks. We tried our best to work out our pregame jitters as we prepped in the concourse of the stadium before taking the field for warmups. Once the game kicked off it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t our day. We fell to Camas that afternoon in a game we were supposed to win.

I have played in, watched, and worked countless athletic contests. Nothing has come close to the pain I felt from that loss. That includes defeats to rivals and playoff exits. That was supposed to be a major defining point in our program’s history and we squandered it.

Despite the bitter taste I will always have from that weekend I will remember something else: The night the streak ended.

This Emerald City Kickoff Classic we played in was a big deal. Meant to showcase strong teams from across the state in football games that would normally never be played, there was a very special nightcap game in that inaugural year. De La Salle, the legendary high school football team from California, made a trip to our state to play Bellevue. Boasting a 151-game win streak, De La Salle was the best and most recognized high school football team in the nation. They expected to come into our state and roll over one of our teams.

Only they didn’t. In an atmosphere that can only be described as electric, Bellevue put an end to De La Salle’s streak by defeating them 39-20 in front of 25,000 fans. I felt sick to my stomach the whole game because of the earlier events that day. However, I did manage to cement in my mind the amazing scene for a high school football game and the incredible speed at which those teams played.

When I heard a couple months ago that a movie was coming out that chronicled De La Salle’s season in which they lost the streak I was excited. Every high school kid who played football in the early 2000’s looked at De La Salle with respect and envy. They were in a league of their own. Obviously, I also wanted to see “When the Game Stands Tall” because I was actually in attendance that incredible night when the streak ended. I had played on the same day, in the same stadium, in the same kickoff classic. Even with the negative emotions I have from that day, I still wanted to relive that night.

Yesterday evening, Sidney and I attended “When the Game Stands Tall” on the film’s opening night. Maybe my expectations were too high but I thought the film was poor. The acting was shabby, the football scenes were embarrassingly terrible, clichés were rampant, and the actors did not accurately depict high school football players. Making it even worse, the way the movie showed the streak-ending game was extremely disappointing. Instead of actually shooting it in CenturyLink Field they shot it in a poor representation of Bellevue’s stadium. It looked like there was a crowd of 1,000 people in the stands. The filmmakers totally neglected to spotlight the energy and significance of that night.

What can I say? Wise people always remark that the book is better than the movie. Even more to the point, being there in person is always better than the movie. Even with the movie not living up to my expectations I am still glad it came out. It allowed me to think back to that weekend during my senior year and finally realize that despite the sickening feeling I still get in my stomach from that horrific loss, we got to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that many other high school kids would kill for. We also got to witness history. It took me ten years, but there is usually always a silver-lining. Don’t Blink.

Five Topics in 500 Words

After a hiatus last week as I ran with a different blog post, it is time to revert back to the multi-topic Thursday tradition. It is time for five topics in 500 words. Let’s get right to it.

Unfortunate Wal-Mart Run: The week got off to a hectic start on Monday morning. Just as I was about to arrive at the CCU campus for my workout, I realized I was missing something. For the first time ever I had forgotten my work shirt (I wear my gym clothes to campus and pack my work clothes to change into later). With it totally out of the question to make the long commute back to my place to grab my shirt I unfortunately had to make a 5:45 a.m. run to Wal-Mart. I busted in, almost blindly picked out a random tacky polo, and left. For $17 I had outfitted myself for the day.

Me wearing the Wal-Mart polo on Monday, I actually received two compliments on it!

Me wearing the Wal-Mart polo on Monday, I actually received two compliments on it!

Darius Rucker: This Saturday I have the privilege of covering the Darius Rucker concert at the HTC Center on our campus. Many outsiders won’t understand what a huge deal this is to our university. The community has eagerly anticipated this concert for months now. As I spent four years around huge concert productions while working at Montana, I can confidently say that people here have treated the Darius show in the same way that the concerts of major stars were treated when I was in Missoula. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to work this special show on Saturday night.

Jobs For People Close to Me: Last week came great news on the employment front for my brother and girlfriend. Both people were offered jobs in their chosen fields. Glen accepted an offer to become the Recreation Supervisor at the Northeast Youth Center. On the other side of the country, Sidney signed on for a second grade teaching position at Palmetto Bays School. It was truly great to see people who are close to me have their hard work and education pay off with full time positions.

Sidney and I in her classroom at Palmetto Bays School

Sidney and I in her classroom at Palmetto Bays School

Busy Time: The fall semester started at Coastal Carolina University this past Monday. Talk about a change in night and day! Campus is buzzing with students and activity. I have had an incredible week attending events and functions as students mark the return to Coastal. In probably my most memorable instance from this week, I took the photo of 101 different student groups in the span of 50 minutes at yesterday’s Club Recruitment Day. In under an hour I had the privilege of meeting probably around 300 students. With the heat index over 100 we were all sweating bullets but it was fun and rewarding.

A few of the many student group photos I took on Wednesday for Coastal's Club Recruitment Day.

A few of the many student group photos I took on Wednesday for Coastal’s Club Recruitment Day.

Movies Watched: In the past several days I have watched the following movies: “Locke,” “Transcendance,” “The Midnight Game,” and “Repentance.” Out of the four, my favorites were “Locke” and “The Midnight Game.” The movie “Locke” is shot entirely in a car with only one character! “The Midnight Game” is a horror movie centered on a group of teens who participate in a pagan ritual and things go haywire. Don’t bother with “Transcendance” and “Repentance.”

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There you have it! I am done. Have a great weekend, everyone. I will report on the Darius Rucker concert sometime next week. Thank you for your continued support of myself and this blog. Don’t Blink.

Why I am Not a Fan of the Little League World Series

I am tired of the Little League World Series. Don’t kill me.

Please don’t take this wrong. I am not taking anything away from the participants, the event itself, or the storied history of Little League and of Williamsport. I have great respect for this major tournament that goes on each August. However, my enthusiasm has dissipated in recent years. Let me try to explain myself by pointing out a few reasons why.

Well, actually let me back up. Let me make clear reasons that don’t make me hate the Little League World Series: I don’t care that the kids cry and that ESPN catches every tear drop. I don’t worry about the stage being too big for these kids. I don’t believe that these young ballplayers are exploited. My gripe is with other conditions.

I don’t think anyone can fight me too hard when I say this: ESPN has completely oversaturated the Little League World Series. They broadcast roughly 30 games each August with many of them on the flagship station. Ten years ago when ESPN and ABC would combine to televise the United States championship game and the World Series title game over the weekend it was special. It left you wanting a little bit more. ESPN totally killed that feeling. Now it seems during the whole month of August games are shown both during the day and primetime. The product isn’t good enough to show that much. The innocent, carefree, and “for the love of the game” angles tire after a few days. It bores me.

Like I said above, I don’t mind the crying. It really doesn’t bother me. What has really driven me nuts though is the dancing. I detest the constant shots that lead off each edition of Sportscenter with two teams dancing around a goofy looking mascot. It looks incredibly stupid, it has been played out, and it really isn’t in the spirit of competition. I know some people think it is cute and a good example of sportsmanship but I just find it dumb. Same goes for the individual dances and choreographed celebrations that ESPN just eats up. Give it a rest.

I also don’t like how it takes some of my favorite ESPN personalities away from covering the sport they should be concentrating on…Major League Baseball. Will someone please yank out Karl Ravech from that Little League booth and put him back on the Baseball Tonight set? What business does he have calling a random contest that is at least a couple games away from the U.S. Championship? How about having Mike & Mike call the games or go fetch the lowest announcers on the ESPN totem pole and have them do the tournament.

I don’t like how teams are presented either. I don’t enjoy how teams are referred to by the region they came out of. While the media is doing a better job at overlooking the region names and calling them by their state names how about they take it a step further? Give recognition to the community that the players are from and make a better effort to call them by the city they hail from. If a team is from Chicago, call them Chicago…not Illinois. If the team is from Rapid City, call them Rapid City…not South Dakota. While this aspect is getting better too, it still needs improving. Then there is the uniform issue. I HATE the standard regional uniforms that each team wears. I don’t want to see a boring uniform with “Northwest” written across the chest of the player. Give me the quirky and colorful unis that the teams wore throughout the whole season, long before they got to Williamsport. It would make the tournament much more spirited and it wouldn’t seem like I am watching the same teams year after year.

I admit that I will be watching Mo’ne Davis on the mound tonight. What a story she has been. But besides that pot of gold for the LLWS and ESPN I have absolutely no interest to watch anymore. I know ratings are good so I don’t expect changes…I just wish it wasn’t slammed down my throat. Don’t Blink.