The Inspirational Crossing Guard

When September rolled in and school started up for Missoula Public Schools, I expected to see an old staple who I had seen every day of the school year for the past two years. The opening week of school passed and I did not see him. The next week passed and I did not see him either. Then came the third week, the fourth week, the fifth week. It is now late October and I know he will not be back at his post. I know he probably just retired his duties and enjoying himself now but you never know for sure.
My house is right next to Rattlesnake Elementary, a school within the Missoula Public School District. The school sits on a busy street called (yes, you got it) Rattlesnake Drive. In the weekday mornings about a quarter till eight, the street is congested with the morning commute. As is protocol for any elementary school in the nation, they have a crossing guard who stops traffic to allow for young students to cross the street.  To be a crossing guard in Missoula you either have to be a little crazy or have a heart of gold. You see, once you get into the November-April months in my town, the mornings are brutal. More on that later.
Anyway, the crossing guard I had the privilege of driving by each morning for the past two years was special for a couple different reasons. First off, he was not a year shy of seventy-five years old. This is a very generous estimation too. Although I believe him to be older, my conviction to never fabricate the truth to make a story better forces me to low ball him a bit. Put a gun to my head and I say he is pushing eighty.  
Secondly, the guy never missed a day…never. For all 180 days of the school year that elderly gentlemen held down his crosswalk with his life. In a society where so many people call in sick or can’t tough out some minor ailment, this guy was perfect in the most extreme conditions.  He was a constant, whenever I took that left off of Lincoln Hills and onto Rattlesnake, he was the first thing I would always notice.
Thirdly, this guy was special because of his attitude. Every single car that passed by he would give a friendly wave and a warm smile to. This wave was not some half-assed lazy shake of his hand either. He would give an animated, enthusiastic wave to each car that passed by. His smile was genuine, the twinkle in his eye would make Santa Claus envious. His kind eyes would always pierce right through my windshield, no matter how iced over it was, and make contact with mine.
So this guy was old, he was consistent, and he was positive. Although hard to be all three of these things when the weather is warm and the birds are chirping, it is about ten  times harder to have these traits when the weather is -10 degrees out and the wind is blowing like there is no tomorrow. Missoula winters absolutely suck. Missoula winter mornings are the worse. Dark, cold, windy, and snowy,  I always feel like I am going to die just running from my house to my car that is ten feet away in the driveway. I am not kidding, the mornings are beyond harsh. For the first two minutes of my commute to work I would freeze my butt off and then I would see him on the side of the road and I would get his wave and smile and I would warm up a little. It was as if my body called me an idiot for feeling even a small amount of discomfort when there was this old man with many more years and much less insulation than myself standing completely exposed to the elements for almost an hour.  It is just beyond me to think about how at that age, or any age for that matter, you can convince yourself to get out of your warm bed when it is pitch dark outside and say “Hey, I am going to go stand out in arctic cold temperatures for an hour and help protect kids while waving to adults who are probably too busy talking on their cellphones or texting to even look at me.” It definitely takes a special person.
Yes, I did take inspiration from that old man every day that I drove by. He did make me want to have a more positive attitude about the day that lay ahead.  I mean if that guy could have a good time waving to motorists in the most uncomfortable conditions than there was no reason why I could not have an amazing day every day of the week inside my warm workplace with great co-workers and a few hundred vibrant, talented student-athletes.
I sit here right now really wondering for the first time how the actual students looked at this guy. Funny how I never thought about it until I wrote this post. I know he probably treated them all like treasured grandchildren and knew each one by name. The cool thing is, those kids will remember him. I definitely remember certain adults from my early childhood who showed care and warmth to me. At that age, you can detect a genuinely kind person in a heartbeat.
This school year there is a new person holding down the crosswalk. He is probably about forty, long hair, and he looks kind of out of it. He might wave at you on a good day, don’t expect him to actually look at you though.  I guess I have unrealistic standards now because I was spoiled by the best. The old man did more than just provide safety and order; he provided perspective. Believe me, that  s a great thing to be able to ponder on your drive to work. Don’t Blink.

Gaddafi’s Death: Must See TV

There are some things that I have a tough time watching. I can’t stomach seeing old video of skeleton-like holocaust victims in concentration camps. I am not a person who gets off on blood and guts, even if it is just a movie. I find no humor in watching youtube videos of morons decapitating themselves or their friends. I even get queasy looking at dead bodies at funerals. It is just eerie and unsettling for me.
Despite my apparent weak stomach for most things that depict suffering and death, there is one exception that I am completely immune to: When the worst people in the world get what they deserve.
When Muammar Gaddafi met his brutal demise last week, I sat glued to my television and to youtube and watched the grisly videos and photos that surfaced. If you have not seen the last few minutes of Gaddafi’s life, you have to decide if you want to see it. After a French airstrike wounded him, he hid in some drain pipe. Libyan rebel forces found him and that is when the video started to roll. I have seen about three or four different videos depicting the same thing: Gaddafi is bloodied and disoriented while surrounded by this mob of Libyan rebels. Let me tell you, the word MOB describes exactly what Gaddafi was up against. It was as if a human was thrown into the middle of a ring surrounded by two dozen pissed off, starving lions. The Libyan mob pushes Gaddafi on the back of a truck. Yelling and gun shots dominate the audio. Gaddafi, absolutely defenseless, is covered in blood. The mob takes turns pulling his hair and pushing him, there is absolutely no stopping them. Very few times in my life have I been able to sense and feel such anger and passion through a television/computer screen. I watched it over and over.
Then came the still shots of Gaddafi dead. Gruesome and bloody, it showed a man who was once untouchable completely dehumanized. Call it a “money shot” if you will.
The Saddam Hussein hanging execution was also something I could not turn away from. Here was a guy who killed thousands upon thousands of his own people, had numerous body doubles, lived in lavish palaces, and despised America. To see him in that dark, barbaric hanging chamber with executioners in black ski masks all around him definitely provided shocking video.  To some people, the video is just too hard and disturbing to watch. Again, I don’t know if there is something wrong with me but there was no turning my head away from it. Although, I admit to this day, I do get a little startled each time the hanging platform  Saddam is standing on gives way. He is in the middle of yelling some of his propaganda garbage and all of a sudden you hear a loud crash, gasps from the audience, and then a lifeless Saddam hanging from a rope. My generation grew up talking about Hussein all through our schooling careers – elementary, middle school, high school, and college. He was the personification of evil. To see him caught and killed was almost surreal.
I also had no problem looking at the gory photos of Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay. Just seeing them in their death photos they looked like awful people. A lot of times when people die they will look at peace. This is not the case with some of these terrible dictators/mass murders. Even in death, there is no escaping their evil.
I was very disappointed that no videos or photos of Osama Bin Laden were released. I wanted to see an image of a shot up Bin Laden so bad. I wanted to see the video of the kill mission that President Obama’s cabinet and chief military officers watched in realtime. I wanted to see a still photo of OBL sprawled out in his hideout. I wanted to see video of our military disposing of his body into the depths of some cold, deep sea. Of course, this wish is for my own personal satisfaction. I wholeheartedly supported President Obama’s decision to withhold these images from the eyes of the world. His reasons, all very well documented so I am not going to get into, were valid.
While I do have a taste for seeing the worst of the worst meet their fate, I do have a limit. I found it mildly disturbing that they placed Gaddafi’s body in a random freezer in some market and invited everyone to see.  As viewers came in they took video with their cell phones and posed for pictures with the corpse. Soon Gaddafi’s body was joined with those of his son and his army chief. By this point, all of the bodies were badly decomposing and the stench was so bad that viewers had to wear surgical masks while getting their glimpses. Again, this takes it a little too far for me and it is a little hard to comprehend why someone would want to see a rotting body and have their noses assaulted with probably the worst smell in the world. But I do have to realize that it really is a cultural thing mixed in with just a human nature element as well. Many of the people who viewed his body had immediate family members who were slaughtered by his regime. If someone killed my mom and brother would I want to get a glimpse of their murderer’s corpse? I think I would.
To wrap this up, isn’t it ironic that many of these awful, awful people end up in hiding spots that are home to rats? They are then captured and put to humiliating deaths. While complete justice can never be done because of the sheer amount of atrocities these people have committed, it is nice to know that they finally got what was coming to them. Maybe that is why these violent and grisly photos/videos appeal to me…it offers closure. Although I have no direct personal link to any of these insane people or the countries they live in, it is easy to recognize that the world is better because they are gone, and video confirmation of their demise removes any doubt,  and that is comforting. Eventually, everyone gets what they deserve. Don’t Blink.

The Thing I HATE Most: Social Media Drama

Many of you who read my blog know I am passionate about social media. I have blogged a lot about the many positives of SM and I have dabbled a small amount about the negative aspects of it as well. My negative rants mainly had to do with the corporate part of it though. As I have alluded to in previous posts, I have warned that a more thorough dissection by myself on some of the personal negatives of social media was coming. This is what tonight’s post is about.
I hate social media drama.
More so, I hate it when someone tries to put you down or convey something that they were too chicken shit to tell you to your face through a social media channel. I know everyone here has seen it. Some may have fallen victim to it and some may have dished it out. When it comes to myself, I have felt the sting of social media attacks before. Strangely enough, it has always been inflicted upon me by girls. Or maybe it is not that strange. Let’s face it, women are catty. They will rip apart their supposed best girlfriends through social media and trash ex-boyfriends. Sounds very high school-ish, right? Well, unfortunately, many girls way past high school age participate in this.
I want to get across that I am not bitter. Majority of the girls I have dated, hung out with, or just been acquaintances with have been awesome. Things did not work out or our friendship just grew distant and that was that. No jealous feelings, no animosity, no social media attacks. Just a mutual parting of ways.
Unfortunately, not all have been that way. If a relationship ends, let it end face-to-face. Don’t air it out on your Facebook status or on your Twitter updates. Don’t think of some back road way of sticking it to the person through a post.
One of the most common things that happens when a relationship ends or a friendship is broken is for a person to delete the other from their Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Yes, this is incredibly immature. But you know what, if you are even more immature than that and you resort to social media attacks or social media games, save yourself some freaking dignity and just DELETE that person.
Some of the social media slights I have received are so childish I actually laugh at them. In college I had a girlfriend and we broke up, it did not end on the best of terms. We weren’t talking. Two weeks later this person randomly posts on my Facebook wall saying something to the effect of “Hey Brent, I hope you are doing well. I am doing so awesome. Well, have a good week!” Of course her profile picture is of her and some random dude with arms locked around each other. I really couldn’t care less about this girl but I just shook my head because it was just so obvious what she was doing and so pathetic at the same time.
My brother has been the target of the “courageous/loyal friend” attack. This is when the friend of an ex goes on Facebook and blasts the person on his wall for all to see. Give me a break. Is your life so dull and unfulfilling that you have to cause drama in the relationships of others? You don’t look like a good friend when you do this. You look like a loser who only knows half the story and likes to get in the middle of other people’s business.
I have had girls who try to hash things out with me over Facebook Chat. Sorry, won’t do it. I follow the exact same protocol for online chatting as I do for texting. I won’t entertain arguments or attacks unless they are taken up on the phone or in person. Again, those transcripts last forever and more importantly, context and tone are lost in text discussions.  If you have to hide behind a computer or behind a phone keypad to get your point across, you are not right for me.
Twitter is another social media outlet that can allow people to take a childish route at taking shots at someone. I think I am a prime candidate for this type of ribbing simply because I am a Twitter nut. People know I am addicted to the medium and that I do follow what is going on.
This summer I had one girl who I had this long distance type deal with.  She had recently gotten a Twitter account and had less than a handful of followers.  She knew I got her tweets delivered to my text message inbox. We had stopped talking but then all of a sudden one night I got a general tweet from her saying she needed a guy who was not “always winning.” If you know me, you get that. Anyways, it infuriated me. I let her know about it, I was probably too harsh on her, but it just explains how little tolerance I have for this type of stuff. She promptly deleted her Twitter account. We have since made amends and are friends.
I also had one girl totally misconstrue a tweet I sent out by changing the wording of my original tweet and sending it out as a retweet! Now how low is that? I had never really even thought of this as a possibility in the Twitter world because it is just so mischievous.
One night I was hanging out with a  girl for like only the second or third time and she sends out a hashtag that read “#stupidboysday” (or something like that) during a dumb argument we were having…I got the Tweet in the middle of our little dispute. The same girl a couple months later then sent out a Tweet to all of her followers that contained the same personal attacks on me that she was flooding my text message inbox with. I would not respond to the text messages so she decided to tweet the message to get my attention.
There is a reason why I primarily date older girls. They are just more mature, less self-obsessed, and way beyond the urge to cast out all of their feelings for the whole world to see. Again, while I believe girls participate in social media bashing much more than guys, I also know that the majority of girls don’t participate in it at all.
Social media is a cheap and slimy way to stick it to someone. Use SM to network, promote your brand, follow your interests, keep in touch, etc…..don’t use it to settle a score. When it comes to relationships, treat them with respect, even if they are broken. Social media does not do them justice. Although it definitely is harder, seek out the person and  talk to them face-to-face. It is the right  thing to do. Don’t Blink.

Buying A Halloween Costume

Today I went out and bought my Halloween costume. Since I graduated college, finding a costume for Halloween has been much more fun. No longer do I have to rely on my old Fred Flintstone costume that I wore for the first time in HIGH SCHOOL for a school dance to get me by the holiday. Now that I have a decent job, I can choose to be pretty much whatever I want to be. Bye bye handmade Fred costume with 50% of the black spots fallen off.

      My date’s mom made it for me when I was a senior in high school. Wore it three times in college.

As do many people in this nation, I have gone to Spirit the past three years to buy my costume. If you have never gone or heard of a Spirit before, it is a seasonal Halloween retail chain that sets up shop around the United States in various locations at the start of October. They sell costumes that cater to both adults and kids and their product is usually very up-to-date on the current trends and pop culture (they had Gaddafi stuff there today). They have a large online presence as well.
In Missoula, and in many other places as well, Spirit does business from whatever out of business former retail location that happens to be available. Each of the past three years, the Spirit in Missoula has been in a different location. Spirit stores really follow the cliché of “putting lipstick on a pig.” Although they make the place as festive as they can and add in as many interactive goblin/ghost/vampire type lifesize exhibits, the store always looks dumpy and grim. Spirit banners are slapped around on the outside of the building, usually with the name of the previous storefront still visible. Inside, temporary racks are brought in to hold many of the costumes. The lighting is bad and there is a distinct smell that makes it obvious that the store had not been inhabited for quite a while. A cheap fold out card table acts as the place to go to get access to the dressing room area which consists of a lot of pipe and drape. Handwritten signs are present all over the store warning customers not to try on costumes outside of the dressing room area. The store floor is covered with fallen down and discarded costumes, masks, and hats.

                                                 One of the exhibits at Spirit.

Obviously, Spirit really does not need to improve the dingy store atmosphere because every time I go in there the place is absolutely packed.  And although I am not a big fan of crowds when it comes to a store setting, I actually like the vibe I get when I go into Spirit.  People are excited to be in there. They know it is their lead up to the one night (or two nights, or for some, three nights) where they get to escape reality and dress in something totally ridiculous so for the most part there is an aura of anticipation and excitement circulating throughout the store and I like that. I definitely buy into the same feeling that everybody else has and I enjoy myself when I am in there.
One thing that always jumps out to me about Spirit is the primary age demographic of the cliental. At least 80% of the people in there are adults. I think of Halloween as primarily a holiday for kids but I guess what you think is not always what is reality. I think maybe Spirit itself is more of a place for adults (although like I said above, they do have tons of costumes for both adults and kids) while places like Wal-Mart are more for kids. Spirit definitely has plenty of costumes that bring sexual themes and innuendo into direct focus. They have costumes that…well….just let me say….I love to see girls wearing on Halloween night. They also have many violent and gory costumes. So maybe my observation is not really the result of a dramatic shift in the age demographic of who is celebrating Halloween but rather the product that is being sold at the certain store.
One thing that I tend to overlook at Spirit is really how shitty the costumes are relative to their price. The average costume in that store runs between $40-$50. The cost it took to actually produce most of these costumes has to be around $10. They do a great job of making the costume look great on the label of the package but once you take it home and open it up, you will shake your head. I am not kidding, there is not a lot of thought and care that goes into making them. Before buying a costume, always read what is actually included. The model on the picture label will be decked out in accessories that the manufacturer would never think about including in the actual costume package.

     For night two of Halloween last year I was a pirate. The sword was not included with the costume.

That is another way on how I am a sucker for Halloween. I am never content with just buying the actual costume. I have to buy the accessories too. You see, when you go out to the bars on Halloween night, you need to have something in your hand (besides your drink) to make you standout. Whether it be a gun, sword, bat, fake animal, etc. it just adds to the fun. I definitely fall  for the marked up accessory prices and go all out.

    I was a gangter for night one of Halloween last year. No need to have a snake, but I could not resist.

So despite my complaining about the atmosphere and the actual product, I love buying my Halloween costume. I don’t mind walking around in a makeshift seasonal hell hole and being ripped off solely because Halloween is so much fun. I am not going to give away what I am being for Halloween this year although I must say it was a very tough decision. So tough that I will probably, just like last year, end up buying a second costume (one costume for this Saturday and then another one for the actual Halloween date on Monday). Costumes that were finalists for me today but did not make the cut include a pharaoh, a ghostbuster, and Caesar. It took me forty-five minutes inside the store to make up my mind.
I hope everyone has a successful experience purchasing their Halloween costume. My advice is to be what you want to be! Spend the extra money for a costume that you have your heart set on. Halloween only comes once a year. Good luck and here’s to a great 2011 Halloween! Don’t Blink.

The $25,000 Man

Who says good things never happen to good people?

 

If you have ever met my brother, Glen, you know he is a great guy. It does not take long to like him once you meet him. Easy going, funny, and charming, I am never embarrassed to introduce him to anyone. Amazing with numbers, he is very smart. As an all-conference third baseman for Central Washington University, he is very athletic.  Judging by the girls he introduces me to and what others say about him, he is, putting it nicely, a ladies man. Yes, Glen has a lot going for him and has many good qualities.

 

However, Glen is not perfect. If you push his buttons just the right way (believe me, I have) he can blow up. He sleeps in too much. He doesn’t always apply himself to the best of his ability. He doesn’t always respect authority as well as he should. Rational decision-making is a struggle for him. He drinks way too much…

 

Okay, I am getting off track. The only vice I really needed to convey about Glen for the purpose of the incredible story I am about to tell about him is that he is awful with money. Any type of currency burns holes in his pockets. I have seen Glen throw so much of his money away on useless crap/gimmicks/thrills that I could write a book about his terrible decisions. Because of the way he handles money combined with the fact that he is a college athlete with little time to work between school and baseball, Glen never really had much money on him. In his twenty-one years of life, he never really knew what it was like to be able to do what you wanted when you wanted.

 

 

 

Ten months ago, Glen was sitting in a bowling alley casino in Spokane, Washington, called Lilac Lanes. He was playing a favorite table game of his called Paigow. Now I don’t want to get into too many specifics about this game and confuse/bore a bunch of you about the logistics of the how it works but here is the basic premise: You get seven cards. You have to make a two card poker hand and a five card poker hand. Your five card hand has to beat your two card hand. You play against the dealer.  In order to win the hand you must beat both the two card hand and the five card hand of the dealer. The game is very slow so to liven it up they have a couple of bonus bet options that you can partake in.

 

This night my brother was with a couple of his baseball buddies and one of the baseball buddies’ girlfriend. The three of them were watching Glen play as he sat at a table with some of the regulars, you know, the people who have no lives. Dealing at the table was a cute girl named Jenna, a single mom about twenty-five years old…my brother would always hit on her.

 

Glen had five dollars on the bet, one dollar on the bonus bet, and one dollar on the progressive jackpot. Again, I am not going to get into mindless details because for non-paigow players they are boring and make little sense. But again, here is the gist of what happened: My brother was dealt a royal flush. He was given an Ace-King-Queen-Jack-Ten of hearts. Because a royal flush pays 2,000 to 1 in paigow my brother had instantly just won $2,000 because he had one dollar on the bonus bet. People at the table and my brother’s friends immediately became excited. Jenna immediately called the casino floor over to verify his amazing hand. When floor came over, they quickly realized that Glen was due a lot more. Remember how I told you that paigow is a seven card game? Well, the other two cards that Glen held in his hand were a King-Queen of spades. This gave him a royal match. What Glen really had been dealt was a royal flush-royal match.

 

As I mentioned above, Glen had a dollar on the progressive jackpot. For the progressive jackpot, the minimum/maximum qualifying bet is one dollar. People at paigow play this bet like it is going out of style and of course it rockets the jackpot up like crazy. Glen’s royal flush-royal match was a progressive jackpot qualifier to the tune of 50%. What was the jackpot?….. Over $46,000. Yes, over $46,000. In addition to the $2,000 Glen had already secured because of his royal flush, he had just won $23,000.

 

Lilac Lanes started to become a circus. News spread throughout the place in a matter of seconds that some twenty-one year old kid had just won $25,000. Glory hounds started to crowd around my brother, poker games split up to watch the commotion, people filtered in from the bowling alley to witness the madness. The floor did their best to restore order. Nothing could be touched or moved. They had placed a call to the owner of the casino. At 12:30am the owner had to drive from his house to the casino to verify the hand.

 

To the owner’s credit, he treated my brother with decency and respect. I have no idea how big of a punch to the stomach that must be for your business to pay out $25,000…to a twenty-one year old semi-drunk kid…on a cold winter night….after you had fallen soundly asleep. Anyway, upon looking at the hand and reviewing surveillance tape, the owner declared it a valid hand.

 

The owner and the manager ushered my brother over to the cage and with the owner on my brother’s left and the manager on my brother’s right, the cage person went to work. They first calculated taxes right on the spot and took it out of his winnings. That is Uncle Sam at work but at least Glen never saw that taxed out money in the first place. They took 28% (he would later get a $3,000 refund check). Next, they started to actually pay my bro. They first cut him a check for the amount of $12,500. They then paid him out $5,000 in cold hard cash. The cage person counted out 50 one hundred dollar bills to my brother. Next, they gave him $1,500 in chips.

 

It was time for the outrageousness to start.

 

My brother gave the cage guy $100 for his labor of counting out all of that cash. Next, my brother went over to Jenna, the dealer who dealt him the infamous hand. Like it was no big deal, my brother gave her the $1,500 in chips PLUS five hundred dollars in cash. That’s right, he had just tipped Jenna TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. She practically had a breakdown as she thanked my brother over and over saying how much she needed the money and how she could now complete her Christmas shopping. She also communicated the fact that she was going to buy a big screen tv.

 

My brother then took sympathy on the seven other dealers working that night who did not have the fortune of dealing Glen that hand. As an act of holiday spirit and good will, he gave each of those seven dealers $100 apiece.

 

Of course since my brother had just turned twenty-one and because he had just hit the biggest jackpot ever in that casino, he needed to  celebrate it by ordering shots for him and his friends. The waitress came back with the shots and the total was $9…my brother only had $100 bills on him so he paid the waitress with one of them….and told her to keep the change.

 

My brother then took care of his friends. He gave $100 each to the three people he was with. He tried to tip the owner and manager but they said they could not accept it. When my brother had finished lavishing randos with money and decided to leave, they had a security guard escort my brother to his car. He slipped the security guard $20. The security guard looked around awkwardly knowing he probably shouldn’t take it but then stuffed it in his pocket.

 

With about 30 minutes left in bar time, my brother and his friends went to a popular place in North Spokane called Fizzie Mulligans. Word had already spread to the bar by that time. For thirty glorious minutes, my brother partied like a rock star. The kid who had never had money in his life was living like a king.

 

At 2:30am my brother arrived at my parent’s house. He woke them up and made it rain in their bedroom with his $100 bills…I am not making this up.

 

The next morning my mom made one of the best decisions that she could have possibly have made. She took about 65% of my brother’s winnings and put it into a secure account that only she could access. They agreed that when Glen needed money, he would notify her and she would transfer funds to my brother’s personal account. I know if you are reading this that might sound unfair but if you know my brother then you know that it was for his own good. My brother did not argue with my mom’s plan.

 

That day I came to Spokane from Missoula with the reason being that the next morning we were taking a family vacation to Las Vegas. Again, I am not making this stuff up. Right off the bat my brother gave me $300 saying it was the least he could do for all the stuff I had bought him when we had hung out and traveled together over the past couple of years since I got my job. We had an amazing time in Vegas. We bought stuff we didn’t need to, we got VIP at a couple clubs, and Glen went on $600 swings at the Caesars Palace blackjack tables.

 

To this day, people still talk about “the hand”  from the casino personnel to kids my brother went to high school with. What they focus on though is not really the large amount of money my brother won but rather the ridiculous generosity he displayed with his winnings. At Lilac Casino, my brother is a hero.

 

Yes, my brother gives back a little bit of his fortune to the various casinos of Washington state on a weekly basis. He still loves frequenting those joints for the cheap booze and the thrill of unknown cards in the palm of his hands. Despite my efforts of telling him to give it up and get out while you are ahead, I must remember that old habits die hard.

 

As I have gone on my life adventures, I have met some of the stingiest, greediest people you will ever encounter. Although financially able, they won’t donate a cent of their income to a disaster relief cause or participate in a fundraiser for a neighbor kid. They won’t chip in with the rest of the office to buy a gift for the boss or won’t ever remember someone on their birthday. To these cheapskates I would like them to look at my brother. Even with a lot of his winnings washed up now (he still has some!), he still is always helping out his friends monetarily so they can have a drink, go to a movie, or go to the Mariners game. I will still say it, my brother is a complete idiot when it comes to money in many ways. However, he has a heart of gold and he would always refrain from blowing his money on junk if he could help out a friend first. And no, it did not take a $25,000 hand to make him this way. Don’t Blink.

Dramatic Facebook Changes

If you are someone who gets rattled when Facebook makes a site change, you might as well delete your account right now.
Supposedly, sometime this week the brand new Facebook will debut. Last week, thanks to a friend, I got tipped off on a way to make the new version reflect on my profile. I am currently under the new Facebook and let me tell you…it is different! But I definitely mean “different” in a good way.
The upcoming new changes to Facebook have probably been one of the worst kept secrets.  Then again, I really don’t know if it really was a secret to begin with, as the f8 conference in September (a yearly conference held by Facebook to discuss the company) detailed the new timeline format that would debut soon.
When these new changes go into effect for the general public, people are going to flip. Believe me, it is not one of the typical Facebook version changes where something might be moved to a different place or the newsfeed is tweaked. We are talking total makeover, wholesale type changes. It is going to generate a lot of  discussion across the nation and I know a lot of people are going to be pissed. But after they take the time to look over the new format and see what it has to offer, I hope they see that it is much better (click here to see what I wrote about the previous Facebook changes).
Facebook is now going to offer a timeline profile. Now you will have the option to go back in time to any period when you had Facebook and see all of the posts, status updates, and pictures from that era. I guess you could kind of do that with the current version but you would have to click “older posts” about 500 different times and it would take you probably three hours to get what you were looking for. With the new version, if you wanted to see what you were doing in the Facebook world on, let’s say, March 19, 2008, you would just have to click once or twice and you would be there. Right when I got the new timeline version I decided to go back to early 2007 when I first got Facebook. I could not believe how young and immature I sounded! I had stuff from a former girlfriend written on my wall that I would never let fly these days. It really did bring back a lot of memories, much in the same way that my journals do when I decide to go back and read past entries. Also with the timeline profile, you will be able to add pictures and information from the days before Facebook. Starting with when you were born, you can tell your life story through pictures and words.
With the new Facebook, you now also have the ability to “feature” certain posts. Let’s say you just got engaged, you can “feature” that and it will make the news the focal point of your profile. I can’t wait to do this for all of my blog posts.  It really just makes everything so much more customizable. No longer do you have different pages lined up vertically on your profile. Your info, friends, likes, pictures, etc. are all shown horizontally across the top of your page. Your actual profile with all of your posts from friends, added pictures, status updates, recent activities, etc. is organized in a double column format that fits the timeline theme. It confused me a little bit at first on where previous posts would be placed after a new one was added but I now understand it much better.
The feature that I absolutely love about the new Facebook is the ability to make “covers”. Your cover is a large 840×310 pixel space at the very top of your profile that you can design to fit your personal brand. People’s creative juices are going to be flowing as they make their various covers. Graphic designers are going to have a complete hay day as companies are going to look to them to make the slickest, flashiest one possible. That is how prominent Facebook covers are on profiles. I designed my cover to have my Twitter name and my blog URL on it. Of course, my life motto is also centrally placed on my cover.
This is my cover that I created for my profile.

                            

This week at work I will be spending a lot of time designing covers for the various Facebook pages I run for Grizzly Athletics. Once these Facebook changes take effect, I am going to be ready for it. I said that a lot of regular Facebook users are going to get a little crazy when they wake up to find Facebook dramatically transformed but I also predict the exact same type of reaction from the corporate world. Facebook as we know it is going to change and I am going to be very interested in seeing how various businesses, companies, and government/educational institutions adapt to it. One thing is for sure, Grizzly Athletics will be in with the new the second the changes take effect.
I would say that I am a little surprised that Facebook introduced new changes just a month ago considering they are rolling out the major redesign this week. I guess it is kind of tough to see the point of doing so but I also can kind of see Mark Zuckerberg smiling at driving the world that is so dependent on his creation absolutely crazy. 
So here is my warning to all of you. Get ready for change and get ready to embrace it. The new Facebook will give you the opportunity to further your own personal brand and tell the story of “you” much more effectively. While other people take the time to complain about it, you should take that time to learn everything there is to know about the new Facebook and become very proficient at it. This new version is here to stay and it is going to rock the social media world. Be ready. Don’t Blink.

Miranda Lambert Concert Review and Meeting Justin Moore

Last night I had the opportunity to go watch Miranda Lambert live in concert for her “Revolution Continues” tour. The tour stopped in Missoula at my place of work, the Adams Center.  To say I was anything less than excited to see this show would have been a complete lie. Miranda Lambert over the past couple years has really transformed herself into a country superstar. Along with the rest of the nation,  I was also swept up in the “Miranda Storm” that picked up countless people and threw them on her bandwagon. Opening for Miranda Lambert last night was the Randy Rogers Band and Justin Moore.
Before I get into the actual concert, I do want to tell about a unique opportunity that Fawn (my concert guest) and I got to partake in beforehand. Because I work in a department that has people in it with many connections that stretch nationwide, special perks sometimes come up. It just so happened that one of my co-workers is really good friends with Justin Moore’s travel manager. Because this certain co-worker happens to be a complete sweetheart, she pulled strings that allowed Fawn and I to participate in the Justin Moore Meet and Greet session. Now you have to realize that these meet and greets are artificial, staged, quick affairs where you are basically ushered into an area that is curtained off and you are pushed towards the star and after the hired photographer takes a quick snap shot, you are shooed out of the area. Well, when we met Justin, we made it count. We talked to him about the elk he shot that day and what he thought about Missoula. He told us that he loves it and that he told his wife earlier that they should move here. Justin Moore is incredibly short! Pretty much shockingly short when you see him. He is very soft spoken and his thick southern accent is 100% genuine. Of course he was wearing his cowboy hat and had his trademark chest hair popping out of his unbuttoned collar.  The photographer took our picture and we thanked him for his time and he thanked us for coming to his show. I became a lifelong fan in that very short minute.

                                       Justin Moore was so nice to us!
After getting another round of drinks, we made our way to our seats. No big deal, but we were front row on the main floor. Around the stage there was an area called “the pit” that was reserved for about fifty Miranda Lambert diehard fan club members. The stage had a catwalk extending out that allowed the pit members to gather around. The front row started exactly where the catwalk ended. There is nothing like going to a sporting event or a concert and feeling the adrenaline rush right when you get to your seats and you realize that you very well could have the best seats in the house and that your favorite performers are right in front of you. I got this kick immediately upon locating our seats.
The first opening act was the Randy Rogers Band. To be honest, I knew very little about them going in. What I knew about them really stemmed from one of my co-workers who happens to be from Texas and basically worships the ground these guys walk on. The only song I really knew that they sang was “Kiss Me in the Dark.” It  was a typical opening  act. Half of the crowd was really not paying attention, their stage setup was pretty weak, and I never really felt too much of a connection with the band. Oh well, it was not like I had too high of expectations for them coming in. It was still cool to see them so up close and to really just get a feel for how the night was going to shape out.

                                         Randy Rogers himself!

After the Randy Rogers Band set, we managed to be the most bush league people ever as we stormed past the line to enter the beer garden and once we cut off all the people waiting to get in we cut off even more people who were in the actual beer lines themselves as we zoomed right to the front, figuring we would blend in with the crowd. We got what we needed and then made our way back to our seats where we arrived just in time for Justin Moore.
This guy brought energy  to the stage. I do think part of the reason why I was feeling him right from the beginning was because he had been so nice to us but a lot of it had to do with just how he was killing it out there. Justin Moore was great with the crowd. He was funny, candid, and playful. He was very animated up on stage, something I would not have guessed during our quick one minute meet and greet. I love his hit “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” and he performed it perfectly up on stage. His new music was not too boring. He had the crowd going nuts when he sang “Small Town U.S.A.” Everything he did just worked. Now the only thing he needs are a few more hits, but I am sure they will come.

                                            Justin Moore = Lots of Passion

Sometimes it seems as if the period of time between the ending of the opening act and the starting of the headlining act takes forever. A lot of times I notice this long delay even with the good buzz I have going on and the carefree attitude that develops in a lot of people at concerts. However, the delay did not seem that long this time. Before you knew it, the hottest woman in country music stormed the stage to rock Missoula.
First thing is first: The Miranda Lambert physique from five years ago is not the Miranda Lambert physique of today. Yes, I was surprised at Miranda’s size when she came out. I would say she has probably gained thirty to forty pounds since her “Kerosene” video. But coming from someone who is not a string bean himself, I should probably shut up.  One thing that has not changed about Miranda is her voice. Unfortunately, I will not be making too many comparisons of Miranda with artists such as Reba and Toby but one thing she does share with those two is a distinctive voice. It fits her personality so well and it was definitely on display at the Adams Center last night. Besides her appearance, the voice was the next thing that I noticed.

                                        Body different, voice the same

The whole production was decent. The lighting was good, the giant video boards were nice for the people sitting high up, they used a lot of smoke. Other than that, the stage was pretty basic and any type of special effects you see a lot of headliners using up on stage these days were absent. No pyros, no confetti, no flying elements. 

                                                     The stage

Miranda opened her set well as she sang popular, sing-along type songs such as “Only Prettier” and “Kerosene.” She then got into her new stuff. Some of it was quite good, some of it I didn’t really pay much attention to. The worst part of her set in my opinion came when she brought out her new band The Pistol Annies. The Pistol Annies are composed of Lambert and two other chicks. Lambert is not even the lead vocalist…the band is basically a project she started earlier in the year. They performed for about thirty minutes out on the stage and it just seemed out of place to me. Not only that, it was pretty boring too. I really had no interest in seeing some side project being inserted right into the middle of a show but I guess she is really into this new experiment. Anyways, I really do think the Pistol Annies killed some of the momentum that Miranda had built up throughout the show.
Once the Pistol Annies left the stage and the show started to head towards the finish line, Miranda started dropping her hits. She sang “Heart Like Mine” and then did an awesome rendition of “The House That Built Me.” That song means a lot to me and you could legitimately tell that she sang it with so much emotion and passion. It definitely brought a tear to my eye.
 Before you knew it, Fawn and I had gained access to the pit area and were in touching distance of Miranda Lambert. When she sang “White Liar” she pointed at me (during the song I was jumping up and down going nuts so I kind of stuck out). That was definitely the highlight of the Miranda set for me. She then hit us with “Gun Powder and Led” which of course fired everyone up. Then, for her encore, she did something a little different. Instead of saving one of her mega hits for the last song of the night, she sang a song that was about Montana totally unplugged. Now of course she probably does this for every state on her tour but nonetheless it was really cool and  the story she used to lead into it was awesome. She then had the Randy Rogers Band, Justin Moore, and the Pistol Annies come up on stage and everyone sang “King of the Road.” The encore was definitely different from most other concerts but I liked it. I give her bonus points for trying something new.

                                         Miranda gets props from me

I would give the whole Miranda Lambert show probably a 7 out of 10. She played for a long time, was good to the crowd, put forth a strong effort, and sang all her hits. I think I just docked points for the dull middle part of the set and the decision to not really implement any of the cool modern technology  into the stage.
So what would I say my favorite part of last night was? Would it be meeting Justin Moore? Our great seats? Getting pointed at by Miranda Lambert? Actually, the answer is “no” to all three of these. My favorite part was probably the opportunity I had to really enjoy the night with a lot of my co-workers. I know I did not mention this earlier in my post, but a lot of people from the Montana athletic department attended the concert. During the busiest time of the year for us it was so refreshing to be able to hang out with one another in a fun setting. Making it kind of ironic was the fact that we were literally having  a ball in the facility where we are pretty much locked into for ungodly hours during these very busy months. It definitely did not seem like a prison last night. Even though we were not all sitting together, we went out before the concert,  hung out in between sets during the show, and went out afterwards. It was very cool.  I also got to show Fawn that us Grizzlies really are not that bad (she is a Montana State Bobcat).

                                       Showed this Bobcat that Grizzlies aren’t all that bad

Chalk up another concert for this guy! What a fun Tuesday night it was. As of right now I do not have a next concert on the schedule. However, I bet something will present itself soon and you can be sure that I will be there. Thanks everyone for all the fun last night. Don’t Blink.

A Little Bit of NBA, NFL, and MLB

Tonight, all three major American professional sports leagues are very relevant for vastly different reasons. The National Basketball Association (NBA) just announced they are canceling the first two weeks of their regular season, the National Football League (NFL) is prospering as usual in the first quarter of the season, and Major League Baseball (MLB) is in the midst of their league championship series.
For tonight’s post I want to take some time to briefly talk about all three leagues.
NBA: First Two Weeks of the Regular Season Canceled
I am not a huge fan of the NBA. The playoffs do entertain me and I love the storylines and rivalries that develop but as for the regular season I could care less. An eighty-two game season is way too long. With so many teams making the playoffs and with the way so many of the league’s players take it easy for the first three quarters of the season, there is just little reason to watch. I even get bored with Sportscenter highlights of the games. Honestly, show me the sickest dunks of the night and that is all I need.
You listen to sports talk radio or watch any of the shows on ESPN and a lot of the on-air talent will say that a shortened season for the NBA is a good thing. They will say that a fifty game season would be the perfect situation because each game will mean more, the players will compete harder, and the boredom and tired routine of an NBA season that lasts from October until June will lessen.
Well here is the thing. Even though I said I am bored by the regular season and even though many sports personalities feel a shortened season is what the league needs, I would still wish that the NBA would get their full eighty-two game schedule in. Any team that wins a championship with a shortened season is always going to have an asterisk by its name. Luckily for the Spurs, they went on to win more championships after they won the NBA shortened title during the 1998-1999 season, because to this day that championship is still a joke. No one takes it seriously.  Whenever you talk about what the Spurs have done in the past thirteen years you basically say they have won three NBA Championships and a lockout shortened championship in 1998-1999. Announcers always note it. We are not speaking metaphorically here, there is an actual asterisk after the Spurs name during the 1998-1999 season in the record book. It sucks. No matter how you slice it, winning a championship based on a fifty game season is much different than winning one off of an eighty-two game season. I hate it when records/achievements/ are tainted, even when the player/team can do absolutely nothing about it.
NFL: Let’s Start Tebow!!
Speaking strictly as a fan, I want to see Tim Tebow start the rest of the season for the Broncos, or at least for the next several games. I will admit it, I think pretty highly of Tebow. I think he is a great athlete and role model who has an incredibly exciting style of play. From the pure marketing aspect of things, he is a dream for the Denver Broncos. Even if Josh McDaniel made one of the worst talent selections in NFL history by bringing Tebow aboard, I think he has already paid off immensely for that organization in terms of jersey sales and in making the Denver organization relevant in the league on a weekly basis. If leveraged strategically by the team throughout the rest of his stay in Denver, I really think drafting him will pay off in the long run even if he is a total bust player wise.
Tim Tebow energized that team yesterday. Yes, I get it, San Diego did not gameplan for Tebow, they were ready for Orton. If Tebow was named the starter, you sure as hell could bet that the geniuses (aka NFL Defensive Coordinators) would implement a scheme that would drop him dead in his tracks. But what is wrong with making sure that this is 100% the case? Let’s end this debate that continues every single day through the sports media, among fans, and inside every locker room in the NFL: Is Tim Tebow an NFL quarterback?  Let it unfold right in front of us all. What gripping sports television that would be!  John Fox has a tough decision to make. Out of all the idiots who chime in on whether they feel Tebow is ready or not to start at quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Coach Fox knows best. He has seen his quarterback contingent take every snap from training camp until now. He knows who will be the most successful. For my own selfish desires and for the chance to settle this debate for good, I just want to see Tebow under center come October 23rd.
MLB: My Wish for the World Series
The playoffs started off for me on kind of a sour note. Although I am not a Boston Red Sox fan, I wanted to see them beat out the Tampa Bay Rays and get into the post season. The playoffs are just better with both Boston and New York in it. Well, that did not happen. Once the post season matchups were set, I was crossing my fingers for a Yankees-Phillies World Series. Again, I was disappointed. Although disappointed, I can’t say I was not pleased with the competitiveness and excitement of all the division series. Baseball has had a great couple of weeks with how the regular season ended and how the division series went and I hope it continues until the final out of the Fall Classic.
With that said, I want to see the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals battle it out in the World Series. I got to see Detroit play a couple of games in Pittsburgh this summer and I guess I kind of want  to say I saw the MLB World Champions play in person from the front row. I shouldn’t hold my breath as they are in an 0-2 hole to Texas but you never know what can happen. The series shifts back to Detroit and if the Tigers protect their home field it will be a whole new ballgame.
I could actually care less about who wins the National League Championship, I just don’t know if I am completely ready to see Milwaukee in the World Series. With St. Louis you got a hall of fame manager (Tony LaRussa) and a hall of fame player (Albert Pujols) carrying the banner of that team. I want to see those people on baseball’s biggest stage, it just seems right. With that series now tied at 1-1, I like the Cardinals’ chances.
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The drama, the parallels to life, and the competitive spirit of sports will always have me hooked. You never know what is going to happen next. Don’t Blink.

Turning 25 Years Old

At around 5:30am this morning, I officially turned twenty-five years old. I have never really been that big of a birthday guy. Sure, the numerous Facebook posts are kind of nice and I am not going to lie, I love the cash that my mom sends me each year but other than that I just don’t get too excited for my birthday. More than anything, I get embarrassed. I feel uneasy when co-workers and friends feel obligated to wish me a happy birthday and then follow it up with the usual questions of how old I am  and what my plans for the night are. The only way I will go out to dinner on my birthday is if everyone in my party swears to me that they will not alert any of the wait staff about the occasion.  I can’t think of anything I dislike more than wearing some stupid hat while restaurant staff members put on a fake face and act like they are happy to sing and dance some birthday routine that makes them look just as ridiculous as me. This year more than ever is one of those birthdays where I would like to fly under the radar. To say I am a little self-conscious about my new age is an understatement.

It is hard for me to come to grips with the fact that I am now twenty-five. There are no euphemisms for twenty-five, instead you can replace it with unflattering substitutes such as “halfway to 50,” “quarter of a century old,” or “on the fast track to thirty.” I am now legitimately in my mid-twenties. Yikes.

One of the tough things to face is that I have graduated from the 18-24 age demographic. Truly, this has to be the sign that you are no longer young and hip. Social scientists, politicians, and magazines no longer look to me as an indicator of what is fresh and cool in society. Along with getting kicked out of the age group I would like to forever be in, I also feel like I am being forced to move on from routines  that have been commonplace for me before I entered this new age bracket: Am I too old now to go out to the bars and party until closing? Should I stop listening to mainstream top 40 and turn my dial to some 2000’s soft hits format? Should “Jersey Shore” be off limits to me? Am I going to have to stop wearing polos and jeans? Should I keep my hair shorter?

To be completely honest, I have mentally been preparing myself for the psychological change of turning twenty-five. For at least the past four months I have been telling myself that I was twenty-five, just to lessen the shock of when it actually became official this morning. When people asked me my age, I actually told many of them accidently that I was twenty-five. So, it is kind of weird, but it seems like I have not been twenty-four for a long time. Also, another way I have been coping with my age change is to tell myself, “You know Brent, being twenty-five is so much better than being twenty-six.” This has helped me some! Twenty-five does sound way better than twenty-six. If you are ever having a tough time dealing with your new age, I recommend you try this trick.

Of course, because of the type of person I am, I had to evaluate myself on where I am at the age of twenty-five. On the positive side, I have a great job and I can afford the type of lifestyle I want to live. I have great friends, great co-workers, and great contacts. I have no debt, no skeletons in my closet, no criminal record. I have really nothing holding me back. On the side where I need to work on, it would have been nice to have a graduate degree by this time in my life. I am going to be busy my whole life so I can’t keep using that as an excuse. I also need to work on owning a place of my own. Right now I live with three great people in a very nice house in one of Missoula’s nicest areas but it is not mine. I don’t plan to live in Missoula forever so I am hesitant to pull the trigger but even if I was, it is not like I would be set up right away financially to do so. To say that I have made the most perfect choices with my money since I got my first real job would be a complete lie. I should probably start working on that. I am also single!! While I love the single life, one of my goals is definitely to get married and have kids so I am going to need to start focusing a little harder on finding that special someone. Again though, the same dilemma of not knowing how long you are going to be in a certain place and the dedication I have to my career muddies the water a little bit when it comes to settling down with someone. Overall, I feel I am in decent shape at the twenty-five year mark.

So how am I going to spend my birthday today? Well, I am just about to walk out the door and head to Pocatello, Idaho, as our football team will be taking on Idaho State this afternoon at 4pm. I am driving the Griz Cheer Squad down as they get to travel to this game. We will get to Pocatello, eat lunch, go to the arena (yes, Idaho State plays football in an arena), and then spend the night at the Red Lion. It is going to be a great time and is actually probably the thing I would most want to do on my birthday.

Thank you so much to my mom for giving birth to me 25 years ago today! I was a nine pound baby and she popped me out with no pain medication. I might not like my new age but I need to realize that there is nothing I can do to stop time. I need to reflect on the countless blessings I have received in my twenty-five years on this earth and focus on how I can maximize those blessings over the next twenty-five years. I have a great life, and today I am going to celebrate it. Don’t Blink.

Sports and Scapegoats

Tonight I watched “Catching Hell,” one of ESPN’s documentaries in its 30 For 30 series. If you have not watched any of the 30 For 30 documentary films, you are missing out. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate how well these films are done and how gripping the stories are. I highly recommend you watch as many as possible. The one I saw  tonight, “Catching Hell” (it originally debuted on September 27th), told the story of the infamous Chicago Cubs fan, Steve Bartman. With one out in game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, Bartman interfered with a foul ball that many believe Moises Alou would have caught if Bartman had not interfered on the play. Immediately after the boom-boom play happened, Alou cursed in disgust and gestured at Bartman. Fox showed the replay over and over during the live broadcast and the guy’s fate was pretty much sealed.
Here is where Bartman went wrong: He interfered with the play. Despite the fact if the ball was in fair or foul territory, he should have basically fallen back in his chair and let Alou go for the ball. When you sit at a baseball game in the front row down a foul line, you have to mentally prepare yourself for the possibility of a ball coming your way and a player trying to make a play on that ball. In your head, you have to have a plan to get out of the way or make yourself a nonfactor. Sure it may be the natural reaction of a fan to reach out for a ball that is coming to their way but you have to have the discipline to fight against that natural reaction.  Bartman did make a mistake by reaching out for the ball.
Here is where the city of Chicago went wrong: They crucified Bartman for being the guy who lost the 2003 NLCS for the Cubs and who continued on the curse. They designated him as the ultimate scapegoat of a struggling franchise. At the heart of the situation, I am not convinced that Alou would have caught that ball if Bartman had not reached his hands out to try and catch it. There is just no way of knowing. After that play, the wheels fell off for the Cubs. They simply could not get another out. After a walk, a wild pitch, and a couple hits, Alex Gonzalez committed an error on an easy double play ball. This part of the inning has forever been overshadowed by Bartman. The Marlins would go on to score eight runs that inning.
Bartman deserved to have a few fans who were sitting close by to put him in check and tell him that he should not interfere with a playable ball. Then again, they had no room to talk because those fans sitting close to him also reached for the ball, they just happened to be fortunate enough not to touch it. If there was any sensible fan in that whole cluster of seats who did not reach for the ball, he/she had full right to tell Bartman and everyone else not to do anything else stupid if another ball came over their way….that would have been acceptable. What was not acceptable was what really happened. Thanks to people watching the game on TV outside of the stadium and around the Chicago area,  they were able to call friends inside the stadium and let them know that the dude in the Cubs hat, green turtle neck, and earphones was the person who had “screwed” the Cubs out of a potential trip to the World Series. As word spread, the whole stadium unleashed their fury on Bartman. As a chant of “ASSHOLE” started, people started to throw beer, hot dogs, pizza, and really anything else you could imagine at the guy. Death threats started to surround him as he sat slumped in his seat. Finally, security appeared and escorted him into their dispatch office for his own safety. It would only be the beginning.
Of course the Cubs never overcame the 8 spot that the Marlins put up in the eighth inning and they lost game 6. The next night, they dropped game 7. The curse was solidified and Bartman became Public Enemy #1 in Chicago.
Steve Bartman faced threat upon threat during the aftermath of the Cubs exit from the playoffs.  He was forced to go into hiding. There was nothing but pure venom spit out on talk radio shows, public officials in the Chicago area denounced him.   The documentary mentioned that Bartman can no longer even use a credit card because then his identity will be known.
I feel the most amazing thing in this whole story is the classy way that Steve Bartman has held himself over the past eight years. The guy has had numerous offers for six-figure pay days for ten minute interviews, car show appearances, commercial ad requests, casino promotions, etc. but he has denied every single one. For all the misery he has suffered, you would think he would be entitled to cash in a little bit. How ironic is it that the guy who ended up getting the foul ball that Bartman and Alou went for sold it for $100,000? Kind of sad that a guy profited off of another guy’s life crushing experience. Steve even issued a statement shortly after game 6 detailing how sorry he was for the role he played in the Cubs not making it to the World Series. He apologized to the team, the fans, and pretty much every significant player that ever put on a Cubs uniform. Other than that, he has been silent. To this day, he has not said one word to the media.
Fans take sports way too seriously. I love sports and I make a living in sports but I do not see it as the bane of my existence. I do not need to contribute to the shattering of someone else’s life simply because they could have played a small role in a series of events that eventually led to a team losing a game. I genuinely feel very sad for Steve Bartman. This saga is still going on as I type this. People in Chicago hate him. How funny is it that all of the players on that Cubs team, the people who had the most stock invested in that 2003 team, have moved on while a bunch of low-lifes who wear jerseys and keep baseball card collections hold grudges so big against Steve Bartman that they throw darts at his picture each day? Talk about pathetic.
Our favorite teams are going to lose. Sure, it is natural to get frustrated but you have to remain rational as well. We live in a sporting society where people want to always pin a loss on one factor. It could be an owner, it could be a coach, it could be a player, and in some terrible cases, it could be a fellow fan. Get real, people. Just like a victory, a loss is shared by everyone. Quit finding a scapegoat to explain why your team lost and take a more holistic view. Steve Bartman, you are a man who has endured way more than anyone should. As the documentary said in its closing, you don’t owe the city of Chicago an apology, the city of Chicago owes you can apology. Don’t Blink.