Wrapping Up 2011, Looking Forward to 2012

First off I would like to say Happy Holidays to all of my readers. Once again I have gone a couple weeks without posting and I apologize for that. There is good reason for this though. My Las Vegas trip, Christmas, and a very busy work schedule all have kept me away from the computer. But I do promise that as the new year starts I will finally have more time to blog. In fact, there are several topics/events that I will be sharing with you once 2012 kicks off. So please, continue to check my Twitter and Facebook for new post announcements or just visit the URL of this site directly.
Before I talk about my personal 2011, I just want to note that it seems that this year was harsh on a lot of people. Just from the people I am close with and from the numerous Twitter and Facebook posts I have seen lately, 2011 was tough. I hate to see this and I feel bad for everyone who had a not so glamorous year. For the people who I know who hit rock bottom this year, take comfort in the fact that things can only get better. The new year is the absolute epitome of a fresh start and it really is the time to let go of the past year and look forward to getting back to where you want to be. For the sake of these people, I too am glad to see 2011 pass away.
I will say that 2011 was a solid and fun year for me. I can’t go too overboard and say that it was a breakout year or even a great year but it was consistent and a blast. Yes, 2011 was definitely a good year and if 2012 is exactly the same I won’t complain, although I always like to improve.
Stressing the positives though, I traveled to a lot of cool places and met a lot of awesome people. I pretty much decided to take a break from saving so much and instead made the call to use my income to have fun…and have fun I did. I visited Orlando, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Las Vegas (TWICE), Seattle, and Los Angeles on trips that were planned solely on fun. I saw some great concerts and some great professional sporting events. I did what I wanted when I wanted to do it. I also made a lot of new friends this year. Whether it was out of state, in state, out of Missoula, in Missoula, in the workplace, out of the workplace, or wherever, I added a great deal of new contacts to my phone. My new friends of 2011 definitely make up a diverse bunch as all different types of ages, races, backgrounds, creeds, area codes, and sexual orientations were represented.
Professionally, I concluded my role as Assistant Marketing Director and took a step up and became Director of New Media for Grizzly Athletics on July 1. I have loved every minute of my new job. Gaining a lot of new duties that deal specifically with my major interests while also retaining a few of my previous duties, I feel like I have the perfect job. Each day I get to connect virally with 90,000 fans of Griz Nation while also working on a website that is on par with the biggest/most elite athletic programs in the NCAA. I get to interact with more co-workers and athletes in the department because my position is now much more far-reaching than my previous one (everyone has website needs). I continue to have a blast working with Christie in gameday operations. We had a great 2011 football season and basketball concluded well at the beginning of the year and the 2011-12 has also gotten off to a great start.
I want 2012 to be an outstanding year personally and professionally. I want to take better care of myself physically. I want to eat right for all 365 days and start to get a little more rest. I sometimes worry my family with my lifestyle and I thought they were always just overreacting until a certain event late this year grabbed my attention and told me that they might be on to something. In another realm of my personal life, I definitely don’t want to say that I am focused on finding that special someone in 2012 but I do want to just continue dating and if that diamond in the rough surfaces, I will not be afraid to pursue it. I want to travel more this next year too! I don’t have any trips lined up at the moment but I do have Delta credit. I want to see more sporting venues and see what others are doing. I also want to develop this blog more. I know I make excuses about being busy a lot but I know I can put forth a better effort to get meaningful content up on this platform more consistently. Watch for it.
Professionally I want to continue to develop social media within Grizzly Athletics and do all I can to continue bringing people to our website, www.gogriz.com . I want to keep things fresh and do the best with the job I have (some people will say it is not even a job, that’s how awesome it is). I also have to keep my eyes open for the next stage in my life. Opportunities are out there, it is just the part of choosing the right one…..and then there is that small detail of actually getting the desired position. No matter what happens, I know I am in a win-win situation and I can’t complain about that.
I want to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. I am excited for the night and the big celebration. When the clock strikes midnight this evening, have the attitude that this is going to be the absolute best year of your life.  Remember, so much of our success depends on how we think and how we view ourselves. I do firmly believe that we are capable of almost anything we put our minds to. Plan big in ’12 and have a great year. Don’t Blink.

Vegas in December!

Call me obsessed, call me addicted, call me predictable, but this morning I am hopping on a plane and going back to pretty much my most favorite place in the world, Las Vegas.
Kind of weird, but this go around has not carried with it as much build up and anticipation as the previous Vegas trips have. This is not due to lack of excitement though. In reality, I have just been too busy at work to really look ahead to anything and my actual Vegas trip remained in doubt until this past Saturday. You see, Montana stormed their way into the FCS semifinals last Friday night in one of the most memorable football games I have ever been part of. This set the possible stage for us to host yet another home playoff game this upcoming Friday. Whether we hosted that playoff game or not depended on the outcome of the Sam Houston State vs. Montana State game that was played last Saturday. If SHSU won, we would not host…If Montana State won, we would host. If SHSU won, I was going to Vegas, if Montana State won, I was staying in Missoula and working the biggest football game to ever be played in the state. Well, Montana State LOST…terribly. That punched my ticket to Vegas.
I am going to Las Vegas with my brother. If you have ever dabbled for even a few minutes in my blog before, you know how close I am to him. Glen and I fly out this morning (Thursday) at 6:05am and we will return on Sunday. We are staying at Harrahs. Having given my business to multiple properties along the Vegas strip over the past few years, this time I wanted to just stay at a low key place that is centrally located. Harrahs fits that bill perfectly for my brother and I.
I look at this to be a little more toned down and relaxing Vegas trip than the ones I have taken in the past. Glen and I are just going to have a brothers’ weekend of gambling, drinking,  and people watching. No high end clubs or glitzy bars in the agenda this time. For me, I can’t wait to get off to a warmer place and just enjoy myself for a few days. Because of the nature of my profession I will still be working from inside the hotel off and on but I have no reservations about it. I can’t wait to wear my maroon and silver all day on the strip tomorrow and then cheer my ass off for the Griz in whatever establishment we decide to watch the game at as Montana takes on Sam Houston State in the FCS semifinal.
So wish me good luck in Vegas! Follow me on Twitter at @BrentR7 for continuous (don’t say I did not warn you…I meant it when I say continuous) updates about my trip. Have a great weekend everyone. Don’t Blink.
Previous Vegas Posts:

Vegas Preview – June 2011

Big Time, Baby: ESPN!

This week is truly a showcase for The University of Montana Intercollegiate Athletics Department  and basically the city of Missoula in general. On Friday night, Washington-Grizzly Stadium will be at the forefront of the sporting world. Luckily for me, I will be right in the middle of it.

This Friday, the Montana Grizzlies will host Northern Iowa in a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) quarterfinal matchup. What makes this game so special are a couple things. First off, the game is at night. As Washington-Grizzly Stadium does not have permanent lights, whenever we hold a night game it is a huge deal. To be completely honest, hosting a night game in our stadium is like Notre Dame playing a night game on their campus, or, even better yet, it is kind of like the Chicago Cubs hosting a night game at Wrigley Field. It I just one of those things that does not happen very often, maybe once every two or three years. Secondly, this game is special because ESPN is coming to broadcast the game! No, this game is not going to be shown on ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ESPN GamePlan, or even ESPN2…this game is going to be on the flagship network itself!

I don’t care what anyone says, this is a big deal. There are over eighty FBS teams that didn’t get an ESPN game this year. Not only that, but this game is smack-dab in the middle of primetime (8pm ET/6pm MT) on a Friday night! I do kind of get the chills thinking about how many people across the nation will be watching the game and how many tweets will be sent across the nation referencing the game. All eyes will be on Missoula, and I have to say, if I was a viewer at home in some part of the country where I had no idea about where the town of Missoula was or that the University of Montana even existed, I would probably be drawn into the game if I was flipping through the channels. I live for watching games between lesser known teams in obscure, but exciting, atmospheres where there is a lot on the line and  the passion from the stadium seems to seep through the television screen and into your living room. This is one of those games.

The atmosphere of this game will be dictated mostly by the way our team plays and by the amount of enthusiasm and craziness our fans bring to the stadium. The coolness factor of what you see on your TV screen come this Friday night really does rest mostly on these two factors. However, as with any sporting event or any type of production in general, there are always intangibles. I feel that my boss (Christie) and myself are a couple of those intangibles.

As I have mentioned a couple times before, Christie and I are responsible for the “game experience.” Christie is the mastermind of the whole operation, scripting out an amazing production which is really the greatest show in the state of Montana. If you have never witnessed a game at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, please put it on your bucket list. I take on a much smaller role than Christie as I serve as the stadium DJ and organize our mascot entertainment during the game. One thing about our jobs is that we are always under scrutiny. We have our critics and there are always wildly popular open forums for these people to go off on what we do and call us out. But it comes with the territory and I understand that. As part of my job, I do take notice on what people are saying about our department so I hear/read most of the criticisms of what Christie and I do. I am humbled by these criticisms and take note of many of them. At the end of the day though, I always have pride in what we do and I look at the overwhelmingly positive response that we do get from the non-anonymous people who appreciate what we do.

Christie and I up in the box where we put on the show.

I bring all of this up to illustrate how big of a game this is for Christie, myself, and our AWESOME team of interns this Friday. Not only do we have the usual UM faithful to please with a great show but we also have a national TV audience to show off to as well! I really can’t hide my excitement, honest to God, I do get goosebumps thinking of this opportunity. The nation is going to be invited into our stadium to see how we do things in Montana. Whenever I watch a sporting event, I ALWAYS take notice of the music that is being played as it is usually always picked up in an audible level by the station. People down in Texas, people chilling in Florida, and people relaxing in Maine are all going to hear what this dude with crazy curly hair is going to be playing.  Come that fourth quarter when we are up by a couple touchdowns, the nation better be ready for some Cotton Eyed Joe!! No doubt Monte will get some national airtime. As a matter of fact, much to my pleasure, Monte and Mo were featured on the opening of “Around the Horn” today as they rode into the stadium on an intertube pulled by a four-wheeler at this Saturday’s past game. This type of coverage will be increased this Friday. As I said, Griz fans are great and will make noise and be loud regardless of how Christie and I perform…but we are going to do our best to get something a little extra out of them. And what we hope to do is to shift an amazing atmosphere into an ELECTRIC atmosphere.

I want to circle back to where I began this post…with the Grizzly Football team. I can’t say enough about the players and coaches. I might throw the word “pressure” around when it comes to my job but it is only a small fraction of what our players and coaches feel. It is nothing short of admirable to watch the way they handle themselves with the circumstances/stress with which they must work under. Believe me, a lot of people doubted this team and they have done nothing but prosper and prove doubters wrong. To the diehard, real fans of Griz Nation…you guys are awesome and we can’t wait to have you in Washington-Grizzly Stadium this Friday. You make the athletes and staff so proud.

So, you might ask if Christie and I are nervous. The answer? No. You see, we have worked under these conditions before. Two years ago, our team hosted Appalachian State in the FCS semi-finals in an ESPN game that was coincidently at night. The result? The Griz won in one of the most memorable games in the history of Montana athletics.  Everything worked that night. Here is to a repeat of ’09. Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

Looking for this type of atmosphere again (Yes, I will play Sandstorm again)

My Apologies

I want to send out my sincere apologies for neglecting my blog for the past few weeks. As I had alluded to in one of my posts before I went on hiatus, this is the busiest time of the year for me. With the craziness of work and with the craziness of everything else going on in my life, I have really come up short on my blog. I am sorry for that. You see, when you take on something like a blog, you do take on a responsibility. You take on the responsibility to maintain it and keep it fresh. One of my firmest beliefs is that there is nothing more embarrassing than an untouched social media/social networking medium that is out there in cyberspace for people to look at and laugh at because everything is out of date. This sends a message that the person or organization running the social media site/account is lazy. Please, consider me lazy and embarrassed. I wish I could promise that I will do better in the next few weeks but I can’t make that commitment right now.
Just a quick little rundown on what has been occurring in my life as of late: Work is definitely dominating. Our football team is playing at a very high level right now and we have a big ESPN quarterfinal playoff game coming up that I will blog about next. We also have basketball in full swing as both our men’s and women’s teams are in the middle of  their non-conference schedules. This week we have three basketball games in addition to our football game. The highlight of the basketball schedule this week comes on Saturday when our men’s team welcomes Nevada into Dahlberg Arena.  I never wrote about our rivalry game against Montana State but it was one of the best times I have ever had watching a football game. I was in charge of the booster bus that we took down to Bozeman, Montana, for the game and it was a truly memorable trip. We came in as underdogs but we took it to the Bobcats, destroying them 36-10 and winning the Big Sky Conference championship. Cheering and yelling on the sidelines with my fellow staff members and the football team as the victory unfolded was so sweet. Words can’t really do justice to when you go to your rival’s house, destroy their undefeated league season, humiliate them, and then celebrate with the people you work with so hard day in and day out.

The success of our team has derailed some of my plans, but it is definitely not something I am complaining about. I was set to go to Columbus, Ohio, with my fellow co-worker this past weekend. As an All-Big 10 goal keeper for Ohio State, my friend, who is an assistant soccer coach for us, was going to show me around campus and give me a real taste for Columbus. But our football team played amazingly down the stretch and earned the right for a home playoff game and a bye (they won this past Saturday, 41-14 over Central Arkansas). In intercollegiate athletics anything can happen and it is truly a gamble to plan any type of trip or vacation when it is possible that you could be hosting a game. I took the gamble and paid for it, but it was actually a win-win. Either I was going to go to Columbus, Ohio, or I was going to be in Missoula working a playoff game for the school I love with all of my heart.
Besides work, I have been busy as well. Thanksgiving was awesome, I got to spend time with my family and Spokane friends. My brother and I had a great time with each other as always. Back in Missoula, I have probably taken it a little harder than what I should. I will be the first one to admit, I have probably gone out more times than I should have. It is kind of weird, you get into the routine of going out nightly and it is kind of hard to stop. With all the hours and stress that I pour into my job, you just get that itch to go out and have fun. Over the past few weeks I have ate out and drank way too much. But it has been so much fun. I have met and developed friendships with some special people over this period of time. I have also rekindled a friendship which I am very happy about. Although in the long run it is going to affect me in my waistline and in my wallet, I am grateful for this period of time.
Happy December, everyone! It is the holiday season and I hope it finds all of you in good spirits and in good health. As I do have a sense that I might continue to slack in my blogging duties, feel free to follow me on Twitter, @BrentR7. I dare you to be able to tolerate me for one week before deleting me from the people you follow. Have a great week! Don’t Blink.