My YouTube Obsession

In the past couple of months, I have become interested in a certain type of video remixing. To be completely honest, I don’t know exactly what this certain type of video remixing is  called so hopefully one of my readers can help me out as my hasty Google search did not yield me a concrete answer (they might be called video mash ups, but I am not sure).

Anyway, I really enjoy the video remixes where a certain pop culture theme or phenomenon is taken and thrown in with a beat. The pop culture component is chopped into a bunch of different short clips that spans a period of time and mixed together throughout the whole video. Although the clips are usually very random, short, and maybe even meaningless, the creators of these videos put them together with the beat in a way that is very entertaining and creative. Repetition and lively expressions/motions from the people included in the video are key.

Really confused on my explanation of something that I don’t even know the name of? I pretty much confused myself. Let’s just go right to an example so everyone knows what I am talking about.

In early December, ESPN debuted the “All He Does Is Win” Tim Tebow video by DJ Steve Porter. In the video, clips and soundbites of/from ESPN talking head Skip Bayless are pieced together to create an homage of sorts to Tebow. The phrase “all he does is win” provides the chorus while the famous lines from Bayless of “He’s a gamer….he’s a baller…he’s a playmaker….and a shot caller” make up the backbone of the video.  Besides Bayless providing the main parts, you got cut up clips of Tebow and John Elway also providing key parts of the song. After them, there are a bunch of fast, funny clips from people like Lil’ Wayne, Nelly, Hulk Hogan, Steven A. Smith, John Fox, and more. Although so much of it is random, it all fits together.

DJ Porter has been with ESPN for a few years now. They hired him exclusively to produce these types of remixes for the network. As I get introduced to a lot of things in life through sports, I became introduced to these types of videos through ESPN. In fact, I initially naively thought that these videos were unique to ESPN (more on this later). Anyway, if you ever have time to youtube some of Porter’s sports remixes you must do it. For any sports fan who loves the media and marketing aspect of the industry, the videos are genius.  By far my favorite video by Porter is “All He Does Is Win” but my next two favorites are his NFL Draft remix and his Randy Moss “One Clap” montage. Honestly, check these out. The ridiculousness and randomness of the quotes and clips provide for some great entertainment.

Last night my friends and I were at a local bar watching people do karaoke. In the transition between singers, the DJ played on the screen a video remix sampled from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory titled “You Lose.” Even though I am not a big fan of the movie, I was laughing along with the whole bar as the video played. Again, everything just flowed so smoothly together and watching Gene Wilder have his freak out session over and over was priceless. Watching that last night really made me want  to write this post as it demonstrated to me how creative and catchy these videos are.


Not a sports fan or Willy Wonka fan? Don’t worry, there are several of these video remixes that cover all types of subjects. For example, I have seen a video that samples a bunch of different reality tv shows and meshes them together. I have seen a great video done on the “hide yo kids” news report. There are numerous Charlie Sheen ones out there (guess what key word those are usually sampled around?). With it being an election year, I expect to see many mash ups dealing with Obama and the Republican candidate. The news media will also become a more common target of these compilations.

Although I have mentioned the appeal of these videos a couple times now, I want to focus one more time on why they work. Basically, what makes these sketches so good is that they combine both structure and chaos with great visual and audio elements. Although there are a bunch of seemingly random, weird clips strewn in, they all make sense and help tell the story. The first time you watch a mash up you will find it hard to follow everything but you will have a smile on your face throughout the whole duration. You will then go back and watch again to catch what you missed from your initial viewing. The visual and audio of these videos are so good that they could stand alone. If you muted the audio you would simply get a kick out of all the sharp movements, emotion packed faces, and split second sequences. If you just gave me a CD of the audio then I would play it at a party, they are that good. I watch/listen to these videos and they really do get stuck in my head and that is just not because most of them say the same thing over and over. They are just catchy songs with fun lyrics and a good beat.

My dream would be to create a few of these mash ups for the athletic department I work at. I think it would be fun to have our coaches and players featured in this type of way. These videos are all about the viral aspect and I would be willing to wager that It would get some serious views. Again, with the elections coming up and with the success that “All He Does Is Win” enjoyed, I think we are going to see much more of this type of multimedia. If you have not already, take some time to watch a few of these videos. I do have to give you some advice though, if you want to catch everything just remember…Don’t Blink..

Birthdays and Girls

As someone who dreads birthdays, I do recognize that others like them and not everyone is like me. Whether or not you appreciate them or not, I feel it is best to dislike/like birthdays in a non-extreme manner. Unfortunately, some people make way too big of a deal out of how much they hate that time of the year where they become a year older while others go way off the deep end in recognizing and celebrating their special day. Although it is a two way street, let’s be honest here, many more people are guilty of the second condition of indulging way too much on their birthday and although I hate to say it, most of the time these perpetrators are women.

I try to keep my posts that call girls out to a minimum. I love women and I realize that us guys probably have around a thousand more vices than females. I also realize that the woman brain is different from the man brain so many things they do will never make sense to me no matter how much I try to relate. With that in mind, please do not become too offended if I step on your toes a little bit.

I understand that there are some special birthdays that warrant a little more celebration and recognition than others. I would say that they are one’s 21st and one’s 100th. Other than that, I feel that all other birthdays can get by with a modest celebration rather than some blow out “look at me” type bash.
Celebrating my 21st birthday!

First things first: When your birthday comes around, please realize that it is for one day. If you can’t celebrate your birthday on its actual day then it is fine to celebrate on an alternate day close to the original date but the key is that you get one celebration. I know numerous girls who have turned their birthday into a weekend bender, or worse yet, a week long tour. I even know some who will excuse their self-obsession and entitlement by using the excuse that it is her “birthday month.” Come on now. If you are celebrating your 23rd birthday, by all means treat yourself to a well-deserved party. Enjoy a night out on the town and the fun of getting treated like a queen. But please don’t try to extend it any further. I cringe when girls plan multiple birthday celebrations to recognize themselves, you know what I mean…they will have their separate event with just “the girls”, they will have their main dinner/bar hop with their big group, they will have their joint birthday celebration with one of their girlfriends who happens to have their birthday fall within the same week as theirs, they will have a work birthday, and then they will have a birthday event five days later on the weekend so anyone who was unable to celebrate in the multiple birthday events earlier in the week along with all the people who actually did can spoil the birthday girl once more.

Again, you are welcome to one celebration. You get the luxury of one night where you are spoiled rotten. Anything beyond that is excessive and self-indulging. No need to put your friends in the position of celebrating your special day more than once and feeling the obligation to pour money into your birthday crusade over an extended period of time.

Also, I have never gotten the girls who feel so entitled on their birthday. Congratulations on turning a year older but it does not make you the center of the universe. Don’t expect to have your ass kissed by everyone.  Probably the one excuse I can’t stand more than any other: “I can do this/I get this because it is my birthday.” No, we are not in the third grade anymore. Everyone is not going to bow down to you and treat you like a goddess because it is your BDay. Really, so many girls think that they have the right  to dictate, delegate, and direct every single shot on and around their day of birth. How about instead of digging into that huge birthday cake you substitute it for a well-needed slice of humble pie and cool the ego trip? How about acting like you have been there before, like you have already celebrated 20+ of these things in your lifetime rather than acting like it is a day that God created solely for you.

I get a good laugh out of the girls who deck themselves out in ridiculous birthday garb when they hit the town.  If you are not turning twenty-one, please do not wear a crown downtown. Don’t embarrass yourself even more and dawn a sash. Commemorative glasses, beads, and necklaces need also not apply. I can’t think of anything else that sends more of a message of “Hey, I am special…buy me a drink, worship the ground I walk on, move out of my way.” The ultimate hilarious thing is the girl who will wear this stuff out more than once over a couple days. Get a life.

I am not anti-birthday. I recognize that they have a very important place and are even necessary in a society driven by milestones. Everyone deserves to celebrate their birthday but no one deserves to turn it into an extended self-promotion goat rope. Ladies, pick one day and one event to celebrate your birthday and have the time of your life. Just remember to keep it classy. Don’t Blink.

Top 5 Things to Do While in Las Vegas

Over the past week, I have become very jealous. While my fun and crazy schedule has started to die down a little bit, everyone else around me is pushing down on their “excitement accelerator “, gearing up for trips to the most entertaining place in the world, Las Vegas. I kid you not, it seems like everyone I know has just gotten back from Vegas, is currently there, or will be going there in the very near future. As it is Spring Break season right now, it should come as little surprise that everyone is making plans to do something fun. However, I don’t know what it is about this year, but it seems like everyone and their dog has zeroed in on Sin City as their choice destination for Spring Break 2012.

Despite going to Las Vegas more than enough times in the past four years since turning twenty-one, I am still envious of everyone currently flying south to the Entertainment Capital of the World. To help curb my feelings of envy, I have decided to help all my fellow friends destined for Vegas by giving them my  “Top Five To-Do List for a Memorable Vegas Vacation.”  The following items on the list are options that everyone can do while on their vacation. It is also my most basic and G-rated version I could provide so if you are looking for a more risqué list, please search elsewhere or talk to me personally.

So without further ado, here is my Top Five To-Do List for a Memorable Vegas Vacation:

Honorable Mention:  Play Poker – You can’t say you did Vegas right if you never played poker while you were down there. The best thing is, there is absolutely no excuse for not doing so. Each casino has loads and loads of hold ‘em games going on. I would definitely suggest playing in a tournament while you are there as opposed to a cash game. Your money will last longer and you will spend less of it in the long run. Many casinos hold cheap tournaments in the $30 to $60 range daily. The tournaments are well organized, fun, and winnable! You will meet people from all over the place and the drink service is always great. My favorite places to play poker at on the Strip are O’Sheas, Bill’s Gambling Hall, and MGM.

5. Pool Mornings – For everyone going to Las Vegas right now for Spring Break, the weather could not be nicer. With mid-80 degree temperatures you should be in heaven. Take advantage of the beautiful weather by lounging at the pool in the morning. Most hotels have fun, extravagant pools. Tan, people watch, swim, drink, and listen to good music…it is what the Vegas pool experience is all about.

I suggest starting each day in Vegas at the pool because you will get the early morning rays and you will be there before the really big crowds start to show up. Keep in mind that there will be lots of people regardless of what time you will have more space and a better chance of getting a good seat in the morning. Many of the pools have gorgeous cocktail waitresses serving the area so go ahead and splurge and buy a couple buckets of beer. It is an excellent and refreshing way to pregame for the day.
Hanging out at the Flamingo pool this past  summer.
4. Club Experience – I am not a big club guy so I could definitely not live in the Vegas club scene but  it is fun to do at least once. It gives you an idea of what Las Vegas is all about and you will see some of the most interesting people and things that you have ever seen before.

I would definitely advise to purchase bottle service for one night. Have some of your friends pitch in and go V.I.P., it is worth it and you will get an adrenaline rush when you have Vegas people waiting on you hand and foot. Have fun dressing up and living like a rock star. It will be an experience that you will remember for a long time and it is a party atmosphere that is truly one of a kind.
Partying at a club on top of the city definitely gave me an adrenaline high (at VooDoo Lounge).

3. Eat at a Good Restaurant – With all of the food courts, buffets, and grab-&-go dining in Vegas, it is easy to eat cheap and hastily during your vacation. In fact, there is really nothing wrong with that. But for all the easy and fast options the Strip has to offer, they also have as many nice restaurants as well. You can find classy, unique, exotic, fun, delicious, and scenic restaurants at every nook and cranny in Vegas. I suggest having your group and yourself dine at least once at a nice restaurant while you are in town. Eat at a place you had never heard of before or eat at a major chain that you can’t find in your hometown. As the staff at all of these restaurants are well aware that most everyone is a tourist with money to spend (aka tips to be made), the service you will usually get is top notch.  Go all out…order drinks, get an appetizer, spend $80 in your main course, and get dessert. Many of these places have great views and locations as well. When my brother and I were in Vegas last December, we ate at a Mexican restaurant on their outside deck that overlooked the Strip. It was a great experience. Enjoy all the Panda Express and pizza by the slice that your stomach can handle but also remember to keep it classy for one meal as well.
Glen and I ate at Cabo Wabo. Great food and great view.

2. Go to Downtown Vegas – Everyone stays in hotels on the Strip these days and with good reason…it is much safer, newer, and trendier than anywhere else in Vegas. The Strip is definitely the place to be. But don’t let it hold you hostage the whole time you are there. It can really suck you in but there is more to Vegas than just the main drag. Absolutely be sure to go to Downtown Vegas and explore Freemont Street. Downtown Vegas (synonymous with “Freemont” and Old Vegas”) is a whole different Vegas feel. Things are a little more liberal than the Strip (if you can imagine that) and quite a bit different. The light show on the dome type structure that covers Freemont Street is pretty cool. The gambling is great as all the tables have very low limits and the dealers are much more friendlier and laid back. There are more sideshow type characters and hustlers working the street so be careful. It is definitely not as patrolled as the Strip is. Downtown Vegas is a great refresher and break from the Strip and I guarantee you that if you spend a few hours down there, you will come back with a few great stories.
You will meet some interesting folk in Downtown Vegas

Love the lights of Old School Vegas!

1. MEET NEW PEOPLE – When you are in Vegas, build up some liquid courage and don’t be afraid to talk to anyone and everyone you run into. Whether you see someone at a table, a bar, the pool, on the elevator, on a shuttle, or in line waiting to check in, start up a conversation. While you are in Las Vegas, you should feel invincible. You see a girl you think is cute, don’t think twice about talking to her. Quite honestly, everyone else down there has the same “carefree talk to everyone” attitude that I am advocating you to have. Keep in mind that people are on vacation and are ready to have fun…they will engage you in conversation as well. I have met so many friends in Las Vegas, many who I talk to on a regular basis to this day. Shoot, I even met someone in Vegas who ended up coming over to Missoula this past week to visit me! Crazy, great things can happen in Vegas if you are outgoing. The reward far outweighs the risk. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone rejects you when you talk to them? Okay, fine, just forget about it, you will never see that person again. Just go with the flow, keep downing the drinks, and have fun!!
Meet new people! Even people from different countries…Dan and I met England friends!


Although I hate all of you who are going to Vegas, please have a fun and safe time. TAKE PICTURES! If you have any questions you would like to ask me, please do not hesitate to text/e-mail/call/Tweet. Now get on that plane and have a great time in VEGAS. Don’t Blink.

Peyton to Denver

Yesterday, Chris Mortensen reported that Peyton Manning had given his agent permission to start negotiating with the Denver Broncos, thus signaling the start of the end of one of the most publicized and media-obsessed free agent signings in the history of sports. I admit I followed the saga every single step of the way with interest. However, I would be lying if I said I did not start to tire of the constant coverage in the waning days.

Call me no fun, but when Peyton Manning and John Elway were the lead story for numerous sports broadcasts and sports radio programs last week over the NCAA Tournament, I knew that enough was enough. I desperately wanted Manning to make a decision. I would never blame Peyton himself for basking in the spotlight for too long though because anyone with a brain knows that was never his intention. All that he wanted to do was make the absolute best decision for himself…he earned that right.

This was not a Brett Favre type deal here. Peyton Manning handled the rejection from his beloved franchise with class. He stated all along that he wanted to continue to play football. He didn’t retire and come back, he didn’t send out ambiguous text messages, he didn’t go back to some rural area and throw passes to high school students, he didn’t need the Denver Broncos team to go out and kidnap him and fly him in a private jet to Colorado. He did not play games. Rather, he went about his business and listened to a few potential teams that he had an interest in playing for and made a decision. Simple as that.

I laughed yesterday and today at the media and others who said Peyton did not make the best decision in his choice of who to play for. How can anyone say that? First off, how can anyone say they know what is better for someone than that actual person? Secondly, how can anyone second guess the decision making of Peyton Manning? This guy has made millions and millions of dollars off of his decision making skills, both on the field with his play and off the field with his lucrative endorsement deals. Peyton Manning is legendary for his intelligence and reasoning. Also, none of these people questioning his decision sat down at the meetings with the various teams who Peyton talked to. They had no idea what was discussed and what Manning learned for himself through the talks. In my mind, I see him at these meetings acting like some sly police interrogator, picking the brain of each team executive with calculated and tough questions, knowing when to jump in with the follow up and knowing when to just keep quiet and make the execs elaborate. I have no doubt that Peyton came out of this process with all of his questions answered and with a 100% personal conviction on where he wanted to go.

Peyton Manning knows what he has in front of him in Denver. There is no doubt he is feeling the pressure. I mean when you sign a $96 million dollar contract how can’t you? He also knows the expectations. Surely if an unqualified, unorthodox, step child quarterback can lead your new team into the second round of the playoffs the year before you got there than winning the Super Bowl in your first go-around must be more than attainable, right? See what I mean? I think that is the main reason why Manning did not go to San Francisco, he knew it was Super Bowl or bust as the 49ers had already gone to the NFC Championship game this past season. Anything the same or less than that would be a disappointment. But again, I don’t know if the expectations are going to be much different in Denver.

I am more than excited to see Peyton Manning in a new uniform in a totally different environment. I admit, I am still having trouble truly grasping the sight of him in Bronco blue (the ESPN shots of players in their future/prospective team uniforms are bogus and corny…they look so altered) but I will get used to it. I am really intrigued to see how he will manage with new players, new coaches, and a new system. I think also what people have to realize is that Peyton has been out of the league for a full year. How is he going to come back from that? Rusty? Same as old? What if his injury has not fully healed? What if he is just not the same Peyton Manning? It will be very interesting to see these scenarios unfold. Make no mistake about it, John Elway is taking a gamble here. Remember, just because you make a good bet does not that it will always pay off…it is still a gamble.

Of course the secondary story in all of this is Tim Tebow. If you have read any of my past posts on Tebow, you know I will be rooting for him. One day this guy is going to have a movie done on him and some studio is going to pay billions of dollars for the rights to make it. What he has overcome is nothing short of amazing and for something like this to come up now just makes you feel for the guy. The Broncos did nothing wrong in acquiring Peyton Manning, they did everything that any fan that is worth a damn would want their organization to do. But under the major victory and triumph that this signing means for the Denver Broncos there is the cruel irony and rotten luck that has fallen on Tebow. Can the guy get a break? I really hope the media cuts him a little bit of slack. If the past couple of days are any indication though, they won’t. Tebow bashing amongst the media is as prevalent as it was at the beginning of the NFL season. Please, just give it a rest and treat the guy fairly.

I am happy for Peyton Manning that after the Colts cut him loose he went about his search and did it on his own terms. I am also happy that he got a fat pay day. The guy is a winner and I am a fan of his. I do hope though that now that he has selected his team and has signed the contract that everything dies down a little bit. Let’s concentrate on the Sweet Sixteen and all the other sports that are actually in-season right now.  However…Denver Broncos fans… have my permission to party like crazy all the way throughout the offseason. Don’t Blink.

Bye Bye O’Sheas, You Will Be Missed

NOTE: I know O’Sheas does not close until April 30. However, since I will not make it back to Vegas until after that date, I will refer to O’Sheas in the past tense.

A couple weeks ago my brother informed me that one of my favorite places to go in Las Vegas was shutting down at the end of April and then getting bulldozed to the ground. Many of you know that I am a big Vegas guy. Since turning twenty-one a little over four years ago, I have made a couple trips each year to Sin City. After about my second time going to Las Vegas, I made a conscientious effort each time thereafter to stay at a hotel as close as possible to this very special place. To hear that it will be no more the next time I return to Vegas saddened me.

If you are around my age and you have visited Las Vegas, there is little doubt that you spent some of your time at O’Sheas Casino. Located smack in the middle of the Strip, it is hard to miss. Mix in a lot of green with a real life Leprechaun standing outside of the entrance talking into a microphone and there is no way you could simply walk past without checking it out. Well, come April 30 it will be very easy to do so as the current incarnation of O’Sheas will shut down.

I love O’Sheas for so many reasons. Many of my best Vegas memories occurred there. First and foremost, I loved it because of the people. O’Sheas drew a crowd of people who just wanted to have fun. It was a crowd that was relaxed, real, and cool. I met several friends there from all across the country who I still talk to today. It was just a place where you could approach someone and talk to them. In a city that thrives on high priced clubs and exclusivity, O’Sheas snubbed that notion and welcomed everyone.  As I list all the great things about O’Sheas in this post, please keep in mind that it was the awesome people who kept coming to the joint that made everything they offered so wonderful.
My brother Glen at a table in O’Sheas.

Let’s start with the drinks. If you were walking the strip and needed a cold drink, O’Sheas was the place to stop. O’Sheas had a front bar that pretty much extended right onto the Strip. It pretty much begged for you to stop as you walked by. It was fully stocked and always had great specials such as $1 beers and Irish Car Bomb deals. In fact, just last summer my friend took her first car bomb with me at O’Sheas. (Click here for the video). If you didn’t want a car bomb or a $1 beer, everything else they served was more than affordable and downright cheap by Vegas standards. The front bar was fun too! Lucky the Leprechaun would routinely get up on the bar and pour shots in people’s mouths. Everyone would go nuts. There was also a bar in the back that served the pong tables and anyone else who maybe wanted to get away from the craziness of the front bar. It was at O’Sheas back bar that I had my first ever AMF, bought for me by a nice girl from New York. Since then, whenever I have had an AMF, I always think of her and O’Sheas.

Another great part of O’Sheas was their food court! Located in the back of the building, their food catered directly towards people who needed something a little greasy to help their stomach hold. Open 24/7 and diverse, you could not beat it. Although all the restaurants did not always look the most well-kept, you could get whatever high calorie food you wanted. I personally loved the teriyaki place they had in the left-sided area. I would get a bunch of chicken and rice on a plate and have them douse it with Sriracha. I also frequented the pizza place that had a wonderful meat lover’s slice. Of course, you could not go wrong with Subway as I had my fair share of $5 foot longs. The burrito shop was also a go-to place for me. Although I stayed away from it, the place that had the hot dogs, wings, nachos, and soft pretzels looked interesting as well. And let’s not forget about the Burger King, which O’Sheas proudly claimed  was one of the only ones on the Strip. I would guess that about 30% of the food I ate in Vegas came from the O’Sheas food court.
Me eating some of my favorite teriyaki at O’Sheas

The poker game at O’Sheas was superb as well. The cash games were so much fun and with the poker tables also set pretty much right on the Strip next to the front bar,  the atmosphere was awesome. However, my favorite part when it came to poker at O’Sheas was the tournament play. The first time my brother went to Vegas as a twenty-one year old, him and I played the morning tournament every single day. Laid back and affordable, we had a great time. On one occasion, they even gave each of us a t-shirt for buying in. The drink service was the fastest I had ever experienced at a poker table (especially for a tournament) and the game was well-ran and not too drawn out.
My brother Glen and our friend Fran in the food court.

Besides poker, the table games were the best on the Strip. You could always find a $10 table and about 90% of the time there were always $5 tables available as well. But the best part about the table games (besides fellow players)?  The dealers!! They were the most relaxed, cool people I have ever encountered at any casino. One time my brother and I played roulette at a table full of girls from Arizona and we were doing things that would get us kicked out in a heartbeat at any other casino in Las Vegas. We were touching chips, yelling, texting on our phones, and taking pictures. Our new friends were also pretty much sliding back into the pit area with the dealer. It was one of the best gambling experiences I have ever had in my life. When the dealer got off his shift he asked me what we were all doing later that night  because he wanted to hang out with us. When does that ever happen?!  But stories like this were common at O’Sheas. My brother and I met a couple of awesome girls from Tennessee one night who we established an instant bond with. Shenanigans and adventures happened at the table that night. We still talk to one of them regularly to this day. In fact, that same night my brother and Ashleigh (girl who we met from Tennessee) reenacted the “Hangover” and climbed to the roof of Caesar’s Palace. If they had never met at O’Sheas, this epic adventure would have never of happened.
Was not kidding about players going back in the pit area. This is our Arizona friend.

Maybe the one thing that O’Sheas is most famous for are their pong tables. I have many fond memories played through my fair share of games. Cheap and fun, I have always loved how people meet and mesh their rules from different parts of the country together to form one awesome game. It seems like the tables at O’Sheas bring out the best in every player. My friend Cody and I made a trip to Vegas a couple years ago and I got the guts to ask two of the hottest looking girls ever to play with us and they accepted. I took one girl and Cody took the other and we had one heckuva time. The whole place pretty much shut down to  watch us play. The first time my brother and I went to Vegas together we brought the girls I mentioned above from the roulette table to the pong table. Again, good times were had by all. The girl I mentioned earlier who bought me my first AMF? I met her and her friend at pong as well. We hung out for most of that day after our O’Sheas experience and we became such best buds that I rode the New York New York roller coaster with them…and I usually hate roller coasters. This past December my brother and I tried our luck at the $40 Thursday tournament. We played against the stiffest competition I have ever went up against in my life. We got our clocks cleaned our first game against some locals and then we beat a Chicago duo in our second game. We were later eliminated by another local team but it was so fun and got our competitive juices flowing.
Arizona friends with me.

Other things I am going to miss about O’Sheas? The oxygen bar for sure (Always rejuvenated me and was usually always tended by a hot girl). The O’Sheas signature smell (Don’t really know how to describe it or what it really was). Lucky the Leprechaun (Coolest guy ever – would always take a picture with you and would never accept a tip…so glad he will be back in the newly revamped O’Sheas). The atmosphere (Nothing ever beat it and nothing ever will).
Me with Lucky.

The Vegas Strip has lost an entity that gave it attitude and uniqueness. I can’t state enough how serious I am, I feel great disappointment that O’Sheas is getting demolished. Harrah’s, the owner of O’Sheas,  is building an entertainment center called The Linq. Inside this new center they will build a new O’Sheas. Whenever The Linq is actually built and the new version of O’Sheas is open, all I can say is that I hope it is at least half as good as the original one. Don’t Blink.

One of My Best Experiences: 2012 NCAA Tournament

This past week I had the opportunity to travel with the Montana Grizzly Basketball team to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.  I had an absolutely amazing time.

The NCAA Selection Committee decided to send us out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the second and third rounds of the tournament. While Portland, Oregon, was probably everyone’s top choice on where to go, Albuquerque was definitely number two. Not only did we get a favorable geographic location, we also got a favorable seeding. The Selection Committee tabbed us as a #13 seed and set us up with a matchup against Wisconsin on Thursday.

Our Montana contingent left Missoula on Tuesday morning. Three buses that consisted of the players/coaches and their spouses, athletic staff, media personnel, the Dance Team, and our pep band left campus at 10:30am en route to the Missoula airport. Escorted by the Missoula Police, we had a hero’s send off as people lined the sidewalks as we drove down Broadway Street. It was so cool to see all the support and pride that Missoula has for the program.  We got to the airport and went through security. One of the perks about going on these special trips is that you get to fly charter. That means you don’t have to worry about checking in, checking luggage, or hauling big bags all around. Everything is pre-arranged and pretty much done for you. After eating lunch at the gate, we boarded our plane.

Me just about to board the bus and start the trip to Albuquerque.

The plane ride had a couple of little quirks thrown in. First, we were delayed on the ground for about a half hour. Once we finally got in the air, it was pretty much smooth sailing. However, as we started to fly over Albuquerque and descend into the city we all of a sudden flew out and ascended higher into the air. It turned out that because of our late start, the schedule had been messed up a little bit and other planes were landing at the time. So we had to spend some extra time in the New Mexico skies joyriding around before we were finally cleared to land. Once we touched down on Albuquerque soil, we picked up our luggage that was conveniently waiting for us right outside of the plane and hopped on buses to take us to our hotel. The first thing that hit me upon our arrival in Albuquerque was the beautiful weather. In the low seventies and sunny, my mood was sky high.

The NCAA put us up in the Marriott Pyramid in the north part of Albuquerque. The hotel was definitely the Luxor of New Mexico and it was very nice. The lobby was gorgeous with waterfalls, nice furniture, a restaurant, and a lounge. Streamers strung from the ceiling cascaded down the ten floors, giving it a really cool look. NCAA Tournament banners were hung all over the place, reminding everyone of the  major event that was going on. The NCAA also placed the UNLV Basketball team at our hotel as well since they were playing in the South Region, making it so we would not play them in the initial rounds.
Our hotel, the Marriott Pyramid. Very nice and classy.
By the time we all got checked into the hotel and settled, it was around 4:30pm. We spent that first night pretty much just hanging out as a staff. With the team getting concentrated on Wisconsin, we as a staff just enjoyed each other’s company and watched the First Four games that were going on that night. Later on a bunch of us ventured out to a restaurant called El Pinto for dinner. It was the start of a whole bunch of Mexican food that I would consume on the trip. I gobbled down chips and salsa and had a mammoth burrito that was very tasty and spicy. The best part though? The margaritas! At El Pinto they make them the real way by cutting out the artificial margarita mix and using lime juice. The fact that the tequila was Patron Silver also added to the taste. It was the best couple margaritas I had ever had in my life. The best way I could explain the taste was to say it was as if I was drinking the liquid version of Trix cereal. It was also at the restaurant where I first learned the mini obsession that New Mexico has with putting red and green chilis into everything!
Doug and Megan at the El Pinto bar as we wait for our table.

We got back to the hotel and once again gathered as a staff to just enjoy each other’s company, chit-chat, and watch sports. I stayed up until around 2am talking with our radio announcer and one of the basketball managers before hitting the hay.

I awoke at 7:30am the next morning, showered, and went down to the hotel lobby where I caught up on necessary work as I updated our website and social media outlets. Joining me in the lobby were several staff members who were tending to the activities that were going on that day. At 10am, I went right outside the hotel with Christie as we watched the Dance Team and band practice. It was another amazing day out. I had not felt so comfortable in a long time as I stood outside in the beautiful New Mexico morning sun.

The Dance Team practicing in the beautiful weather.

After practice I hopped on the bus and we went out to the University of New Mexico campus for the basketball team’s practice. The team practiced at the venue they would play at tomorrow, the famous facility known as The Pit. The arena holds around 16,000 people and is simply a great facility. Even though it was decked out for the NCAA Tournament, the New Mexico Lobos presence was everywhere, serving as an example of successful branding. The practice itself was pretty much just a formality. For one hour the team just got loose, ran some basic drills, and became accustomed with the floor they would be playing on. After that practice they would go to a local high school for a more intense and traditional closed session.

The team practicing in The Pit.

After practice I returned to the hotel and by this time I was starving. Jimmy, Christie, and myself ate lunch at the hotel restaurant. I don’t believe I have ever mentioned Jimmy in one of my posts before but he is our Assistant Athletic Director for Business and Finance. Not only does he keep all of our money straight, he also arranges all of the team travel…pretty big job if I do say so myself. At lunch I ordered the chicken macaroni and cheese. Once again, it came with green chilis. Anyway, I think it may have been the best macaroni and cheese I had ever had in my life besides what my mom makes and despite how hungry I was and how much I love mac and cheese, I was not even able to eat it all!! That is how big it was.
Me with my macaroni and cheese.
After lunch, we got back into the buses.  Christie, our dance team coach Megan, and I took the band and dance team to a major shopping mall area. It was fun traveling to the shopping area and seeing all of the different businesses and buildings in Albuquerque. Once we dropped off the students at the mall, the three of us went to a place called St. Clair Winery and Bistro and we sampled some wine. Megan ordered some chicken macaroni and cheese. While it looked good, it did not compare to what I had a couple hours earlier. We left the winery and walked the sunny streets of Albuquerque, entering into an area called Old Town. Random shops and old structures lined the area. After looking around a little bit, we headed into a hole in the wall restaurant called Old Church Café. We sat out on the back patio and over some chips and salsa and margaritas we simply just chatted and enjoyed ourselves under the sun. At that point I made a note in my head how lucky I was to be there, it was one of my best memories of the trip.
Myself, Christie, and Megan at Old Church Cafe. One of my favorite moments of the trip.
The bus then picked us up and we went back to the hotel. After hanging out with the staff some more, we took the Dance Team and band out to another Mexican restaurant called Sadie’s. After the dancers and band members got seated, the three of us went to a different area in the restaurant to relax. It was here that Christie and I met a guy all the way from Baltimore who talked to us about how he became a Griz fan the moment he saw our football team on ESPN against Appalacian State in our classic semi-final  night game played in the snow from a couple years back. We had a great time chatting and he assured us he would cheer on the Griz tomorrow. I had enchiladas at this place and just like everywhere else, the food was amazing. At Sadie’s they also had a serve-yourself chips and salsa station. No need to wait for refills! I thought that was pretty cool.
My meal at Sadie’s. So good!

After dinner we returned to the hotel and once again it was more staff bonding time. I think one of the best parts of all this time we got to spend together as a staff was getting to know people you did not know very well (or in some cases even at all) before. By this time, my mind was starting to focus on the game tomorrow and my adrenaline started to pump a little bit. Later on in the night, Megan, Doug (assistant director in the equipment room), a couple people from our student government, and I went out for a little bit. Being the younger people on the trip aside from the student athletes, band, and dance team, we had a little more energy than some of the other staff members. We returned to the hotel and then Megan, Doug, and I stayed up and talked until around 5am. As I said, it was just tough to sleep with an NCAA Tournament game looming the next day. In fact, after Doug and Megan went to bed, I just made it an all-nighter…no sleep for this guy.

Myself, Megan, and Doug.

At 7am I showered and caught up on updating everything on the web and socially. I got put in charge of giving all of the people in our travel party their tickets for the game. I ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant with Jerek (our video person) and a couple of the local sports anchors who had made the trip with us. I had the New Mexico omelette that came with chorizo sausage, cheese, peppers, and you guessed it…green chilis. After breakfast we hopped on the buses and made the trip down to The Pit…it was show time.

When we arrived at The Pit, excitement was starting to build outside of the arena. Several Griz fans were gathering around the gates and I was passing out WE ARE MONTANA cards to them. Again, the weather was beautiful. Christie and I entered through the media entrance and made sure the dance team and mascot were settled in one of the New Mexico weightrooms so they could warm up and stretch. I then went out to the floor and sat on the team bench and just looked around for a few minutes. Looking at the court, press row, television cameras, and various NCAA officials actually made me get a little emotional. Here I was courtside at the NCAA Tournament…the thing that I had watched religiously for the past fifteen years of my life and believed to be the greatest sporting event in the world. It was a little surreal and a little magical.

Christie and I outside The Pit.
Watching our team take the floor and then our dance team and Monte take their positions under the basket gave me a huge sense of pride. Walking around the floor area pre-game was a little chaotic as cameramen, security, NCAA officials, media personnel, and others were moving all around. Although exciting, I was happy when the National Anthem was performed and the game was about to begin. Christie, Megan, and I sat front row in one of the corners of the arena so we could be right by the Dance Team and Monte. The Pit employs ushers who wear distinctive red coats. The one right next to us three informed us that he was rooting for Montana.
Getting Monte ready to go!

At 12:10pm on Thursday, March 15, the Montana Grizzlies tipped off against the Wisconsin Badgers. Most of you know how the game went. For the first half, the Griz stayed right with Wisconsin. Although trailing by ten points at half, it was a very competitive first twenty minutes. When the second half started, Wisconsin started to pull away. The lead started to extend. At one point,  the lead was cut back to ten points on back-to-back three pointers but it was not meant to be.  Wisconsin beat Montana 73-49.

Me at the tournament.

After the game, Christie, Megan, and I went to the press conference to support our team. Behind the disappointment, it was really cool to see how a major press conference is conducted and set up. Seeing the media workroom was also a neat site. We walked around The Pit for a little bit and then we went back to our seats and watched the Vanderbilt-Harvard game. Vandy ended up winning the game but would eventually fall to Wisconsin on Saturday.
At the press conference after the game.

After our game ended, word quickly got around that we would be leaving at 8pm that night. After the Vandy-Harvard game we got back on the buses to go back to the hotel and pack. Before we packed though, a bunch of us shared one last meal at the hotel restaurant. As we ate and chatted, I realized that I really did not want to leave New Mexico.

Megan got macaroni and cheese one more time.

We got on the buses and headed to the airport. Our buses pulled right up to the plane and we went through security in the dark right when we got out of the bus. We got on the plane and I immediately fell right asleep. When I opened my eyes next, we were landing in Missoula. We were greeted by a cold, consistent rain. The buses took us back  to campus and I trekked from where we were dropped off to my car which seemed like a thousand miles away. Once I reached my car sopping wet I got in and drove back to my house.

Despite the early exit in the NCAA Tournament, I had a wonderful time in Albuquerque. It was a true highlight for me and something that I feel very fortunate to have experienced. I love working for Grizzly Athletics and I love working with the people who I work with. This trip could not have confirmed those two facts any more. Don’t Blink.

Christie and I…what a great trip.

Albuquerque Here We Come

At around noon today I will be hopping onto a charter with the Griz Basketball team, my co-workers, our dance team, our band, and some media personnel and we will fly south to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

With the team’s win in the Big Sky Conference Tournament last Wednesday, they punched their ticket to the Big Dance. This past Sunday, the Selection Committee rewarded the Griz with a #13 seed and a date against the #4 seeded Wisconsin Badgers in The Pit on the campus of the University of New Mexico.

I can’t wait for this experience. As we do not play until Thursday, we will have a full day and a half to soak up the sun in Albuquerque and really get a feel for the NCAA Tournament atmosphere. I have only attended the NCAA Tourney once, a couple years back in Spokane. The prestige and the competitiveness of the tournament gripped me, as well as seeing all the different teams, coaches, cheerleaders, mascots, and band members converging on one arena. It was special. To be able to attend as an employee for a participating school is pretty cool.

The Griz will have a shot against Wisconsin come Thursday. It has been a lot of fun watching the national analysts make their pick in our game. Doug Gottlieb (who I despise) and Andy Katz (who I like) both picked Montana to upset the Badgers. If Wisconsin wants to win, they will have to snap the longest win streak in the nation right now…not an easy task.

I can’t wait to share with you my NCAA Tournament experience. Let’s just hope it is on Sunday as opposed to Friday. Albuquerque here we come, GO GRIZ! Don’t Blink.

Tim Tebow Visits Missoula, MT: #AllHeDoesIsWin

This past football season belonged to Tim Tebow. With the odds stacked against him and with the media, fans, opposing players, and even his own coach and GM lining up to knock him, it definitely became the best story of the year when he became the Bronco’s starting quarterback and led them to the playoffs. Tebowmania swept the nation and a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon. He quickly became not just one of the most sought after athletes around, he became one of the most sought after celebrities.

Thus, it generated huge pandemonium and excitement when word broke about two months ago that Tim Tebow would be stopping in Montana for a three day tour around the state. In his itinerary was almost a full day in Missoula with the marquee event taking place in the Adams Center. Pretty cool, huh?

The group hosting him in Missoula was a local Christian community center (City Life). It is a long, drawn out story but supposedly a girl for her high school senior project wrote a letter to Tebow asking him to come to Missoula to help raise funds for the center. The quarterback agreed and a storm of publicity came with it. As it was a fundraiser, tickets were sold for $100 for a lower level seat and $50 for an upper level seat.

Let’s stop right there.

I don’t think twice about paying inflated prices for premium tickets to concerts and sporting events. I also am a big fan of Tim Tebow. But while I dump a lot of money into tickets and while I also admire #15, I could not bring myself to pay triple digits to hear him talk. I would cough up twice that amount of money to see him play…but not talk.

So although I was all set to bypass his Missoula appearance, I ended up watching it anyway. Because of my background DJing the football and basketball games for Grizzly Athletics, the Adams Center (the place where our department rents office space and facilities) from time to time asks me to DJ their events as well. I gladly accepted, knowing that I would have one of the best seats in the house, would get to play music for Tim Tebow, and would not have to pay a cent.

Tim Tebow was scheduled to speak at noon last Wednesday. I started working the event at 11am right when the doors opened. I played a bunch of feel good, non-suggestive music such as U2’s “Beautiful Day,” Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Garth Brooks “Standing Outside the Fire,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” etc. Come noon Tebow had not arrived at the Adams Center yet so after one of the City Life representatives stalled for the audience a little bit, I played more music. Probably about seven minutes past noon, Tim Tebow himself walked down the vehicle ramp in the northeast corner of the arena right where my music table is set up. He stood a foot away from me as the City Life Pastor greeted everyone and then one of our former football players and one of our current assistant coaches introduced him. No, I never said anything to him. Surrounded by a few members of his entourage and then a throng of “official” (#sarcasm) looking City Life security guards in orange t-shirts, I decided to play it cool.

Tebow was introduced and he walked about thirty feet to midcourt to start the session. So this is how it was all set up: There was a chair for Tebow in the forefront of the Grizzly bear logo on the arena floor. Right next to Tebow’s chair was another chair that faced him. To the back left of the two forefront chairs there were two chairs and then to the back right there were two additional chairs. These six chairs faced in the direction of about 100 chairs that were set up on the south end of the arena floor for “VIP” attendees. It was a Q&A format. The person who sat in the chair right next to Tebow would ask the questions. After that person finished, someone else from the four chairs in the back would walk forward, take the seat next to Tebow, and resume asking questions.
Tim Tebow handing off a football at the Adams Center.

The City Life Pastor/Leader person first took the seat of honor next to Tebow and started asking him questions. It was pretty entertaining. He asked him rapid fire general interest questions such as “Do you prefer the Grizzlies or Bobcats?” (Grizzlies), “BCS or Playoffs?” (Playoffs), “Skiing or snowboarding?” (can’t remember what he said), etc. The questions were good and Tebow’s answers were funny.

They next brought up a local football coach who was affiliated with City Center and he asked Tebow questions strictly about football. It was pretty interesting. They covered high school, college, and NFL. Tebow talked a lot about how he transferred high schools so he could get a shot at playing quarterback. He went to a school with a terrible program and of course he turned them into state champions. He talked about some of  the Broncos players and how much he respected them. Not too much of a shocker there.

Then a girl who is battling a disease and whose dream it was to meet Tebow took the seat next to him. She only asked one or two questions and to be honest I can’t remember what they were.

Next the girl who had written the letter to Tebow inviting him to come to Missoula took the chair. That whole Q&A period really centered on how important it was to go on a mission overseas in an impoverished country. Tebow and the girl traded stories and I simply lost interest.

To end it, a guy who had some position on the City Life team quizzed Tebow about his faith. I did not mind this at all because of course it was going to come out eventually, after all a Christian community center was putting it on. I actually thought the way City Life balanced the content of the session was very well done. They took a lot of time to ask Tebow just general stuff, questions that were not geared exclusively towards faith and religion. After the questions were finished, they prayed for Tebow and that was the end of the show.

Right when the prayer was over Tebow and his crew marched right up through the vehicle tunnel and off into the Missoula day. The funniest part for me was the chaos that happened right then: A dad and his little son carrying a football along with some more randos sprinted up the vehicle tunnel chasing Tebow, hoping for some personal contact (they were denied). At the same time, ESPN stormed the court to get ready for the Big Sky Conference Championship game that was occurring later that night. It was an interesting sight.
Tebow rushing out of the Adams Center.

Just a few notes on the whole “Tebow Time.” I was so happy I did not spend $100 to watch that. The whole deal was much more boring than what I thought it was going to be. Again, credit City Life for trying to appeal to everyone in the audience by keeping the session lighthearted and not one-sided but I was just not captivated. Secondly, Tim Tebow did not come across as “straight laced” as I have found him to be on national interviews. He was definitely witty and even sarcastic at times.  Finally, he definitely did not come across as larger than life. Sometimes when you see celebrities in person you can feel a certain aura or special presence. Even though I thoroughly respect the man and cheer for him, I did not get that from him.

Right now I am watching this Peyton Manning saga closely. If he does go to the Broncos and Tebow gets released, it will just be another chapter in the adversity saga for him. God Bless him, there are not many players in the league who could handle what he has gone through. The kid is a winner and I  will be rooting for him, even if his Q&A sessions are a little boring. Don’t Blink.

Blake Shelton Concert Review

This past Thursday I left work a little early to make the trip over to Spokane for Blake Shelton’s “Well Lit and Amplified” tour.  The trip pretty much came together just a week prior when I realized he was playing in Spokane. After checking ticket availability on Stubhub I decided to pull the trigger and bought a couple of “slightly” inflated second row seats.

I don’t think I had ever felt so pumped up for a concert before. Still nursing a nice high from the previous night when our basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament and really feeling in the mood after listening to Blake the whole drive over, I could not wait to walk through the doors of the Spokane Arena. After some great food at P.F. Changs and a few drinks, my friend Emily and myself drove across the Monroe Street bridge and entered the venue.

Emily and I made it to our seats, second row as advertised, just as the show started. Blake’s opening act was Dia Frampton. If you are like me, you are probably asking yourself “WHO?” right about now. If you are not a fan of “The Voice,” there is little chance you would know who she is. Dia rose to stardom on the first season of the show and of course she was coached by Blake Shelton. This by default earned her a spot on his tour.

I don’t want to hate on Dia Frampton too much. The fact of the matter is, when you are the first opening act for any type of show, you already have the cards stacked against you. Most of the time you are playing to probably about 60% of the crowd that the headliner will receive later on in the night and of that 60% probably only half are really engaged in your set anyway. A lot of times, as in Dia’s case, you won’t be working with a very visually appealing stage either. Dia did not even have a backdrop with her name on it. So please forgive me if I say that her quick twenty-five minute set did not really impress me too much. Emily and I could never really put a finger on what type of genre her music was but it definitely wasn’t country.  If we couldn’t get into her set by watching her from two rows away, something was definitely missing.

Dia Frampton at the concert on Thursday

After grabbing drinks during the set change, we made it back to our seats in perfect time for the second opening act…Justin Moore. I had the opportunity to meet Justin Moore and watch him perform last October in Missoula when he was on the Miranda Lambert tour so I definitely had an idea on what to expect. Basically, there were not too many surprises. This was just fine by me though because I thoroughly enjoyed him the first time around. He still brought the energy, the passion, and the tight pants to Spokane that he displayed in Montana. He still carried with him his pro-gun rights, small town loving attitude as he talked to the crowd. He definitely had a little more of a swagger than last October though. A little more cocky, a little less shy. But I can’t say this surprised me, just in the past five months his career has continued to skyrocket. He changed his set list around for the Spokane show as well. He pretty much saved all of his radio hits for the second half of the set. I actually thought it was great planning, it kept me excited the whole time. A cool highlight of his performance came when he sang “With a Little Help from My Friends,” also known as the Wonder Years theme. I can’t say I became any more of a Justin Moore fan than I already was after watching him the second time around but he definitely put on a decent show.
Justin Moore was just as good the second time around.

After going through the same drill as we did during the first set change, we made it back to our seats drinks in hands (both hands) right before Blake Shelton took the stage. Only this time, instead of staying in our second row seats we climbed over the chairs in front of us and filled the front row, not thinking about the people who occupied those seats during the first two acts. Joining us in our front row assault were two very nice women who looked much younger than they were, Kathy and Serenity. The four of us were ready to party.

Blake Shelton came out on this Star Trek type elevator deal singing “Footloose.” Everyone in the arena went crazy. I had not received an adrenaline rush like that at a concert for quite a while. The opening of his set was absolutely superb. After “Footloose” he sang “It’s All About Tonight,” “She Wouldn’t Be Gone,” and then one of my favorite Blake songs of all time, “Don’t Make Me.” Talk about packing a punch! After he sang “Don’t Make Me,” and really established that tone, he started to really interact with the crowd.

Blake Shelton killing it to open the show.
Now going into the concert I was ready for a tough, cocky, borderline arrogant attitude from Blake Shelton. That is just how I have always pictured him and how he has come across to me while on television. I was actually kind of looking forward to it. But let me tell you, this was not how he acted in concert. He was very charming and personable with the crowd. When he talked about Nashville and the powers that be, he stuck it to them but he never seemed above any of us. His stories were engaging and he seemed to give genuine respect to the people of Spokane as they had packed every single seat in the arena.

I never got bored or distracted during his whole time on stage. The hits just kept coming and coming. He sang “Some Beach” and “Drink On It” back to back, both great performances that had everyone singing along. He then talked about his infamous Twitter account (@blakeshelton) and basically explained about how he does not censor what he says. He can be happy, mad, or drunk and he will still tweet. He again reiterated the point how he hates the suits in Nashville and how they should give up on trying to control what he posts through Twitter. He then took a fake cell phone and threw it right to Emily who caught it like a champ!! He then went right into “Kiss My Country Ass.”
Emily and I with Blake in the background
The concert just kept rocking. Blake shook the hands of us four numerous times. We repeatedly annoyed the security guard who acted as if her life depended on not letting us get too close. Emily and all the other girls at the show had their hearts melt when Blake went out to the very end of the stage, sat on a stool, and sang “Austin.” He brought out Dia Frampton for a duet as well. All of the fans at the show who attended solely because they are fans of “The Voice” got their fix as Blake told a funny story about the first casting meeting they had. Basically Blake was the first one there and then Adam Levin, Christina Aguliera, and Cee Lo Green each came in separately after him. He talked about the entrance of each one and made fun of them…it was hilarious. After he ended with Cee Lo’s entrance into the meeting, he sang “Forget You.” The crowd responded very well to it and even though he sang the “Forget” version, it worked.
Such a great entertainer.

Shelton then went into “The More I Drink” and then sang another one of my favorite songs, “Honeybee.” After a couple more songs, he left the stage.

Now Emily had told me that she thought Blake would sing “God Gave Me You” for his encore before the show even started. I disagreed thinking that artists usually end with an upbeat, energy rocking song. Going in, I would have guessed that he would have sang either “Honeybee” or one of his drinking songs to close out. But as he left the stage and the only song I could really think that he had left to sing was “God Gave Me You,” I knew Emily was right.
He sang some other song to open up his encore and then finished with “God Gave Me You,” my favorite Blake Shelton song. It absolutely rocked. As the band left the stage Emily caught another guitar pick, giving her three picks for the entire concert in addition to her phone and the multiple hand slaps with Blake. Kathy caught one of the drum sticks, proving that it definitely pays to be in the front row.

Blake Shelton holding Emily’s hand.

Leaving the concert I told Emily that it was one of the better concerts I had ever been to. Four days later I still think the same thing. It did not have the pyrotechnics, expensive videos, huge video screens, and massive production of say a Toby Keith or Keith Urban show but it had personality and it had a great entertainer singing hit after hit who had a great time with his audience. I will remember this concert for a long time. Don’t Blink.

Emily and I with our new friends, Kathy (white jacket) and Serenity (dark jacket).

Big Sky Conference Tourney Day #1: Awesome

As I mentioned in a previous post this past week, the athletic department that I work for earned the right via our excellent players and coaches to hold our men’s basketball conference tournament. Throughout that post I talked about how excited I was to have the opportunity to take part in helping to host the tournament.  Still in my office after an extremely long day, I can’t express how much fun Day One of the 2012 Big Sky Conference Tournament was.

The whole day was full of constant movement and activity. Sharing our office space with the Big Sky Conference staff while assisting visiting schools and media as they walked in and out throughout the day was pretty cool. I got to put faces to many names and also see a lot of people I had not seen in a while. Many people in our department went above and beyond to accommodate our conference, our competitors, and our guests…a valuable example and lesson to someone like me who is still relatively new in the business.

When it came to the actual games, we could not have asked for a better night of basketball. In the 5:30 matchup, Weber State (#2 seed) barely edged Portland State (#3 seed). Portland State owned the lead for much of the game but could not hold on. It was so nice to work a good, high stakes, competitive basketball game with no stress attached. Let me tell you though, that stress certainly hit me for the 8pm game as Montana took on Eastern Washington. The Eagles held the lead for most of the first half. Come the second half, the lead went back and forth but ultimately the Griz won, 74-66. The first tournament game got a decent sized, appreciative crowd and then of  course come the Griz game Dahlberg Arena was explosive.
So it all comes down to tomorrow night. Montana will host Weber State in a rematch from just last week. Only this time, instead of a Big Sky Conference regular season championship up for grabs, it will be a Big Sky Conference Tournament championship up for grabs with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament to go with it.
For tomorrow night’s championship game we welcome ESPN2 into our arena. The exposure is priceless. I can’t wait for the game to start and for all of the texts and tweets that will come my way from my friends who will be watching in various locations across the country. It is time for Missoula to once again put on a show for the nation.
After I post this, I will once again walk out the doors of the Adams Center so thankful and so happy to be doing a job that I love. It does not get much better than this. Don’t Blink.