With two whole weeks from the conference championship games to the Super Bowl, the media has to stretch pretty far to fill that space with content in order to feed the NFL-obsessed general public. This particular year has seen many different stories come to the forefront but the one that has really grasped my attention centers on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Various outlets have documented the fact that Kaepernick was adopted and to this day chooses not to meet his birth mom despite her desire to meet him. A local Fox station in Denver went as far as to interview Colin’s mom and air out her pleas to meet with him. Nothing like using someone else’s success to get on TV, huh? However, I became a little more intrigued when the most popular sports writer in America, Rick Reilly, took this issue and wrote a column on it.

Basic summary of Reilly’s column: Colin Kaepernick should get over whatever is holding him back from meeting with his birth mom and sit down with her for a few minutes in order to help heal the wounds that she lives with. Even though I disagree with Reilly’s opinion (more on this soon) he goes even a little further and speculates on why Kaepernick has decided to keep his distance, calls the reasoning Kaepernick actually gave him during Media Day as “odd”, and then shoots down a defense that he attributes to Kaepernick even though it is not fact that he even said it at all. Not what I expect out of one of my favorite writers. Basically, Rick Reilly crucified Colin Kaepernick in his column for a personal decision he has made.

I am not going to address the inferences and weak supporting details Reilly used in his story but rather I am just going to focus on his main point in that Colin Kaepernick should help his birth mom move on with her life by meeting with her. Let me say this first: I am not adopted and no one in my immediate family is adopted. Rick Reilly has an adopted daughter and he wrote a beautiful piece on the whole family going to Korea and meeting with the birth mom. Obviously, he is much closer to adoption than I am. There is probably even a bigger gap between him and I when it comes to adoption knowledge over writing knowledge. However, I just can’t seem to come around to his thinking.

Someone who was adopted had no control over being conceived. He/she had no control over being born. He/she had no control over who his/her birth parents were. He/she had no control over being put up for adoption. He/she had no control over who his/her adopted parents were.

An adopted person had absolute ZERO control over the events that the birth parents engaged in to bring about the circumstances that he/she would have to live with for the rest of his/her life. While many times it turns out for the best, that lack of control that an innocent baby/toddler had should rightfully be fully invested in that person once a cognitive age is reached.

I just don’t know how someone can’t respect the wishes of an adopted person who chooses not to meet the birth parents. For all of us who were not adopted we can’t begin to grasp all the emotions and thoughts that someone who was adopted must feel but we can kind of step back and put ourselves in the shoes of someone who was and think of a thousand reasons on why they would not want to meet their birth parents. Of course we can do the exact opposite as well and think up the same amount of reasons for wanting to meet them. But every situation is different and the decision to meet or not meet should rest solely with the person who was adopted…and no one else….not even a high profile sports writer.

Out of my friends who are adopted, I always keep a very open ear if they ever feel like sharing about it. I have definitely learned that everyone who I have talked to has had different experiences throughout their lifetime. I am fascinated by their journeys and feel lucky and humbled when they share. Listening to my friends has formulated the opinion I put forth in this post but I do fear offending anyone who has been adopted so please know that if I have I sincerely apologize. God Bless the parent (s) who give up their baby for a better life, God Bless the parents who adopt, and especially Gold Bless the babies/kids who are adopted. Don’t Blink.

Rascal Flatts/Band Perry Review

A couple anomalies occurred this past week. First, a big name act came to Missoula. Second, that big name act played on a Friday night. Very rarely does this town see major acts come through and when they do, they usually stop by during midweek. So obviously when it was announced that Rascal Flatts would play a concert in Missoula on a Friday night, this town got very excited.

Strangely enough, Mr. Concert himself (me) originally made plans not to go to the show. Not that I don’t like Rascal Flatts but the tickets went on sale in December and with Vegas and Christmas commanding most of my bank flow for that month, I decided it best to pass on splurging on a couple of tickets. Plus, I got to see Rascal Flatts perform that month anyway down in Las Vegas at the American Country Awards. But when a call came from my friend “Money” Mike asking me if I would like to go to the show with him I couldn’t refuse.

Joining Rascal Flatts on their “Changed Tour 2013” was The Band Perry and Kristen Kelly. Sometime early Friday morning the tour’s entourage showed up in Missoula. By entourage I mean about 6 full length trucks and probably two dozen buses. Our whole Adams Center compound and half of the adjacent student parking lot was jammed packed with vehicles associated with the tour. It was nuts. But I wholeheartedly believe that the more “stuff” a tour brings, the better the show will be.

For this concert Mike and I sat up in the 210 section of the Adams Center to the side of the stage. Because we were to the side we could not look directly at the stage so we could not see the backdrop, the main video screen, and the other fancy stuff such as the lights. But one advantage to having our seats was that we could comfortably watch the show and we could see what was going on backstage. Definitely a couple of positives that I am not normally used to.

Kristen Kelly performed first. Before the show I knew nothing about her. After the show I still know really nothing about her. All I know is that she is a tall cute blonde, probably in her early thirties (can’t even find that info on the web) who likes to sing about men who crossed her. As with any first opening act of a concert she played to a less than full arena on a dark stage. She had attitude and personality which was good and the few songs she performed had a good beat to them but she didn’t blow me out of the water. But come on, that is pretty much impossible to do given what she had to work with. I will look for her down the road on country radio.

After Kelly finished and they got the stage set for the next act, that was when the show started. The Band Perry made a thunderous, energetic entrance onto the stage and the energy really never left. Let me back up and say that I am not a Band Perry fan. I frankly detest their most popular song (“If I Die Young”) and have always found them a little too slow for my liking. But they really did make me a fan after their set. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how upbeat and fun their performance was. The lead singer, Kimberly Perry, was a complete fireball out on the stage as she really performed her heart out. Even her band mates, who are her brothers, were fun too. They performed their hits singles with “You Lie,” “If I Die Young,” and “Better Dig Two” but they also sang their lesser known stuff. And of course, with any act that is relatively new to the mainstream scene, they sang plenty of covers. However, the way they performed their covers was kind of cool in that they threw a bunch of songs into one polka melody. Towards the end of the concert they sang one of these melodies with the opening song being “Some Nights.” It worked well and I rocked out to it. Sorry to say that word again but the ENERGY was with The Band Perry the whole time, and it was powerful enough for me to feel it up in the upperdeck.

Mike and I were not caught off guard when Rascal Flatts came on stage because from our seats we could see Gary LeVox (lead singer) getting ready to go on from backstage. Even though his entrance was not a surprise, I got a little bit of a jolt when I heard his voice call out to the Missoula crowd for the first time. His voice is just so distinctive and to hear it live in person was pretty cool. Rascal Flatts took over the stage and immediately started singing hits. After they finished singing their hits, they slowed down into the middle part of the concert and sang more hits. Then, to change things up a little, they finished their show with more hits. I love going to concerts where I know every single song. Sure it is cool to hear a song for the first time in concert and really latch onto it and always have a special place in your heart for it because you heard it first live but I go to concerts to hear the people I like sing their hits. RF delivered in this department. On stage the band was funny. Jay DeMarcus acted as the band comedian and talked numerous times during the show, a couple times doing mini type comedy acts. The band also sounded GREAT live. Gary’s voice sounded the exact same as it does on the radio and all the music produced by the band sounded awesome inside the Adams Center. From the little that I could see, all the lighting and special effects looked amazing.

Just a couple critiques I have of the show. I wish Rascal Flatts got a little more personal with Missoula. Gary never forgot the name of the city and he always made sure to mention Missoula and Montana in the obvious spots but I was looking for a little more. I like it when artists talk about an experience they had in the city that day or when they take pictures of themselves in front of town landmarks even if it is all complete BS or the photos are doctored. I also think the concert went just a little long. I know they have so many hits and I loved listening to them all but maybe they could get rid of the drum and guitar solos and maybe cut out one of the comedy acts by Jay.

When the show finally did end though, it was a great way to go out as both opening acts came out on the stage and performed “American Band” with Rascal Flatts. I love it when everyone on the tour performs a song. Sometimes this never happens and sometimes they do it in the middle of the headliner’s set so they can get bow out early but for them to all perform at the very end was pretty cool. It definitely put the cherry on top of a 4 hour concert.

Mike, thank you very much for the ticket to the show! I can now check off on my list a couple acts who I wanted to see perform live (for full length sets). Time to buy tickets to the next show! Don’t Blink.

My Favorite Fast Food Place

This Christmas my wish list was pretty much fulfilled because I got the one gift I wanted the most! No, not a GoPro, not a kendama, not accessories for my iPhone, not even a pack of socks. What made me bursting with holiday joy was when on a couple of different gift opening extravaganzas I ripped open a gift box that had what I really wanted…Subway gift cards!

The Subway gift cards I got for Christmas.

The Subway gift cards I got for Christmas.

I am a mega Subway sandwich fan. By a large margin it is my favorite fast food restaurant (Taco Bell a distant second). If I pick up dinner before I go home, if I am traveling, or if I am working late and need food, Subway is my choice to fill up on. I love it and I get hungry just thinking about sinking my teeth in one of their sandwiches.

Rest assured everyone, I haven’t fallen for the Subway marketing BS that says their sandwiches probably equate to the healthiest meal on earth. I think the whole Jared diet plan is a complete scam. While I would say Subway can be a healthier option than McDonalds or Wendy’s, I do know that SW can push on the calories. Unless you are eating a flatbread veggie six inch sub each time you go, make no mistake about it, sandwiches in general are not the healthiest food choice. Especially if you get a foot long, choose a bread with cheese on it, add sauces, and then decide to order chips and a drink with it, you are looking at a pretty fattening meal. But come on, that is what makes it so good!

So I am definitely guilty of my first two ways of “fattening up” a Subway trip. Unless I am going in for lunch, I am always getting a foot long and my all-time favorite bread is the Monterey cheddar…YUM! Can anyone guess what my sub of choice is? What’s that you say? Oh, you don’t care?!?! Of course! But let me tell you anyway….COLD CUT COMBO…every single time! Subway’s cold cut combo never gets old for me and it is always $5 so it is also a complete bargain. Although I don’t get chips and a drink with my subs I must admit that I always am tempted to get the jalapeno variety while I am paying.

I like nothing more than a fresh cold cut combo from Subway

I like nothing more than a fresh cold cut combo from Subway

I think one of the reasons why I love Subway so much besides of it just tasting good is that it is so readily available. There are Subways everywhere! When it comes to the city of Missoula, I think it is an understatement! We have Subway sandwich shops all over the place. You can find various locations on the same streets, you can find them in shopping areas, you can find them in a few convenient stores, you can find one in our mall, and you can even find one in our Wal-Mart! It doesn’t really matter where I am at in Missoula, I am always walking distance from a Subway.

With so many different locations and with my tendency to never really just settle on a certain one, you tend to find out that not all Subways do things the exact same way. Depending on the place I go to the sandwich artist always seems to fold my meat onto my sandwich in a different way. Some lines go from left to right while some go from right to left. Some carry soup while others don’t. Some participate in certain national promotions while other locations act like they have never even heard of them before. Some locations will always bag your sub and put napkins in it while others will just wrap your sub and hand it to you. Some stores will use shredded cheddar cheese while most every other store will use sliced cheddar cheese. However, I like these little eccentricities of each Subway. It keeps things interesting and encourages me to explore the city.

A sneak picture I took at the east Broadway Subway in Missoula

A sneak picture I took at the east Broadway Subway in Missoula

With all the differences of each different Subway sandwich shop there is one thing that they all have in common: That oh so amazing smell! Besides ice cream shops, there is no other place that smells better than a Subway restaurant. That heavenly smell of fresh baked bread mixed with the fresh ingredients mixed with the marinara from the meatballs produces one of my all-time favorite smells. There needs to be an air freshener called “Subway Sandwich Restaurant”. I would definitely buy it.

Sadly, my gift cards from the holiday season are just about exhausted. Lately I have averaged around 2-3 trips to Subway a week. Definitely not the best of habits but I simply love the sandwiches and my stomach definitely feels way better after eating a sub rather than a taco or burger. So go ahead and call me “Jared” if you want but remember I am not doing the walking and I am not losing the weight. EAT FRESH. Don’t Blink.

My Time in Florida

One nice thing about returning from travel to the east coast is that you gain time. I definitely enjoyed arriving in Missoula at 12:30 p.m. today with the ability to enjoy the whole Martin Luther King Jr. afternoon. I marvel at air travel. Call me nerdy but I think it is pretty neat that I was on the opposite side of the country in the most southeastern state this morning only to make it back to Montana by lunchtime.

But man what a digression! My time in Orlando concluded today after three full days in the Sunshine state. As I alluded to in my previous blog post, I was traveling on a business related matter. Although this time it was not to perform advance travel, attend a game, or to host a retreat. Rather, it was to allow the most visible icon at The University of Montana to take part in his own competition.

Our mascot, Monte, was selected to compete in the College Cheerleading and Dance National Championships. Yes, I understand the name of the competition excludes our furry friends but trust me, they are included. Presented by the Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA), the College Cheerleading and Dance National Championships bring together the best cheer, dance, and mascot programs from around the country to compete for three days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disneyworld. For me it is always a thrill to see the top schools in the nation gather in one place, especially representatives from the schools who I see performing every Saturday during the fall.


We competed at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

We competed at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

For the mascot competition, each performer had to perform a minute and a half skit. Among the mascots competing were Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State), Sparty (Michigan State), Goldy Gopher (Minnesota), Mike the Tiger (LSU), Aubie (Auburn), Smokey (Tennessee), Bucky the Badger (Wisconsin), and many more. It is pretty cool to see the students outside of the suits who play these high profile mascots and see the teams that they haul with them to the competition to help them out. On the night that the mascot competition took place, thousands of cheerleaders, dance members, and general spectators jammed the HP Field House to watch the mascots perform their skits. When you have a packed house of cheerleaders and dancers, you know the atmosphere is going to be pretty crazy and loud. Many of the skits performed were out of this world and I felt very fortunate to watch everything from the floor. Monte finished fourth in his division and took home a big trophy.

Monte performing his skit inside the HP Field House.

Monte performing his skit inside the HP Field House.

Monte and I after the competition.

Monte and I after the competition.

While in Orlando we also got to see the sights. A perk of making it to the championships is that there are many opportunities to enjoy the happiest place on earth. As part of the travel package for the championships, we got a three day park hopper pass that gained us admission into all the Disney parks. Because we stayed at the Disney All-Star Music Resort, we had bus access to all the parks, making transportation very easy. I got to experience Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and, on the final night, Disney totally shut down Hollywood Studios and hosted a “block party” for all cheer and dance championship participants. All of the major rides were open for us to go on as many times as we pleased. By far, my favorite park was Epcot. For those of you who don’t know, Epcot is a park that pays homage to the various cultures of the world. In the park, 11 countries have space where you can experience their culture with everything from food to drink to music to entertainment to souvenirs. I also enjoyed the Coca-Cola shop at the park that allowed you to sample various different sodas from around the world free of charge. There was just something very harmonious and special about Epcot that made me especially enjoy it.


Myself at Epcot

Myself at Epcot

While touring the parks, swimming in the pools, soaking in the nice weather, and of course competing in a first class national competition was all a lot of fun, there was something that I enjoyed most of all. As many of you know, I am a people person and over the past few days in Orlando I got to interact with all kinds! Myself and the two students who play the role of Monte had such a good time chatting with all the other schools and squads that attended the championships. What made everything so intriguing and fun is that they came from all over the country. They all had their own accents, own personalities, and own little cultures. But you know what they all shared? A genuine sense of humbleness. It didn’t matter if we were talking to the LSU cheer squad or the Harvard dance team, they were all just really nice. The stuck up cheerleading stereotype is so inaccurate. I found this out by working with our own fabulous squad at UM that the stereotype holds no weight and this past weekend it was just confirmed even more. Besides fellow competitors we just met a bunch of other nice people who were happy to be on vacation and who wanted to know our story. I felt very blessed to meet so many cool people.

Myself at Animal Kingdom

Myself at Animal Kingdom

While Orlando was fun, I am glad to be back in Missoula. I got a huge week coming up and I think my stay on the other side of the country has got me rejuvenated and ready for a successful several days. Thank you so much to my Montes who do such a great job! I had a wonderful time with you in Florida. Don’t Blink.

Off to Orlando

Today I will spend most of my time in the sky and at airports as I make the trek across the country to Orlando, Florida, for a work related trip. I look forward to mid-seventies weather and a break from this arctic cold.

If you live in Missoula, please make sure to attend the basketball games! The Griz play Southern Utah tonight at 7 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena. Then the big day is Saturday as Retro Griz-Cat basketball takes center stage. The Lady Griz take on MSU at 3 p.m. and the Griz face the Bobcats at 7 p.m. Both Montana squads will wear throwback uniforms.

While in Orlando I will be taking a break from Don’t Blink, Facebook, and Twitter (except for my Quote of the Day). However, I will be back on Monday. Enjoy the long weekend everyone, be safe, and most importantly, GO GRIZ! Don’t Blink.

When the Positive Outweighs the Negative

One of the strangest stories I have ever heard of relating not just to sports but to life in general surfaced today with the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax. I mean a story that combines the star player of the most recognizable college football program in the nation with the dark side of social media and with several shady characters is bound to brew up quite the storm.

I find this story incredibly sad. It doesn’t matter if Manti Te’o is an innocent victim or a major player in a quest for more publicity, there is no way that this tale ends well. People who love watching these types of unfortunate train wrecks happen are probably pulling their seats up extra close and keeping their iPhones handy because this roller coaster will take several more twists and turns before it is all over.

And I know I sound like a broken record considering what I wrote about last night, but because of the up in the air status of this bizarre story we need to stop yapping and rushing to judgment on Twitter and other social media outlets and just let the situation run its course. It is very obvious that there are two strongly conflicting stories regarding Manti Te’o’s involvement in this event. Let’s just recognize all the strange directions this story has already taken and brace for several more before we even think about offering up our expertise.

This negative story does eat at me quite a bit because it gives less than stellar publicity to a program I have admired and to an athlete I have considered top-notch. It goes without saying that both Notre Dame and Manti Te’o represent intercollegiate athletics, something that I have both an undying love for and a career in. When something like this happens that encompasses the attention of the nation, it hurts.

Life is interesting sometimes though. The moment the whole Manti snafu really started to escalate and ESPN started to push all efforts into covering the story and social media went bonkers with the most one-liners I have ever seen, something happened that made my pride and appreciation for the student-athletes who make college athletics possible skyrocket. And wouldn’t you know it, this sudden jolt of euphoria got pumped into my veins not by hot shot athletes or million dollar coaches thousands of miles away in mega-conferences but rather by people inhabiting the exact same building I was in.


At a little after 5 p.m. today our assistant sports information director Joel Carlson, yes, that same Joel Carlson who I crowned the best writer in Missoula five months ago, sent out to the media and published onto a masterpiece. Written with beauty, with emotion, and with purpose, I couldn’t help but brush away tears from my eyes about four different times while reading his article.

Now I can try to summarize his piece and put in my own words how amazing the person is who is featured in it but I would not be doing the article or the person justice.

So without going into detail let me just give you the gist (not a summary) of what you all need to go read about: Alyssa Smith is a Lady Griz basketball player who not only excels on the court but in life. She went through a horrific ordeal one morning at a day care right before she turned 2 years old. She survived and moved on, scars and all. She found a place that brought together young people who suffered the same traumatic experience she endured. When she grew too old to be a participant at this place, she took a leadership role. After many years in that leadership role, she has taken on a savior role. Alyssa is doing all she can as a Lady Griz basketball player in Missoula to save a camp 500 miles away in Washington state. Combined with the continued help of a big Griz supporter with a heart of gold plus a generous Missoula community, she is going to do it.

You want to forget about Manti Te’o? You want to feel touched and inspired? Please take ten minutes to read “Montana’s shining light for Camp Eyabsut” by Joel Carlson. I warn you, reading the first part of the story is a little tough to stomach, but in the end it is well worth it. So what if I become discouraged for a few minutes over some hoax in South Bend? I need to look no further than the floor of Dahlberg Arena to let me know who the real heroes of intercollegiate athletics are. Don’t Blink.

Jumping the Twitter Gun in Sports

Although I have touched on this subject from a much broader scope before, I wanted to take tonight to zero in on a more specific aspect of this principle. As everyone knows, social media is a very powerful tool that enables the most average of Joes to reach hundreds or thousands of people with just a simple click or tap. Unfortunately for us all, when we click the mouse or tap the “send” button on our iPhone, we don’t get a message that pops up and asks “Hey, do you want to wait a little while before you send that out?”

Although this has gone on since social media has been around, it seems like over the past several weeks I have seen Twitter users go completely off the deep end when it comes to hasty comments regarding sporting events. This college bowl season I couldn’t believe all the people who would leave teams for the dead who happened to fall behind. Looking at my Twitter feed while many of these games were still up for grabs I saw way too many people I follow tweet out things such as “Game over”, “ball game”, “It’s all over”, or “Next year.”

I don’t know why people do this. There is absolutely no honor in saying that a team is done for when they are behind a couple touchdowns. Statistically, that is a no-brainer. When a team spots another team points, more often than not that team will lose. Sending out a tweet reiterating this fact is just stating the obvious. So why should I get all worked up about Twitter users who feel they are smart when really they are just going along with common trends?

Because in sports nothing is set in stone and to count a team out early is disrespectful .

I got a few recent examples that inspired me to write this post. Last December, Arizona played Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. Nevada built a 45-28 lead after the third quarter and led by double digits with less than a minute to go. Everyone crowned the Wolfpack the New Mexico Bowl champs, but as Lee Corso would say “Not so fast my friend!” Arizona staged a remarkable comeback and won the game 49-48. Lots of retractions that day on Twitter.

Last week during the BCS Championship, many people decided to call the game in the first quarter when Alabama got up on Notre Dame 14-0. Yes, Alabama went on to rout the Irish but how can you count a team out in the first quarter?! In yet another example of Twitter ignorance, everyone came unglued when Notre Dame seemed to have gotten robbed on a punt interference call. The Irish punted and the Alabama returner muffed the punt that Notre Dame recovered. However, the officials ruled fair catch interference. The officials and Pac-12 conference got crucified….yet after further review the officiating crew actually got the call right.

This past Sunday, in probably the most mind-blowing example, people across the nation mindlessly declared the end of the Seattle Seahawks’ season when they fell behind to the Atlanta Falcons at the half, 20-0. It seemed as if everyone forgot that just the week before, the Hawks fell behind to the Washington Redskins on the road in the first quarter, 14-0, before coming back and trouncing them. After Twitter Nation made their “bold predictions” about the demise of Seattle, the Seahawks came back to take a 28-27 lead with thirty second to go in the game.

Everyone needs to relax when it comes to watching sporting events on television. Don’t feel the need to make any declarations. I really think it helps to have played sports to really understand that a game is never over in the first quarter or at the half. Even in my bush league high school playing career I played on teams that came from behind to win games and I played on teams that got stunned after building up a sizeable lead. These teams that I participated on and these games that I played in taught me that really anything can happen.

Or maybe some of these people who like to make quick judgments about a game’s outcome just need to watch more sporting events in general. In my lifetime I have watched thousands upon thousands of games and have seen almost everything. I have seen amazing comeback after amazing comeback. I watched in person as my alma matter trailed 48-21 with just under 6 minutes to go in the third quarter to eventually win 61-48. After seeing something like this, overcoming a 14 point lead in the first quarter does not seem so far-fetched.

So do you see what I am saying? By tweeting that a game is over early on you just can’t win. If the team you declare the winner does happen to hold on, you made an assumption that even a monkey could make. But if you are wrong, you look like an absolute fool. However, no matter if you are right or wrong, by calling a game early you just ignore the rich tradition of sports, the basic principle that a game is not over until it’s over and that anything can happen. When you watch a game make sure to enjoy it, keep an open mind, and don’t call a game until it is absolutely over. Twitter will appreciate you more. Don’t Blink.

Three Trends I Could Live Without

When I turned 25 a little over a year ago, I definitely felt some sadness about moving out of the 18-24 age demographic. It hit me kind of hard and sent the message that I needed to grow up. Although hard at first, now that I am 26 I have accepted that I am no longer in that group and I have moved on with a lifestyle that is appropriate for my age. However, because I work on a college campus and because I am very much immersed in social media, it is not hard for me to keep up with the newest trends that capture my former demographic.

Luckily for me, some of the newest trends to come out really don’t appeal to me at all…probably just more confirmation that I am getting old. In particular, over the past couple months three different fads have emerged at the forefront of the teenager to under 25 culture. For tonight’s post I want to give my brief and “sophisticated adult” take on these new trends.

Snap Chat – Snap chat is an app for iPhone users that lets you send pictures to other users. The catch is, the picture you send to another person can only be seen for a time period between 1-10 seconds. Once the time has ran out, the picture is “lost” forever. The short time period to view a picture along with the false security that the picture will self-destruct leads many to be a little looser when it comes to sending images. Of course I put quotation marks around the word lost because all it takes is someone to screenshot the image to forever capture it in their iPhone device.

I don’t particularly like Snap Chat. Yes I admit that I do “Snap” with a few people but I must say the app is pretty lame. For one thing, Snap Chat takes pictures of terrible quality. My old beat up handheld camera that I have dropped over 20 times takes better pictures than SC. For another, the ability and acceptance of taking irrelevant and uninteresting pictures reigns supreme on Snap Chat. I will open up the app and I will have 10 pictures from my brother detailing his television screen, water bottle, hat, golf clubs, and the living room carpet. I hate looking at that type of stuff. The labeling of pictures sucks too. Many people will use their fingers/thumbs to write out one word captions and it looks absolutely horrid.

Snap Chat is sloppy and cheap. In my advanced age, I would much rather have a service such as Instagram where I can add an artistic touch, take a high quality picture, and add all the hash tags I want.

Me getting ready to send a "Snap" out.

Me getting ready to send a “Snap” out.

Duck Face – Take a quick stroll down your Facebook feed or Instagram stream and you are guaranteed to see multiple instances of girls posing with the now notorious “duck face.” You can make the face by putting your lips together and pushing them as far out as possible, thus making you resemble a duck.

I personally am yet to understand this one. I don’t know if the main objective is to look pouty, flirty, or just plain duck-like but I am not a fan. I find girls with smiles or neutral facial expressions much more attractive than a bird face. Perhaps the goal is to cover up less than stellar teeth or maybe it is to highlight above average lips or maybe it is to just follow a trend but I have a tough time seeing the redeeming value. I have also seen guys take on the less than flattering pose and let me tell you, it is not pretty. Some girls have the magical power to take something that is not hot and make it hot….us guys do not.

If you can pull it off or not, let’s just retire the duck face.

Me with the worst duck face ever!

Me with the worst duck face ever!

Kendamas – I thought every kid and young adult wanted iPhones, game systems, GoPros, and other electronics as gifts. You mean to tell me that all what many people wanted this Christmas was a wooden toy?! This holiday season, many young people received kendamas. A kendama is a Japanese toy that tests one’s patience. Made out of wood, the trinket has a main body about eight inches in length. At the bottom of the body is a handle that you hold onto and then it thins out as you go up, forming into a spike at the very top. Jammed through the spike is another wooden structure with a cup on each side. Tied around the cup structure is a string that is connected to a ball. The object is to get the ball into either of the cups or to get the ball to rest perfectly on the spike (the ball has a small hole to allow for this).

I have not seen a more boring toy in a very long time. I don’t see how anyone could be entertained for more than five minutes with a kendama. I don’t see the real reward in making the ball in the cup and I definitely don’t see the reasoning for spending hours trying to do so. But you know what is more aggravating than playing with a kendama? Watching someone play with a kendama! Oh brother, I go absolutely nuts hearing someone clank that ball off the wood over and over and over and over. Some people get really involved and stumble all over the place, thinking it will help them catch it. Well, it doesn’t help at all but it is a great way to get in other people’s space and to break things. This Christmas we had someone over at our house who had just gotten a kendama and I was at wits’ end with the annoying noise, the ongoing shuffling throughout the living room, and the never ending “Will you please play with me.” I really never want to see another one of those things again.

A kendama!

A kendama!

Three really cool new trends….three really cool new trends that I want no part of. Don’t Blink.

Bringing Out the Throwbacks

I am always quite fond of bragging about my job and getting overly excited about the cool things I get to do for it. This morning I once again had a smile stretching from ear to ear as I watched two of our basketball players, one male athlete and one female athlete, participate in a mini photo shoot on our arena floor. Sporting copper and gold jerseys last worn in the mid 1990’s, our university photographer snapped several shots of our two athletes in the throwback gear that themselves and the rest of their teammates will wear on January 19 when we host Griz-Cat retro style.

Don't these throwbacks looks sharp?

Don’t these throwbacks looks sharp?

I could hardly contain my own excitement looking at our two players suited up in their sharp looking old timer jerseys to bring myself to wait out the one hour window between the time that the pictures were taken to when our photographer uploaded the images to when our athletic director tweeted out the first glimpse of the retro glory to all of Griz Nation. But by the time our AD sent out his most important tweet yet on his day old account with about 40 other people following suit by retweeting it, my nervous excitement had leveled out and I could enjoy watching our fan base go nuts at the prospect of a Griz-Cat Basketball Saturday with one of the most exciting twists ever.

Behind the scenes at the throwback photo shoot.

Behind the scenes at the throwback photo shoot.

What is it about throwback jerseys? To be honest, I don’t think it is that much of a mystery. As I have written about before, people love to reminisce about the past. People like to look back at times that took place years ago and use their selective memories to blow up the positive images. One way to connect with these memories is through clothing, and specifically in sports, uniforms.

We certainly can’t accuse professional and intercollegiate officials and marketers for not recognizing this little fact about human nature. Throwback uniforms are a HUGE business. Every team seems to have at least one throwback night. People go wild in their seats when their favorite teams wear old uniforms and many go wild at the merchandise stand as well. I mean let’s be honest here, if you consider yourself a sports fan, I guarantee that you have at least a couple throwback apparel items in your closet.

Research shows that the demographic that really buys into the throwback theme is the younger generation, the people who barely remember a certain era or don’t remember it at all. I can totally attest to this! As a Mariners fan growing up I thought the old school inaugural logo of the anchor-like “M” placed in the star was the coolest thing ever. I had a hat and a couple shirts with the old mark and I felt the same excitement when the Mariners would don those old jerseys a couple times each year that I did this morning during the photo shoot. Never mind that the old sailor type logo was hideous, as I said before, we all have a grandiose outlook on the past. Things seemed better back when, even if they were actually not.

Like with any good thing, the use of throwbacks can be taken overboard. Some Major League Baseball teams will wear old school jerseys on a weekly basis while some teams have completely brought back their retro marks and reinstituted them as their primary logo. However, you won’t find any of that oversaturation at Grizzly Athletics. As fans know from football, bringing back the old colors is a very uncommon occurrence, something that happens only on special occasions. Everyone in Montana knows that when the copper and gold comes out it is big time. Because of this, there are a lot of people counting down the days until January 19. Don’t Blink.

To Disclose or Not to Disclose Resolutions

The new year has arrived and with it the multitudes of people who boast about their resolutions. Social media has made it way too hard for most to have a “personal new year’s resolution” where one simply executes their annual improvement plan without any fanfare or Facebook statuses.

However, I am not here to hate on those people at all. In fact, I pretty much take my hat off to those brave enough to broadcast their resolutions electronically to everyone from their family to their best buds to their intramural teammates to their co-workers to their old high school/college classmates etc. etc. I don’t know what better motivation there is to succeed at a New Year’s resolution than telling your 1,297 people on your Facebook friend list what you plan to do. Let’s face it, if you have the guts to tell everyone you know that you plan to lose 30 pounds, you better do it.

That is why I almost went along with the trend and dedicated tonight’s blog post to detailing my 2013 New Year’s resolutions. However, after much scrutinizing I decided to keep them personal. Believe me, I am not going public because I am fearful that I won’t accomplish my goals because I WILL. Instead, I just much rather have people notice the changes in me when I reach my goals rather than telling them about it before I even begin. I don’t need the praise of my peers but if I do get it I am going to make sure it is after I actually accomplish something rather than getting the empty round of applause that accompanies the act of simply declaring my intentions.

With that said, I hope that everyone has at least a couple of resolutions for 2013. Yesterday I was going through my Twitter feed and I saw someone tweet something along the lines of this: “We shouldn’t need to make New Year’s resolutions because we should already be doing the right thing on a daily basis.” Even if there was a person in this world who lived out perfect days on a daily basis, he/she could still find something to improve upon. If he/she already ran 12 miles each morning, he/she could run 14 miles each morning. If he/she had 4 doctorate degrees, he/she could get 5 doctorate degrees. If he/she read 300 books a year, he/she could read 310 books a year. You get the point? There is absolute no ceiling for self-improvement. We can always challenge ourselves, we can always push our limits, we can always get better. Every single one of us has room to grow and the start of a new year is a perfect time to better ourselves.

As I mentioned last night, take it one day at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by looking too far ahead. Also, don’t be afraid. Sometimes making a big change and sometimes the channels you need to go through to make that change can be intimidating. Just tell yourself that the end result will be worth it. I always observe the new people who come into the gym for the first time once January 1 hits. Some of them look so scared and out of place…DON’T BE! You made a huge step by actually showing up! Now just go all-in for the next hour and a half and don’t think about anything or anyone else. Do you. This applies not only to working out but it also applies to rekindling a strained relationship, eating better, becoming a better person, spending less money, or watching less television. Simply jump right into it, immerse yourself in the goal, take it one day at a time, and don’t look back.

What a remarkable gift we all have right in front of us with 2013! A fresh new year with limitless possibilities. Let’s all get better and make it the best year ever. Don’t Blink