My 2014 NCAA Tournament Top 10

With what many people call the best spectacle in sports starting tomorrow I felt like it was only appropriate for me to jot down some thoughts regarding the men’s basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament. For this post I am going to go David Letterman on you all and categorize my nuggets of tourney wisdom top ten style. But if you despise Letterman’s nightly top ten list don’t worry: I am not counting down nor am I making an attempt to be humorous…well unless you consider my awful writing skills humorous.

1. Sitting Out the Dance: After two straight years of the Griz making the NCAA Tournament the streak has come to an end. It is definitely a bit of a letdown not marketing the team on such a large level and not attending the tourney but I try to keep things in perspective. You can’t go to the Big Dance every year and on the bright side I will actually get to enjoy the tournament and watch the games from my own home. Yesterday I felt so weird watching the Selection Show on my couch without the pressure of capturing the moment our team was announced live and then racing to get all the information out to our fans.

Me at the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque.

Me at the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque.

2. Love the Coverage: I know it was just a matter of time before it happened but I am so thankful for the comprehensive coverage of every single tournament game. For the past few years CBS has utilized its family of networks to give fans the option to watch any game they want in its entirety on television. I used to go insane when CBS wouldn’t show the game I wanted to see in my regional market or when it would cut away to another game. I spent way too much time during my younger years yelling at the score ticker at the bottom of the screen rather than watching the actual game.

3. Dislike the First Four: I used to not mind when the tournament just featured one play-in game because I found it cool that two random teams got national exposure along with infinite punchlines on how bad the winning team would get beat by the #1 seed. However, I think four games is overkill. I also dislike the fact that two of the play-in games grant the winning teams a seed higher than 16 into the tournament. I know the NCAA has its reasons for these games but I think they are gimmicky.

4. Hate the Terminology: Adding to my dislike of the First Four is that those games are now classified as the “first round.” This means once the tournament actually gets started with the round of 64 those games are classified as the “second round.” Which of course means the original second round of games are now classified as the “third round.” I hated denoting this technicality last year when talking about our team’s matchup with Syracuse. Although it sounds more important to say Montana played Syracuse in the second round of the tournament give me a break. It was the first round and now everyone will have to make distinctions between a team that made it to the second round in 2009 versus a team that made it to the second round in 2014.

5. Warren Buffet’s Billion Dollar Bracket: I love the rejuvenated bolt of excitement this stunt by Warren Buffet and Quicken Loans has given bracket picking this year. Although I can’t participate because of NCAA regulations I have enjoyed the uproar and excitement it has caused. Buffet has made the rounds on radio shows promoting his competition and he is a lot of fun to hear talk. He crunches numbers and probability right on the spot. On every program he has said that if someone manages to make it to the national championship game with a perfect bracket and if Quicken Loans allows him to, he will try to broker a deal with the fan and cut his losses. How cool would it be to see that happen?

6. Cue the Corny ESPN Tweets: While I love ESPN I hate its main Twitter account. Yes, even though I cringe at what it sends out I still have the tweets sent directly to my phone because I need to stay informed. However, I can only handle so many clichés and cheesy statements before I get fed up. With the NCAA Tournament here I am mentally preparing myself for loads of silly and unprofessional updates.

7. Why Michigan State?: Because I am deeply involved in the Griz and Lady Griz basketball seasons I don’t usually get to follow the college basketball season as a whole as much as I would like to. There was no exception this year. With my ignorance freely admitted, can anyone tell me why everyone and their dogs are choosing Michigan State to win it all? I watched yesterday as ESPN’s whole college basketball studio panel plus Dick Vitale practically crowned them champs. As a #4 seed I am just a little puzzled at why the Spartans are so highly regarded. BONUS: Michigan State will begin its tourney journey in Spokane this year. Four years ago they started there as well and I got to witness it as they won both games to advance to the Sweet 16. They ended up making it all the way to the Final Four.

8. NCAA Tournament Doesn’t Determine Champion in a Legitimate Way?….BULL: Last week as I turned on Mike and Mike I listened as Mike Greenberg bashed the tournament as an inefficient way of selecting a champion. He believes the best teams don’t get a big enough advantage and that the single elimination format doesn’t do enough to establish a true champ. I think he must have just been trying to generate controversy that day because I honestly don’t see a better system out there. You got a large representation of both bigger and smaller schools battling it out on neutral courts in a well-structured format. Who would ever want to see a college basketball national championship series where you watched Kentucky and Georgetown play in a best of five series? Yuck. A team that is able to win six straight games against the best competition at the end of the season earns the right to be called CHAMPS.

9. My Favorite Part of the Tournament: I think you kind of have to attend an NCAA Tournament to really understand this but there is nothing cooler than going to a tourney site and experiencing the true collegiate atmosphere. Besides eight different teams in one arena you also got eight different cheer squads, eight different mascots, eight different bands, and eight different fan bases. Cultures collide and it is all under the bright lights on sports’ biggest stage. There is nothing better.

The collegiate atmosphere at the tournament makes it so special.

The collegiate atmosphere at the tournament makes it so special.

10. Who I am Cheering For: Here are the teams I am cheering for in each region…UCLA (South), Coastal Carolina (East), Gonzaga (West), and Iowa (Midwest).


Enjoy the tournament everyone! Best of luck winning that billion dollars and I hope you all get your own personal “one shining moment” at some point during the Madness. Don’t Blink.

My Fortune Cookie Experiment, Part II

After the disappointment I suffered on Monday I knew I didn’t want that bad taste to linger in my mouth. Last week I opened up 24 fortune cookies hoping to find priceless wisdom along with a good laugh or two. Instead I found generic clichés and duplicated messages. At fault in this big bust was me. I decided to take the easy way out and purchase a couple boxes of fortune cookies at Wal-Mart. My attempt at a shortcut laughed right in my face the second after I cracked open all the cookies and looked down at the less than inspiring fortunes. I needed to right my wrong.

Yesterday I visited four different Chinese restaurants and got fortune cookies from each one.

Yesterday I visited four different Chinese restaurants and got fortune cookies from each one.

Yesterday I spent the lunch hour visiting four different Chinese restaurants in Missoula. I swallowed my pride and went inside each one and told the employees that I didn’t want to eat at their establishments but I would sure appreciate it if I could have a few fortune cookies. Despite my embarrassment at my cheapskate question everyone treated me well and granted my request. Two of the restaurants shoved cookies at me free of charge and the other two nicely charged me the measly price of one dollar for the treats.

My loot from visiting the different Chinese restaurants.

My loot from visiting the different Chinese restaurants.

In the end this project cost me $2 for the cookies, some gas money, and a bit of humiliation but it was definitely worth it. The fortunes I received from these restaurants blew the fortunes from the Wal-Mart cookies out of the water. I visited China Garden, Hong Kong Chef, China Buffet, and China Bowl for my sample. The restaurant that provided the best fortune cookies? China Buffet! Individually wrapped with a child in front of a red heart on the wrapper the appearance alone made a great impression. However, the contents inside impressed me even more. The fortunes themselves were fun and exotic but the message also came with lucky numbers and a “Learn Chinese” section. I should also add that China Buffet was one of the two restaurants that gave me the cookies for free.

What it looked like after I opened up all the cookies.

What it looked like after I opened up all the cookies.

Favorite Fortune (from China Bowl):
Make those special talents you have work like a charm – I just really appreciate and understand this fortune. We all have our own talents that we need to utilize. I try my best to further the talents that I have (while also recognizing ones that I don’t) to make my life more enjoyable and profitable.

Time now to reveal each fortune that I cracked open. My favorite fortune from each individual restaurant is reflected in the image introducing that particular business and is also listed first.

China Garden

China Garden - 2100 Stephens Ave.

China Garden – 2100 Stephens Ave.

– Listen Attentively. You will come out ahead.
-Now is a good time to try something new.
-You are both ingenious and methodical.
-Now is a good time to explore.

Hong Kong Chef

Hong Kong Chef - 2009 Brooks St.

Hong Kong Chef – 2009 Brooks St.

-You will have good luck in your personal affairs this month.
-A zesty partner can help you in your efforts to get ahead.
-Your present plans are going to succeed if you stick to them.
-Good things come to those who wait. Be patient.

China Buffet:

China Buffet - 1900 Brooks St.

China Buffet – 1900 Brooks St.

-You will be invited to a small gathering with lots of spicy conversation (Lucky # 19, 45, 7, 11, 10, 2).
-A tub and rub will change your day (Lucky # 15, 16, 20, 18, 33, 49).
-You will be unusually successful in business (Lucky # 23, 34, 14, 45, 55, 29).
-Ancient sites beckon you to hit the road soon (Lucky # 37, 19, 22, 54, 16, 30).

China Bowl:

China Bowl - 3445 American Way

China Bowl – 3445 American Way

-Make those special talents you have work like a charm.
-It is time to help a friend in need.
-Trust your intuition today. You’re right on!
-Your personality can make quite an impression on people.


Okay, I promise you I will never write about fortune cookies again. I just wanted my shot at redemption. The fun and mystery of fortune cookies is still out there…you just have to go someplace other than Wal-Mart to enjoy it. Once again I will leave you with the best fortune ever…Don’t Blink.

St. Patrick’s Day in Butte, Montana

I don’t circle March 17 on my calendar each year. Not that I don’t like St. Patrick’s Day, I just don’t get too overly excited about it. In the past I have celebrated it during some years while during others I have treated it just like any other day. This year? With it on a Monday I might wear a polo that has green on it to work and call it good.

However I do tend to adhere to the cliché that goes “try everything once” and that was the mantra I used two years ago when I visited Butte, MT for St. Patrick’s Day. For my non-Montana readers: The Butte St. Patty’s Day celebration is to the state of Montana what the New Orleans Mardis Gras celebration is to the state of Louisiana. Of course the Montana function is much smaller but based on festive spirits, shenanigans, and liberal street laws it matches up very well. Normally I wouldn’t have much interest attending such a free-for-all but since the holiday fell on a Saturday and I had friends going over I went along for the experience.

Sad to say probably the thing that I think of most when reminiscing about that day was the weather. It rained most of the time as dark clouds hung over the town the whole day. The second thing I think of most were the costumes. People dressed for the occasion much to my enjoyment. You had leprechauns, green mascots, green body suits, people decked in green body paint, and any other wild green outfit you could think of. My friend dressed in a green Statue of Liberty costume. I even donned a special St. Pat’s Day wardrobe.

I sported this outfit on St. Patrick's Day in 2012

I sported this outfit on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012

As for the reputation the celebration has I would consider it pretty accurate. It is a rather wild time with lots of people. Vendors selling food and knick-knacks (such as green beads, sunglasses, bandanas) line the streets. Tents are set up and areas of pavement are roped off to accommodate makeshift dance floors and outdoor bars. The St. Patrick’s Day spirit runs rampant. Some people completely overdo it. With as many as 10,000 non-residents converging on the area the town of Butte definitely enjoys its yearly shining moment.

Megan in her Statue of Liberty Irish style costume.

Megan in her Statue of Liberty Irish style costume.

If you asked me for a recommendation on whether you needed to experience St. Patrick’s Day in Butte I would say no. I had an interesting time but I wouldn’t say I had a great time. If you are a college student and want to let loose in a town you might never go to otherwise I would probably say take it or leave it. But for all of us other people I just don’t see a real point. My idea of a perfect St. Pat’s Day is sitting down at one of Missoula’s two great Irish restaurants and eating a warm dinner….not traveling two hours to stand outside in bad weather while eating vendor food and putting up with overly intoxicated people. I guess it all comes down to personal preference.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! If you choose to celebrate have fun but be safe. To be honest I am going to enjoy when the day is over because

Five Topics in Five Minutes

Well I am definitely due for a multi-topic, random blog post. Tonight I am feeling rather ambitious so I am going to attempt to cover five different happenings in as few of words as possible. Thanks for checking out my blog post tonight and let’s get started.

Bowling: Last night I spiced up my usually boring weekday evenings by going bowling. Would you believe that $1 bowling still exists? Believe me, at Westside Lane in Missoula it does! I did something I have never done before and bowled five games. Usually after two games I am good but with the cheap price and a score that needed to be settled between my friend and I we played 50 frames. Another thing that I have never done before? I bowled a 168! I am about 90% sure that qualifies as my highest score ever. The numerous games did take a toll though…this morning I woke up sore in a couple spots! I am definitely not in bowling shape.

Montana Grizzlies Facebook Hits 100K Likes: Right before I dashed out my door to go bowling last night our Montana Grizzlies Facebook page hit the 100,000 like mark. As I have eyed this milestone for a long time it felt great to finally reach it. Griz Social Media is shoulders above other competitors in the FCS and is a player on the national scene as well and this big benchmark just validates our success. Big winner of the night besides our athletic department was Facebook fan Amy Cody who correctly predicted the day and came the closest to predicting the time that our page would hit the hundred grand mark. Because of her excellent prognostic abilities I sent her a Griz prize pack today.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: I do find this whole saga fascinating but I find it much sadder. To me at first I can’t fathom how the plane has not been found. Then I take a step back and realize this world is a big place with the oceans covering over 140,000 million miles of it. Then throw in the twists and turns that occur daily in relation to the governments, theories, and searches and I can’t begin to imagine what the families of the passengers are going through. For some reason I think this ordeal might have a very crazy ending that a lot of us aren’t expecting. Only time will tell.

Subway…Eat Fresh?: I enjoy Subway so much that I actually wrote a whole blog post detailing how much I love it. Call me naïve for thinking it would always specialize in just sandwiches but I am a little turned off about the expanding menu. Pizza? Enchilada melts? Breakfast sandwiches that don’t resemble a sandwich in anyway? I understand that Subway must evolve and offer more options to keep up with competition I just think it is a little sacrilegious to offer a pepperoni pizza at a place that markets itself on healthy eating.

Putting on my Sports Information Director’s Hat: In just about a half hour our men’s basketball team faces off against Portland State in the Big Sky Conference tournament in Ogden. I am here in Missoula just about ready to cover the game over our social outlets but my duties will get a little extended this evening. As our legendary Sports Information Director Dave Guffey doesn’t have necessary software installed on his laptop I get to play with the program in his office and output all the statistical reports immediately after the final buzzer sounds. With a couple training sessions completed at the tutelage of Dave and a page of notes at my disposal I should be fine although I would be lying if I said I am not a little nervous about screwing everything up.


Okay, time to watch our men’s basketball team play! I appreciate all of you and have a wonderful Friday. Don’t Blink.

My Small Connection to 16 Years of NCAA Basketball Excellence

It didn’t take me long to get my feet wet in intercollegiate athletics. Nineteen years ago as an eight-year old little squirt I served as a ball boy for the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team. I had the time of my life shagging balls, wiping up sweat, and passing out water. Because of how greatly I was treated by the coaching staff (led by head coach Dan Fitzgerald and assisted by Dan Monson and yes, Mark Few) and players I developed an obsession for Zag basketball. From the time of my service as a ball boy running all the way through my senior year of high school I was a Gonzaga basketball fanatic.

Hanging out with my dad in my official ball boy issued shirt before going to work a game.

Hanging out with my dad in my official ball boy issued shirt before going to work a game.

During my two seasons as a ball boy I got to work for a couple good Gonzaga basketball teams. I got to serve with fellow ball boy Adam Morrison (who I would end up going to high school with). I got to watch Steve Nash in a Santa Clara uniform torch the Bulldogs for 40 points. I got to run around the tiny old 4,000-seat “Kennel” in Martin Centre. I got to bounce on balls in the training room. I got to have a lot of fun.

As I said I got to work for a couple good Gonzaga teams…not great Gonzaga teams. That tide shifted the season after my term as a ball boy ended. With me out of the picture and my brother taking my spot as the Reser Bulldog Ball Boy the Zags staged the seemingly miraculous run to the Elite 8 where they would come just short of making the Final Four. That special season, especially the tournament run, will always go down as one of my favorite childhood memories.

Fast forward 16 years and a lot have changed. I no longer live in the state. The Zags no longer play in Martin Centre. I have a new favorite team. Gonzaga has a new uniform deal. I keep company with a Grizzly bear and a passionate marketing team. Gonzaga keeps company with the nation’s top basketball teams and ESPN. However, after the past 16 years there is still one thing that has remained constant: Gonzaga basketball is annually making it to the NCAA Tournament.

To make it to the NCAA Tournament 16 years in a row is astonishing. To do it at a small Spokane school adds to the achievement. Players come and go, different powers rise to the top, and programs have bad years. To somehow manage to fight against averages and make it to the best postseason tournament in all of sports for so long speaks immensely to the strength of a program.

It also speaks to the head coach. Love the Zags or hate them, they definitely aren’t America’s darling anymore, Mark Few deserves complete respect from all. After Dan Monson left after his Elite 8 season Few has done nothing but coach the Zags for 15 solid seasons while picking up 400 victories. Watching our own Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig pick up his 800th win this season after more than three decades at the helm helped me realize how amazing Few’s accomplishment is. His loyalty, community service, and winning ways make me a big fan.

But these days my fandom stops at the coach. I am a diehard Griz and I wouldn’t mind if our men’s team won the conference tournament this week, drew Gonzaga in the second round, and pulled an upset by sticking it to them. Great memories and nothing but respect for Gonzaga but I would love to see the team I care about more than any other line up against the Zags on the hardwood and take care of business. Good luck to the Griz basketball team in Ogden this week. Don’t Blink.

Facebook Evolving to Help Us Improve

As the main Montana Grizzlies Facebook page that I manage reaches the major milestone of 100,000 likes, an equally important development will occur. Facebook will once again undergo significant changes for its fan pages or business pages, whatever you like to call them. I always welcome these changes with open arms.

Although personal Facebook users tend to believe that any changes to a newsfeed or profile page signals the end of the world, those of us who manage business pages understand and embrace the modifications. As most of us are marketers who serve as administrators on these pages we are totally in tune with the concept that you have to adapt and improve to survive…even if you are Facebook.

As I mentioned, people will immediately notice the changes. Business pages will revert back to the one column format for the main content flow, thus ending the two column timeline feature that caused such uproar when introduced a couple years ago (and what users now are completely used to). To the left of this column where all the posts will be reflected, Facebook users will see an additional column. This column will be static and will hold the basic information on the business/organization such as phone number, web address, map, and older photos and videos. Basically all the information that once held a spot at the top of the page will head southwest, occupying space right next to the main content. Replacing the business info up top will be additional tools to navigate and view page analytics.

This is what the new Facebook business page will look like.

This is what the new Facebook business page will look like.

However, those changes don’t address the new feature Facebook is offering that I am personally stoked about. Coming with this new rollout is a tool called Pages to Watch. Page administrators will now have the ability to track other business pages of interest and receive in depth analytics and information on those particular pages. I can’t wait!

I am a very competitive guy. I do all I can to make sure our social media outlets outperform those of other athletic departments that are similar to us. I also know I hardly have all the answers so I am constantly looking for inspiration from the upper-tier athletic departments and other brands with solid social media programs. To adequately make sure that we are beating our competitors and to get the guidance I need from the big boys, I am constantly leaving the Montana Grizzlies Facebook page to visit the pages of other athletic departments and brands. To now have a tool that allows me to track numerous other pages at once with much more sophisticated information than I could ever glean myself is a cool deal. The fact that I get to stick on the Montana Grizzlies page while viewing this info just sweetens the pot.

I can't wait until Pages to Watch becomes available. Will be a great tool for all Facebook page administrators.

I can’t wait until Pages to Watch becomes available. Will be a great tool for all Facebook page administrators.

Facebook says that the new changes will come into play during this week. When they do I will be prepared and ready. The page administrators who utilize the new tools will undoubtedly make their page better while the ones who overlook them will miss out on valuable opportunities both for themselves and their audience. By Facebook improving itself it is also giving all of us page administrators a chance to improve as well. Best choice is to take advantage of it. Don’t Blink.

My Fortune Cookie Experiment

A day doesn’t go by that I look on my Instagram feed and don’t see someone post an image of the contents of a fortune cookie. These images are as frequent as selfies or screenshots of the current weather temperature. Whereas I get a little bored with the generic selfie or the eye sore of a weather report, I find myself a little more entertained with the fortune cookie image. Although the idea itself is vastly overdone, the fortunes themselves are always different! I usually find myself laughing at the messages I read as we all know how bizarre and random they can be.

Last night after viewing another hilarious fortune cookie message on Instagram I decided I wanted to multiply my pleasure the next day. After work this evening I went to Wal-Mart and purchased two boxes of fortune cookies.

I went to Wal-Mart and picked up two boxes of fortune cookies.

I went to Wal-Mart and picked up two boxes of fortune cookies.

I then came home and emptied the contents onto my coffee table. I nicely arranged all 24 cookies on my table and then unwrapped them. I then went through and cracked each one open and laid the unread fortune up against its cracked pieces. After I had taken the fortune out of each cookie I went through and read them.

My table of unopened fortune cookies.

My table of unopened fortune cookies.

To put it bluntly, I was disappointed. The fortunes for the most part were about as exciting as this year’s NBA Skills Competition. No attempt at wittiness, no room to go back and forth on what a fortune might mean, no messages that I would want to keep in my wallet. Probably the biggest slap in the face was that three of the fortunes were duplicates! But hey, that’s what you get for purchasing fortune cookies from Wal-Mart, right? At the end I will propose how I will remedy this. For right now let me give you my top three fortunes that I read:

After I opened up the fortune cookies I was disappointed for the most part with the fortunes.

After I opened up the fortune cookies I was disappointed for the most part with the fortunes.

1. Take the chance while you still have the choice (This one says a lot and speaks to me. My favorite).
2. You will enjoy good health; that is your form of wealth* (My blog post from last night speaks to how much I value this true advice….yes, advice, I know this isn’t really a “fortune”)
3. Your days will be filled with sunshine and happiness (I am missing the sunshine part right now and I want it really bad)

This fortune cookie message was my favorite.

This fortune cookie message was my favorite.

Besides my above favorite fortunes, these two below were the only other messages that contained a speck of creativity and/or sarcasm:

1. Good luck is a hop, skip, and jump away. Hop to it
2. Your infinite capacity for patience will be rewarded sooner or later

Here are the remaining boring and cliché fortunes from the two boxes:

-You will be reunited with old friends
-You will come to realizations in your life that change you forever*
-Your future looks bright
-You will enjoy peace and harmony in your home
-A pleasant surprise is in store for you
-Travel is in your future
-You will be attracted to an older, more experienced person!
-You will be surrounded by luxury
-Financial prosperity is coming your way
-You will meet an important person who will help you advance professionally
-There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead of you
-All of your hard work will soon be paid off
-You will receive some high prize or award soon
-Your determination will bring you much success*
-An old wish will come true
-You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily

This is the stuff I like to do in my free time.

This is the stuff I like to do in my free time.

Really? Those are the best that they could come up with? Like I said, I have a remedy! In a blog post in the near future I plan to visit four or five Asian restaurants in Missoula and ask for a few fortune cookies at each establishment. I will then come home and go through the same process in hopes of finding the eclectic and obscure fortune cookie messages that I know are out there.

Until then I have a big mess to clean up. I personally rather eat dirt than a fortune cookie so time to fill up the trash can. I will leave you with the best fortune ever…Don’t Blink.


* – Denotes the duplicate fortunes.

Serving the Dying

A perk of my job is that I work around people who are strong, good-looking, determined, and optimistic. Because I get to serve student-athletes I am constantly around folks who are in the prime of their lives. I love this aspect of my position and it keeps me energized. However, I also understand that student-athletes represent just a very small portion of our societal population.

This past September I started volunteering for an organization that gave me exposure to a vastly different population, a population that isn’t so strong or optimistic (at least from first glance). Six months ago I started an 18 hour training course with Partners In Home Care. After I completed the three week course I became certified and could go out in the field and volunteer for people who really need me. Although difficult in nature I have really come to enjoy the volunteer service I provide.

So what is Partners In Home Care?

Although some people actually shudder when I tell them, Partners In Homecare is a hospice agency. Headquartered in Missoula, Partners In Homecare services people all over western Montana. Individuals who are in twilight stages of an illness and have a life expectancy of under six months are eligible for hospice care. The goal for these patients is to live out the remainder of their days in as much comfort as possible inside their own homes. People in hospice care receive regular visits from nurses, social workers, chaplains, and people like me, volunteers.

Volunteers visit homes of hospice patients to provide a dose of human compassion and relief. Volunteers serve patients by talking with them, reading to them, holding their hands, and/or watching a program with them. They also assist by doing household chores, providing specialized services, and by tending to family pets.

Volunteers receive extensive screening. As I said, when training concludes volunteers become eligible to visit the homes of hospice patients. However, just because they are eligible does not mean they have an assignment. The volunteer coordinator matches volunteers to patients based off of the screening and the personal interviews she conducts with each person who goes through the program. Some aspiring volunteers wait months before receiving an assignment. Luckily for me I waited a short time before I got matched with my first family.

Although extremely anxious to walk up to the door for the first time I soon got over my nerves. Since my time volunteering I have met nothing but nice people. Even though the people I meet are all impacted somehow by a terminal illness (either directly as the patient or indirectly as a loved one) they show me nothing but kindness and thankfulness. I volunteer for two hours each Sunday and it dramatically takes me away from the perfect, healthy world I live in and puts me in a much different world of constant pain and escalating medical bills. I can’t say enough good things about the family I am currently volunteering for. Most of my time assisting them centers on helping with bills, vacuuming, shoveling snow, mopping floors, and doing odd jobs around the house. But before and after I begin the chores I get precious time where I visit with the ill lady and her husband. It is at this time where I get exposed to a strength that is entirely different from the strength I see our student-athletes exhibit in the athletic arena.

By writing this post I don’t mean to pat myself on the back. Are you kidding me? I volunteer two hours a week…I need to challenge myself to do more. But what I am championing is the eye-opening experience of exposing ourselves to a dramatically different and far more challenging lifestyle than what many of us enjoy. The perspective to be gained from serving the dying is one that will make us much more humble people and also prepare us for a fate that all of us will eventually face. If you want more information on how you can volunteer for Partners In Home Care click here. Don’t Blink.

Dominating Your Rival #GrizCat

Nothing beats defeating your rival. Well, let me rephrase that: Nothing beats defeating your rival over and over again.

Tonight both Montana basketball programs defeated Montana State, securing a season sweep resulting in a 4-0 combined record by the Griz and Lady Griz over the Bobcats this basketball season. It is a testament to blank a rival school on the hardwood, let alone the utter domination I am about to explain.

Besides just basketball, Grizzly teams this season went undefeated against Montana State in revenue-generating sports (football, volleyball, and basketball). With the two volleyball victories during the 2013 season and the BIG football win in November added with the 4-0 basketball record the Montana Grizzlies came out with a spotless 7-0 record against MSU.

Defeating Montana State in Bobcat Stadium this past November was definitely a sweet moment.

Defeating Montana State in Bobcat Stadium this past November was definitely a sweet moment.

But by no doubt the most satisfying exclamation point at the end of the #GrizCat rivalry came over this past weekend. With both the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams finishing ahead of Montana State at the Big Sky Conference championships our athletic department wrapped up the title for the inaugural Blue Cross Blue Shield/Town Pump Brawl of the Wild year-long competition.

This is the nice piece of hardware we get to keep for defeating Montana State in a yearlong competition.

This is the nice piece of hardware we get to keep for defeating Montana State in a yearlong competition.

This athletic season the Griz and Bobcats entered into a competition that incorporated the 13 different sports that both schools have. I won’t get into all the small details but each time we face off against Montana State in a game or meet, points are at stake. There are 16 different competitions with 17 points up for grabs. By Saturday evening Grizzly Athletics had already reached the magic number of 9 thanks to the efforts of our indoor track teams.

Tonight the lead stretched even more. First the Lady Griz defeated Montana State in Bozeman. Then, just a couple minutes later the Griz dropped the Bobcats 53-50 here in Missoula. It was an awesome game to work with a loud and engaged crowd. When the clock read zeroes on the Dahlberg Arena scoreboard the other scoreboard keeping track of the year-long rivalry showed 11-2 in favor of the Maroon and Silver.

Although not the prettiest game tonight it was good enough to sweep the Cats in basketball this season.

Although not the prettiest game tonight it was good enough to sweep the Cats in basketball this season.

As I have said in previous blog posts, a healthy rivalry makes everyone work harder. I do all I can to make sure the areas I oversee triumph over the equivalent areas at MSU. My co-workers do the same. But in the end the ultimate victory is when our student-athletes dominate our friends from Bozeman. After all, this phenomenon called intercollegiate athletics is 100% about the student-athletes. Without them I wouldn’t have a job. Without them there would be a lot of people both young and old looking around for inspiration.

Congrats to our student-athletes for wrapping up the inaugural Brawl of the Wild year-long competition.

Congrats to our student-athletes for wrapping up the inaugural Brawl of the Wild year-long competition.

Congrats to all University of Montana student-athletes for really elevating Griz Nation in this state. What do you say we get those final four points still available in the competition? Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

Facebook Problems That Page Administrators Face

Probably one of the most frustrating situations that a person working in new media can deal with is when an important social media platform malfunctions. While the general public might think that services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are bug free they obviously haven’t spent a good amount of time running a social media program for a significant entity. The truth is that from time to time these social giants crash, rendering everyone helpless. Although the occurrences of major meltdowns usually are rare, many times there are smaller bugs that people like me must face on a regular basis. This is when problem solving comes in handy.

What if I told you that Facebook presents more problems with its service than any other social media outlet? I wouldn’t lie to you. I am sure for all other people who run social media campaigns they can tell you that Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has at times prevented them from doing what they needed to do. But before I go any further and continue to bite the hand that feeds me and so many others let me say something: Facebook has done so much good to completely transform the marketing world. I am eternally grateful for the the social tool they have created and I would put up with a million different other bugs before I ever entirely denounce them.

It is because of this reverence and reliance that I have for Facebook that issues stress me out a little. I mean if I can’t do something exactly how I want it then the world must be coming to an end, right? I just simply want the best for the 100,000 people that follow our main Facebook page for Grizzly Athletics. Who cares about the other 1.11 billion Facebook users out there?…

Okay, so now that I have managed to bring myself down off my pedestal let me explain the five main problems I have faced on the Montana Grizzlies Facebook page over the past year and explain how I got around them (unlike my clown blog, this list is in no particular order):

5. Unable to Access the Montana Grizzlies Inbox (CURRENT PROBLEM)

On a daily basis I receive at least ten messages from fans sent directly to our Facebook inbox. Content ranges from ticketing questions to Future Griz submissions to donation requests. I make it a priority to respond ASAP to all inquiries. Well about a week ago the scrolling tool that appears on the right hand side of my inbox inexplicitly disappeared. I no longer had a way to scroll down and see all messages. All I had access to were the five messages visible without scrolling. What about all the other people who need good customer service?

Currently I am not able to scroll and view the contents of our Facebook inbox.

Currently I am not able to scroll and view the contents of our Facebook inbox.

Solution: After a couple days I realized something when I clicked on one of the five visible messages. When that message came up in full view a button in the right hand corner labeled “inbox” appeared. I could click on that button and it would take me to a full screen inbox page. I had access to view all messages. As I still don’t have the ability to scroll through messages on my front page administrator dashboard I am still currently utilizing this longer step.

4. Not Able to Post By Default

For a whole month this past fall I was unable to post to the Montana Grizzlies Facebook page via my personal account. Facebook conveniently allows page administrators to go on the page they oversee and make a post with the content automatically reflecting that the page itself posted it. However, for several weeks if I went on the Montana Grizzlies page I did not have access to the box that lets you post a status, photo, or event. While I still had access to the full administrator’s panel I couldn’t post content.

While I was logged in under my personal account I no longer had access to this very valuable and important tool.

While I was logged in under my personal account I no longer had access to this very valuable and important tool.

Solution: I once again just took a longer step. As I said I still had access to the administrator’s panel itself. I would simply go up to the “edit page” command, click on it, and then select the “Use Facebook as Montana Grizzlies” option. It allowed me to continue running the page but it took extra time and it felt like a certain right was taken away from me. Then one day out of the blue I was able to post to the page as Montana Grizzlies by default again while logged in under my personal account.

3. Pictures Taking Forever to Load

For a two week period it would take several minutes for a photo or graphic I was trying to post to load before I could press “post.” Sometimes it wouldn’t load at all. I didn’t have the time to wait around.

Solution: I was trying to post all of these photos via my desktop computer. I decided to try a different method and I sent the photo/graphic that I was trying to post to my e-mail. I was then able to access it from my phone. I saved the image to my camera roll and then posted it from my Facebook app. No problems at all.

2. Facebook Freezing After Posting

I still encounter this problem quite a bit. I will post a status or a photo and right when I click “post” all of Facebook will become unclickable. Many times the content will show as not posted and my screen will be absolutely useless.

Solution: When this happens I have to go up to the ribbon tab and click out of Facebook. I will then open up a new tab, reinsert, and assess the damage. More often than not the site is back to working function and the piece of content that I was trying to post that wasn’t reflected when the page froze is now posted! For the times it isn’t I have copied the text so I just re-post. I don’t know why this occurs.

1. Facebook’s Tagging System Getting in the Way

For quality control and accuracy purposes I compose majority of my posts in Word. I then copy and paste them into the posting box on Facebook. However, sometimes when I do this Facebook will take some of the words and automatically convert them into tags for other pages. For example I will post something with the word “Missoula” in it but Facebook will change it to “Missoula – Dairy Queen Grill and Chill.” Removing this tag is sometimes more complicated than just pressing the delete button on my keyboard.

Solution: I just have to bite the bullet and type out the full message inside Facebook rather than copying and pasting. Sometimes I will paste half the message, type out the word that is causing me problems, and then paste the second half of the message.


Although frustrating when faced with little Facebook quirks all we can do as page administrators is get around the problem as best as possible. We don’t have time to make our audience wait and Facebook doesn’t have time to cater to the individual needs of a network of over a billion people. Some basic problem solving will usually save the day and make sure that the great content we are creating is still delivered to our audience. Don’t Blink.