Pre-Turkey Day Thursday Rundown

Oh my, we are just one week away from Thanksgiving! Who out there is excited? Your old Don’t Blink blogging turkey sure is. Let’s get started with the Thursday Rundown…

Kimbel Library Anniversary – Whenever I can get a photo with our mascot you can bet that it will make the rundown. Yesterday, our library on campus held a celebration. Kimbel Library marked its 40th anniversary with cake, games, and CHAUNCEY. While covering the fun, I snapped this photo with our extrememly unique Canterbury Tales-inspired icon.

This is a photo of me with Chauncey at yesterday’s Kimbel Library 40th anniversary celebration.

#GrizCat Football – The 117th Brawl of the Wild is this Saturday in Bozeman, MT. Some of my best times working for Grizzly Athletics occurred inside Bobcat Stadium after Montana crushed Montana State. Even though extremely lopsided to the point that it is a joke, this rivalry is a lot of fun. I won’t have the opportunity to watch the game with my fellow east coast Grizzlies (and Bobcats) this year but I will definitely be following the action in Myrtle Beach. GO GRIZ!

The Brawl of the Wild has a traveling trophy that stays with the winner. Let’s just say it spends a vast majority of its time in Missoula. This is me with the trophy in 2013.

Sloan At 35 Weeks – Our little girl is getting excited for her first Thanksgiving to the point that she can’t sleep. Seriously. Normally an excellent sleeper, she has woken up throughout the night over the past couple weeks. Because she has needed to be consoled during these episodes, Sidney believes that Sloan is experiencing a regression of her sleeping habits, a condition brought on by milestones and separation anxiety that happens to babies between 8-10 months of age. Ironically, Sloan just doesn’t turn 35 weeks tomorrow, she also turns exactly 8 months. Other than some disruptive nights, Sloan is doing awesome. Last week I mentioned she might be crawling by now – she isn’t – but she is right on the cusp of doing so. Even though she can’t maneuver on all fours yet, she can still move across the living room at a rapid pace using a technique I call “floor swimming.”

Here is Sloan’s photo collage at 35 weeks.

#CCU Helping Out – A popular tournament early on in the college basketball season is the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. It draws marquee teams and ESPN coverage. However, because of the destruction that Hurricane Maria inflicted on the country, it was not possible to hold the tourney in Puerto Rico. Scrambling to find somewhere else to play, the organizers of the event graciously accepted the offer from Coastal Carolina University to hold the tournament on our campus. The games started this morning and eight teams are participating (Appalachian State, Boise State, Illinois State, Iowa State, South Carolina, Tulsa, UTEP and Western Michigan). As in the past for other big basketball tournaments, a giant sand sculpture was made to welcome the squads and fans. A few years ago, I specifically wrote about the sculpture that was created for the Big South Conference tournament.

This is the sand sculpture that is welcoming players and fans to the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip-Off

From The Archives – With NFL Thursday Night Football receiving so much heat these days, I want to remind everyone that I have been against the idea for a long time. Two years ago on this date, I wrote about how the Thursday night games do nothing but oversaturate the product and take all the luster away from the once coveted Thanksgiving games. Three years ago on this date, I wrote about why I forced myself to go watch “Dumb and Dumber To” in the theater even though it looked horrendous in previews.

Outside the theater before watching “Dumb and Dumber To” in November of 2014.

——————-

From the Reser household to your household, I wish you a great weekend. Start saving up your appetite now for next Thursday. Don’t Blink.

Camaraderie With Montanans in Charlotte: Attending a Griz-Cat Satellite Party

On Friday night, I pitched an idea to Sidney. It started like this:

“Hey, do you want to go to Charlotte tomorrow?”

She looked at me a bit puzzled. That was the easy part of it all. I now had to tell her why I wanted to make the four hour drive to the Queen City. You see, Sidney is not a fan of football. The reason why I wanted to go to Charlotte was to watch a football game. In a bar. To watch two teams she couldn’t care less about.

Although I have converted Sidney into a Griz fan (check the shirt she is wearing), I didn't know if she would want to go to Charlotte to watch the football team play on TV.

Although I have converted Sidney into a Griz fan (check the shirt she is wearing), I didn’t know if she would want to go to Charlotte to watch the football team play on TV.

Yesterday, the football teams from the University of Montana and Montana State University played in the 116th Brawl of the Wild. Like other big time college football rivalries, efforts are made to bring alumni together who live out of state to watch the game. This is achieved through what is called a satellite party. The alumni associations from Montana and Montana State recruit grads to team up together and host these satellite parties at various locations around the nation.

As an alum and former athletic department employee of UM, I still have a strong allegiance to the Grizzlies. I have wanted to attend a satellite gathering the past two seasons but because of Coastal Carolina home games, I was unable to. This year, with the Chants playing on Thursday night prior to Griz-Cat weekend, it opened up my schedule to attend a watch party. Out of the roughly 88 Brawl of the Wild satellite locations in the United States, Charlotte was the closest one to me.

Despite being skeptical that Sidney would embrace the opportunity to give up a weekend to watch my old college team, it wasn’t a hard sell at all. She actually said she would love to go. What a wife!!

We arrived at the Charlotte Griz-Cat satellite location at around 1:30 p.m. (2 p.m kickoff). The particular venue was called Taco Mac, a beautiful bar/restaurant that has a similar concept to that of Buffalo Wild Wings. When we approached the place, it had a GO GRIZ sign on the front entrance. It gave me a warm feeling and it felt like I was coming home in a way. Taco Mac has an entire upstairs private area that was reserved exclusively for the Griz-Cat watch party. We walked in the room and admired the maroon and silver decorations while also picking up some Griz promo items.

Seeing the Go Griz sign at the entrance to Taco Mac in the SouthPark area of Charlotte made me feel welcome.

Seeing the Go Griz sign at the entrance to Taco Mac in the SouthPark area of Charlotte made me feel welcome.

It was at this time that I met Justin, a 1999 Montana grad who was the Griz organizer of the watch party. I would later meet Travis, the Montana State organizer of the watch party. Both guys worked together to provide a great experience for all who attended.

It goes without saying that whenever you see something Griz-related on the other side of the country, you must take a photo with it.

It goes without saying that whenever you see something Griz-related on the other side of the country, you must take a photo with it.

Sidney and I sat down and watched as Griz and Bobcat fans started to trickle in. For me, this was a great thrill. Living in South Carolina, you rarely come across someone who lived in Montana, let alone someone who went to the same university that you did. It was almost too much for me to handle. I felt compelled to go up to each person who was there and find out their story starting from where they grew up to what year they graduated to why they ended up in the Carolinas.

Sidney and I at Taco Mac for the Griz-Cat satellite party.

Sidney and I at Taco Mac for the Griz-Cat satellite party.

Sidney and I sat next to a couple who graduated about 30 years before me. Despite the age gap, we still had a lot in common. Both actually lived in the same residence hall I did my freshman year, both enjoyed some of the same bars I regularly went to during my years in Missoula, and both shared the same Griz Pride that I still store in my heart.

It was a complete joy to talk with the Montana State folks as well. While 200 miles separate Missoula from Bozeman, about 2,000 miles separate the state of Montana from the Carolinas. Thus, it was very apparent that although when we attended our institutions it seemed like the differences between us were great, when we met on common ground in Charlotte it was entirely different. While we still had our Griz and Cat ties, we were all proudly Montanans. It was just so nice to talk with people who could properly pronounce the word “Butte” and who still appreciate FCS football in an area dominated by the SEC and ACC.

At halftime, the party attendees, both Griz and Cats, took this photo.

At halftime, the party attendees, both Griz and Cats, took this photo.

Throughout the game at Taco Mac, the Griz fans would cheer when our team made a play and the Bobcat fans would cheer when their team made a play. It was a great back-and-forth. Of course I desperately wanted Montana to win. As a student and as a staff member, I grew to hate the Cats. I relished in the fact that our athletics program, especially over the past several years, always seemed to crush Montana State. But as I alluded to above, when you are separated from that atmosphere only to be reunited with people from both sides at a location thousands of miles away, it humanizes you.

A look at the main floor of Taco Mac from upstairs where our party was held. The venue was awesome and had just about any beer on tap you could want.

A look at the main floor of Taco Mac from upstairs where our party was held. The venue was awesome and had just about any beer on tap you could want.

Although it stung that my Montana Grizzlies were upset by Montana State on Saturday afternoon, I felt no animosity toward the Bobcat fans right by me who were basking in the glory of their 24-17 win. In fact, I actually felt happy for them.

I want to thank the alumni associations from both Montana and Montana State for organizing these satellite parties. I especially want to thank Justin and Travis for putting on the Charlotte gathering. I had a great time and hope to be back next year (just with perhaps a different result). Don’t Blink.

Thursday Night Lights Rundown

Good evening to you all! No time for small talk because I have a football game to work, so let’s get right to the latest Thursday Rundown…

Thursday Night Lights – Obviously I just can’t mention something in the introduction and not explain it. This evening, the Coastal football team will host Liberty at 7 p.m. in Brooks Stadium. The fact that it is a Thursday night game is interesting in and of itself, but here are a few more things adding intrigue to it for me. First, the game will be nationally televised on ESPNEWS. Second, it is a rivalry game and most likely the last time the Chants will play Liberty for quite some time because of the move to the FBS. Finally, a Coastal Carolina win could help the Montana Grizzlies (who I still root for) make the FCS Playoffs. Should be an interesting night.

Baby Update – Sidney is now at the halfway point of her pregnancy, and, (drum roll)…..we now know the gender of our new baby!! You better believe that Sid is already on the internet looking at items and themes that will fit with the daughter/son we will have in less than five months. It is a very exciting time and Sidney is feeling great (stay tuned down the road for a gender announcement).

A Unified National Anthem – The Kent State men’s basketball team came up with a powerful way to promote respect during the Star Spangled Banner. Last night before the team’s latest game, the players went into the stands and each invited a fan out on the court to stand with them for the anthem. It was a touching and proud tribute. Because it went so well, the Golden Eagles will do this at every home game this season. Please read the story to see some of the great quotes from the student-athletes but the overrall message was that the display was about community unity. Well done!

The Great Gatsby – Last night, “The Great Gatsby” (Tobey Maguire/Leonardo DiCaprio version) was on television. I had never seen the film before so I decided to watch some of it. OMG, the party scenes are incredible. The colors, the costumes, and the extravagance were all pretty spectacualr. The people behind that movie really did a great job making it. However, I never realized that the famous Leonardo DiCaprio meme backdrop was taken from “The Great Gastsy.” It was kind of weird to see the image I have seen about a million times over the internet actually in context right in front of me on my TV.

This is the infamous Leonardo DiCaprio meme. I had no idea it was from "The Great Gatsby" until last night.

This is the infamous Leonardo DiCaprio meme. I had no idea it was from “The Great Gatsby” until last night.

From the Archives – Although I have written a lot of garbage in my time, I kind of like some of the posts I have penned on November 17 in the past. In 2015, I described the ten mistakes social media professionals make (yes, plenty of homemade memes are involved). In 2014, I paid tribute to former Griz football coach Mick Delaney. Then, on Nov. 17, 2013, I wrote about what makes the #GrizCat Brawl of the Wild football game so passionate and special. For once I actually encourage you to click on these links.

This is one of the memes from Nov. 17, 2015. Follow the link above to see all 10! Remember, social media pros can never be found asleep on the job.

This is one of the memes from Nov. 17, 2015. Follow the link above to see all 10! Remember, social media pros can never be found asleep on the job.

—————————–

If you aren’t in Brooks Stadium tonight, make sure to tune in on ESPNEWS. Also, remember to rejoice…we are just a week away from Thanksgiving. Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Feast

Good evening to all my loyal readers. As always, we cut the small talk on this day of the week. It is time for the Thursday Rundown!

Most Used Words on Facebook: The hottest thing on Facebook at the moment is to utilize an app that will calculate and display the words you say most on the social media giant. I knew even before I decided to run the data that “explain” would be my top word. As most of you know, a signature line of mine is “I explain in tonight’s blog post.” I was happy to know that the words Sidney, Coastal, and Carolina all took up significant space in the graphic as well.

These are the words I use the most on Facebook.

These are the words I use the most on Facebook.

The TEAL Nation Thanksgiving Feast: Yesterday I announced our latest fun initiative for #CCUSocialMedia. Called our TEAL Nation Thanksgiving Feast, I am asking our students to send me photos of them and their families around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Students will take the photos on Turkey Day and send them my way. Then, throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, I will post them to our Instagram account. My goal is to show off the different traditions and food spreads of our numerous Chanticleers. We are staying organized by capping participation at 50 students.

The Teal Nation Thanksgiving Feast will take place over Thanksgiving weekend (graphic designed by Ron Walker).

The Teal Nation Thanksgiving Feast will take place over Thanksgiving weekend (graphic designed by Ron Walker).

Weekend Plans: This Saturday, I will be heading to Columbia, S.C., with Sidney and her dad. We will be making the journey to Williams-Brice Stadium on the campus of the University of South Carolina for some Gamecock football! As I visited Clemson’s Memorial Stadium twice last year, I wanted to make sure to visit the other major stadium in the state this year. Although South Carolina will be playing the Citadel, a FCS foe, I am just really excited to step into a new stadium and watch a football game as a fan.

Never Thought I Would See This: According to the Facebook feature that tells you how long you have been friends with someone on the service, I know that my mom recently marked her fifth anniversary on Facebook. How did she celebrate? She decided to get a Snapchat account! You read that right, my mom is now on Snapchat. If you would like to add her, type in “marykreser5”.

Make sure to follow my mom on Snapchat.

Make sure to follow my mom on Snapchat.

Football Shout Outs: The Coastal Carolina football team will close out its regular season this evening with a matchup against Liberty in Lynchburg. Not only is the contest a special Thursday night game but it will also be broadcast nationally on ESPNews. There is much at stake for the Chants as the team tries to wrap up a playoff bye.

While I am at the South Carolina game on Saturday, I will keep a close eye on what is going on in Bozeman, Mt. The University of Montana and Montana State University football teams will duke it out in the 115th Brawl of the Wild football game. I can’t express enough how superior the athletic program at the University of Montana is compared to the one at Montana State. With that said, it is always fun to reinforce the obvious each year in football. When I recounted my top ten moments working for Grizzly Athletics, one of the items came from watching Montana destroy the Bobcats in their home stadium. Nothing is sweeter. I am counting on it to happen again this weekend.

Brynn and I on the field after another #GrizCat football victory in 2013.

Marketing Director Brynn Molloy and I on the field after another #GrizCat football victory in 2013. Those wins were always sweet.

———————

As you learned from my last rundown item, I have some football to watch! Have a great weekend everyone and GO Chants and Griz!! Don’t Blink.

Griz-Cat Week 2013

Griz-Cat week has arrived and there is no better time to be a Montanan! (even if you are an import like me). This Saturday the Grizzlies and Bobcats will meet in Bozeman for the 113th football meeting between the two schools.

As I said last year, I realize that this game probably doesn’t hold the weight and tradition that some of the other rivalry games across the nation do but to this state and to me, this is where the buck ends. Griz-Cat is so much more than a football game to the people of the Treasure State. For many, it is a measuring stick for each person associated with the rivalry to see where they personally match up compared to their rival.

Although I always keep an eye on what MSU is doing, during this week I especially like to see how the areas that I directly oversee compare to those of our rival. For me that means I look long and hard at our website, social media, mascot, and a few other things in relation to Montana State (I like where we are at). Other people do the same thing with their respective areas. State supremacy is on the line this week and everything must be thrown into the equation.

Of course the most important thing in that equation is the football game on Saturday. A school could hold every single advantage on the other school but if it lost the game on the gridiron, all of those accomplishments mean nothing…at least for that day. As is well documented, the Grizzlies have crushed the Bobcats overall in the Brawl of the Wild. Currently Montana enjoys a 69-37-5 edge in the series. But please go ahead and throw every rivalry cliché in the book at me right now, I realize records mean absolutely nothing for games like these.

Montana will have its work out for them on Saturday. Montana State is playing at home and no doubt they will play with a lot of anger and urgency as they try to end a two game losing streak and make the playoffs. The Bobcats have several marquee players on their team who will undoubtedly bring their “A” game this weekend. The Grizzlies will have redemption on their mind. After dropping a close game last year to the Cats, Montana will go into Bozeman looking to add another “W” to the Griz-tilted overall Brawl of the Wild record while possibly securing a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

For myself I am beyond excited for the game on Saturday. Among working the 2009 Montana-App State game, going to the NCAA Tournament, and working that faithful tournament championship Saturday where we sent both our women’s and men’s basketball teams to the Big Dance, the 2011 Griz-Cat football game is one of my favorite memories during my tenure working for Grizzly Athletics. I hope to have a similar experience when I go to Bozeman this weekend.

To all the Grizzlies and Bobcats out there, have a great Griz-Cat week! This is a wonderful time for the state of Montana to celebrate two great universities. A few reminders: 1. Use the #GrizCat hash tag for all Tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebok posts. 2. Be respectful to the other side at all times. 3. Remember that kick off is at noon in Bobcat Stadium on Saturday. Enjoy the week and Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

Brawl of the Wild 2012

Some might mistakenly believe that last week was the biggest week in Montana with several crucial elections taking place to decide our state leaders. However, people who actually live in the state and realize what’s up know that this week is by a large margin the marquee week of the year. Welcome to Griz-Cat week.

This Saturday, the Montana Grizzlies will host the Montana State Bobcats in the 112th Brawl of the Wild. I am not writing this post to say that this rivalry trumps other rivalries in college football. In fact, I know there are several rivalries that are longer-standing, more important to the NCAA football landscape, and more people-encompassing. Likewise, I am not writing this post to throw out rivalry clichés and tell terrible rivalry jokes. Everyone can say that “anything can happen in a rivalry game,” and to “throw out all records come Saturday” and everyone can uncreatively insert Team A into a space and Team B into another space to retell some of the lamest, most overused jokes in sports. Make it be known, I am not writing this post to signal out this rivalry amongst others or to get cute.

I am writing tonight to convey two things: First, I want to briefly touch on how important this game is to the state of Montana. Second, I want to explain how this is one of the best weeks to be part of Grizzly Athletics.

Again, as I mentioned above, I am not going to rank this rivalry or match it up against the countless others in the country. Rather, I just want to talk about what it means to the people who actually experience it, the people who live in the great state of Montana. With no major professional sports teams and only two major state colleges, the annual Brawl of the Wild is a match up between the two powers of the state. Fans bring their Grizzly/Bobcat allegiances that they have developed over the years from their family, friends, and geographic location and pour it all into this week, culminating in a football game on Saturday. People in this state grew up to like one school and hate the other. This is not Texas or California where numerous universities battle for state supremacy only in the end to have no clear victor. In Montana, it comes down to one game at the end of the season…every single year. It is completely black and white…your team either wins the game and gains state supremacy or loses the game and is the #2 team for the whole year. With both Montana and Montana State, much more is at stake than just a win or loss for the football teams. Attached to the final score, each school has its own politics, ideologies, and culture riding as well. The Brawl of the Wild is not going to attract ESPN College Gameday and it is not going to have BCS bowl implications riding on it but to the people of Montana, it is the event of the year.

Personally, I am as psyched as any sports fanatic can be for this week. As I said, this football game is the event of the year in Montana and how lucky am I that I get to have a hand in making it happen? Our Grizzly Athletics staff does this game right and Saturday is going to be a blast. Nothing beats the buildup in our department that occurs as each day passes getting us closer to kickoff. Right now, all eyes are on Missoula. Making this week even better, we have two basketball games as well. The Lady Griz play tomorrow night and the men play Minot State on Wednesday. Not a bad week at all on the campus of The University of Montana! When it comes to this blog I have become a broken record but I am truly blessed to have the great job that I do.

Christie and I at the 2011 Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman. The Griz dominated the Cats, 36-10..

Griz-Cat means a lot to me. Last year I had one of the best experiences in my time with Grizzly Athletics. In the 111th Brawl of the Wild, our football team marched into Bozeman and demolished Montana State, 36-10. Ranked #1 at the time, the Bobcats had no answer for the Griz. Standing on those sidelines and watching the joy on the faces of our student-athletes and the coaching staff in the winding seconds of the game brought a great sense of pride to me that I still carry today. The Montana Grizzlies currently hold a dominating advantage in the series with Montana State at 70-36-5 and have a great shot to get win #71 this Saturday. Have a great Griz-Cat week everyone! Don’t Blink.

The Griz celebrating with the beautiful score visible in the background.