Church, Monte, Work, Gangsters, Typhoon

Good evening, everyone. Usually I end my posts by saying this but let me start one off with it for once: Thanks for reading my blog! I appreciate your loyal dedication to reading what I have to say and I always enjoy the feedback you give me via text messaging and in face-to-face passing. You guys are awesome.

Tonight I want to go through five topics to give you the typical rundown of what is going on in my mind and in my life.

Complete Transparency: I go to church at St. Francis Xavier, an absolutely gorgeous place of worship here in Missoula. Part of the reason why I choose to go here is because of the traditional, pre-Vatican II type feel I get when I walk inside. However, a very small part of what gives this church that feel will disappear this week. During the announcements during this past Sunday evening’s mass, Father notified us that windows would be installed inside the confessionals. Because of some terrible and vicious false allegations against members of the St. Francis clergy in the past year and with just the overall state of abuse allegations worldwide in the church, this move is being made to offer protection to both the parish staff and to parishioners. To me I find this very sad yet I understand why St. Francis is doing it.

Do-or-Die for Monte: The regular season of the 2013 Mascot Challenge is winding down and Monte is going to have to finish strong to make the playoffs. With two weeks left, he most likely will have to win out. Currently he is part of a group of three mascots who hold identical records of 6-4 and occupy the 6th-8th places of the standings. The competition takes eight mascots to the playoffs. However, there are three other mascots right under that 6-4 group who hold 5-5 records. If Monte loses, one of those mascots will surely take the playoff spot he now occupies. This week Monte is up against Wilbur T. Wildcat from Arizona. Next week he tangles with the Hokiebird from Virginia Tech. Monte should win this week. That would set up a battle for his playoff life against the 7-3 bird next week. Please vote for Monte at .

Five Events in Five Days: This is the busiest time during the calendar year to work in intercollegiate athletics with the overlapping of fall and winter sports. Case in point this past week. Wednesday through Sunday I worked five straight Griz Athletics events. Our Griz basketball team played Wednesday evening, our women’s basketball team played on Thursday, our volleyball team played Friday and Saturday evenings, and our women’s basketball team concluded the madness with a matinee game on Sunday afternoon. Wednesday through Saturday were 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. days for me. By the time the Lady Griz disposed of MSU Northern at around 4 p.m. on Sunday I was ready for a break. Although fatigued I had a great time watching our teams go 4-1 during that span and I got to enjoy a nice day off on Monday.

Dang It Feels Good to be a Gangsta: I am on a bit of a gangster kick. Last Tuesday I watched “American Gangster” with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe for the first time from start to finish. Great movie! Last night I picked up where I left off on Tuesday and I stayed up until 2 a.m. watching the “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” series on A&E. Starting at 11 p.m. I watched three of the hour long episodes chronicling some of the baddest and most violent people to ever roam the streets of this country. Learning about how these people rose to the top and then how they came crashing down is fascinating. Even though it is a show on cable TV, you get exposed to some very grisly images and some ear covering descriptions so if you do end up watching based off of my recommendation, please know that you have been warned.

Typhoon Haiyan: Can we all pause for one second and say a prayer that we live in a part of this world where we are free from unfathomable natural disasters? I have a tough time comprehending the damage that these outbursts of rage inflicted by Mother Nature do. Besides the shots of pure destruction we see on television, how can anyone see past that 10,000 number? Yeah, as in 10,000 people wiped out. How does a region deal with that? How can you go about your day after seeing the streets littered with bodies? I complain about the snow we get in Montana but something like what happened in the Philippines always makes me feel like a little baby.
That’s my rundown for this week. Can you believe it will already be Wednesday tomorrow? Thanks again for reading and love life. Don’t Blink.

A Special Mascot: Support Monte for National Mascot of the Year

I feel fortunate to have a job that I love so much that I constantly feel the need to write about it. I apologize if I have gone Grizzly Athletics overload on you the past few posts but I can’t help it. But let me preface by saying that tonight’s topic is pretty cool!

Once again, Monte, our mascot at the University of Montana, has made the 2013 Capital One Mascot Challenge team. Each year a number of mascots are chosen from across the country to engage in a contest to see which furry creature will come out on top and become the National Mascot of the Year. In the past the winning mascot has been chosen through a voting system. This year a version of the voting system is still in place but there is an added twist to the mix. More on that later.

Monte and I at the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

Monte and I at the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

It is truly a big compliment that Monte continues to get chosen to the Mascot Challenge team (he has made it in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013). Pretty much all the other mascots on the team hail from large, BCS schools. The fact that a mascot from a smaller school in the FCS can continue to crack the team speaks to the talent, creativeness, and marketability of Monte. Each year we submit an application to Capital One. The required materials call for a highlight video, a couple high resolution photos of the mascot, and a completed paperwork form. You can then add any supporting documents that you see fit to improve your mascot’s chances of getting selected. We always see to it that we go above and beyond when creating our application.

When we got word that we made this year’s team we were ecstatic. Besides the great publicity and notoriety that we knew we were going to get from making the team, it also came with a $5,000 prize that went straight to our Mascot program. The payoff for taking the time to create a superb application packet is immense.

Monte and I close up style.

Monte and I close up style.

The senior of the two Monte performers who I oversee traveled to New York City in June to shoot the commercials and other promo materials that make up the Mascot Challenge. This student got the luxury of an all-expenses paid trip to the biggest and best known city in the nation to hang out with fifteen other mascots, stay in a nice hotel, and do some filming. Not a bad perk of the job. When he returned from the Big Apple he told me that he really tried to make Monte standout from the other mascots during all the shooting.

Monte and I goofing off.

Monte and I goofing off.

From the time of us submitting the application to hearing the good news to sending our mascot to New York it seemed like a lot of time had passed. So last week when the competition finally went live I think we were all ready to finally start the long campaign. But before we really started to ask people for their support for Monte, we needed to make really clear how they could support Monte. You see, things this year had changed.

In a quest to create more engagement and to take advantage of the ever increasing landscape of social media, Capital One introduced a three level point system. While you can still go with the old-fashioned way of simply voting for Monte there are other options that can boost his status in whatever head-to-head competition he is engaged in that week. While voting will only get you 1 point, you can complete “challenges” that will award Monte more points. Each week the contest organizers will present a question or task. If you answer or complete the task and use the appropriate hash tag of #CapitalOneMonte on Facebook or Twitter you get 25 points. However, if you want to put a little more effort into your support you can take the 25 point challenge a step up send 100 points Monte’s way.

Monte and I at the UCA championships this year.

Monte and I at the UCA championships this year.

Take for example this week. The 25 point challenge is to write a cheer for Monte. However, if you perform it in public and video it and then submit to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with the appropriate hash tag you add 100 points to Monte’s schedule. I have no idea what the other challenges will entail but they should be fun for fans to complete.

Here is the cool thing about Monte in this competition: Each time he participates in it he does well. Even though out of all the other mascots he is from the smallest state in the smallest city at the smallest school (population wise), he always manages to make a great run deep into the competition. Because of the strong passion Griz Nation has coupled with the strong social media presence of Grizzly Athletics, Monte has a chance to win a competition that he really should have no business doing so. It is a beautiful thing and a pretty cool tribute to one of the best fan bases around.

I ask that you please go here and complete the challenges for Monte and then vote 100 times for him. Remember to use the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag. This week we are up against CAM THE RAM from Colorado State University and we need your support. Yes, we do have a good lead on him right now but with any competition that hinges on social media things can change drastically and quickly. Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend and please support Monte for National Mascot of the Year.