Preparing for Turkey Day Thursday Rundown

Hey, guess what? Thanksgiving is in one week! As we start the countdown, let’s also start the rundown. Here we go…

Myrtle Beach Bowl – I have made known my love for college bowl season! Thus, it brought me much joy when it was announced that Coastal Carolina University would soon hold a game of its own. On Tuesday, a press conference was held on campus to reveal that the Myrtle Beach Bowl will launch in Brooks Stadium in 2020. The game will be played prior to Christmas and will draw teams from the Sun Belt Conference, Mid-American Conference, and Conference USA. I am excited from the vantage point of being able to attend the contest in a couple years but I was more stoked that our University once again overachieved and did something really cool. The Myrtle Beach Bowl will be the first bowl to ever be played in the state of South Carolina. Just another victory for CCU.

I can’t wait for the Myrtle Beach Bowl!

Backed Up By Dear Abby – Over the years, I have mentioned a couple times in this blog the infamous stocking stuffer story. Growing up, my mom “filled” our stockings with thank you notes. As you can imagine, us Reser kids grew up writing sentiments of appreciation to everyone who kindly gave a gift or remembered us in a special way. The practice has stayed with us through the years and all three of us still remember to write thank you cards as adults. Yesterday, the below letter appeared in Dear Abby. The person who wrote it was distraught that her grandchildren don’t compose thank you notes. It made me think of my mom and how she made sure to cement the necessity of writing them in our heads. Before you ask, the answer is yes – Sloan is already writing thank you notes (or at least scribbling in them).

Well mom, even Dear Abby backs you up. Remember to write your thank you notes!

Sloan On This Date – Two years ago, Sloan was yet to make her appearance in this world. However, that didn’t stop my co-workers from having a little fun. On Nov. 15, 2016, I took this photo of the office poll that circulated regarding Sloan’s gender. Of course, the “social baby” references gave me a good laugh. Interestingly, it was a 10-10 tie on whether Sloan would be a girl or boy. Obviously, Nov. 15, 2017, wasn’t the best day of Sloan’s first year. She looks a little upset in this image, but don’t worry – I am pretty sure she was smiling a couple minutes later.

Sloan on Nov. 15, 2016 (left) and Sloan on Nov. 15, 2017 (right).

What Do You Think? Tacky Or Not? – A year ago on this date, I wrote about whether inflatable lawn decorations are tacky or not. My stance, which I still hold today, is that they are not. However, I do concede that at this point they are a bit unoriginal. But, as long as they are fully inflated and healthy looking, I have no issue with them. What do you think?

Some holiday inflatables are pretty basic, others are more involved. I took this photo in front of a reindeer stable blow up in my parents’ neighborhood three years ago.

Looking Like A Fish – I apologize, this has become almost a Throwback Thursday blog post but I want to go back in time again. Let’s rewind exactly three years ago to one of my more memorable (and embarrassing) blog posts. On November 15, 2015, I wrote about a “celebrity” that some people tell me I look like. No, it is not a model or even a human being…rather, it is an animated character. Do you think I look like Dory from “Finding Nemo”? Well, apparently some people do. You can read the post to learn more about my struggles with this comparison. Perhaps three years later I have aged out of any resemblance there used to be?

So let me ask you a question…do you see a resemblance?

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The Thursday Rundown will take an obvious hiatus next Thursday. Although you won’t get five random topics next week, you will hopefully still get a couple of poorly written regular blog posts. But first, have a great weekend! Don’t Blink.

Unicorn Thursday Rundown

What a fun week it has been! I can say that we definitely got the maximum bang for our buck with Sloan’s $25 Target unicorn costume. Let’s get straight to the Thursday Rundown.

Instaween – Yesterday, #CCUSocialMedia presented its fourth annual Instaween. It was fun to once again put together this event. Students in costumes have their picture taken in our gigantic Instagram frame and then our social media audience votes for their favorites. However, the event just isn’t about generating cool content. We pass out candy and treats to all students, not just the ones in costumes. You see, we spend so much time communicating with our students behind the @ccuchanticleers handle that we don’t always get to interact with them face-to-face. This event helps us to bridge that gap and I couldn’t be more thankful for the assistance that my #CCUSocialMedia intern, Katie, gave me to make sure Instaween was a success.

Katie and I worked the 2018 #CCUSocialMedia Instaween event.

Halloween Night Fun – Last night, Sloan had an absolute blast trick-or-treating (as did her daddy). I had never seen a neighborhood as insane on Halloween night as ours. Think of any Halloween movie that shows exaggerated scenes of kids trick-or-treating and that was our neighborhood last night. Neighbors distributed candy from their driveways, police vehicles cruised the streets, lawn decorations were outrageous, non-traditional “treats” were passed out, and the neighborhood overflowed (people came from near and far) with costumed kids and their parents. We live on a very long street so we stayed on it the whole time as I pushed Sloan in her little car from house to house.

Sidney and Sloan hanging out on the driveway on Halloween night.

Meeting Rachel Swindler – Many of you know that I am a huge “Big Brother” fan. Thus, it was a thrill for me to meet “Big Brother 20” houseguest Rachel Swindler this morning. Rachel actually graduated from Coastal Carolina and today she stopped by campus to chat about her time as a Chanticleer and her experience on Big Brother. I ate up every word as she took us behind the scenes of the show. Once our talented team edits and releases the video, I will include the link in a future Thursday Rundown. Rachel was extremely gracious and open and of course Robin Russell was once again an absolute professional as she conducted the interview.

It was a pleasure to meet Rachel Swindler (thanks to Judy Johns for the great photo).

All Saints Day – Today is All Saints’ Day, a solemn feast in which we honor all saints who served as such dedicated disciples of God during their time on earth and who now look down on us from Heaven. I attended 6:30 a.m. mass at St. Andrew this morning and as is custom, the gospel reading was the Beatitudes passage from John. Saints lived out the Beatitudes as by Jesus Christ and we are called to do the same so that one day we can join them in paradise. Rejoice and be glad!

I attended All Saints’ Day mass at St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach today.

Delicious Pizza – Last year, I wrote a blog post listing my top five favorite national pizza chains. Well, if the category didn’t have the “national” designation in front of it, I would be updating that list. On Friday night, we tried Gino’s pizza here in Myrtle Beach. It markets itself as a place that offers authentic New York pizza and it doesn’t disappoint! If you like flavorful and fresh pizza with quality toppings, give Gino’s a try. It is now my favorite pizza restaurant in Myrtle Beach.

This pizza from Gino’s looked so good that I couldn’t wait to take a photo until I had ate a couple pieces.

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Thanks for reading my post! Time now to sign off for the evening. Have a great month of November and don’t forget that Christmas is next month. Don’t Blink.

More Bang For Your Buck Thursday Rundown

Good evening to my loyal readers. Thank you to those who reached out this week to wish me a happy birthday, you are all too kind. Let’s get started with the Thursday Rundown.

Five Great Birthdays – I shared this image on Instagram (@brentreser) but I feel it is blog-worthy as well. This collage contains a photo of each birthday I have celebrated with Sidney over the years. I have made it a point to snap a picture each birthday to not only show our progression through time but to also illustrate what an incredible baker Sid is!

This collage shows the photos from my five birthdays that we have spent together. The upper left hand image was taken on Monday night.

Hurricane Michael – I am so saddened by the unbelievable destruction in Florida caused by Hurricane Michael. It is sobering to try to comprehend the complete annihilation of communities. Not that it matters, but as a byproduct of Michael, we experienced tropical force winds in our area today. The gusts were so strong that Horry County Schools once again had to cancel classes. Just hours before the decision to shut the schools down was made, the revised academic calendar with makeup dates was released. Undoubtedly, there will soon be a new revision coming out. Not that Sidney wanted another day off, but she enjoyed the one-on-one time she had with Sloan in the morning and afternoon. Please pray for everyone in Florida.

Group Presentation – As you may know, I present to different groups quite frequently on various social media topics. Most of the time, I do these presentations solo. That changed yesterday when I had the pleasure of presenting with colleagues at a conference for the South Carolina and North Carolina Chapters of the National School Public Relations Association (SC/NSPRA and NC/SPRA). Made up of public information officers from school districts across the Carolinas, the chapters asked CCU to present on how we use video to tell our University’s story. It was a compliment that these professionals recognized the great work we are doing and it was a distinct pleasure to present with my co-workers and superiors. Our digital journalist, external communication coordinator, and our two University Communication vice presidents all shared the stage with me. I presented specifically on how we leverage video on social media.

Piecing together a group presentation was a great lesson in teamwork and our efforts paid off. The public information officers had plenty of praise and questions for us after we concluded our session.

This tweet from the SCNSPRA Twitter account captured me answering a question.

Cat and a Snake – Driving home the other night, I couldn’t help but stop in the middle of our street to watch a cat harassing a snake. Sid pleaded with me to keep driving to our house but for me it was one of those things you couldn’t turn away from. It must really be Halloween season!

A photo of the cat playing with the snake on Tuesday night. The things that amuse me!

Thursday Rundown in a Thursday Rundown –
Five quick bonus items…
– Sidney and I attended Taste of the Town on Tuesday night. It was once again a wonderful evening of delicious food and socializing. I always feel such pride in our St. Andrew community for putting on such a large and successful fundraiser.
– While I specifically asked for my Ancestry kit, I was given the perfect surprise birthday gift from my wife. Sid gave me a hammock! I mentioned to her several months ago that I always wanted a hammock but I didn’t know she was taking notes. With a big back yard with plenty of trees, this gift is going to work out great!
– We still don’t know what Sloan is going to be for Halloween but we will entertain any ideas that you might have. Speaking of Halloween, our neighborhood has some houses that are totally decked out for the holiday (much more intense than the previous neighborhood we lived in). Can’t wait to show some of them off.
Four years ago on this date, I watched a Clemson vs. Louisville football game from the sidelines of Memorial Stadium. My friend Kenny, who happens to be the nephew of Bobby Petrino, scored Sidney and I the passes. We had such a good time.
– I once again made it a point to personally respond to all of my Facebook birthday wishes. I have done this for a long time and I have actually explained in depth why I do it.

Sidney and I at the 2018 Taste of the Town. Once again, the St. Andrew community put on a great event.

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Florida. Florida. Florida. Let us continue to think about those people and pray for them. Don’t Blink.

Moving On, Learning From Florence/Flooding

Finally, some normalcy.

Today, students reported back to class here at Coastal Carolina University. A few miles away from campus, Sidney reported back to work at Palmetto Bays Elementary. Although she will be without students today, Mrs. Reser will be joined by her second graders tomorrow as Horry County Schools will resume instruction across the district.

It has been quite the 21 days, a passage of time that definitely did not fly by. But we made it. In tonight’s blog post, I wanted to share 10 quick tidbits from this unprecedented Hurricane Florence/major flooding period.

* Sid’s students have been out of class longer than they have been it. She says that they will be essentially starting over.

* Our President at CCU organized a “welcome back” gathering for our students today. Hosted on Prince Lawn, we provided lunch and had all of our campus services available to help our students get back into the swing of things. These cool #CCUStrong shirts were handed out as well  

Today we had a welcome back event on campus. We gave out these #CCUStrong t-shirts.

* The weekend that Hurricane Florence hit our area (Sept. 15-16), my parish, St. Andrew, took the extraordinary step and canceled all masses for that weekend. With the church extremely close to the ocean, it was a necessary decision. Luckily, thanks be to God, our beautiful place of worship received little damage.

St. Andrew canceled masses during the Hurricane Florence weekend. Thankfully, the church was unharmed.

* Hurricane Florence/flooding didn’t keep Sloan’s daycare out of commission for long. Seriously, Oxford Children’s Academy is the best. Although its policy is to follow the lead of Horry County Schools, our daycare opened up on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and stayed open the remainder of the month.

Thanks to Oxford Children’s Academy for offering great hours and doing what a lot of other daycare centers wouldn’t.

* Sidney’s school came to the rescue. Not wanting its students to feel disconnected from their teachers and classmates, Palmetto Bays staged an event at a Bojangles location for the school community. Families were encouraged to attend for free food and the opportunity to say “hi” to the teaching staff.

Sid and some of her other teachers back at school after the Bojangles event.

* Local and regional businesses helped out. Many hotels in the Grand Strand area offered reduced room rates to people displaced by flooding. Organizations around the South offered perks for those impacted by Florence. For example, the Atlanta Braves and Florida Gators both offered FREE tickets to North and South Carolina residents. The Jacksonville Zoo provided our family with discounted admission passes.

The Jacksonville Zoo offered us discounted tickets.

* Our football team made headlines. The Coastal football team was on the road for nearly two weeks, spending a bulk of the time in hotels in the Jacksonville area. The Chants made the best of it, winning two games, including a Wednesday afternoon matchup that was changed at the last minute. Out of all the articles written about the experience, I enjoyed the USA Today story the best.

* My relatives reached out. Things started to look pretty serious when the national news networks started to forecast a direct hit on Myrtle Beach. I had relatives and old friends reach out to check on us. When the forecast turned especially bad, my poor mom had a tough time keeping it together at work when people would ask her how we were doing.

* We were so fortunate. I can’t say enough how lucky our little family was. Things were looking pretty bleak at one point so to come away unscathed was truly a gift from God.

* We are #CarolinaStrong. I learned a lot about the resolve of this area. People and groups have gone out of their way to help others, demonstrating how special this part of the country is. I couldn’t be more proud to live here.

I am proud to be #CarolinaStrong!

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Although our family can move on, many others must rebuild. As we continue to live our lives, it is important to remember those not as fortunate as us. Don’t Blink.

Adios September Thursday Rundown

What a month it has been for our area. I know a lot of Carolinians will be happy to put the last several weeks behind them. With that said, here is the final Thursday Rundown of September.

A Little Gymnast – This past Saturday, Sloan, Sidney, and I spent the afternoon doing something pretty fun. Invited by our friend Susannah and her daughter, Jacqueline (Sloan’s friend), we attended the open gym session at Gymnastics, Inc. As you can probably tell from the name, this large facility boasts gymnastics equipment, trampolines, mats, and more. Our group of five shared the entire gym with probably only seven or eight other attendees. It was a great way for Sloan to do something a little different while burning off a bunch of energy.

Sloan enjoyed her time at Gymnastics Inc.

Update on Closures – With water sources cresting yesterday, meaning flooding levels have reached their maximum heights, services and offices are making plans to re-open. Here at Coastal Carolina, we will open our residence halls tomorrow at noon. On Monday, after nearly three weeks off, classes will resume. However, Horry County Schools is not at this point yet. There was hope that teachers would be able to report to work tomorrow but that has been pulled off the table. Sidney now has instructions to report on Monday. When students will return is still up in the air with an announcement expected from the district on Sunday.

Classes will resume on Monday for CCU!

Pool Weather – In many areas around our country, it is now autumn. When my family sends us photos through our text message thread, they are wearing jackets and long pants. Not the case here. In South Carolina, the fall season means perfect pool weather! Last Sunday, we checked out the community swimming pool in our new neighborhood for the first time. It was an ideal way to spend the late September day.

Hanging out at the neighborhood pool in the autumn.

Good Advice – This week, I had the pleasure of enjoying a one-on-one lunch with Fr. David Nerbun, a priest in the Charleston Diocese. It was so fulfilling to listen to this man of God speak on various topics. He recently tweeted (follow him here) a quote from St. Vincent de Paul that I found very timely. With so many people in our area suffering from the impact of Hurricane Florence and the flooding that followed, I hope they can find some solace in de Paul’s words. I can’t imagine the despair and uncertainty that many Carolinians are going through, but I know that a strong faith in God will help the rebuilding process.

Father David Nerbun tweeted out these words from St. Vincent de Paul this week.

Fun Memory – Four years ago on this date, I was in the audience during a broadcast of my favorite sports show. Sidney and I traveled to Columbia, SC, to watch College Gameday. Not only did I get to see Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, but I also got to see my favorite musician and that day’s performer/guest picker, Kenny Chesney. It was an extremely early morning as we had to leave Myrtle Beach well before dawn so we could get a good spot but it was so worth it. Oh yeah, I also got on TV.

Follow the arrow…that is me during the 9-27-14 College Gameday broadcast.

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Pray for those impacted by the flooding, especially my sister-in-law and her fiancée. Things should start to improve but many people have a long road ahead of them. Water can be a very destructive force. Don’t Blink.

Zoo Crew Thursday Rundown

Happy Thursday to one and all! I hope you have had a great week thus far. Other than that, I don’t have much small talk tonight so let’s get right to the Thursday Rundown.

Jacksonville Zoo – How do you follow up a day at Disney World? You go to the zoo, of course. Last Saturday, the three of us went to the Jacksonville Zoo. We had a fun time looking at a wide variety of animals, many I had never even seen/heard of before. I specifically enjoyed viewing the monkeys/apes, tigers, and elephants. However, nothing could beat the giraffes. Seeing one of these animals in-person really puts into perspective how tall they really are. The exhibit had seven different giraffes and they would walk right over to you. In fact, if you really wanted, you could feed them. Props to the Jacksonville Zoo for giving all Hurricane Florence evacuees a major discount on admission.

We had a good time at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Happy Half Birthday, Sloan – On Monday, Sloan turned a year and a half. In my opinion, it is probably the most significant “half birthday” that we as humans celebrate. At 18 months, Sloan is happier than ever and is talking really well. She is persistent yet sweet, and loves her mommy and daddy. The below photo was taken on our way back to Myrtle Beach after we evacuated. We left a pack of cookies a little too close to her car seat and she managed to reach them and help herself. By the time we pulled over and realized what she had done, her face was a chocolatey mess.

Sloan celebrated her half birthday with cookies.

President Trump Visits Conway – Yesterday, the President of the United States was in our area ahead of the massive flooding we are supposed to experience. President Trump visited Conway, the small town that sits right next to Myrtle Beach and that is actually home to Coastal Carolina University. While I worked in my office, the Commander In Chief was walking the streets of Conway just a couple miles from where I sat. Although I wasn’t there, my future brother-in-law was. He was helping move the belongings from a house that was expected to flood when all of a sudden the President arrived. Not only was John Henry able to take the below photo, he also shook Trump’s hand. All in all, it was nice to know that the President is looking out for us.

My soon-to-be brother-in-law took this photo of President Trump yesterday.

Waiting Game – After being out of the office since last Tuesday (Sept. 11), Coastal Carolina University allowed its employees to report back to work yesterday. Although I had such a nice time with Sid and Sloan, it never feels right to me when I am out of the office unexpectedly. My wife, however, is still on standby. With roads impacted by current flooding, and with the situation expected to get even worse, Horry County Schools is shut down for at least the rest of the week. Sid will know on Sunday if she will be back to teaching on Monday. As for our CCU students? We announced today that classes will be canceled all next week as well. With the flooding threat, it is just too dangerous to have all our students return to campus.

Classes for #CCU students will be canceled through next week.

Wearing That Ring – Two years ago, I wrote about the adjustment I faced with wearing a wedding ring. No, the adjustment didn’t have to do with no longer being a bachelor! Rather, it was because I had never worn any jewelry my entire life up until I married Sid. Thankfully, it turned out to be a non-issue. Wearing the ring grew on me very quickly and I embraced the opportunity to sport a little bling. Nowadays, the ring is even more a part of me. I take it off when I exercise and when I shower, but that is it. I feel naked without it and I will immediately panic if I do my constant subconscious ring check and notice that it is not there. I love my wedding ring!

Sorry, my hand is not “model worthy.” However, I wanted to show off my wedding ring.

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Happy early birthday to my brother. His big day is this Sunday. Live it up, Glen. Have a great weekend, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Back From Hiatus Thursday Rundown

What a hiatus it has been! An unprecedented four weeks have passed since I last wrote a Thursday Rundown. Oh my gosh, do I even remember how to write one of these things? Let’s find out. Here we go…

Turtles at CCU – Earlier this week, I took photos of the turtles that make Wall Pond their home at Coastal Carolina University. I published variations of the photos on a couple of our main #CCU social media accounts. My personal favorite is the one below. Although it focuses more on the beauty of our campus than it does the turtles, I love the colors. Needless to say, CCU is truly a scenic place to work. If you want to see more of the turtles and less of the greenery, click here.

I work at a very scenic campus. Very fortunate to be employed by Coastal Carolina University.

Costco Grand Opening – One of the things we did in Spokane that I didn’t directly address in my recap post was attend a Costco grand opening. The gigantic new warehouse is located about two minutes from my parents’ house in what was once a wooded area (bye bye trees). It opened at 8 a.m. on a Friday and we were there a couple minutes after the doors flung open. Unexplainably, people were leaving the store with carts full of merchandise as we walked in (talk about speed shoppers!). The experience was pretty much exactly what you would expect: huge crowds but numerous samples. As someone who visits Costco every now and then, I enjoyed checking out the sparkling new store.

At 8:30 a.m. in the morning it was chaos at Spokane’s new Costco.

Eggs Up Grill – A Conway/Myrtle Beach breakfast staple is a place called Eggs Up Grill. With several locations now around the Grand Strand area, its popularity is evidenced by its expansion. Oddly enough, as a guy who likes to hit up great breakfast spots, I had never visited an Eggs Up Grill until this past Sunday. While out and about in Market Common, our family stopped by the newly opened location in the area for some breakfast. An efficient and inexpensive dining experience, I ordered a biscuit sandwich. What delighted me the most was that it came with a side of gravy for dipping. I will be back!

My breakfast at Eggs Up Grill, complete with the side of gravy.

Longest Red Light EVER – I have complained about a certain traffic light on Twitter before but today’s experience has motivated me to take my beef to the blog! When I leave Gold’s Gym in the early mornings, I come up on a light at U.S. 17 and Mr. Joe White Avenue in Myrtle Beach. For whatever reason, it makes me wait at the very least 5-8 minutes for the green arrow to flash so I can make a left turn onto the highway. For an area that has a low volume of traffic at 5:55 a.m. in the morning, I find the wait a little excessive. That was until today. I was stuck at the light for 12 minutes (yes, I keep track on my car radio how long it takes each morning)! No amount of flashing my brights or pulling slightly forward/pulling slightly back will work. I am too chicken to run it. In all seriousness, why do some lights stay red for such an insane amount of time?

Because I sat here for 12 minutes this morning, I had plenty of time to take a photo.

Cute Photo to End It – Sorry again for neglecting the Thursday Rundown for four weeks. To make up for it, here is a cute photo of Sloan and her cousin, Henry. Both babies found themselves in baskets while we were on vacation at Lake Keowee. They stayed in them for maybe 30 seconds before jumping out and resuming to create havoc throughout our vacation house. Gotta love them!

Sloan and Henry hung out in some baskets while on vacation.

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I think a lot of times we forget how lucky we are (me included!!). Take a moment or two to thank God for the many blessings many of us living in this country enjoy. Have a great weekend, everyone. Don’t Blink.

The Latest #CCUSocialMedia T-Shirt

As a marketer, I am a firm believer in branding. My affinity for “establishing a brand” filters down to the social media program I am in charge of. When I arrived at Coastal Carolina University, I wanted the campus community to know that the engaging and memorable content they were seeing came from an overarching source that stretched from our Facebook page to our Snapchat account to our LinkedIn profile to our various other channels.

We confined our brand to a hashtag, #CCUSocialMedia. It didn’t take long for people to realize that if a piece of content was stamped with the tag, it meant that it was created by the University specifically for #TEALnation.

It was important to develop a brand for our social media program at Coastal.

But how did we get word out about the brand? Well, we developed a website, came up with creative content, utilized brand ambassadors, and followed an organized plan.

Oh yeah, we also created t-shirts…

We announced our new #CCUSocialMedia t-shirt today. Thanks to Katie, my social media intern, for being a great model!

Yesterday, I picked up our newest #CCUSocialMedia t-shirts. Designed to reflect the current social media climate, this shirt is the third version in our program’s history.

Me sporting the new #CCUSocialMedia t-shirt.

The front is our brand. Actually, it is a 2-in-1. Not only does it contain our University’s social media logo but it also boasts our #CCUSocialMedia hashtag. Tricky, right? A logo that is, for all intents and purposes, your hashtag.

The front of the shirt features our logo/hashtag and is to the point.

But the back of the shirt is where it is at. Ron Walker, a designer in our office, polished the concept I gave him and created something really cool. In a live streaming world obsessed with “likes” and “loves,” we knew this shirt would need plenty of hearts and smiley faces. He placed our increasingly popular Chants Up sign inside the screen of a phone marked with our social media handle (@CCUChanticleers). He then let the instant gratification flow as the reaction emojis begin at the bottom and hover upwards to the top of the shirt.

I must say that Ron Walker did an extremely creative job designing this shirt.

Will this shirt be as popular as our Chauncey inspired Twitter design? Talk about a difficult task! We didn’t re-order those shirts TWICE for no reason. But judging by the reaction on social media, I think these shirts will rival the past ones in terms of popularity.

The past two #CCUSocialMedia t-shirts.

I know you want a shirt. All you have to do is participate in #CCUSocialMedia to win one. Sorry, they won’t be available in stores to purchase. As for me, I am excited to wear my new #CCUSocialMedia shirt and continue to spread the brand! Don’t Blink.

Behind the Games

To read the article that this blog post is based on, click here

This month, I celebrated four years at Coastal Carolina University. Consequently, it also marked four years since I have worked at the University of Montana. When I was employed there, I had the opportunity to do a lot, but nothing defined my time more than the work I did to enhance (or at least attempt to enhance) the gameday experience.

Being part of the gameday experience crew is an exciting, but very stressful, job. This is me with assistant athletic director Brynn Molloy during my last year at Montana.

Although I no longer play music for 26,000 people in Washington-Grizzly Stadium, develop crazy mascot skits, write public address scripts, or introduce in-stadium social media promotions, I still think about my “past life” from time to time.

I had the privilege of helping to put on the Gameday Experience while at the University of Montana. This is Christie and I up in the control room of the press box on Military Appreciation Day.

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to remember what I used to do by living vicariously through the guy who is responsible for the gameday experience here at Coastal Carolina University. Alex Souza, who served as the director of gameday experience and promotions since 2015*, allowed me to shadow him up in the control room of Brooks Stadium during a couple of football Saturdays this past season.

I had the privilege of writing a feature for Coastal Magazine titled “Behind the Games.” Lots of props to our design team for creating this opening spread for the story (graphic from www.coastal.edu/coastal-now

No, I wasn’t creeping in the press box simply to satisfy some nostalgic itch of mine. I was assigned with writing another feature for Coastal Magazine. While planning the publication early in the fall, it was determined that an all-access story chronicling the amazing work put forth by Alex and his team be told. Based on my background, I was assigned to write it.

In this photo I am holding the Spring/Summer issue of Coastal Magazine. I once again penned a feature story for this publication.

I embraced the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the magic that Alex creates, hoping it would also pay tribute to the hundreds of other athletic department employees across the nation who work tirelessly to create engaging gameday presentations. As someone who is especially sympathetic to the reality, many times folks don’t know the planning and labor that is dedicated to making sure fans leave the stadium happy, win or lose.

This is what the opening spread looks like in actual print form.

So, as mentioned, I watched behind Alex’s shoulder as he directed a couple football games. Once again I was in a booth with a spotter, video board guy, P.A. announcer, and technical support personnel. It was like a time warp! It wasn’t just the people I was surrounded by that brought me back. I also felt the stress, excitement, pressure, and comradery that became all too familiar during my days at Montana working in a similar role.

It was a lot of fun to write this piece. Alex is great at what he does.

After the observation period, I had a long sit down interview with Alex. I questioned him as a reporter, making sure not to add any experiences or opinions of my own. However, I would be lying if I said that deep down inside I wasn’t relating with everything he said.

I thank Alex for allowing me to write this story on him.

The actual writing portion of the piece was fun but also challenging. It was a topic I very much wanted to write about but I wanted to portray Alex’s role as accurately as possible. Knowing that I could make no excuse for messing it up, I put pressure on myself to produce something that did the Coastal Carolina athletic department justice.

Thanks to helpful editors, a creative design team, and the perfect subject (Alex happily and promptly answered the numerous follow up questions I had) I think the piece turned out well. It was nice to write something that I felt a special connection to for such a prominent publication. Alex Souza is incredible at what he does and I thank him for letting me write Behind the Games. Don’t Blink.

*Director of gameday experience and promotions no more! Alex was recently promoted to assistant athletic director for digital initiatives.

My Pleasure

Hello, my name is Brent Reser and I have not uttered the words, “No problem!” for three years.

This past weekend, I ripped past my Friday the 13th Life’s Little Instruction page to see the latest one pictured below. It immediately made me smile and think about the customer service training I have received since arriving at CCU almost four years ago.

This was my Instagram post from my Life’s Little Instructions calendar this past Saturday.

Some people might be shocked to hear this (I know I was at first), but cheerfully telling someone “no problem” is frowned upon in the customer service world. Luckily, thanks to the Feel the Teal program at Coastal Carolina University, I have refrained from saying this troublesome phrase for the past few trips around the sun. “No problem” didn’t evaporate from my lexicon immediately, but the more I tried my best not to use it and the more I realized how bad the phrase actually is, it eventually stopped slipping off my tongue.

When someone says “no problem,” it insinuates that there is/was a problem. When someone expresses their gratitude to you, it doesn’t make sense to respond by saying something that doesn’t convey any sort of warmth or sentiment.

At best, “no problem” means nothing. How is it acknowledging what someone said to you?

This of course brings us to the preferred response when someone offers thanks. At CCU and thousands of other places where customer service is valued, the response “my pleasure” is encouraged. Although some people might immediately think of chicken sandwiches when you say it, the phrase is starting to lose its Chick-fil-A association and be recognized simply as the polite and proper way to acknowledge someone’s gratitude.

When you say “my pleasure,” it conveys a feeling inside of you. It lets the person know that the act or service performed was at your humble discretion. It is much more personal than a meaningless “no problem.”

My Life’s Little Instruction post generated a lot of interaction. Some people endorsed the advice right away while some wondered about alternatives (remember, always use my pleasure!). Please note, I never judge anyone who utters “no problem”. I understand that it is a common phrase in our culture and that not everyone associates a negative connotation with it. To some, “my pleasure” sounds too over the top. I get it.

But for those of us working in the customer service world, I think it is important to respond in a thoughtful way. Perhaps as a society we aren’t at the point where we automatically respond with “my pleasure” when we buy a friend a drink or lend someone a couple quarters for the vending machine. However, in a customer service setting, I think we can always respond in a way that is modern and appropriate. Don’t Blink.