Can I Interest You in a Thursday Rundown?

In one week from today it will be September. Crazy, huh? Here comes your final Thursday Rundown of the month.

End of a Mini Mascot – One of the very first things I did in my professional career while working in the athletic department at the University of Montana was introduce a mini mascot. Sounds creepy, right? Don’t be so quick to judge! Fresh off of graduating from college in 2009, I worked with the mom of a talented boy to create Mo, a miniature version of the University of Montana mascot, Monte. It was borderline magical the day we surprised a wild Washington-Grizzly Stadium sold out crowd with the newest addition to our mascot family. Well, after a great seven year run, Mo will no longer grace the sidelines…at least for now. I want to thank the two kids who wore the costume and represented Grizzly Athletics so well.

I enjoyed helping to develop Mo (right) when I was at the University of Montana.

I enjoyed helping to develop Mo (right) when I was at the University of Montana.

War Dogs – It had been a couple months since I saw a really good movie. However, the bad streak ended last week when Sidney and I went to the theater to watch “War Dogs.” Finally, a movie that lived up to the hype I set for it! The true story was portrayed in an intriguing way and the acting of Jonah Hill was out of control (in a good way of course). Bradley Cooper played a darker role that you don’t always get to see him in. The film also delivered plenty of laughs as well as a recent history lesson. I totally recommend “War Dogs.”

In Front of the Camera – Classes started for Coastal Carolina University this week and it has been a very exciting time. Luckily for me, I was able to share some of my enthusiasm with WPDE (ABC 15) on Monday. The station called wondering if I would do an interview addressing our social media momentum. Thankfully they didn’t have me talk that much. To watch Sydney Glenn’s story, click here.

A screenshot from my interview with WPDE's Sydney Glenn on Monday.

A screenshot from my interview with WPDE’s Sydney Glenn on Monday.

Final Thoughts on Summer Olympics – The Rio Games concluded on Sunday and I must admit that I didn’t watch much of the closing ceremonies. I just find it sad. I love the Summer Olympics and to see them end after four years of anticipation is hard. I feel bad in my heart for all the athletes who worked so hard for their moment in Rio only for it now to be over. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed watching America dominate the games. What I didn’t enjoy was the Ryan Lochte saga. It really took A LOT away from the games and unfortunately it will forever be a defining part of the 2016 Summer Olympics. But I try to look at the positives and I can say that there was nothing better than watching the games with my wife in the evenings.

From the Archives – So, would you like to read about me defending a social media user, reviewing a Darius Rucker concert, or evaluating Instagram Video? On this date in 2015 I came to the side of a typical American who was condemned for giving the play-by-play over Twitter of a breakup on a plane. In 2014 I shared my thoughts on the Darius Rucker concert I attended that weekend. Finally, in 2013 I reviewed Instagram Video about two months after it launched. Pick your poison.

Me with my Darius Rucker shirt after his concert in 2014.

Me with my Darius Rucker shirt after his concert in 2014.


Thank you to my readers for taking the time to read Don’t Blink. Hopefully soon I will be introducing another reader appreciation opportunity for all of you. Enjoy the rest of August. Don’t Blink.

When Children Fear Mascots

Yesterday when I wrote about my top five favorite clowns I brought up the somewhat romanticized fear of clowns that adults claim to have. I don’t know if I necessarily buy into the claims of the roughly fifty percent of the people I know who say clowns cause them distress. In my opinion I think it is more talk than fear. Fact of the matter is adult brains can conceptualize that under the paint and wig of a scary looking clown is a regular man or woman. While some folks in our population have serious phobias of such stimuli I don’t believe it applies to the legions of people who make the claim.

Kids are a whole different story, especially younger ones. At an early age children don’t instantly grasp that people dress up in wild and crazy outfits that transform appearance. Minds are still developing and when they see something that can walk and move like a human but that doesn’t look like mom or dad real fears develop. Many young kids have real issues with clowns. Many have issues during Halloween.

Because of one of the responsibilities I hold at work I am exposed first hand to another one of these types of fears that children hold: mascots.

Holding the distinction of mascot coordinator within Grizzly Athletics I routinely see how the most loved personality in the state of Montana can also be the most feared. While Monte, our grizzly bear mascot, has reached rock star status on a national level for his ability to entertain and connect with fans even his one of a kind charm is sometimes not enough to calm the fears of petrified children. At most events or basketball games you can expect to see at least one child ranging in the age of 2-7 meltdown at the sight of him. Kids will cry, scream, run away, or bury themselves in their mom or dad. It doesn’t take a psychology degree to figure out why these young kids are frightened. Seeing an agile, walking bear that blurs the lines between an animal and a human can confuse a toddler to the point of tears.

I get the opportunity to work with our mascots, Monte and Mo

I get the opportunity to work with our mascots, Monte and Mo

Monte doesn’t get selected to the Capital One All-American Mascot team on a consistent basis just because he can entertain, dance, entertain, and tumble though. His ability to connect with children, adults, and the elderly sets him apart. More often than not I have seen him approach those frightened kids right on the spot and win them over. In the blink of an eye the shrieks turn to laughs and Monte and the kid are embracing.

No one is better with kids than Monte (photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich)

No one is better with kids than Monte (photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich)

Of course it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the child is just not ready to enjoy a mascot and Monte lets him or her be. For some children it takes time to outgrow the fear. They will avoid and turn the other way when Monte is in proximity but then a couple years later the fear is gone and the kid, wearing a #00 jersey, is rushing at him to jump in his furry arms. But then there are the extreme cases…

Monte makes thousands of kids smile a year (awesome photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich).

Monte makes thousands of kids smile a year (awesome photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich).

Some youngsters develop a polarizing fear of Monte. Unfortunately that fear doesn’t just end at the arena when the bear is not around. Pictures, mentions, and thoughts of Monte can trigger fear simply when the child is at home or at school. This is when Grizzly Athletics intervenes. Twice since I have worked in the department parents have contacted me about their child suffering from a phobia of Monte. When this occurs I invite the parents and their son (both times it has been a boy) to come to the office and I turn it over to our amazing students who serve as Monte (we employ two talented individuals).

In a calm manner our Monte performer will greet the kid in his street clothes. He will then slowly take pieces of the Monte suit out of his bag and show the child that it is just a costume. Next he will start to put the suit on while talking to the child the whole way through. Once our performer puts the head on to complete the transformation into Monte the kid is no longer having a panic attack and the fear is gone. Both times I have observed this the parents walked out the door with tears of joy while thanking us profusely.

I deal with two very talented and compassionate Monte performers.

I deal with two very talented and compassionate Monte performers.

Back when I was very young, probably four years old, I had a bad dream involving McGruff the Crime Dog. After that nightmare I dreaded seeing him at the parades and festivals my parents would take me to where he would appear. After a year I grew out of it but even though I was very young at the time I can still remember what that fear felt like which allows me to identify with the kids today who are afraid of Monte.

Sorry to my adult friends who are afraid of clowns but I have more sympathy for the five year old girl who is afraid of Monte. Don’t Blink.

Mascots, Ice Cream, Golf

Because my brother always complains to me about the length of my blog posts I try to humor him every once and a while and publish a post that is both shorter in length and on the lighter side of things. Thankfully for Glen, tonight is one of those rare occasions where I don’t write a book and I don’t necessarily have a message to get across. This evening I simply want to briefly describe three cool things that have happened so far in this short week.

Monte Defeats Cam The Ram: The most famous bear in Montana got off to a great start in the 2013 Mascot Challenge as he defeated Cam The Ram from Colorado State. The head-to-head battle went down to the wire and I was definitely refreshing my iPhone every few seconds as the deadline approached to make sure that Monte did in fact hold on. Thanks to Griz Nation he did indeed score a victory and is now 1-0 and up against Bucky the Badger from Wisconsin this week. When Monte and I were down in Albuquerque for the 2012 NCAA Tournament we got to meet Bucky because our basketball team was playing Wisconsin. While we came up short to Wisconsin in basketball we are confident that we will have their number when it comes to mascots.

Monte and I were happy campers after defeating Cam The Ram.

Monte and I were happy campers after defeating Cam The Ram.

Cheap Dairy Queen Ice Cream: In Missoula there is a seasonal Dairy Queen located in an old school hut type building that kind of strays away from the typical corporate DQs you mostly see today. Well, I think the season for this particular Dairy Queen is coming to an end because they had a pretty sweet sale going on yesterday. For just $1.25 you could buy frozen quarts of ice cream…yes, that is just one dollar and a quarter. I saw the sign advertising this bargain as I was driving to the Griz soccer game yesterday and sure enough after the match concluded I went straight to the Dairy Queen and bought a lot of ice cream for pocket change. For $2.50 I got two quarts of premium chocolate ice cream. I smiled the whole way home and now I got enough frozen dessert to last me the rest of September.

I am the owner of enough ice cream to last me the month,

I am the proud owner of enough ice cream to last me the month.

Griz Golf Team Wins Missoula Tournament: For the first time in 16 years the Griz golf team hosted a tournament in Missoula. Yesterday and today the team played in the Sun Mountain Grizzly Invitational at the Missoula Country Club. The last time the team hosted a tournament in Missoula was in 1997 and they definitely made up for lost time as they ran away with the team title, defeating six other schools including Montana State. I got to watch the ending of the tournament and then the awards ceremony that followed. It was just another great day to be a Grizzly.


Congrats to the Griz golf team on winning the Sun Mountain Grizzly Invitational.

Congrats to the Griz golf team on winning the Sun Mountain Grizzly Invitational


There you go…mascots, ice cream, and golf! Short and sweet. Hope you approve, Glen. Don’t Blink.