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.

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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.

I Will Miss You UM Spirit Squad!

As I wind down my time at Grizzly Athletics I will be saying goodbye to a lot of people. When the time comes I will write an all-encompassing post thanking all the people who helped me so much during my time here. However, I don’t want to fill my blog space each night with the latest from “Brent’s Farewell Tour.” I know majority of my readers don’t want a nightly dose of my swan song.

With that said, I do want to make an exception tonight and express my appreciation to a very special group. This evening up in our football booster area (The Canyon Club) we had our Spirit Squad end of the year banquet. It was a time for our cheer squad, dance team, mascots, and coaches to get together one more time to celebrate the 2013-14 season while giving out awards and eating good food. It was also a time for our seniors to say goodbye after their many years of devotion to the program. This time around I said goodbye too.

This is me with our cheer squad and coaches after tonight's banquet.

This is me with our cheer squad and coaches after tonight’s banquet.

Stereotypes run rampant in our society and one of the most unfair ones center on cheerleaders who are labeled as ditzy, obsessed with their looks, and cruel to others. Although I never subscribed to this thinking it took me less than an hour here at the University of Montana to realize that this stereotype just isn’t inaccurate but completely opposite from the truth and terribly unfair.

I feel so fortunate that I got to have such involvement with the young women and men who make up the University of Montana Spirit Squad. Because of my role as mascot coordinator combined with the Spirit Squad sitting under the marketing umbrella I got to know many of our cheer squad and dance team members very well (while of course developing even stronger bonds with our two students who serve as Monte). I can confidently say that they are some of the most driven, humble, hard-working, and passionate people I know. They do what they do because they love to dance/cheer and because they love the Griz. Basically what I am trying to say is that they do it for all the right reasons.

This is me with the dance team. Going to miss these girls!

This is me with the dance team. Going to miss these girls!

Like I alluded to above, I feel fortunate that I have developed relationships with many Spirit Squad members that go above playing music for them at games or driving them around on various Griz road trips. I think of many of them as friends, people who I truly care about and people who I know care about me too. For the most part I am a positive guy and I love life but I can’t count the number of times I have had a Spirit Squad member brighten my day by stopping by my office, saying something nice over social media, or yelling my name to say hi at games. In a truly humbling moment just this year, a cheer squad member asked to do a profile on me. Wait…a profile on me? It is these types of things that will really make me miss these special individuals once I make the move to South Carolina.

This is me with the cheer team at camp in Idaho in 2012

This is me with the cheer team at camp in Idaho in 2012

I don’t think the public really understands this, but the students who make up our Sprit Squad go through rigorous try outs to earn a spot in the program. They devote thousands of hours throughout their careers at practice, at competition, and in the community all in the name of Grizzly Athletics. They put their bodies through stress and pain so that they can please stadiums and arenas full of fans. The fact that they can subject themselves to this and still have enough energy to show so much respect and kindness to people like me says a lot about each one of them.

Of course I will miss our mascots, Monte and Mo!

Of course I will miss our mascots, Monte and Mo!

To the two mascots, the cheer squad, and the dance team: THANK YOU for making me feel so welcome in the Spirit Squad family. I will miss all of you. 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.

Is My Vote Being Counted?

In just the past few short months, I have had the opportunity to conduct a couple of big time social media campaigns in support of some pretty well-known personalities within Grizzly Athletics. At the start of September and running through the end of football season, Monte competed in the Capital One Mascot Challenge. Currently going on right now, our head football coach Mick Delaney is a finalist in the FCS Coach of the Year running. Both of these competitions are decided entirely (Mascot Challenge) or partially (FCS Coach of the Year) by fan voting. A good social media program and an engaged fan base are both necessary to achieving success in these challenges.

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Let me start off by saying this: Just having a horse in the race for both of these competitions is a tremendous honor and accomplishment. It brings a lot of good publicity and recognition to our program. It shines light on the great work that is being done inside Grizzly Athletics. The reward is great too. With the Capital One Challenge we got compensated handsomely and if things go well for us in the Coach of the Year race, local Missoula charities and our alumni association will receive a major boost. Overall it is a very, very good deal.

However, if I had the power to do so, I would like to change one thing: Disclosure of the votes! With both the Mascot Challenge and Coach of the Year race you have absolutely no idea the quantity of points/votes that separates one competitor from the other. Rather, you simply get either a percentage or a ranking system that tells you who is ahead. Okay, I understand that Monte currently trails the Pirate from East Carolina 53% to 47% but please put that into quantitative terms for me. How many more 100 point challenges must we exactly complete or how many times must we press that “VOTE” button until we make a dent in that gap. Or I can clearly see that Mick Delaney is fourth in the rankings but how many votes separate him from Craig Bohl who happens to occupy the first spot?

Sooo...is my vote being counted?

Sooo…is my vote being counted?

In my selfish nature I want to know black and white numbers of what needs to be done to start moving up in the rankings. But even beyond my own desires, I want this info available more for our fans. Many Griz Nation fanatics spend literally hours voting non-stop. In my opinion they deserve some type of confirmation that they are/are not having an impact. When they pour so much effort into something and see that there is no change, there is an understandable sense of discouragement. It also paves way for conspiracy theories (i.e. Hey, I just spent my whole morning voting and completing challenges for Monte but nothing has changed. The sponsor of this contest secretly hates us and is not counting our votes).

Let’s put an end to this. If in fact someone in Butte who is voting non-stop is not gaining any traction because there are 5,000 people in East Lansing voting just as ferociously at the same time, let him or her see that reflected in a visible vote total. Or even though we can’t see any evidence of a campaign for the head coach of Southeastern Louisiana while everyone here in Montana makes sure to vote for Mick Delaney each day, please just disclose the voting numbers and let us see that Coach Roberts does in fact have an objective, legitimate vote lead on Mick.

In no way am I biting the hand that feeds me so to speak. As I mentioned at length above, I am incredibly grateful that the Grizzly Athletics is represented in these national campaigns. And in no way am I saying that Monte or Mick Delaney got screwed. I just want something that clearly paints a picture of where everyone stands in these high stakes contests. Let’s do it for the fans. 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.

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 www.capitalonebowl.com .

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.
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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.

Monte Suffers a Loss in the 2013 Mascot Challenge

About an hour ago Monte was dealt his first loss in the 2013 Mascot Challenge in a down to the minute race with Sparty the Spartan from Michigan State. The close 51% to 49% defeat not only gave him a mark in the loss column but it knocked him out of first place and stripped him of his #1 ranking. Definitely a less than ideal way to end a weekend in which our football team crushed Portland State in the much anticipated Homecoming game.

Once the standings refresh on the Capital One website, Monte should sit in either third or fourth place depending on the tiebreaker method used in the competition. Two mascots hold unblemished 5-0 records while four mascots (including Monte) hold 4-1 records. Two of the mascots with 4-1 records suffered their lone loss in the competition to Monte.

During the last hour of this week’s round, I watched a noble and frantic effort by Griz Nation to push Monte to yet another victory over another giant in the BCS landscape. In the end, it fell just a little short. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were overloaded with people answering this past week’s question of “If Monte started a band, what would he name it?” Besides my actual Facebook friends and Twitter followers aggressively pushing for a Monte victory, everyone else in Montana seemed to be doing the same. Just searching the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag on Twitter yielded hundreds and hundreds of tweets coming in by the second! I got a good laugh at reading everyone’s take on what Monte’s band should be named.

If I was in Monte's band I would play the recorder!

If I was in Monte’s band I would play the recorder!

Of course anyone could see that the tweets marked with the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag vastly outnumbered the #CapitalOneSparty hash tags. Because of this, some might speculate that the final tally was not reflected correctly. However, standard voting is also a big part of the equation and the fact of the matter is that Michigan State has 50,000 students at its school while almost 10 million people live in the state. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with a population size that large comes with it a distinct advantage. If a majority of those people are voting, it doesn’t matter how many tweets we are sending out… those sheer numbers will win every time.

But notice how I said if. We have absolutely no idea how many people are voting. The organizers of the competition elect to only give us percentages as opposed to concrete point totals. As I have said from the beginning, I have a tough time trusting internet voting formats. I have an even tougher time trusting internet voting formats where we can’t see the raw numbers. Judging by the comments on our social media outlets, many people have the same trust issues as me.

But in all honesty I have little to complain about. This competition has already given us great exposure, a nice check for our program, and a special experience for our Monte performer (he got to travel to New York City for photo/video shoots). Although I am not 100% convinced that we got a completely fair shake in this past round of the competition, I do realize that in the four prior rounds it is possible that we could have gotten the benefit of the doubt.

Life moves on in the 2013 Mascot Challenge and this week Monte is up against Baldwin the Eagle from Boston College. Just like during any other season in any other sport, you have to move on from defeat and come back with more tenacity and more hunger for the next opponent. I promise you that Monte and Griz Nation will come back stronger than ever. That Eagle better watch out. Don’t Blink.

Monte’s Big Weekend

Currently it is a great time to be a bear, especially if your name is Monte Bear. Yep, our mascot at the University of Montana had quite the weekend with many bright moments and one big milestone. Give me a couple minutes to tell you about how Monte dominated each day of this past September weekend.

Friday: On this day we celebrated Monte’s 20th birthday at our home opener Griz volleyball match. Before the Montana vs. Northern Colorado game got underway, cake was served in Monte’s honor in the adjacent gym. UM students were also given waterproof Monte cell phone cases. Fans showed up in droves to honor “The Bear” as the largest crowd in almost two years filled the stands to celebrate Monte’s big day. During the break between the first and second set the packed gym sang happy birthday to the bear of the hour. During halftime, Monte and Mo put on a birthday skit that had the place clapping and laughing in approval. The best part? The Griz volleyball team swept Northern Colorado.

Monte birthday cake is delicious!!!

Monte birthday cake is delicious!!!

 

Saturday: Home football games are always a big deal for Monte as 26,000 people watch his every move. In a unique twist never before seen, a video was played prior to Monte’s entrance. It simulated the path he took to arrive at the stadium. As soon as the video concluded, Monte shot out of the tunnel on his motorcycle. While the game got a little boring late with the Griz up big on Oklahoma Panhandle State, Monte added an element of excitement when he did what pretty much no other mascot can do…he kicked field goals. With his holder set up on the 25-yard line, Monte kicked the snot out of the football and split the uprights. It was pretty cool and just another example of why he is the best collegiate mascot.

Monte split the uprights on a 35 yard field goal on Saturday.

Monte split the uprights on a 35 yard field goal on Saturday.

Sunday: The best moment in my opinion came just last night when Monte upset Big Red from Western Kentucky in the 3rd round of the 2013 Mascot Challenge. In a battle of the unbeatens, Monte narrowly edged out Big Red, 51% to 49%. Now you might ask how it was an upset if both mascots were undefeated. I actually agree with you, it wasn’t an upset because Monte is the best mascot around but on paper it was. Big Red was technically ranked #1 in the standings while Monte was the lowest ranked unbeaten at #5. Monte also stated off the week trailing the Big Blob 60% to 40%. Then, if you want to take in consideration what the below Big Red supporter spewed out on Facebook, you can see where he was the underdog. With me sweating it out at my office computer during the waning minutes of the round encouraging our fans to vote and complete challenges, Griz Nation did what it always does and took care of business. When 10 p.m. came around the slight 51% to 49% edge that had flopped back and forth for the entire weekend between Monte and Big Red now rested on the side of #00. The victory propelled Monte to a 3-0 record and a current #1 ranking in the competition. It also pumped me up like no other.

This guy mistakenly thought that a larger student body and a larger "national presence" (whatever that means) would defeat the pride and tradition of Griz Nation.

This guy mistakenly thought that a larger student body and a larger “national presence” (whatever that means) would defeat the pride and tradition of Griz Nation.

 

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This week Monte is taking on Rocky the Rocket from the University of Toledo. Although Monte boasts a 61% to 39% lead right now, anything can happen. It is because of that unpredictability that we are holding a special event on Wednesday that will hopefully give us a little more control and bolster Monte’s lead. More on that later. For now it is totally acceptable to look back on this past weekend and marvel at the three great days that Missoula’s most beloved personality enjoyed. Don’t Blink.

Brent’s Top Five For Monday

Good evening, readers! Thanks again for taking the time to check out Don’t Blink. I hope you all had great weekends and that Monday was not too rough on you. Well it is another one of those nights where I rather just touch on several different subjects instead of writing a long post on just one. So get ready, I am going to whip through five totally unrelated topics.

Monte Improves to 2-0: You bet I will be using my blog to fill you in on how Monte is doing in the 2013 Mascot Challenge throughout the three plus month competition…well, at least as long as he is still winning (kidding of course). This past week Monte soundly defeated Bucky the Badger from Wisconsin. I definitely thought the final tally would be closer but Monte won the vote 63% to 37%. Unfortunately, we might find ourselves on the other side of that outcome this week. Our bear is against Big Red from Western Kentucky and right now Monte trails 60% to 40%. But the week is young and I know Griz Nation will rally. Vote for Monte here and make sure to complete challenges by using the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag.

Weather Still Nice But Days Getting Shorter: It is mid-September and fortunately we are still getting some warm days in Missoula. I hope they stick around as long as possible. Some people wish for more “Fall-like” weather but no thank you! That just means the start of eight long months of cold, snow, and wind. However, the nice weather can’t hide the fact that the days are getting shorter. Today I woke up while it was still dark out, drove to work while the sun was rising, and left work with it already dark. I really don’t want to say goodbye to the warm weather and the long days.

Big Week At Work: What a week I got going at work! This first half of the week I am working long hours to prep myself for the events we have at the latter half. Thursday night we have our major basketball fundraiser, Friday night we have soccer and volleyball, Saturday afternoon we have football, and Saturday evening we have another volleyball match. With more on my plate than ever before it is going to be a very exhausting several days but after it is all said and done I will get that redeeming feeling of accomplishment. I love my job and I love doing my best for Griz Nation…can’t ask for much more than that.

Shakeup in the Booth: I watched all of the Sunday Night Football game yesterday and I watched the second half of tonight’s Monday Night Football game and it convinced even more of an idea I have had for the last few years. Can we please merge/cut NBC’s SNF announcing crew with ESPN’s MNF crew? From NBC we will save Al Michaels and give Cris Collinsworth the ax and then from ESPN we will let Mike Tirico go and keep Jon Gruden. Al Michaels does a fabulous job calling any sport under the sun and no analyst compares to the knowledge and character that Gruden brings to the booth. The Michaels-Gruden team would call both evening NFL games on Sunday and Monday and we could send Tirico and Collinsworth to Canada to call CFL games or something.

Amazing Sunrises/Sunsets Across the Country: Is it just me or did the whole nation experience beautiful skies this morning and this evening? Driving to work today I definitely got the joy of driving into a sky filled with amazing colors and judging by my Instagram feed so did seemingly everyone else both in Montana and in every other corner of the nation. Getting to admire the beauty of the sky this morning made me feel better starting off the long week and I hope it brought similar joy to others whether it was at the start or end of the day.

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Have a great week everyone! Hope to talk to you a couple more times this week but can’t make any promises. Thanks again for taking time to read what I have to say, I appreciate it. Don’t Blink.

My Two Minutes of Fame

Click here to watch me act in “A Monte Movie :: Monte’s Roommate”

At Griz football games I am sheltered high up in the press box inside the snug confines of the control room. At least 99% of the 26,000+ people who cram Washington-Grizzly Stadium have no idea that I am up there, let alone even know that I exist. I like it that way. I enjoy the anonymity and I enjoy the behind-the-scenes work that I do. However, last Saturday the cover on my anonymity was blown completely off.

On Saturday in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a sporting event in Montana, my ugly mug appeared up on Griz Vision (our video board) for two minutes. By resurrecting an element that was done about a decade ago, I starred in the first modern version of Monte Movies. If you don’t know a darn thing about mascots or if you didn’t read my blog post last night, Monte is the mascot at the University of Montana. And yes, we do make videos of him and feature them at our football games.

The premise of this first Monte Movie was to show what it is like to be Monte’s roommate. Monte played himself and I played the roommate. We filmed the whole thing in my apartment. Yes, that shower curtain really is mine and yes, Monte actually sat on my toilet. We filmed the movie in one night about three weeks ago. Let me tell you, filming is long and tough work. For the two minute long movie it took us about four hours to film. People don’t realize all the takes, all the angles, and all the details that go into making something like this. I was definitely one of those people before my acting debut. If not for my great co-star and if not for our talented director/cameraman/editor/winner at life Nate Michael, I would have looked even worse than what I did in the movie.

The opening scene of the movie!

The opening scene of the movie!

I first saw the mostly completed film in Nate’s office a week before the game. I could barely watch myself. The next time I saw it was two days before the game when we went through our walk-through for Saturday night. With a few other people watching I could tolerate it a little bit more just because they were laughing and it gave me a little bit of encouragement. On Saturday night with our team dominating Appalachian State and with everything going right game production wise I watched the whole thing from the control room and kind of just enjoyed seeing myself act stupid in front of 26,293 fans.

 

A scene where Monte and I watched a tear-jerker movie together.

A scene where Monte and I watched a tear-jerker movie together.

Although I stomached watching myself the best the third time around, there was something a little unsettling that I noticed. I kept listening (more like hoping) to hear the stadium erupt in laughter but I never really heard that chorus of maniacal giggling that I would have hoped to hear. When “THE END” flashed on the screen I wondered if the crowd even liked it, wondered if I had killed Monte’s thunder and Nate’s hard work with my terrible acting skills. But right when “THE END” flashed away, I had my answer. My phone started blowing up. I got texts from good friends, people who I hadn’t talked to in forever, and from numbers I didn’t recognize. I got tweets sent my way and someone even attempted to call me. The reaction was all positive and they said they loved it.

That was only the beginning.

After the game I went down on the field to meet my dad and brother who came to watch the Grizzlies and by default my performance. As I visited with them people came up and commented on the video. When I went back up the tunnel and to my office, people passed by saying how cute they thought the movie was. The recognition came the rest of the weekend with acquaintances and randos pointing out that I was “The Roommate.” Today with the start of the work week I had several co-workers mention the video. When I went to the gym I had no less than four people point me out.

In this scene our director/cameraman/winner Nate Michael gets to make a cameo!

In this scene our director/cameraman/winner Nate Michael gets to make a cameo!

Even though I talked non-stop for three weeks about how embarrassed I was to have my shabby acting skills on display and even though I tried to tell the people who knew the video was coming not to expect much I have to admit, I liked the well-wishes and recognition that came after it was played on Griz Vision during primetime.

All the kudos in the world to Nate and Monte for using their talents to make me look decent in the video. It was cool to see the process of how everything works and like I said the recognition was pretty nice too but I think I am going to go out on top and retire from acting. I am the ultimate one-hit wonder. Don’t Blink.

Last scene of the movie...time to retire from acting!

Last scene of the movie…time to retire from acting!