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.

The Best Part of NBC’s Summer Olympics Coverage

As critics continue to chip away at NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics, I continue to defend the network for the most part. Last Thursday I took a soft stand for NBC but tonight I will put it a little more bluntly: The network doesn’t care about equal airtime for all sports nor whether or not all programming is live. Rather, the network cares about recouping the large amount of money spent on the broadcasting rights with the hopes of perhaps turning a profit.

But even with its main motive of making money, I still don’t think NBC’S presentation of the 2016 Summer Olympics is all that bad. Is it perfect? Definitely not. But I believe it is more than adequate. If you want to watch the entire trampoline competition or if you want to see gymnastics live you can watch it on the NBC Rio app or you can most likely catch it on the large number of NBC sister stations. Keep in mind that the primetime block is when NBC is able to build its return on investment so forgive them if hallmark events are shown on a delay and an archery competition isn’t shown in its entirety.

So while we get annoyed at delayed coverage and a seemingly small selection of sports covered during that 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. time slot, I think we can all concede one thing to NBC:

The on-air talent at the 2016 Summer Olympics is awesome.

Four years ago I wrote about how Bob Costas embodies the spirit of the games. However, tonight I want to give his co-workers credit as well. Don’t get me wrong, Bob is still outstanding. He is as sharp as ever and I live for each night when he opens primetime with his voiceover previewing that evening’s coverage. But I need to congratulate NBC on putting together a team that compliments the excellence that Bob Costas displays each night.

Let’s just start with Bob’s equals. Legends such as Mike Tirico, Al Michaels, and Dan Patrick are anchoring the coverage for NBC during the daytime slots. These sportscasters are at the top of their profession and have brought credibility and familiarity to the screen. It has been nice watching them discuss events that don’t have to do with baseball, basketball, or football.

The sideline reporters at these events are completely top notch as well. Michele Tafoya’s interviews during the swimming events kept me engaged and inspired on a nightly basis. She did her job to perfection and just like the talent I mentioned above, it was nice to see her thriving even if she was out of her element a little. Another sideline reporter who we all know from basketball is Lewis Johnson. However, in Rio he is covering track and field. Once again it is more about his talent rather than his usual sport as he has done a superb job interviewing athletes the second they finish their races, many overflowing with adrenaline and emotion.

But you can still do a good job at the Olympics if you are announcing the sport you are known for. Look at the basketball and golf coverage. It might not be the NBA but Marv Albert, Doug Collins, and Craig Sager are doing a great job calling the men’s basketball tournament. They understand the international game and are very respectable toward it. Watching the men’s golf tournament this weekend was just like watching a PGA event. You had basically the whole NBC golf crew making the trip to cover Rio. Again, they put themselves in the context of the Summer Olympics so even though they called the tourney with the same professionalism they would for a major event in the United States, they made no mistake about the very different circumstances.

However, there is one portion of NBC’s coverage I like the most. This piece centers on the talent we don’t see throughout the year. Rather, it deals with the play-by-play announcers and analysts covering the obscure sports we don’t always experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Saturday morning coverage of events such as water polo, weightlifting, synchronized swimming, fencing, etc. and listening to the broadcast. The men and women covering these events are true professionals and they have called and described the action in a way that enables people like me to actually understand the sport. NBC didn’t just pull people off the street for these roles, they are fresh voices with true talent.

So feel free to go ahead and fault NBC for trying to maximize profit with its primetime production. However, let’s give the network credit for hiring and assigning on-air talent that is able to deliver an Olympic worthy performance in the booth and on the sidelines…no matter if it is live or not. Don’t Blink.

My Top Five Favorite Summer Olympics Events

I have said it over and over again, I think the Summer Olympics are far superior to the Winter Olympics. At the base of this opinion is just that the games in the Summer Olympics are much more relevant to the entire globe. With that said and with the opening ceremony occurring this Friday, I thought I would share the events I look forward to watching the most at the Summer Olympics. So, without further adieu, here is my countdown of the top five sports I thoroughly enjoy when it comes to the summer games.

5. Basketball – I know basketball is perhaps a little bit regionalized but it makes my list mostly for nostalgia. I was mesmerized in 1996 (first time I ever remember watching the Olympics) by the United States men’s basketball team destroying the competition. To see all the superstars from the NBA come together for a common goal stuck with me. With Coach K once again leading the team this year, I get excited at watching America’s athletes transform their NBA game to the international level. I will be watching.

4. Swimming/Diving – Sorry to lump two different sports together but this list is too short. I don’t get as excited about swimming as some do, but it is still a Summer Olympics hallmark sport and I love the photo finishes. Also, with the technology available these days, the actual broadcast/coverage of the races is superb. Diving is great because it makes me nervous and it makes me hold my breath. Not to mention what they do in the air before making a perfect splash is incredibly cool.

3. Beach Volleyball – To me, beach volleyball is plain fun. It screams summer. The rules are simple, the chemistry between teammates is top notch, and high level athleticism is on display at all times. I also enjoy admiring the physiques of the participants. This isn’t in some sick way either. Beach volleyball participants, both women and men, are a crazy type of fit. My full respect goes out to them all.

2. Weightlifting – In terms of the goal, weightlifting is an easily defined sport. But everything that goes into catapulting a bar that is five times your weight over your head is not. Rather, it is a science. I am intrigued at watching the athletes go through their whole routine. Watching them get in the zone, approach the platform, brace themselves, practice perfect technique, and then execute the lift is quite the sight. You can feel the tension the whole way through and then you can also feel the unrivaled accomplishment as the athlete drops the bar after a successful attempt. So much power, yet so much discipline. I love watching weightlifting.

1. Track and Field – The easiest part of making this list was designating my #1 favorite event to watch. By far, I enjoy watching track and field the most. In my thought process, track and field is synonymous with the Olympics. When you shut your eyes and think of the summer games, a vision of people running, jumping, and throwing should appear. But my joy of watching track and field at the Olympics goes beyond just symbolism. The competitors you see compete in track and field this month are the best athletes in Rio. How can you not like watching people perform a full out sprint for 800 meters? Or use a pole to fly over a bar 19 feet in the air? Or hurl a ball of metal 75 feet? Or glide through the air covering ten yard sticks?

With track and field, I just find it the epitome of athletic competition. The title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” that is bestowed on the decathlon winner is the most accurate description in sports. When the lights go on in the stadium at Rio and the track and field events start that is when the 2016 Summer Olympics truly begin.


Can you tell I am excited for Friday to get here? We only have the opportunity to enjoy this once every four years so start preparing yourself. What events can’t you miss? Don’t Blink.

Taking Away the Magic of the Olympics

By this time now, everyone following the Summer Olympics has probably gotten just a little tired of the constant complaining on the one issue that has defined the first several days in London: The games are not live! Due to social media, the reality that the games are not shown on television as they are happening has added a gigantic barrel of fuel to the fire. Different SM outlets, especially Twitter, has both spoiled the games for fans and then served as a sounding off platform for these same people to express their outrage at the delayed coverage. Many people are upset with NBC.

Despite all the unhappy viewers, NBC could not be more happy. The network has brought in large ratings for London 2012 thus far and even though people are complaining during the day when results are revealed, they are still tuning in later at night for the replayed primetime coverage. Not only does NBC have the numbers to back up the decision, they also have experts applauding it as well. Darren Rovell, the most recognized sports journalist in the world has strongly defended NBC’s coverage map even though he is now an employee at ESPN.

So while I completely understand the reasons why NBC has chosen to broadcast the Olympics in the given format and while I also completely understand that there is no amount of tweets, angry letters, or protests that viewers can stage to reverse this broadcast model, I can’t help but personally hate it.

I love sports because of the unpredictability. I get my kick from the unfolding live action, the feeling that what I am seeing with my own eyes is the same thing that everyone else is seeing across the world at the exact same time. When I watch a sporting event, especially a major one, I feel connected to everyone else watching and participating in the competition. I relish the fact that I am on the same level as players, coaches, referees, broadcasters, and fellow fans in that we all have no idea what is exactly going to happen in the next twenty minutes. Basically, a sporting competition shown live is a shared experience for everyone tuned in.

When I watch a sporting event that has taken place eight hours earlier, most of the magic for me is gone. I mean how can I stand up from my couch and cheer when I know that the French will eventually make up the lead in the pool that the American relay team had developed and snatch away the gold? Or even in a positive outcome, how can I get too excited to see the American gymnastics team win gold when everyone at work was already talking about the feat at lunch time? Watching the Olympics during primetime is just like watching a movie you have already seen…you know exactly how the script is going to play out and what the outcome will be. Sure, just like if the movie is really good you will probably still get enjoyment out of watching it again but it still won’t compare to the first time you saw it, before you knew how everything would occur.

We have all heard of and know the people who DVR their favorite team’s games or their favorite reality show and then will cover their ears for the rest of the day so no one will spoil the outcome for them. They will then watch it at a later time with the element of surprise still intact. Many people are trying to take this approach with the Olympics. Even if in this social media obsessed world I was somehow able to shield myself from the results before the primetime showing I still would just have an empty feeling watching the broadcast. As I said above, the shared experience element is completely gone. Even though the event is completely new to me, everyone else has moved on with their lives. Most likely, the participating athletes are sleeping in the Olympic Village, the announcers are prepping for their next assignment, and the fans filling the arena have gone their separate ways. While some people can shake that “left out” mentality from their heads, I can’t.

It is pretty much like showing up to the biggest party in the world eight hours late. Instead of partaking in the excitement, surprise, and enthusiasm of the moment, you instead get a watered down recap of what happened. I just feel that the greatest sporting event in the world should be shown live on TV. Go ahead and replay it during primetime but please give all of us non-traditionalists who don’t huddle around the television at night the opportunity to watch a competition that was meant to be shown live. We don’t care if it is at 3am or 12pm, people will stay up/get up to watch the pinnacle of world competition as it happens.

I know all of this is wishful thinking. I also know that NBC is doing what is best for them. I just want a better Summer Olympics experience. I want to agonize and triumph with the athletes in real time. I want my Olympic magic back! Don’t Blink.

Let The Games Begin!!

After enormous buildup and anticipation, the London Summer Olympics officially opened up last night with the Opening Ceremony. I skipped out on my beloved Missoula Osprey to sit at the house and watch the tape delayed proceedings. Although London’s version of the Opening Ceremony could not hold a candle to the spectacle that Beijing pulled off in 2008, I still got that humbling sense of world unity that has invaded my soul since the first time I actually remember watching the Olympics sixteen years ago during the 1996 Atlanta games.

I am a big Olympics fan,  especially the summer ones. For seventeen days, the world is captivated on London. The best of the best from every corner of the planet is meeting in a common place to compete for national glory. It does not get much better than that.

Besides the competition itself, so many other things about the games appeal to me. I can’t help but appreciate the rich expression of culture that engulfs the games. I feel all geography and social studies classes in our schools (if school was actually in session) should stop the traditional lessons and turn on the games during classes. The amount that can be learned from observing where the athletes are from and how they conduct themselves is immense. I also enjoy the athletes who rise to the top over the 2+ weeks and make a name for themselves. The Olympics routinely creates new heroes and they are usually always wide-eyed, humble, and young.  Yes, whenever the Olympics come around, the number of positive sports role models skyrockets. Additionally, I just marvel at how the whole world seemingly shuts down in the name of competition and good spirit. There is no escaping that the Olympics are going on. Every restaurant, store, bar, waiting room, etc. will be tuned in. It will be all what people talk about. Political candidates, pastors, and professors will all make a point to reference something from the Olympics during their speeches, sermons, and lectures. The Olympics definitely unites, and that is beyond cool.

Besides the cultural, hero-building, and uniting aspects that the Olympics always deliver, I revere them so much because they seem to really define time. Throughout the past sixteen years, I can look back at each summer and winter edition of the games and pinpoint exactly what was going on in my life. You could just yell at me something like “Nagano 1998”, “Athens 2004”, or “Vancouver 2010” and I could rattle off to you the exact state of my life during those two weeks when the games took place. I could immediately tell you what activity I was most engrossed in at the time, where I was living, what television I watched most of the games from, who I was hanging out with, who I was dating, what job I had, what song was popular, what my goals were at the time, what I was thinking about mostly in my head, etc. It is kind of funny that an event like this can really time capsule so many memories that have absolutely nothing to do with the games themselves.

By now you can see that I love the Olympics. But what makes me like them even more in 2012 as opposed to two years ago in Vancouver?! It is the SUMMER games of course!! While I love the Winter Olympics to a great degree, nothing beats the summer games. The Summer Olympics are the traditional, history-laden games. They are much more inclusive of the whole world, both in athlete participation and from fan connectivity. When you think Olympics, you think universal type sports such as swimming, track and field, and weightlifting. The Summer games just produce more imagery too. Without equipment and helmets covering the faces of pretty much every athlete and with the absence of snow everywhere, your brain just registers more with the sights and sounds of the summer games. Athletes are much more likely to garner a name for themselves during the summer games as opposed to the winter games simply because of direct exposure. And who am I kidding?  I am just a summer guy in general. I want to see rays of sun rather than mounds of snow. I much rather see athletes competing (especially the women athletes) in uniforms that showcase the awesome physique that many of the competitors have rather than seeing them all bundled up in ten different layers. Yes, the Summer Olympics is where it is at!

I am very excited for the next seventeen days. I plan to publish a couple more posts that are directly related to the games. I hope all of you enjoy this special world event as well. Let the games begin!! Don’t Blink.