Going Back to My Roots

I am enjoying my vacation out west immensely but I would be lying if I said it doesn’t feel weird not writing five times a week. With a hectic schedule the past several days, I have not posted at the typical rate that many of my readers expect. Hopefully you can forgive me.

I did want to update you on a couple fun ventures I have embarked on over the last week. First of all, I completed my seventh year as a court monitor this past weekend for Spokane’s Hoopfest. While all the locals complained about the 100+ degree heat¬†as they¬†pretty much melted on the asphalt, I was doing my thing while saying “What’s the big deal?” The Southern humidity conditioned me well and I had no problem staying out in the extreme conditions for ten straight hours on Saturday and eight hours on Sunday.

As for my court, I must say from top to bottom it was the most talented bracket I had ever officiated. With the high talent level came high competitive juices. Two fights broke out under my watch throughout the weekend. At the end of the game that contained the second fight, the instigator, who was a huge bald man with a goatee stood on top of the curb and yelled at me. With his already intimidating presence magnified by the few extra inches given to him by where he stood, it was a nerve-wracking experience. Luckily the Hoopfest rapid response team was right there to keep me safe.

Me meeting with two of the teams in my bracket prior to the game.

Me meeting with two of the teams in my bracket prior to the game.

A couple personal memories from Hoopfest 2015 will be forever documented thanks to media coverage. KXLY, a local news station in Spokane, did a story about Sidney and I traveling so far to volunteer. To view Grace Ditzler’s report, click here. Also, a team in my bracket was composed completely of homeless gentlemen. KXLY was also on hand to tell that story. To view that report, click here. This past weekend was awesome and I owe a big thank you to Sidney, my mom, and my dad for all taking turns keeping score for me.

Just doing my job during Hoopfest 2015.

Just doing my job during Hoopfest 2015.

Yesterday, Sidney and I made the drive to Missoula, Montana. Driving over the two passes, it was Sidney’s first time ever seeing real mountains. Making the trip to Missoula was important to me because after 15 months since setting foot in the city, I wanted to go back to the place that gave me so much.

We arrived in Missoula at around 10:30 a.m. and went right to the University of Montana campus. Sidney and I walked straight to the Adams Center so I could say hi to all my former colleagues in the athletic department. It was nice chatting with these people who I worked so closely with over the span of five years. It was especially humbling that Kent Haslam, Montana’s athletic director, took time out of his day to talk with me for about 15 minutes.

After visiting with Grizzly Athletics, Sidney and I went outside and met Dan, one of my very best friends from my college years. We walked around the campus and then enjoyed lunch at the Press Box. From there we hit up the mall where we met another friend and then we ventured over to a bowling alley. Dan dominated Sidney and I over the course of three games in the outdated, empty building. Mad that he crushed us so bad, I dropped Dan off at his car and he made the trip back to Kalispell (thanks for making the day trip to see us, Dan).

We enjoyed walking around the beautiful University of Montana campus.

We enjoyed walking around the beautiful University of Montana campus.

After checking in at our hotel, we met up for drinks with my great friend Pete at a new place in Missoula called the Thomas Meagher Bar. After some great conversation, Sid and I went to one of my favorite places in the city, the Iron Horse, to meet Shaun Rainey, his wife Britt, and their new son Brandon for dinner. We had a delightful time catching up and sharing a few laughs. From there I took Sidney around downtown Missoula where we made a few stops at some of the city’s famous watering holes. We returned to Spokane early this morning.

Shaun and I in the photo on top, Pete and I in the photo in the bottom left corner, and a view of the scenery on the drive back.

Shaun and I in the photo on top, Pete and I in the photo in the bottom left corner, and a view of the scenery on the drive back.

I am excited for the next couple days. While I enjoyed the hectic-nature of the past week, I am looking forward to just relaxing around the house for the next 48 hours. I plan to use every minute to enjoy myself and re-charge. Come Friday we will be traveling again on what will be a very busy few days.

Hope the month of June was a great one for you. As always, it was awesome for me. In a blog post at the start of the month, I mentioned how June of 2015 was going to be a special one for me…you would say my prediction was spot on, right? Don’t Blink.