Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We Are the Champions!

Intramural Championship T-Shirts!
Congrats to SLD and N.D., who won the BYU Intramurals Co-ed Championship tonight!  Their team beat the Care Bears or the Polar Bears or something like that to pick up the coveted intramural championship t-shirst.  I appreciate that you blew out the other team so that I didn't have to worry too much about the outcome.  Thank you for that...I have enough stress in my life already!  :-)

It's been fun watching you play this season.  I'm not very good at watching other people play.  I'm more used to playing myself, but--given that I've only touched a basketball on three brief occasions since moving to Utah--I'm glad that you're giving me some good opportunities to practice how to be an energetic and enthusiastic fan.  

As much as I enjoyed watching you drain outside jumpers, I think it was even more fun to see your passing out there.  It made me jealous that I couldn't play too.  SLD, you had a particularly great bounce pass to finish off a fast break tonight.  You managed to thread the needle on that pass just under the outstretched arms of the defender to hit your teammate streaking down the court for a wide open layup.  N.D., you had a great pass as well where you drove the lane, got the defender to commit to you, and then dumped it off to a wide open teammate for the bucket!  Those types of plays show that you really understand how the game is supposed to be played.

Congrats also to the Crickmore twins who dominated the paint and yet maintained their grace and poise!  I loved cheering you on as well--particularly since you are basically family!

Is it too early to start planning a Three-Peat celebrations?  Maybe we better worry about you winning it all again next year!  ;-)  Good luck on your finals to Team "Los Banditos"!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Coach

"The Coach and I"
I never met Will Rogers--who famously declared that he never met a man he didn't like--but I think I came pretty close today.  Coach Frank Layden came to speak to our office today and I think it's been a long time since I've enjoyed a speech as much as I've enjoyed his.

Coach Layden coached the Utah Jazz many years ago and has continued as a consultant for the Jazz for many years.  As a huge Jazz fan, I was excited to have Coach Layden come speak.  He is known for being funny, but I could not have imagined how great his presentation was.

He spoke about his life growing up, his career, and coaching the Jazz.  He talked about having having an impact on other people's lives and continuing to educate ourselves.  I can tell that he practices what he preaches.  Coach is nearly 82 years old, but I never would have guessed that if he had not told us what year he was born (1932).  He has a young spirit and an enthusiasm for life that is contagious.

Here are a couple of of my favorite quotes from his presentation:

  • “Reputation is a perception of who you are.  Character is who you really are.” – Frank Layden
  • “I’ve never been afraid of anything in my life and that includes the Los Angeles Lakers!” –Frank Layden
  • "Freedom is expensive" (quoting Winston Churchill and the leadership that he showed during World War II)
  • "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." (quoting Jackie Robinson)

He also said that we were free to quote him one time, and after that, we could do what he always does which is to say: "As I've always said...."  That line got quite a few chuckles from my colleagues.

But my favorite quote was the one that reminded me of Will Rogers (who was also funny like Coach Layden).  Coach said:
  • “Everyone I meet, when I walk away, I hope they feel better.”
That is quite a thought and as you heard Coach say it and share a few examples of that philosophy, I knew that he meant it.  It's definitely something to shoot for.

Coach Layden, thanks for coming to speak to us today.  You encouraged us to have an impact on others, but I appreciate the impact you had on me.  Hope to see you at a Jazz game real soon!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


"I'm not in Kansas anymore..."
I woke up this morning to a scene that I'm not accustomed to seeing.  I had gone to bed last night thinking that the weather was unseasonably calm and warm for a December in the Rocky Mountains.  I knew that a storm was predicted, but it came quietly during the night.  Unsuspectingly, I opened my front door in the pre-dawn hours to see a fresh blanket of white.  It covered everything.
Should anyone really be up at this hour?
This was the view from my front door bright and early this morning.  It's not exactly a Thomas Kinkade ("Painter of Light") painting, but I really like how the light from the street lamp illuminates the neighborhood.  I'm a Southern California kid and this is something that we really aren't accustomed to seeing.

My commute today was extra long.  It was literally measured in hours rather than minutes.  I texted the picture below to a friend of mine in SoCal to give them an idea of what it was like.
Brake Lights--I saw plenty of those today
It snowed all day.  Persistent but fierce flurries of snow flakes that never really seemed to stick, but also refused to subside.  Even though I'm not used to the snow, I took comfort from watching the relentless flakes swirl around the windows of my office all day.  I love the whiteness and the beauty of the freshly fallen snow.  It blankets everything and, if you're lucky enough to find a quiet spot to enjoy the moment, fills the air with a heavy, reassuring silence.

As I neared my home, the temp dipped below 24 degrees--nearly 30 degrees colder than last night.  But I was glad that I had a comfortable house and warm, electric blanket to look forward to.  So long as I can safely navigate the icy, slushy streets on my daily commute, I'll continue to enjoy the newness (at least to me) of these wintry conditions.  Let it snow!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"The World Will Little Note..."

Abraham Lincoln - November 1863
150 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.  The speech itself is short--a mere 271 words.  There are no pictures of Lincoln actually giving the speech and the story is that the reason is because the photographers did not bother to take any pictures because they thought they had a lot more time.

Apparently there is a big campaign here in Utah to get people to memorize the Gettysburg Address.  While I laud the effort, the name of the campaign is too hideous to include in my blog ("Are You Getty Ready?").  I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does.  But my personal feelings are beside the point.

At the half time of the BYU football game last Saturday, they recited the Gettysburg Address.  I was struck by this line from the speech:

  • "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."
It's not often that one gets to disagree with Abraham Lincoln.  But I do and I am right and he is wrong.  The simplicity, sincerity, and majesty of Lincoln's words in that Civil War cemetery to dedicate the grave sites of the fallen soldiers has endured.

Indeed, it is carved into the granite walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  His speech has lifted and inspired generations of Americans for 150 years and will continue to do so for at least another 150.

So many great quotes come from that speech--including expressions that are part of Americana.  Here are a few of my favorites:
  • "Four score and seven years ago..."
  • "...we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground..."
  • "It is for us the living..."
  • "...that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
I have been to the battlefield at Gettysburg several times.  It is a remarkable place.  The battle marked the "high water" mark of the Confederacy.  General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army never advanced further north than Gettysburg.  After being stopped at Gettysburg, Lee retreated to Virginia and never launched another major offensive effort.  

The battle of Gettysburg turned the tide of the Civil War and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address helped launch the process of rebuilding and healing our nation.  It continues to do so today.  Mr. President, I'm so glad that you were wrong.  We do remember what you said 150 years ago today!
One of only two confirmed photographs of Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Cemetery.
This was taken about three hours before the speech.
Here is the full text of the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Happy Gettysburg Address Day!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Yesterday dawned cold, wet, and rainy.  Flakes of snow drifted intermittently from the skies.  At times, it was difficult to know whether it was snowing or raining--it was just wet.  I ended up spending the majority of the day at BYU--almost as much time as I spent there since I volunteered at a seemingly unending law school competition one time.

I went down pretty much first thing in the morning to see my two brothers play in their BYU intramural flag football playoffs.  They lost and it was cold!  The highlight of the game was seeing SLD chase down another player to make a touchdown-saving tackle at the 1 yard line.  I don't know if I've ever been so proud of him!  Great job SLD!  (I was even more proud than when I watched him drain that sweet-looking, three-point swish shot in his basketball game last week!)

Then it was time to get some errands done.  I was still unsure about whether or not I wanted to freeze my fanny in the snow at Lavell Edwards Stadium.  One thing I did know was that I needed even more cold weather gear if I was going to survive!
The view outside the stadium...told you it was cold!
Ultimately, I decided to go--and not just because I had a free ticket to the game.  I went because it was the last home game of the season and I thought that it would be an experience to say that I had been to a game in the snow.
The view inside the stadium from our seats...look closely for the snow flurries...
At the game, my sister told me that she had won a chance to fire the cannon after a BYU score.  She was #8 in line to do so.  The cannon fires after every score (touchdown or field goal) and at the end of each quarter.  Normally, as #8 in line I would not have been so hopeful about my chances to fire the cannon, but this was Senior Day and we were playing Idaho State.  I felt like the odds were pretty much in my favor...

They were.  We scored 49 points in the first half and right before the end of the third quarter, I had my moment:
I also got to hang out on the sideline while waiting for my big moment.  Cosmo came by and I snagged him for the picture above.  I didn't realize that he was so short.  But I guess it helps for all the flips and acrobatic maneuvers he has to do every game.  I'm sure that the pic above will impress no one except for my kids...
I also realized that I made the (international) tv broadcast (on BYUtv).  I'm sure that no one recognized me, but me.  (And since the field goal that gave me the shot at firing the cannon put us up 59-10 was anyone even still watching?  Plus it's not like we were talking ESPN here!)  So in case you missed it, here it is:
I'm at the top left, wearing the white hat standing behind one of the cadets "guarding" the cannon.
On my way out of the stadium, I stopped by to check on my nephews.  The cold was too much for them, so they were hanging out in the Cougar Room underneath the West Stands of the stadium.
Hard at work!
Ever wonder where the stadium orange coated security force hangs out?  Now you know.  They were there too.  I guess the cold was a little too much for them as well.  Plus, no need to worry that the BYU fans--rowdy though they may be--were going to storm the field to tear down the goal posts following this win.  I think that BYU's crack security force/ushers were a little embarrassed when they saw me pull out my phone to get this picture.  :-/
Because you can never get enough of BYU (or Provo for that matter), I headed over to the Marriott Center where there was a basketball doubleheader going on.
Kyle Collinsworth, Matt Carlino, and me
First, the women's team beat Boston College in overtime.  The great thing about the women's games is that you can literally sit courtside.  I met some interesting people including a couple of BYU's star players (above).
Based on the above photo, I think I may have actually grown an inch or two.  If Matt Carlino is 6'2", I'm more like 6'4" or 6'5".  Also, there is no truth to the rumor that Kyle Collinsworth is sporting a mullet...
A true mullet requires a tail in the back
...He just has a bad haircut.   :-/
But did I mention what a nice guy he is?  And how gracious he and Matt were to let me get a picture with them?  Both guys are having great seasons so far and the BYU basketball team is off to a great start this season!  Go Cougs!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I love this picture maybe the most of all of them
We finished.  I'll give a more complete report later, but thanks to everyone who tracked us online, watched the finish line camera, sent us these awesome screen shots, posted on FB, texted me, emailed, and prayed for us yesterday.  It might have been the toughest think I've ever done.  

I was so happy to get back to my hotel last night and get a hot shower.  My feet are covered with awesome souvenir that will remind me of this race for probably another week.  But I'm glad I did it.  I'm glad it's over and that I don't have to worry about doing this anytime soon.

Here are a few more screen shots from the live finish cam last night.  Troy, Matthias, and Lance--I couldn't ask for better brothers!  You are so awesome for sending these so quickly!  I love them!  Ray Ray, thanks for your Instagram post.  I loved that one too!
Photographic evidence that I did finish the race!
World's Best Training Partner!
So glad it's over!