Sunday, February 27, 2011

Aggie Sports

With a 3 point jump shot hitting nothing but net by Brad Brown and a subsequent block by the same player the clock hit 0:00 the last Aggie sports event that I will ever attend ended. Wait, who the hell is Brad Brown? *shrug* Apparently he has chemistry with my friends or something.

It seems like just a few months ago I headed off to Romney Stadium to attend my very first Aggie sporting event. I was pretty excited. I put on all of my gameday gear and walked across the street to our football stadium to get my seat. I watched as my team got down 7-0, then they tied it up at 7-7 and then the score was 17-7. The problem is that I had just moved to Logan from Salt Lake(ish) to begin my Sophomore year as an Aggie. I was wearing red and being a stupid Sophomore I thought "my team" was still the team I grew up liking, the Utes from the University of Utah. Anyway I had better things to do than watch sports, I left after the first quarter and went to hang out with my friends from Bountiful who had come up that night to see me. We got dinner and played Starcraft. Later that night I saw "my team" had won 58-10.

Two weeks later another big game was happening at Romney Stadium. BYU was coming to visit. Being a U of U fan I had always hated BYU, so I bought a Utah State shirt basically just to show that I wasn't supporting BYU. Utah State was coming off of a 2-10 season and was off to a stellar 0-2 start so far so I expected another 58-10 like result. At halftime the score was 34-0 for BYU, I wasn't too disappointed really, I was just there to be with my new friends. All the obnoxious BYU fans had dispersed their uncreative stolen blue color through our blue which Utah State has been using since the 1800's and had began copying the chants that all of the USU students were doing, but I didn't much care. I had no loyalty to either team. It just reassured me that the U of U was far superior to BYU and that they had the most annoying fans in the country.

Then something happened. This sophomore QB came in and scrambled around making all these huge BYU defensive players miss and he threw an off balanced pass to the corner of the end zone which was caught with one hand by some dude who didn't look like he belonged in a football jersey. The stadium erupted as if they'd just won the game. I clapped, but I was a little weirded out as to why everyone was so happy that we were only losing by 27 now. The game completely changed though, over the next 15 minutes it was almost as if they guys wearing blue were the better team. The white ones were still playing their starters, but they weren't moving the ball and USU was getting first downs. Then the skinny new QB got hit by someone twice his size and shrugged it off. He dodged two more players and began running. Making three more players miss before he was forced out of bounds after gaining 20 yards. I was so excited! A few plays later Utah State scored again. They were only down by 20 with ... oh shit, 4 minutes left. For four minutes though I was so excited to be an Aggie fan. We lost the game 34-14, but as I left I noticed that all the Utah State fans were laughing in the faces of the nationally top-10 ranked Cougar fans and taunting them about their 20 point win. Well that's stupid, but I liked these people. As football season went on we won 3 games at home and I was there for them.

People kept telling me basketball season was a whole kind of different event though. I didn't really care, watching Utah State beat teams like Idaho and NMSU in football was fun for me. Besides, USU had just lost their greatest player ever to graduation the year before. I wasn't really a huge fan of college basketball anyway. When I went to Weber State during my Freshman year I watched Weber State beat Utah State the year before and that was cool, but whatever.

I missed the first few basketball games because of work, but finally there was one I could go to. It happened to be against Weber State. I had come around to feeling like an Aggie so I wore my Weber State sweatshirt and my Utah State t-shirt. I had a few people make fun of my sweatshirt on the way to the game, but it was black so I don't think many realized it was WSU apparel. Before tipoff I took it off so I could wear blue with everyone else and sang the Scotsman and the school song with everyone too. Inside I didn't really care who won. That was until tipoff when I realized just how much fun college basketball could be.

The crowd was insane. They were loud, annoying, rude, crude, funny and everyone was in sync. It was so exciting! After a few minutes I joined in telling the Weber State players that they sucked. It was halftime and I was pissed that the game I had originally not cared about the outcome in had my Aggies down by 5. The second half was like a whole new story though. They had to come shoot the ball against the hoop where Utah State's student section is. They couldn't make anything and USU ended up winning by 10. A few days later the Utes came to play. There was no question on what color I was wearing this time, Aggie Blue. When Utah State's sophomore forward tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer to put the Aggies on top 66-64 I was ecstatic.

Over the next three years there were a lot of great (and some bad) memories in Aggie sports.

During my Sophomore year there was the time I showed up late to the Nevada game, after bombing a test, Nevada was up by a few points, but as soon as I found standing room Utah State went on a tear and the Spectrum was louder than I had ever thought possible. Over the semester we kept arriving earlier and earlier for each game, until finally we were standing out in the cold for hours waiting to just get inside so we could sit for another hour. Another time my mom came with me to a basketball game and just about had the time of her life. There was the time 4 of us sat around a customer at Chili's who had a smart phone, for about 20 minutes, to get updates as USU came back from a 13 point deficit to beat NMSU on a 15 footer by a then sophomore guard. I recall the first time I rudely pointed out who the winning team and losing team were, as if there really was any question about it.

As a Junior there was the time I finally quit hiding my eyes when Louisiana Tech dropped a pass that should have been a touchdown and with it dropped their comeback hopes. The time I went to a game in Ogden to see the Aggies beat Weber State on their home court by 6. The time BYU came back to Logan for the first time in 5 years to start off with a 10-2 lead only to later have us chanting, "Up by 20" at them. The only time I ever walked home from The Spectrum to see a white A over Old Main as St. Mary's beat us by 5. Once I came to Logan over Christmas break for a basketball game to find that I had no one to go with, I reluctantly ended up going alone, and met a girl who changed my life - if only for a moment. I remember the first hockey game I went to where we beat Boise State 10-3. There was the time when Utah State was losing the WAC tournament championship and I was so pissed all I could do was turn the TV off and make out with the girl I was with that night to forget about it.

In my senior year, I recall driving to Jackson for a geology trip we sat in shock listening to Al "the hysterical" Lewis give the play by play as Utah State played BYU in football and touchdown after touchdown was scored until the score was 32-3, advantage Aggies. Another basketball game against Weber State in which we were down by double digits only to rally back in true Spectrum fashion to win by double digits. Along with my friend, I began to become someone people noticed in the Spectrum as we got on TV every game with our silly signs. I went on a date a few weeks ago with someone I had just about nothing in common with, so instead of caring my roommate and I checked our phones every 10 minutes for score updates as the Aggies took on St. Mary's again, this time in San Francisco. They rallied back from a 12 point deficit to win by 10 and end the 19 game home win streak of the team that did the same to us the year prior.

Tonight it all came to an end. I didn't have the greatest seat. Section K, Row 11 (how appropriate), seat 13. I saw all sorts of people I had gone to games with over the past and saw various ex-flings like Amanda, Marlee and Trisha. I was there with James, my sidekick through 3 years of Aggie sports. I was there with other friends of mine Miles and Ryan. There was the typical random cute girl I had invited to feel like I had friends of the opposite gender sitting next to me. I got to see the Seniors who I had seen in every basketball game that I had been to receive framed jerseys. When Idaho came to shoot free throws and I was so excited to see what another Senior, Wild Bill, had planned for his last game I was surprised as the entire front row was wearing costumes that Bill had worn throughout the past 3 years while he stood there in just his regular gameday clothes. I got various texts and calls about my sign which read,
          W  U  Y
Proud to have been an Aggie
I suppose I was on TV again. We avenged a loss to win a 4th straight WAC title, we all rushed the court and jumped around as I saw the nets get cut down for my 3rd straight time. Maybe I wasn't part of the team, but as I am finishing my degree this year, I couldn't help but feel like I was personally part of the greatest class in Utah State history.

When all the Seniors began leaving the game one by one and that unheard of Freshman named Brad Brown hit a 3 pointer and blocked a shot it felt so appropriate. My time in Logan is almost done. I'm grateful for that, but wow it was a fun ride. There is still two away games, the WAC tournament and the NCAA tournament (not to mention two months of classes), but my last game, as a student, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum is over.

After the court rushing, my friends and I left. We went and got dinner and played Starcraft. In some ways not much has really changed, but as cheesy as this sounds, in other ways Aggie sports have changed my life. I've had some of the greatest times of my life at Aggie games, had conversations with people I didn't know about nothing but Aggie sports, I own no less than 7 Aggie shirts, I've written an entire blog about the fun of university sports and you just read it. I've been depressed and unwilling to even leave my apartment and dragged myself to a basketball game only to leave feeling happy and like I had 10,269 best friends, most of them just didn't know my name.

I guess pretty soon it's going to be time to move on in life and try to become something important. Maybe graduate school, maybe a career, maybe I'll go bohemian and burn all my worldly possessions, but a part of me will always be a Utah State Aggie.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day and Relationships

I'll be honest, unless you're stalking me this blog post is not worth reading. It's just going to be me talking about my love life, or lack thereof, because I feel like with Valentine's Day being tomorrow it's appropriate for me to do that. Seriously though, if you're just going to go, "Brandon you're such a bitter ass hole, grow up" just hit the back button right now, because you don't deserve to read my wonderful writing.

A few days ago I was talking with some people in my petroleum systems class. They're all grad students and they're from Texas, New Jersey and Florida. I was asking what they felt about Utah and they were all just like "This place is so damn weird." The guy from Florida was saying that when he moved, he told his girlfriend he was headed back to school in Logan and she was welcome to come with and that he was happy she did because he'd tried talking to girls here and he said that had his girlfriend not moved with him he'd have simply had to avoid women for four years.

Now this dude is a pretty typical guy really. He's not a partier. He's not a drunk geologist. He's actually an incredibly smart PhD student who just happens to be from Not Utah. (I think I capitalize the N in not when I'm referring to the rest of the world as a place called Not Utah, right?) I mean, I of all people can understand his feelings, but it's not THAT bad here, I've had a fun relationship here and there. I have to be honest though - this statement makes me super excited to see what dating out of state is like. I already have one experience with it, and though it ended not-so-great, it was amazing. Again, if you're reading this and you're offended - I already told you not to, but if you've made it this far - the rest of the blog is nicer, so you may as well continue.

So over the past couple weeks I've run into a couple ex's of mine that I'd not seen in a while. People sure do change quickly sometimes. I'm not going to go into much detail on this as I don't feel it's appropriate, but sometimes it's nice to have a nice update to all that sadness you felt when you lost someone, and run into them years later only to think to yourself, "Wow, glad that ended." So to all 3 of you who are actually still reading this, if any of you are missing someone like crazy right now. I promise, if you run into them in a couple years, you're going to be like "Hmmph, why'd I ever care?" and it's such a nice feeling. Don't get me wrong, it's a little sad too, but the closure is nice.

Another ex told me to eff off, basically, and get out of her life. I wasn't quite aware that I was exactly in her life, but I'm pretty amazing and I think just my presence can be distracting for some ;) Seriously though, at the expense of sounding arrogant. I'm 99.4% sure she said this because she couldn't get over me with the option of talking to me still available. I have to admit, this really does make me feel good. I need that sometimes, haha. So thanks for telling me to eff off and get out of your life.... sort of....

So.. Valentines Day.. I wanted to get a date for this holiday, but I really didn't know who to ask. I'd narrowed it down to two girls. I was home Thursday night and they both facebook messaged me, I was like, "Cool, I can have a conversation with them both - see who I enjoy the conversation with more and call her tomorrow." Didn't work out that way. The first one was like "I can't sleep - I have a boy on my mind." I, being slightly narcissistic, automatically thought, "Hey, maybe it's me." Wrong. She went on to tell me about him and I was like, "Yep, not calling her tomorrow." The second one however seemed quite friendly. We talked about places we like to go and things we like to do and I'm not really sure how it happened, but suddenly we had plans for next weekend. This made me quite happy as she's quite the beautiful girl and I've always wanted to get to know her a little better, just never really made the effort to. I'm quite excited actually.

Unfortunately this leaves me with the conundrum of, I'm still free on Valentines Day. I suppose I could call the same girl, but two dates in one week? That seems forced. I don't want to scare her. I don't even know if I like her yet. There are other girls sure, but I've gotten to the point where I just don't want to date for the sake of dating anymore. I've dated so many people that I honestly couldn't name them all if I spent an hour trying. If I'm going to spend my time and money on someone, I want to be a little interested. I'm having such a hard time finding someone I'm a little interested in these days. It's my own fault. I just lump people into the "too religious" category way to hastily, which is rude, but it's not like a majority of them aren't doing the same to me when I say something like, "Hell yeah I like Mudkips!" Though I'm not sure why I'd be talking to a girl about Mudkips, or when they find out that the last time I went to all 3 meetings of church was... I don't know. Couple that with everyone being so dead-set on marriage up here that girls close to my age are mostly married and it really makes me feel justified in being a little bitter.

Sigh, I want to be in love. Yeah there I said it, screw you for still reading this. I love those glimpses of love I've had in various relationships where I feel like I can do, say or share anything with a girl and still be accepted. Where we just want to spend time together, rather than just one of us wanting to spend time with the other. Where neither of us judge each other for any beliefs or feelings we may hold differing from the other, but accept that differences kind of kick ass. When every damn time we hang out we get closer and we have more fun until she tells you that she's a lesbian or she tells you that you're too innocent for her. Okay, maybe those last two things are kind of subjective.

Eh, it'll happen someday right? I'm a pretty kick-ass guy. At least that's what I hear and really right now isn't the right time anyway. I've got some friends, some that I hardly know, and we've had some times I wouldn't trade for the world. (Oops, broke into song.) but I really do have a good time with my friends and it's my last semester as an undergraduate to do whatever the hell I want to do on my terms without ever consulting with anyone else. I've got the rest of my life to be an adult. I think for Valentine's Day I'm going to go buy myself some take-out food and a video game and have a night better than any of you going out on forced holiday based dates. Then when I get bored of playing video games I'm going to fall asleep in my bed without showering and no one will care if I smell like pizza. Happy Valentines Day to me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

White History Month?

It's February, great. A month where we celebrate love (or in my case the lack of love), dead presidents (not the band) and black heritage. One of my friends posted a Facebook status update asking the question, "Why is there no White History Month?"

At face value it's a pretty valid question really. There is a black history month, a black entertainment channel, scholarships for black people, traditionally black colleges. I could go on, but you get the idea. I kind of got thinking about this. I've had this discussion with my friend before. He's a white kid from a family that lives on the benches, but not too high up and has parents who drive nice large sedans, but they're made in Japan rather than Germany. He couldn't get any scholarships or financial aid because he was too average and was complaining about this to me. I heard his complaints and understood. It really is kind of a bummer.

I've not personally had the problem as my family consists of a single disabled parent and I'm likely smarter than you are, so being white hasn't really hindered my ability to find funds for college. This is tangential.

Back on topic, why is there no white history month? Well, why should there be? How many holidays or celebrations do we have throughout the year celebrating European or Colonial traditions? Pretty much every single major holiday we celebrate is from a white heritage of sorts. Oh sure the blacks have Kwanzaa, but can any of you honestly tell me when Kwanzaa is? I sure don't have any idea. MLK Day? First of all if you didn't get school/work off, you wouldn't have any idea the holiday existed and secondly that holiday isn't about black people. It's about civil rights in general and a kick ass guy who made quite a statement about the movement. Wouldn't having a white history month be a bit narcissistic? Are Saint Valentines Day, Saint Patricks Day, Independence Day, Halloween (derives from the Irish festival of Summers End with English traditions), Thanksgiving Day and Christmas not enough? How about most people having every Sunday of the year as a vacation with this idea being derived from the Christian theology that God rested on the 7th day?

Our culture is based around white traditions and people complain that black people want a month to hold various celebrations about their culture? Not to mention February isn't just Black History Month, but also American Heart Month, Grapefruit Month, National Time Management Month and Relationship Wellness Month. No I'm not making any of those up and there are like 50 others on the list, those are the ones I just found significant to mention (especially the one about grapefruits.)

Beyond this, just because it is a celebration of black history (or a channel with predominantly black actors or a college with mostly black people) doesn't mean I wouldn't be welcome. If I were to apply to Grambling University as a white kid from Utah with a 3.4 GPA, they'd be happy to have me. If I want to tune into BET, the channel producers are happy to have a white viewer (I'm sure they expect it.) If I wanted to attend a celebration of African American culture, I guarantee the people there would love to see me curious about their culture and would explain their customs with pride.

Now what comes to mind when you think of white-only gatherings? Yeah same here.. pitchforks and pointy hoods.

Okay that was racist, but I'm white so I can make fun of white people. Sometimes I wish I was Mexican, because then I could make fun of every race. Though I suppose Richard Hammond has no problem making fun of Mexicans and he's white, but he's also Richard Hammond and I am not.

Another point is that there are plenty of predominantly white universities as well. Take Utah State for example. If it wasn't for international students we would basically have a 100% white student population. People who honestly think we need a White Entertainment Network are simply ignorant. Go turn your TV on. Okay now watch a few minutes of CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and basically any other channel that is in English and not within 3 channels of MTV. There you go - White Entertainment Network. It's just not called that because WET would be a stupid channel name.

Oh and as for the scholarships? Yeah I don't really have an answer for that, but I can't say I feel bad for you if I think about it. I suppose if you're from an upper-middle class family, regardless of race, you should probably have parents who were smart enough to only have 3 or 4 kids, max, and they should easily be able to help pay your way through school, since they're financially comfortable. If your parents happened to have 10 kids and can't afford it because they can barely afford to scrape by off of their "measly" $70,000+ a year, maybe that should be a lesson to you. Birth control is good.

Anyway, happy Black History Month to all the (mostly white) people who read my blog (including you Russian's who somehow manage to find your way onto here) By the way, just so you know, you guys make the most kick ass movie villains ever. Spy and most action movies just aren't the same without a Russian antagonist.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowboarders are Optimists

Snowboarding and skiing are great aren't they? Well I can only speak for snowboarding myself, but it really is fun. You hop on a board and fly down a slope as fast as you can weaving in and out to kick snow up, keeping your balance avoiding trees and noobs (me). It's a rush and it's something to do in the Winter.

That's the problem. You're only doing it because it's something to do in the winter. You know you'd all rather be wakeboarding or water skiing, or hell just being out in the sun and enjoying temperatures of above freezing. I for one would rather sit in a grassy field with a kite than go on the most epic snowboarding adventure of my life. I won't deny that snowboarding is fun, for a winter activity, but if it was never winter again I wouldn't care and I think there are very few non-professional winter sport enthusiasts who wouldn't agree with me.

You do it simply because you can. It's like that saying, "life gives you lemons so you make lemonade." Well the weather gives you snow so you try and find stuff to do with it because in all honesty snow is a pain in the ass. Yeah sure, that first snow of the year it's fun to go build a snowman or sled down Old Main Hill, but then 3 months later when it snows you're just like, "f**k this." No one enjoys snow 6 months out of the year. Even hardcore snowboarders will say, "Yeah in a perfect world it would snow in the mountains and stay dry in the valley." Well yeah, I won't disagree with that at all. In a perfect world that's exactly what would happen. We'd get the snowpack for the spring runoff (because ecologically speaking, we need snow to sustain our rather large population here in this semi-arid region) and the valleys could stay nice and habitable. Not going to happen. At least not when the foot of the mountain is literally a mile from your doorstep.

Can you imagine if there was no snow on the roads, all year, ever? 90% of all car body shops throughout the state would have to close. How often to you hear about accidents in the summer? Very rarely. Off the top of my head I can't think of a single car accident that has occurred in nice weather or even in a summer rain, unless you count L.A. where people there think a rainstorm means the apocalypse is coming and drive their cars off freeway overpasses. Now contrast that with how many of your friends have been in fender benders or worse, completely totaled out their car from, "I hit some snow." or "I hit some ice." Two of my roommates have messed up their cars due to snow just this month alone.

Yet you have the skiers and the snowboarders, the most optimistic people in the world, insisting that snow is awesome. You're wrong! Snow sucks! No one likes it and no one likes you when you say that you want it to snow. We all know someone like this too. Every October or November you've got that friend who watches the Doppler radar every day that the temperature drops below 40, like it's some sort of interesting optical illusion, just waiting for a green blip. Then it's there and they get all excited. They pull their snowboards out of the closet, they go to the winter sporting goods sales and buy new goggles and jackets. Then one day it snows - about two inches. They're all raving about how the lifts should be opening soon while everyone else is like, "Oh God, it's Winter, here we go again." Then as soon as the local ski lifts open up you don't see them for about 2 weeks, which is probably a good thing because you were going to punch them in the fact the next time they said something positive about the cold weather and the snow anyway.

All right, so I suppose the economy is still rebounding and without the snow those closed body shops would leave people out of work, maybe I'll try to be an optimist about it too. Also the Logan snow plow driver (yes that is singular on purpose) would have to find a new job.