Utes Wynn Big Over Heaps of BYU

AP:     September 17, 2011
           Provo, UT

Utah beat BYU 54-10 in the first September meeting of the schools in nearly half a century.
 The BYU Cougars were crushed by century-old rival Utah tonight by a score of 54-10. Seven turnovers, a slew of dropped passes, several three-and-outs, and uninspired play calling doomed the Cougars on what was supposed to be their biggest home opener in decades as they entered a new phase in their program’s storied history—Independence. A riveting game through the first half, the Runnin’ Utes would go on to score 47 unanswered points en route to the largest blowout victory in the rivalry in over twenty years.

More surprising than the final score, however, was BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall’s post-game interview, where he revealed to the press his team’s “intention to lose the game and lose big.” Turning to his stable of scriptural passage and big-business buzz speak, Mendenhall laid out what he described as his “Big Picture Overarching System,” or BPOS. 

Mendenhall, typically stoic, asked the gathered media to “recall in [their] minds” his statements made at a fireside chat in Provo held the night before. During the Friday meeting, Mendenhall had chided boosters of his program for choosing to grill him on his coaching decisions in the prior week’s agonizing loss to Texas (a 17-16 decision for the UT Longhorns) instead of focusing on the “bigger picture.” 

Mendenhall facing his Pharisees and Sadducees.
Standing in front of boosters who dared question his coaching decisions “felt like I was in front of the Pharisees and the Sadducees," Mendenhall recounted. "Sometimes what play is called on third-and-20 is more important (to them) than what we're trying to do here. My hope is that you support us with your heart as you try to find what's most important in life and see the bigger picture, and join us in that purpose."[1]
Mendenhall  described the moment as “epiphonal—a ground-breaking, revelatory moment, something I thought was difficult going in, but ultimately expiatory, especially in light of the fallen nature of the boosters and fans.”

With this backdrop in mind, Mendenhall proceeded to lay out his BPOS plan for the gathered media. “It’s a three-tier system of success that we intend to implement throughout the season,” Mendenhall said. “Beginning two weeks ago with Ole Miss, we hope to continu[e] the plan throughout the rest of the year in order to help our team and our fans grasp and achieve the bigger picture and purpose of our program.” 

The Cougars coach then stepped away from the podium, pulled a velvet cord, and unveiled the three marble pillars of the BYU BPOS: Faith, Hope, and Charity. 

“Even though our fans might not have recognized it, I’m confident that our team executes our plan perfectly each week,” the coach declared. When asked to explain, Mendenhall said, “With Ole Miss, we gave our fans faith that we could win against a quality opponent; in Texas, we gave them hope that they could compete with the big names of our sport; and in Utah, we loved our enemies and turned our cheeks to those who would spitefully use us . . . we laid down our lives and our game for our fellow men.”

Heaps trips over the ball and into the endzone, leading to a Utah touchdown.
Following a brief pause to wipe away a tear and muttering that he “promised [him]self [he] wouldn’t do this,” Mendenhall then explained to bewildered reporters that he was “very proud of Jake Heaps’ performance right out of the gate,” describing the young quarterback’s opening-drive fumble and cartwheel through the endzone as “simultaneously inspired and inspiring.” 

Mendenhall also noted that he was particularly pleased with wide receiver J.D. Falslev’s second-half performance as well as that of his defense.  “Our D[efense] was pretty stingy, pretty selfish in the first half,” Mendenhall said, “but once they saw the offense, and particularly J.D., give of their hearts and of their footballs, they came around pretty quickly.”  

RB Josh Quezada giveth...
After this unveiling, Mendenhall took only a handful of questions, responding tersely to any speculation that his coaches had failed to prepare the team in the offseason and particularly in their preparation for the Utes. “I think that’s patently untrue,” Mendenhall bristled. “Like I explained to you, this game was designed and executed exactly as we planned it. If you don't understand that, that's your failing as a passive observer of the game, being acted upon instead of acting.”

When asked whether the team could have benefitted from the three practices he had canceled during fall camp because he thought the team was then “ahead of schedule,” Mendenhall scoffed. “We held scripture study those days,” Mendenhall said. “What else would you have had us do?”

...and the Utes' Derrick Shelby taketh away.
When asked whether Utah’s departure to the Pac-12 and BYU’s independence played a part in the newly devised BPOS, Mendenhall replied, “It certainly goes into the calculus, but as I’ve said before, we are a unique program with unique players and are therefore obligated to highlight that uniqueness to the world. It’s no secret that football is only our fifth priority, as it should be for our fans—who I think just don’t quite grasp what we’re trying to accomplish here on a daily basis.”

Dozens of questions were ultimately waived away by the coach, but Mendenhall did share one final thought with the press before making his exit. “The fans and boosters wanted a Holy War . . . ” Mendenhall whispered as he folded his hands and bowed his head. “I brought them a Holy War.”

[1] As quoted in “Y. coach tells fireside of bigger mission,” published by the Deseret News, Friday Sept. 16, 2011.


The Final Four!!!

Check it out, ladies and gents. Fictionist is right on the cusp.  Stewbie's 8th Grade prediction is almost come due!!!


A Prayer of Thanksgiving

And so we give thanks...

Our Jimmer which art in Provo,
Hallowed be thy Game,
Thy Naismith come, thy shot go down
in N'Orleans, as it did in Denver.
Give us this day your double cross-over
And forgive us our doubts, as we forgive your doubters.
And lead us not into elimination,
but deliver us from Florida
For thine is the tourney, and the power, and the glory,

(All rights reserved).


A Few Complaints

I've come to a realization lately-- I don't blog as much because life is not crazy / hectic / karmically kicking me in the groin as it used to.  In short, I'm pretty happy and content--more so than at almost any point of my life.  You can blame erv for that.

While my literary ineptitude might be a little sad (you can't write when you're not feeling snarky, ebv?), I want you readers to rest assured that there are still things to complain about.

Here are a couple.

1.  Cell Phones at Funerals

Really?  Does this need to be addressed?  Sadly, yes.  erv and I went to a funeral of a dear friend a few weeks back and heard not one, not two, but three different cell phones go off during the ceremony.

Look, I understand that sometimes cell phones go off at bad times-- during class, in church, etc. I suppose that's part of the price we have to pay for easy, mobile communication.  But is our interconnectedness really worth the cheapening of sacred events?

The Children of Israel used to take off their shoes when they were in the presence of God or standing in Holy Places. I figure the least we can do is turn our phones off (or to silent) when we're in sacred space.

2.  Babies at Social Functions

A favorite saying of mine, thanks again to erv, is "Crying babies are like good intentions: Both should be carried out immediately!"   Sadly, that's too often not the case.

This one is similar to the cell phones at sacred events problem.  I understand that this might offend some of the baby-mommy-bloggers out there, but it's a slightly secret  straight-up pet peeve of mine.

When your young child starts to get fussy during church, at the play (why are you bringing it to a play?!), a movie (see previous parenthetical), a funeral, or any other social event where focus from the audience is placed on some central figure and quiet is a rule, please take them out quickly and deal with it.

Yes.  Your child is cute, adorable, bubbly, bright-eyed, talented, amazing, gorgeous, ... a literal superlative in baby form.  I get it.  But when your baby starts to scream and throw things, happy adjectives are swiftly replaced with one shared thought in every audience member's brain: "LOUD BABY CRYING!"

I think this is an evolutionary, unconscious response.  When we hear babies cry, we are hardwired to want to make them stop crying.  Make them comfortable and content again. It's a survival of the species thing.

But thankfully, we're not battling with saber-toothed tigers for survival anymore. 

So, when you see numberless heads turning your direction as your child acts up, it's not the adoring eyes of jealous parents wishing they could have the privilege of changing your child's magical diaper (your baby's mess is even adorable!), it's the eyes of some very annoyed people who wish you would hush your kiddo and would be willing to do it if the child were theirs, thank you very much.

So here's my request: don't simply pick up the crying child and rock them in the middle of a meeting in the hopes that your breathtaking little angel calms down immediately.  There's no time threshold here.  You should not wait for five minutes to see if the crying goes away on its own.

Just grab your munchkin and walk swiftly out into the hall.  Even if it means you have to bump a few knees and squash a couple toes on your way out, it's ok.  We understand.  Just tend to your little piece of perfection.

Because when they're content, so are we.


Homegrown Rock 'n' Roll

I grew up with several of these guys and count them among my friends.  I used to even jam with the lead singer.  Needless to say, they each outclass almost every musician I've ever met. 

They'll probably disown me as soon as they're huge (they're already way cooler than I'll ever be), but I present for your vote and your listening pleasure:


Check them out before they blow up stadiums on national tours.


I'm Becoming a Couponer

I know. Exciting title to follow up my weeks(?!) of silence.

But follow me on this one.  If you live in Utah or are a fan of saving money, a dear friend of ours, we'll call her L, has started up her own couponing, saving, deals extravaganza blog: EAT PRAY SAVE.

It's like getting free money--all the time (kind of).  And who wouldn't like more of that? (don't answer that, Tea Partiers).

Anyway, go on over, give it a click. There are some stellar deals out there today...and hopefully every day.

Like today's: Free Korean Barbeque plate at Pei Wei.

Belly: "Another free lunch you say? Why thank you!"

Brain: "Belly, you're sure getting big.  Are you sure you need another restaurant lunch? Wouldn't carrots and celery be better for you?"

Belly: "Brain--it's free, you fool!  FREE!!!!"

Brain: "Good point.  Carry on."


Awkard People ... You Are Not Alone

Before I hit my obligatory "Best of 2010" post, I thought I'd present this series of pictures featuring Stanford Hero, Quarterback Extraordinaire, and most likely future multi-, multi-millionaire NFL Footballer: Andrew Luck.

It's comforting to know that even the greatest of athletes and Big Men on Campus can be horribly photophobic (appropriate usage? probably not).

Ok, not too bad.  "Hi, Mom!"  Usual stuff...

Again, not that awful, but still.  Begs the caption: "Do I haveta, coach? Do I haveta?!"

This one's getting better. I can just see Luck at the Heisman Trophy presentation trying to get in on the conversation.   "Ha ha ha. So I guess none of us won it, right? Right, guys... hey...guys?! Wasn't that wicked?! Like...GUYS? Hey! Come on, guys!!!! Don't be like that!"

And then there's the coup de grace. 

True art can never fully be described. But I'd sure like to hear someone try with this picture.