Tag: college sports

BYU

As I write this post I am watching the BYU vs. Gonzaga game in the NCAA tournament.  BYU has a great team led by Jimmer Fredette who is an amazing player. His skill sets are so solid across the board including three point shots that are way outside.  The thing that is most impressive is he makes every other player better on his team.  I don’t see how you can help but get excited when watching someone who is so good at what they do.

Anyway, watching the game made me wax nostalgic of my BYU years (when I was there the basketball team was awful.  It was the volleyball and dance teams that were winning national championships).  I went to Brigham Young University (or BYU)  from 1999 to 2002. I know many people idolize high school but for me it is my college years that stand out.

BYU is  a very special school.  It is owned by my church- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it has strict standards for all who wish to attend.  (Actually its the same standards asked of all the youth of the church). Each student must commit to an honor code that demands honesty, character, integrity and prohibits alcohol, smoking, coffee, tea, premarital sex among other things.

Some are critical of these high standards, but I believe strongly they provide a sanctuary for people who believe the same things- a space where learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ can be combined with secular study in a way that is not available anywhere else in the world.  Aside from the other BYU schools, there is no other place where a Mormon can express their faith in the way they can at BYU.

It still gives me a thrill when I attend a play at BYU and there is a prayer before the game.  I fondly remember sitting in science class and singing a hymn  with my fellow students or asking questions about my faith to my professors (of any class).  BYU is always criticized for ‘limiting academic freedom’ but I believe I was more free there than I could have been at any school.  As I said, nowhere else could my faith flourish along with my knowledge.

When I arrived at BYU I was SO excited and rarely in life do experiences live up to high expectations but it did not disappoint (I was so anxious when opening my acceptance letter that I went into another room and upon reading ‘we are pleased…’ I started screaming and jumping up and down).

I know its a cliche but I really feel like I found my voice there.  Within my first semester I decided on political science and with this major I learned how to defend my point of view and how to understand others.  I also studied the philosophies of the past which have led to the contemporary lifestyles and ideas.   Its hard to over state the impact these classes had on me.  Even now, nearly 10 years later I still remember individual lectures and assignments.

The motto of BYU is ‘Enter to Learn, Go forth to Serve’ (Its on a big plaque at the entrance so its hard to miss!). I hope I have lived up to this challenge.  If you had asked me at 22 what I wanted to do I might have listed some great and lofty goals.  Perhaps I may have been disappointed with my current simple life?

Its hard to say, but I believe I have taken all the opportunities I can to continue to learn and grow.  I am constantly trying to read, study, analyze, pray and vocalize my opinions to and about the world.  (Hopefully you have seen this as you have read my blog!).  Who knows what I would be like without BYU, but I don’t think my life could possibly be the same without such a fortifying experience.

Some people go to BYU (or any other college for that matter) and breeze through taking the ‘easy classes’ and not really learning- not changing.  Others nitpick every flaw, and do nothing but complain (I was so sick of hearing ‘there’s nothing to do in Provo.  Please! There is plenty to do. You should see the list of activity ideas I came up with of things to do- its like 6 pages long!).   Such whining was not my style.  I always figured if I was going to do something I would do it well, and so I immersed myself in the BYU experience.

I went to activities, followed sports, found teachers and subjects I was passionate about, and even attended a dance or two (shocking I know).  I left BYU with no regrets (and unlike most college experience I can remember the fun I had!). The truth is if you decide you are going to have an awesome experience you probably will.  I certainly did.

The only thing I wish I had done is go on a study abroad but I was having too much fun at school to take time off.  I also could have spent more time but I loved school and had no desire to go home for the summer. If I was given the opportunity to go back and get more schooling I’d do it in a heartbeat (although I am sure it wouldn’t be the same.  You can never really go back to special experiences!).

I know it sounds cheesy but I walk on BYU campus and still feel like it is sacred  grounds.  Doesn’t everyone have places like that which help define their life? Perhaps its the church you get married in or the first home you buy, but for me one of those places will always be BYU. I love it!  I got a great education and it was a happy time of growth and discovery.  In some ways I wish I could go back and live that time again.  Go cougars!  (They just won the game by like 2o points!  Wahoo!  Proof you can uphold your standards and still win games…)

I am a Bandwagon Fan and Proud of It!

As anyone who has read my tweeting of late knows- I have been sick.  For the last month and a half I’ve suffered from a sinus infection that refuses to go away.  Even now after my second dose of antibiotics I am still phlegmy and not 100%.  Cross fingers that I will be 100% by the end of the week.  Needless to say the last month and half have been difficult and at times discouraging.  Thank goodness I have a job that is flexible and understanding (although the billable hours have been low, I’m surviving).  I went to the doctors on Monday and he said sinus infections are not considered chronic until they hit the 3 month mark!  Can you imagine feeling miserable for 3 months!  Shocking and depressing to even think about.

One of the things that depressed me about being sick is that it caused me to abandon my exercise/healthy eating regimen.  I had lost 5 lbs and was doing great.  Now as I improve, I must start again….what a discouraging thought, starting again.

What have I done to keep myself sane- you ask? Well, among other things I have been watching the college Bowl games.  My brother in-law got me started (and he taught me a lot about the game along the way!) during my breaks at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Of course, I had to watch the BYU winning game (MAACO Bowl), but I’ve also caught many others including the great matchups of Ohio State vs Oregon (Rose Bowl), LSU vs Penn State (Citrus Bowl), and Boise State vs TCU (Fiesta Bowl).  I’m actually excited for the BCS championship tomorrow between Texas and Alabama.

It’s funny because I haven’t followed any teams except perhaps a passive interest in BYU.  Some would scoff at my type of fair-weather fan claiming that intense devotion and passionate following is the only way to be in a sports fan.  I have several points in response: First of all, I have had a lot of time on my hands trying to get better.  Second, I enjoy almost any type of intense competition (wrestling, golf, and MMA I just can’t get into- sorry boys!).  Ever since I was little I liked both watching and attending sports games/matches.  I’ve been to Orioles and Oakland A’s games for baseball and Kings and Jazz games for basketball.  I also had the thrill of attending a variety of events at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake (I will do an entire post about the Olympics in Vancouver. I LOVE the Olympics.  It’s wierd but it is the most intense competition there is.

The Olympics is really the only sporting event I never miss.  Everything else is hit and miss.  I will have a year where I get into the NBA playoffs, March Madness, the World Series or like this year the college bowl games.  In my defense my skitsafrenic approach makes me surprisingly informed on a variety of sporting events.  When I went on my cruise last year the boys at my table were all surprised at the random sports trivia I knew.

My approach also keeps sports in balance and for the entertainment it is meant to provide.  I keep the players at a distance and enjoy the competition before me without the time-sucking effort of fanatical idealization.  Look at Tiger Woods, if he had been kept in his place and simply appreciated as a source of competition- not a hero, or an idol, or a spokesman- than perhaps his temptation and fall would not have been so great. He should be enjoyed as someone who plays an exciting game of golf- and that’s it.

So that is my defense of my bandwagon approach to sports.  In a weird way I am grateful for the bowl games and the pleasant distraction they have been this fall.  Next up Vancouver Olympics 2010!!!!!!