Tag: sports

Christmas Swimfest 2012

the whole crew
the whole crew

So we had a our second annual Christmas Swimfest 2012.  Last year I wanted to give back to the swim community so I invented this idea of a Swimfest with relays and games.  The purpose was to have fun, get a good work out and introduce people to our swim family in a non-threatening way.  Since then we have done 2 others, one at Valentines and another in the Summer.  The Christmas Swimfests have been the most popular and the easiest to plan.  This year was no exception.

In truth, I almost didn’t do it because I felt overwhelmed with my move and everything but there was enough interest and I’d done it enough times I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did.  We met at Gene Fullmer Pool in West Jordan (the pools in Utah are THE BEST! Bar None!).  and ended up with 10 people which was perfect for even teams of 5.

The crew before our elves vs santa race
The gang before our elves vs Santa race

We had igloo caps this year, which I thought were quite cute.  Thank you Swimoutlet for getting them to us just in the nick of time.

My cousins Jaleah and Anne came which was fun and my friend Etsuko
My cousins Jaleah and Anne came which was fun and my friend Etsuko.  All sporting the igloo caps.
The treading water activity was a lot of fun. You had to hold your hands out of the water while jingle belling.  Josh, Sue and Sabrina lasted the longest
The treading water activity was a lot of fun. You had to hold your hands out of the water while jingle belling. Josh, Sue and Sabrina lasted the longest
Sabrina was an amazing treader especially considering she just had a baby! Wow!
Sabrina was an amazing treader especially considering she just had a baby! Wow!
281242_474450832593970_749989375_n
Everyone getting ready for the t-shirt relay.
155909_474452162593837_480980084_n
Swimming the candy relay
156285_474451159260604_146257781_n
Gordon swimming the t-shirt relay

Some of the other events we did are:  (Jim took more photos which I will add when I get them)

t-shirt relay with long sleeve t-shirts that made it a lot harder)

Santa vs Elves

treading water with jingle bells

Doing a lap and then eating a chocolate santa and then next person gets to go.

There is something else I’m forgetting.  The time went by far too fast!

Other one’s I had planned:

Push a plastic toy with your nose.

Plastic candy cane as a baton.

Rudolph antlers breaststroke race

Anyway, I love races and competition  and being with my friends.  When I was a little girl I always wanted to make a game or race out of what we were doing, so I guess this all goes right up my ally.  I had a great time and I’m grateful that Heavenly Father inspired me to go forward with a happy thing on a sad weekend.  He really does know what we need.

I’d love to encourage other masters groups out there to do their own swimfests and come up with their own relay ideas and pass them on.  Swimming (or life in general) doesn’t always need to be so serious.  We can have fun, let lose, and be happy.  It’s Christmas after all!

Merry Christmas!

To read about my other swimfests see:

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/?s=swimfest

Ho Ho Ho! Mrs Claus swimming!
Ho Ho Ho! Mrs Claus swimming!

Medals for Everyone!

US Swimmers!

How amazing has this swim Olympics been?  I’m honestly sorry to see it go (with the open water and triathlon coming next week but I don’t know if they will be broadcast).  I know I feel inspired.

Micheal Phelps has always said one of his main goals “is getting new faces into the sport. Getting kids who could be afraid of water to feel comfortable in the pool.”

As amazing as Beijing was for Phelps, Lochte and Coughlin it was practically a 3 member team.  In London we have seen an incredible variety of medalists.  By my count the US has 20 different swimmers that have medaled in races (not counting prelim swimmers like Coughlin).   14 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze with more to come tomorrow.

The thing about this that excites me as a complete amateur swimmer there are 20 athletes to look to and be inspired by.  It’s like the dream team of swimming! It really does inspire me to want to try harder and be as great as I can be.  To see so many people succeed makes it feel more likely that I can succeed in my goals, small as they might be.

I also greatly admire the Olympic spirit I’ve seen in the US swimmers.  Everyone is always talking about the egos of Lochte and Phelps but all I’ve seen is graciousness and smiles even in defeat.  What else can you ask for in an Olympian?

If I compare Phelps’ response to getting silver in the 200 to the Russian women in their silver in gymnastics, I don’t know how you can not see that he handled himself pretty darn well?  True with Lochte too even after losing to Phelps and getting bronze in his 200 back he was gracious and a complete gentleman.

The American women have done so much better than anyone would have thought.  I think everyone expected to see golds for Franklin but to have Vollmer, Soni, Shmitt and today Ledecky  (and the relay) all gold is  awesome!

Everyone of their stories amazes and excites me.  I want to be more like an Olympian.  Sometimes I can be so undisciplined.  I’m doing this wellness challenge and going without sugar for 21 days is seeming like the hardest thing in the world.  Surely if Michael Phelps can win 20+ medals I can go without sugar for 21 days :).

I’d like to meet an Olympian someday.  Find out what it’s really like.  I’ve also set a goal to start saving my money so I can go to the games in Rio. I’ve got 4 years to save and I think it is going to be awesome.  (Plus, you get to go to Rio. Win, win!).

Amazing relay!

Anyway, I hope all of you have enjoyed watching the Olympics as much as me.  Not only swimming has inspired me. I’ve loved watching the water polo, volleyball, gymnastics, rowing, kayaking, basketball, everything.   I’m inspired by every Olympic athlete, especially the Americans.  And how fun this year to get to follow the athletes on twitter and read their responses and ‘feel’ like you are having a conversation with them!  I can wish Ryan Lochte happy birthday or congratulate Michael Phelps on his wins.   I feel like I’m practically there cheering them on!  It makes it feel all the more real.  It’s so cool!

The only people I feel sorry for in these Olympics is all the poor saps in Vegas who tried to predict these games.  Not so much! For example, nobody at the swimswam prediction game put Manaudou as even a medalist on the 50 free, let alone gold.  Not one ballot!  It’s so great!

Thank you to all the amazing athletes.  Now we will be on to track and field.  Not quite as compelling as swimming for me, but still it’s going to be awesome.  I hope Lolo Jones can pull out a miracle. Rooting for her!

You know how with gymnastics and ice skating they have tours that go around the country and you can see all the Olympians?  I wish you could do that with swimming but might not work as nicely for a show. ;).  Still it’d be so cool to see them swim someday.

Well, better pull myself away from Olympic viewing and try to sleep.  I can’t believe my race is next week.  Ahhh! I don’t feel ready even though I did my practice 5k a month ago.  I don’t feel ready.  Still, I’m going to take a lesson from these amazing athletes and try my hardest and finish the race. 🙂 (and I have a new goal to get an Olympian to tweet me after my race! I love living in 2012!)

Lochte, Phelps, Cseh winners of 200 IM. What a great race that was. I will miss watching this rivalry.
Go USA Swimming!
Gold medal in 4 by 200 relay. So great!

Still my favorite story of the games.  Double gold for Dana Vollmer after facing failure and succeeding.  So awesome!  Makes me want to confront my failures and not give up.

A Very British Olympics

So I like most of you, I have been entranced by the Olympics coverage.  I have loved the Olympics since I was a little girl.  I remember watching Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn White in the winter Olympics and Pablo Morales, Summer Sanders, The Magnificent 7 in the summer Olympics.  Of course, we had the Olympics here in Salt Lake which was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of (and one of the most successfully executed Olympics in recent memory. No empty seats for us!).

I have such fond memories of watching and screaming with Sarah Hughes when she came from behind to win or when Apollo Ohno finally got his gold medal after being tripped earlier in the games.  I remember when Dan Jansen finally won a gold after falling again and again.  I remember watching the Dream Team and feeling like America was on top of the world.  Rulon Gardner defeating Karelin. All amazing Olympic moments.  Ian Thorpe blasting onto the swim world. Kerri Strug vaulting with a broken ankle. Paul Hamm winning a gold medal after practically vaulting onto the judges table.   It’s just amazing.

2008 was a fabulous Olympics especially watching Michael Phelps win 8 gold medals. It was a performance I will never forget!

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/watching-sports-inspires/

I think what makes the Olympics so special is the athletes give their entire life to represent their country in the games.  They sacrifice everything for their sport, their abilities and their country.  I think that is honorable.  It is honorable for both the medalists and those that just get there. Aside from maybe my mission I can’t think of a time when I sacrificed my life for something I believed in.  I just live an ordinary life and to me it is inspiring when others can do what the Olympians do.

It frustrates me when I see people laying on criticism of athletes like Michael Phelps.  Surely 19 medals should win our hearts but no, it does not seem to be enough for some people.  What does the man have to do? He took basically one year off and partied a little.  Give him a break. I think he’s awesome. An American hero.  For someone who supposedly has such an ego I’ve only seen him be incredibly gracious when he got 4th, and his silvers.  Same with Ryan Lochte, Nathan Adrien and the whole team.   They are all just so awesome!!!

My only problem watching the Olympics is I want the US to win everything.  Sorry, I’m an unabashed fan of all things US, BYU, LDS, Mormon, and Utah.

What are some of your favorite Olympic memories?

So far in these Olympics we’ve been less dominant than other years but it has still provided many compelling characters.  I will provide a couple of updates over the next 2 weeks but so far I’ve enjoyed some great viewing.   One thing that has been nice is more events seem to be broadcast.  I’ve really enjoyed watching the water polo matches, volleyball games (lots of BYU grads!), beach volleyball, kayaking, soccer, boxing and more.  I wish you could see some of these sports during the rest of the year and not just the Olympics.  They are a lot of fun to watch.

You think with all these sports channels we have now we could watch these more unusual sports.  Maybe we have them but I don’t know about them.  I’m going to look into that.

Anyway, some of my favorite moments from this Olympics so far are:

female swimming golds!- So far we’ve gotten golds from Dana Vollmer, Missy Franklin and Allison Shmitt.  My favorite was Vollmer.  She failed to make the team in 2008 and yet she came back to win gold.  It is an inspiration when someone looks failure in the face and does not waiver.  Awesome!

male swimming medals!-  19 medals for Michael Phelps.  Just amazing!  I would like to meet him someday.  I’d like to meet an Olympian and just hear what it is like.  Ryan Lochte’s medal in 400 IM was inspiring, Matt Grevers and Nick Tholman going 1-2 was amazing!  They are all just so cool.  The highlight was Michael’s 200 fly silver and then the awesome 4×200 relay.  What a fantastic performance that was.  Wow!

The thing that is great about this era of swimming is you have so many athletes competing in 2 or more Olympics.  Since we don’t always see swimmers outside of Olympics it helps to build the sport when there are repeat performances.  I was talking with a friend the other day and I had a hard time thinking of swimmers from the 80’s (my childhood) that had that kind of dominance for multiple Olympics. The only one I can think of is Janet Evans (who I idolized). The more name recognition you have, the more people remember swimming and want to participate in it.  I think it is great!  Each of these long-term swimmers like Lochte, Phelps and Coughlin could bow out and coach, make a living after medaling in one Olympics.  They don’t have to put themselves through 4 more years of brutal training but they chose to do so because they love the sport and love representing their country.  I think that is great!

female gymnastics- The team competition was so exciting! I was so glad to see Jordan Wieber come out and rock the competition.  She deserved to be in the all-around.  It is an insane rule that doesn’t allow the 4th best gymnast to compete.  Another example of the foolish desire to make everything fair.  Competition isn’t fair.  It’s competition.  How is it an effective gold medal if the best aren’t allowed to compete?  I was just so glad to see her get some redemption tonight.

One thing that has been fun is I just can’t wait for prime time to hear what is happening so I’ve been watching the BBC coverage online.  Kind of funny to hear the droll British commentary in comparison to the enthusiastic American announcers.  It all seems quite apropos for an Olympics in London.

Was anyone else underwhelmed by the opening ceremonies?   Even Paul McCartney couldn’t inject some excitement into the affairs.

More to come on the Olympics in this blog including my Olympic viewing party tomorrow!

SDRC Meet

Today was the last swimming event of 2011.  😦  What a great year it has been!  I seriously don’t know how I would have gotten through all of the challenges this year if I hadn’t rediscovered swimming.  It has been the avenue to so many wonderful friends and (forgive me for sounding corny) but the emergence of a swim family in my life.  I am so grateful to everyone that has volunteered, encouraged, befriend and swam with me!

The meet today was in Bountiful at the South Davis Recreation Center.  What an amazing facility.  The pools (yes, pools) are massive and there are racquetball, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as fitness equipment.  Pretty great!  One nice thing about Utah is most towns have these rec centers and for a small fee you can use all of the centers in the county as much as you’d like.  I don’t know where the local municipalities get the money but they are fantastic!  (Talk about a great way to encourage athletic activity in your town!)

So, this meet was the biggest of the season and definitely the most crowded.  I think there were 5 or 6 heats for the 50 free!  It was great seeing a bunch of my swim friends; although, I wish more of the open water community came out for the meets.  We miss you!  I got to carpool up with my friends Kate and Erin.  I should have taken a photo but it was wonderful to visit with them. It was also fun to see Josh (and win a free cap) and meet Matt fro the first time. I even was able to introduce myself to some new friends.

I particularly love when people are swimming in their first race/meet.  I feel almost like I did as a missionary welcoming a new investigator to church.  I just want them to have a great experience and be welcomed by me, like I was welcomed by others.

This meet was special because my sister Anna came up for it from Provo.  She stayed the night in my guest room (which is open for any of you who want to visit!) and then she drove up for the meet.  It was one of the first time’s that any of my family have been to a swim meet/race.  Even in high school with a new baby it was hard to get family members out to my meets.  It really meant a lot to me to have family cheering me on. She said it was one of the first athletic events she has ever been to where she’s been cheering for someone.  I guess that says something on how athletic my family is! I was grateful for her presence.  Thanks!

I swam in 3 events and was nervous about my performance as practice has been quite brutal lately.  Between my business trip and the tonsillitis I had gone 2 weeks without a swim.  I was also taking a strong antibiotic called clindamycin which caused my blood sugars to be high and my whole demeanor to be low energy (not to mention my body was fighting off tonsillitis.

When I went for my first swim last Friday it was brutal.  My arms felt like weights, the water like glue.  It was so hard to even get through a 200 m.  Nevertheless, I pushed forward and swam/worked out every day this week.   I am proud to say I had a 4 swim/5 workout week!  I say this with particular pride because never were the routines more difficult to get through.   At times it was very discouraging but I persisted on.

I was still unsure whether I would have the energy to get through my races today.  I didn’t’ want to re-injure myself as I am just today getting off the antibiotic but I wanted to do my best.  Fortunately the first race was my 50 free.  I was unaware my heat was starting and had to dash to the diving board.  As I was climbing up they blew the whistle making me a few seconds behind on my start.  My ending time was 52 seconds which I am happy with given the circumstances (my best is 49 seconds which I think I would have matched without the slow start).

Next up was the 50 fly.  I really had doubts on my ability to finish a lap of fly but I pushed through and completed my swim 5 seconds faster than my previous time!

My last race was the 500 meters.  It is the longest race of the day and a huge challenge.  It may seem odd that a 500 would be hard when I’ve swam 1.2 miles.  The pace is much faster and the addition of flip turns, which sap energy, makes it actually a little bit more difficult in some ways.  Anna was my counter and I think I felt everyone’s encouragement.  Still, by about lap 13 my legs were burning and my lungs felt heavy.    I said to myself 3 laps left.  You can do this!

I would have been happy just to finish but I improved by about 20 seconds off of my last time!  I’m so thrilled!

this may be my favorite photo ever. I think it is such a genuine smile because I am so genuinely happy!

Originally I had thoughts of doing the 200 meters but after the 500 I felt spent and I didn’t want to push my luck.  Anna and I drove home and went to Cafe Rio where I downed a whole wheat chicken burrito (no rice, double beans!).  It was a lunch well deserved.  What a wonderful day with friends, family, and swimming.  Perfect!

I look forward to the QUAC meet in February.  Wish there was one in January but I’ll have to make do with practice.  Thanks again to everyone who helped with today’s meet and all of the Utah Masters and Utah Open Water  events I’ve participated in.  It is great!

USU Meet

I’ve been a bit delayed in posting about the meet on Saturday because I’ve been super busy and they didn’t release the results until today.  This was my second US Masters Meet and it was a good experience.  I really debated whether to attend or not because it required a lot of driving, but I decided that I need to take advantage of every opportunity I can to improve my swimming and test myself physically.  The meets don’t happen very often so you can’t let one slip away.  (I wish they would advertise the meets more.  It would have been so nice to carpool.)

Compared to all of the open water/masters meets I’ve attended previously the USU meet felt very collegiate, young and competitive.  Indeed, when they released my scores I was the only swimmer in my age group (women 30-34).  This means I technically finished first in all my races!  🙂

It really felt more like Utah State’s swim team and 10 of their friends and while I don’t participate in the meets to win, it is more fun when things are a bit more casual.  My friends Josh and Sabrina came and Josh posted good times, but aside from them there was nobody else to really talk with or get to know.

Anyway, it was still a fun experience.  I swam in 4 races the 200 meter freestyle, 50 meter freestyle, 500 meter freestyle and the 50 butterfly.  The latter two were the most difficult.  The 500 was the longest meet race I’ve done (last time was the 400) and it was tough!  It’s funny you wouldn’t think swimming 500 meters would be hard after swimming 1.2 miles but the pace is faster at a meet and the flipturns drain a lot out of me- especially towards the end when I am gasping for air.

However, I am proud to say I finished all my flipturns and made it under my goal time of 13 minutes with a time of 12 min 22 seconds.  This was particularly satisfying as my swim cap kept riding up my head until I ripped it off and threw it on the pool deck.  Thankfully I had my hair in a pony-tail underneath my cap or the situation would have been bad!   Still, I was proud of myself for maintaining my focus and not letting the cap incident rile me.

It was also funny at the end of the 500 I was at least 2 laps behind anyone else in my heat.  It seemed like the whole pool deck started cheering me on.  I felt like the underdog in a sports movie.  Never mind that they were cheering me because I was last- I’ll take what I can get!

Once I finished the 500 I felt spent and wondered if I could get through the 50 fly.  The meet went along at a fast clip and it seemed I was always rushing to make my heat.  (They didn’t have a loud speaker to announce which heat was going when and that would have been very helpful).  I just wondered if I would have time to regroup and get through it.  It had been since high school that I had competed in a butterfly competition and I knew even a 50 meters was going to be tough.

Never wanting to back away from a challenge or give up, I just had to do it.  Into the water I went and I pushed through the pain to complete my 50 fly.  I know I have tons of work to do but I was proud of my 1 minute 9 second time- only 3 seconds slower than I had done in practice.

My other times are 200 m at 4 min 31 seconds (better than my 4 min 57 sec at the last meet) and my 50 free was a personal best at 49.2o seconds- first time under 50 seconds!

If anyone is reading this and is interested in participating in meets look up the US Masters swim team in your area.  I really wish there was some way I could promote or advertise the masters/open water swim programs in my area.  I know there are people like me who would love to participate but simply don’t know about it.  If anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them.

In the meantime, I will have to promote events from this blog- sending the word out in the best way I can.  My only wish about US Masters is that they had some kind of participation award or medal- like maybe something for a person who participates in all of the seasons meets? I like looking at my medals for the open water swims and wish I had something for the meets.  Plus, it is fun to show them off to friends and family! Oh well!

ah the self portrait.
Finishing a race
Before the 500

Watching Sports Inspires

The other day I was talking with a man and he said:

“You probably hate talking about sports”.

I said, “No, I like sports. I am a bit wishy-washy in my following but I have always liked sports- especially the Olympics.”

“Really?”  He said in surprise.

We then talked about the Utah Jazz, Jimmer, BYU football, Olympics ect.  I am not trying to say that I am an expert or some kind of die hard fan but I enjoy any good competitive match/race/game. I also pride myself on being well informed on a variety of topics including sports.  Unlike some girls, I can hold my own in a sports-related conversation.

I think the Olympics is particularly exciting because they only happen every 4 years- making the work that much more intense, the results more amazing.

There are some women who hate for their husbands to be interested in sports but I would way rather have that then video games. At least sports is something we can enjoy together.  I hate video games and am truly terrible at playing them (especially anything with the controllers I can’t seem to figure out). Just ask my brother.  He tried to teach me how to play Halo and it was a sorry site.

I also think there is an inspirational element to sports that doesn’t exist with video games.  Lately I’ve been reading Michael Phelps book entitled “Michael Phelps No Limits: The Will to Succeed”.  It is a standard inspirational sports book with cliched platitudes encouraging the reader to dream big, train hard and never shy away from bold goal setting.

Yet, somehow I am enjoying the book very much.  Michael Phelps is such an amazing story that I don’t know if he needs great writing accompanying his book?  I am getting exactly what I wanted when I bought it- a giant pep talk to get me  in the water- to push me forward in life. Phelps’ accomplishments at the Olympics were so amazing that he has earned the right to be an athletic inspiration.  That’s what I want from him and that’s what his book gives me.

Anyway,  I thought I would share with you the story of one of my athletic heroes which you may not be familiar with.

In 1992 I was 11 years old watching the Barcelona games when I heard about a swimmer named Pablo Morales.  His story has always impressed me.

Training his entire life he worked hard to get to the 1984 Olympics and won 2 silvers and a relay gold.

Then as a national champion and world record holder in the 100 fly he was heavily predicted to win gold in 1988. With weighted expectations he had what some say was the “worst Olympic trial swim of all time” and failed to even qualify for the Olympic games.  Devastated Pablo stepped away from swimming and went to law school.

In 1992 he decided to “unretire” and came back to swimming.  By this point he was 27 years old and had been away from competitive swimming for years.  The magnitude of his task was great and the likelihood of failure high but nevertheless he decided to make the attempt.

Can you imagine the demons that must have been going through his mind when entering the water at the Olympic trials?  Michael Phelps says that the “mental aspect of sports is just as important as the physical part.  There can be no doubt about that”.

By choosing to enter the race Morales decided to conquer the mental Everest that only past memories can make so exceptionally difficult to climb. A Sports Illustrated piece on the race describes the moment:

Where did he fit? He had fallen into the first category, the disappointments, in ’84 and again at the ’88 trials. Was it better to be in the second category, an unknown quantity, a question, a possibility rather than a probability? He could only wait to see where his story would fit in the string of stories. “I had no idea what to expect,” he said. “All I knew was I was going for the gold medal. That was the dream.”

Was there any swimmer on the team who did not know how difficult a trip he had undertaken? Gone from the sport for three years, retired, totally out of the water, he had traveled east to tackle law school at Cornell. He was eating cheeseburgers and reading torts. Gone. His decision to try a comeback had come upon him last summer in a growing rush. Could he do this? His mother, Blanca, was dying of cancer in Santa Clara, and then in September she was dead. He was thinking of her and he was thinking of himself and he was thinking of the Olympics. He went off on his own little crusade, perhaps riding toward a creaky windmill, off on a fool’s errand, but perhaps not. There were no shoe contracts or seven-figure deals being offered. He simply was giving a year of his life to see how well he could do.

“It was not unfinished business, trying to do something I never had done,” he says. “I never looked at it like that. I think all parts of your life are experiences. You experience one thing, then move to another. These were separate. I suppose you could say I was going toward the windmill, but I never thought that. I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to see.”

“At the finish I looked at the scoreboard, and it had such an unreal quality,” Morales said about his win in the 100-meter butterfly on Monday, completing a comeback at 27 years old that at one time seemed only a faint prayer. “Once something like this happens, you wonder if it really happened. You wonder the same way if you win or if you lose. Did it really happen?”

He did it! He won the gold despite all the odds.  It’s a great story!

This is why I like sports because it helps me remember the potential of the human body to perform and the power of the human mind to excel.

What sports moments inspire you? Please share. This is one of many I have.

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!!!!!!