Tag: USA

Stadium of Fire 2014

stadium of fire

Have I mentioned it recently how much I love living in Utah? One of the greatest parts is all the wonderful entertainment that is accessible, affordable and family friendly.  I have long thought of doing a blog called Utah52 and talk about a different cultural event every weekend of the year in Utah.  Unfortunately I would need a group to help me with such a project as I have things going on some weekends.

Nevertheless, you could easily go to a great quality event every weekend.  In December you could go to something every day.

People that are long-timers in Utah don’t understand how unique it is.  My parents live in Sacramento and thy have a professional musical theater called Music Circus and a youth theater and that is basically it.  I wanted to see Christmas Carol there and nothing.  In Utah you can see Christmas Carol like 100 different places.

Dance is heavily supported.  Ballet West is one of the best companies in the country.  Same with Utah Symphony.  There’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and every town has their own little playhouse.  Where I live in Draper has the amphitheater and Draper Historic Theater.

It’s just a great place to live!

The universities here make everything special also.  The choirs, dance troops, productions are second to none.

In this vein, every year BYU and the City of Provo puts on a huge production called Stadium of Fire.  They usually get a popular recording act- often country and then surround them with the longest fireworks display in the country and much more.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend for a long time because of family stuff but this year I was so I snatched up tickets.  Carrie Underwood was the singer and I particularly wanted to see her because in 2005 I was supposed to see her but the traffic into USANA Ampitheater made us an hour late and we missed both opening acts to Kenny Chesney 😦  (That is why I hate USANA)

So I got tickets and pretty good one’s too.  I went with my new friend Adam and we had a great time.  Carrie was awesome and did all my favorite songs.  One especially cool moment was when she went from Jesus Take the Wheel to How Great Thou Art.  It was great.

(I wasn’t as close as this guy but I still enjoyed it)

There was also a field worth of dancers, a super hero trampoline troop that was amazing.  If these 2 routines don’t make you smile than I worry for you… 😉

The fireworks were then pretty awesome.  I made this video of the night using a new app called majisto.  It turned out pretty well.

War veteran and land mine survivor JR Martinez was the emcee of the night and hearing his story and the Utah Army Band play made me ponder about the freedoms I enjoy.  Too often these days we are talking more about rights than freedoms. Rights are important but we also need to step back and be grateful for the many freedoms we do have that others do not.  The push for more rights can make us forget what tremendous blessings we have.

Let’s just say there is a reason so many including children are desperate to come here and we forget that or at least I do. Sometimes it is helpful to have all the pomp and circumstance of a stadium of fire to remember how great it really is.

I loved it and am grateful for all the volunteer work which goes into such a production.  Thanks to all!

God bless America!

stadium of fire2

 

 

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!

Happy President’s Day!

I just had to post a video in honor of the weekend.  This girl is so cute!

I am a huge patriot and am grateful for all the presidents that have served.  I certainly wouldn’t want their job!  In recent times politician has become a dirty word but, you have to remember that many good people sacrifice high paying jobs in law and business to serve their country.  I think such an ambition can be noble and worthy of commendation.

I also acknowledge that power is a slippery slope of ego and moral compromise for many, if not most, who are given its taste. Like the scripture says:

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Hence many are called, but few are chosen.”

That said- I am grateful for those that heed the call to serve in our democratic republic at the federal, state and local level.  I am also deeply in debt for the sacrifices made by members of our armed forces and our missionaries.  I want you to know that I pray for you daily.  God bless you and God bless the USA!

I used to have all of these memorized but now I know I'd struggle. Especially with the turn of the century presidents...Oh well!