It's like my grandfather always told me: Mike, when life hands you Lemons, ask for a paternity test.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Few Simple Pleasures

A list of those seemingly insignificant, small things that make my life beautiful:
Waking up Naturally (No alarm necessary)
The Smell of Books
Otter Pops
Finding Money in my Pockets
Raucous Laughter
Late Night Talks with Family
Smile Wrinkles (Really ladies, nothing is more beautiful than a woman comfortable in her own skin)
Walking in the Rain (Splashing in Puddles included)
Listening to the Beatles, on vinyl
Random Notes of Affirmation

Here's a few that have been on my mind lately. There are countless others which I will include at random and in their own due time. Until then, comment on this post some of the things that make your life livable.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It took until the final game of the regular season, but the Stihl Chainsaw Gorillas won a game. Our record heading into tournament play is 1-3-1, and while there is room for improvement (there always is), I am happy with the win. We played well, and missed several opportunities to extend our lead.
Highlights of the game begin with Austin's two goals. He broke defender's ankles left and right as he pestered the other team's back line. As much as I enjoyed Austin's goals, the missed goals were just as enjoyable. Morgan had a pretty shot on goal. It beat the goalie, but the top post was unrelenting in its defense. I can't remember which of the brothers (Matt or Austin) sent the ball through, but it was the prettiest cross I'd seen all game. Sadly, Elissa had a miscommunication and didn't get a good connection with the ball.
Our defense was solid throughout the game as well. Tisah and Gwen are ridiculous in the center, while Allison, Eric, Mike W. and I took turns playing right and left back. We shut down the offense, making the game relatively easy for Brittany and Jesse in goal.
As we begin tournament play, I feel really good about our prospects. I see the improvement in our passing game, defense, and hunger for goals. I think we'll start working the wings more. Also, we'll focus and strengthen our midfield. I'll keep you all posted on tournament play.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rock Climbing

I know in the past I have derided and complained about my current living situation. I am a student and live in Utah, several thousand miles away from family. However, after Thursday, I found one of Utah's redeemable qualities: rocks. They're all over the place; there are pebbles, boulders, rock faces, canyons and mountains. And their allure over me was as strong as when I was a child. Actually, allure is not the correct word; enchantment is more fitting. But I'm digressing into emotions, and as a man, I am obligated to speak of manly things (like climbing and conquering new heights).
Thursday morning found me eating a bowl of Apple Dapples, Kroger's solution to Apple Jacks, when my roommate entered the room and asked if I wanted to go rock climbing. I had never rock climbed before; in East Texas, there are no mountains to defeat, only pines. I decided to go, and we joined a few friends for an afternoon in Rock Canyon. To paint a picture for you, Rock Canyon is one of the more awe-inspiring sights in Utah County. The cliffs rise on both sides, small trails branching out from the Bonneville. The hiking up there is spectacular; when Will visited me, we went to Rock Canyon and explored. This day, my friends and I came with rope and harnesses, belaying equipment and carabiners. We broke from the main trail and followed a sliding rock path up to our first climb. It was a 30 foot rock face. A few of the more experiences climbers secured the rope, as I watched with some trepidation. A friend climbed up easily, as did another. My turn shortly arrived. My roommate assured me of the safety of everything, and slowly I began the climb.
I learned quickly the effects climbing has on the body. First off, I had to use my toes more than I thought. I had previously assumed that climbing focused mostly on leg strength, but the pressure placed on the feet became apparent. It didn't help that I had hurt my foot playing soccer the day before, but I continued my ascent. Finally, I made it! I climbed my first rock face, and quickly repelled down. I had a sense of accomplishment I haven't had in a while, not since winning a comedy competition in March. There was no time to dwell on past laurels, because we quickly left for another part of the canyon. This time we crossed a dried riverbed via a tree bridge, and arrived at the "Appendage," which housed three or four increasingly more challenging climbs. We selected one, and began our individual climbs.
Here I will explore my physical weakness, which wilted in the face of mental resolve. About 2/3 of the way up, I couldn't find a hold within reached. I immediately thought of a joke someone told me: Once you're up there, you find yourself wishing you had two or three more inches in your reach. Well, my hold was two inches away, my legs were spent, and my toe was killing. I lost my one grip, and swung for awhile at the end of my rope, yelling down that I couldn't do it. My friends, in their upmost wisdom, disagreed with me, and encouraged me to try again. I decided to listen to them, and not to my protesting muscles. I caught onto the rock again, found my holds, and hoisted myself up the rock face. As I repelled back down, I just laid on a rock bed, to the congratulations of my peers.
I opened with a mild rebuke against my current environment. Now, I look forward to next week, when my friends and I will get together for another trip to Rock Canyon. It doesn't change the fact that I will return to Texas after finishing up, nor does it cure the righteous contusions on my big toe (it's a palette of purple, black, and green). Nevertheless, rock climbing brightens the outlook of being in Provo for the summer. Which brings me ask: what do you guys have planned for this summer?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For My Mom (who doesn't know how to find my blog...)

As it is Mother's Day, and I happen to have one, I feel inspired to tell you how great she is. I offer a few examples of Mom's awesomeness. It is from her that I learned how to tell stories. Some of my fondest memories are of Mom having all four of us boys sit on her and Dad's seeming giant bed. There, she related stories of her childhood, as well as stories of her father. I remember sitting wide-eyed and entranced by these stories. I laughed as she placed a tack in her sixth-grade teacher's chair, and became an accomplice in her mischief. I learned from her stories perhaps more than when she lectured.
Mom also taught us how to cook. Seeing around her feet four wild boys, she decided to domesticate us. Luckily she chose cooking instead of crocheting. She would ask us to do simple things when we were little: grate cheese, crack eggs, pour milk. In return, she rewarded us with treats. When we get together now, we return the favor, and cook for her (although our cooking pales in comparison to hers). She unknowingly set her boys off on a life-long course; several of us have cooked or catered events. I personally have taught others some of the recipes that she gave to me.
For these examples (and countless other acts of sacrifice and charity), I will forever be grateful to her. Mama, I love you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts on the First Game

Last night, at 9:15, an intramural game between the FC Shirkeadores and the Stihl Chainsaw Gorillas began. After two, 20 minute halves, the score was FC Shirkeadores 12- 1 Stihl Chainsaw Gorillas. I am captain of the SCG's, but I'll be the first to tell you we won something last night. Allow me to explain.
From the beginning, our team was outmatched. The Shirkeadores scored within thirty seconds of the opening whistle. By half time, it was 9-0. We could not close down their passing lanes, nor could we progress the ball past mid field. We were outplayed the first half. I tried to rally the troops, saying, "We can still win," to which one player carefully reminded me, "Do we want to win? Because I was having fun."
I remembered then why I organized this team: to have fun. I specifically chose the lower division so a bunch of us from the ward could get together and play some soccer. I assured people at the signing up that we were in this league to have fun. No pressure was the name of our game. With that in mind, we talked as a group, and started the second half. While there wasn't a miracle comeback, we played better. We waited until the last second for Brenton to finally score our first goal. The last second goal produced the greatest celebration, even greater than the other team's victory.
While I am wary to place a moral on this story (that is my cynical side lurking within the text), I find meaning in the mundaneness of our goal. As I stated before, the SCG's were outplayed at every position. That said, we did not give up. We continued to play, to challenge, to pick ourselves up after their goals, and we scored. We played through, and I couldn't be happier.

As a side note, we have our next games on May 11 (9:15 PM) and May 15 (11 AM).