Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's in a Beard?

Being a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan I was so excited for the Major League Baseball Playoffs to begin. The Cubs had successfully navigated there way through the regular season winning their division title on route to the best record in the entire National League. This year was going to be our year! The year that the Cubs brought home a World Series Title after making there devoted fans wait 100 years exactly! Having the best record in the National League meant that the Cubs would face the lowly Los Angeles Dodgers who had snuck their way into the playoffs by default after barely finishing over 500 and still being the "best" team in their division. Winning their first round series against the Dodgers should have been a breeze for the Cubs! In fact I remember seeing a poll of 7 baseball analysts in and every single one of them had the Cubs winning the series!

But after the Cubs dropped the first two games in their best of 5 series, I could see that they needed a little bit of Brad Zentgraf intervention. Therefore, I did the only thing I could do to help the team. I declared that I would NOT shave until the Cubs won against the Dodgers! "Playoff-Beards" are actually quite common among pro athletes, especially when it comes to baseball and hockey players. And I set out to show my support for my team in the only way I could think of! Unfortunately for me, the Cubs didn’t get the memo about my added support and went on to lose Game 3 effectively eliminating them from the playoffs and dashing every Cubs’ fan’s hopes of seeing a World Series Title brought back to Wrigley.

I then came to a cross-roads of sorts. While I had just the previous day claimed to never shave until the Cubs won a World Series, I was now faced with the terrible realization that this event would not happen for ATLEAST one full year! And even though I would have to eventually renege on my original purpose in not shaving, I didn’t want to let a perfectly good "Playoff-Beard" go to waste! And so I did the next most logical thing…coming in a close second place in popularity to the "Playoff-Beard" is another phenomenon that sweeps the nation on most every college campus this time of year, and that is the "Mid-Term-Beard".

It’s been almost two weeks now and my Mid-terms have come to a close. And with the end of my Mid-Terms comes the end of my "Mid-Term Beard" and all of the gloriousness that goes with it! I’ll be sad to see it go, but it’s for the best. It does look pretty gross! Haha Today I got my first Mid-Term score back in my Biomechanics Class…98%. I guess you can’t mess with results?! I hope my "Finals-Beard" will be as successful! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DJ B-rizzle

So I don’t know how many people know this about me, but my current calling in the church is the Secretary in the Stake Young Men’s Presidency. It really is a great calling and I really enjoy it a lot…most of the time anyways J When I was called to this position about 8 or 9 months ago, my old seminary teacher, who I had had a great relationship with, was the President. So working with the youth, planning dances, and organizing youth conference together with him and the other counselors never felt like work it was always just good times. About two months ago, the Stake Young Men’s Presidency was dissolved and a new president was called. But lucky for me I was retained as the Secretary!

One of my responsibilities is that of Youth Dance DJ!!! Naturally, after discovering that I would have DJ responsibilities my first order of business was to pick out a DJ persona. I’ve settled on DJ B-Rad, but any and all suggestions are welcome (haha). The whole DJ thing is a pretty cool gig, and I enjoy it for the most part. It took some getting use to, and I had to start from scratch and compile a whole new library of dance music (my second order of business). The Vanilla Ice, Men in Black song, and 80’s music was getting a little too much airtime for my liking! But now the music selection has pretty much caught up with the new millennium, with a few classic exceptions. And the youth have really show there approval of my "apparently natural" DJ-ing skillz (I say natural but it is more than likely a lucky coincidence that the youth don’t hate me because…well heck I’ve never done this thing before!).

I’ve never really had any complaints from kids or adults about how I do my DJ-ing thing…Until this past Saturday. Good grief…

The funny thing about working with the youth, and I’m sure any other adult who has been in my position can relate, is that the youth can/and most often do change their opinions on everything. One minute you can be their hero and then next they hate you with a passion. I had several snot-faced brats (excuse my heated-ness, but I hate when people are rude and inconsiderate and annoying) most all of which were from the other visiting stakes (our dances are most often Tri-Stake extravaganzas) came up to me and say, "Why don’t you play any good music! We can’t dance to this!" I wanted to say, "Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realize that your dance move repertoire included on the ability to jump up and down like a complete baffoon and follow the directions told to you in line dances like the Cha-Cha-Slide!" (Can that even be considered dancing?). Anyways…I normally don’t let that kind of stuff get under my skin and this time was no exception so a few minutes later all was forgotten and everyone, including myself, was back to having an enjoyable evening.

But than an adult leader from who-knows-where, I’d never seen him before, had to come and push my buttons! The dance had been going on for almost 2 hours and I had settled into my normal DJ-flow (2 or 3 fast songs for every slow dance)…that’s just how I roll. Ya feel me? Well, a slow dance was playing, and Bro. Bust-Your-Bubble felt the need to approach me and say, "Ahhh (big sigh), well look at that. This is the first time that I’ve seen the youth happy tonight. These youth come to dance with and meet new people, and they can’t do that with all the fast music." I was immediately on the defensive and said, "Look pal, I’ve been consistent, 2 or 3 fast song for every slow song. And I think it’s going pretty well so you can just settle down." To which he responded, "Well, this is you show and I’m not about to tell you how to run it but couldn’t you play 3 slow songs for every fast song?" This guy was like 50-something and I just wanted to slap him around a bit for the dumb things that he was saying; I especially got angry when he felt the need to come back 5 minutes later and tell me the exact same thing.

I don’t know what it was, but for whatever reason this guy really got my goat and really had gotten under my skin. But I guess patience with others is a virtue, and a virtue that apparently I needed to work on that night.

An interesting aspect of my calling, not related to DJ-ing youth dances, is all the meetings I get to sit in on and participate in. I often find myself sitting in a room with the other leaders, people who are two or even three-times my age, and then other meetings I’m in we are there meeting with the youth who are several years younger than me. I’ve noted on several occasions the disconnect between the age-gaps. I don’t consider myself a kid anymore, but I’m sure as heck not an old fart of a leader either. I’m somewhere in between. And I hear the grips of the youth about how the leaders won’t allow this and that and then I see the logistic problems that the youth never even consider. It is all just one big mess that makes me laugh sometimes. But I suppose my unique point of view is just one of the reasons why I am where I am. And I’m sure the same can be said for all of us. We each have special talents and abilities that enable us to succeed and/or contribute in the places that we find ourselves. And apparently DJ-ing skillz are a part of my resume' haha!