This past weekend was brutal for the sports fan in me. With the exception of The University of Utah basketball team defeating a lower tier UC Riverside, every squad I root for, college or professional, lost. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last. Caring about sports teams is risky stuff. Your heart gets tied up in the players and the program. Every win is great and every loss is devastating. If you are lucky, teams you like win more than they lose, but during those down times, when a favorite team is losing more than they win, things feel heavy and every sporting event carries an extra bit of drama.
When my teams lose I tell myself the same thing, You hate (insert sport). You always hated (insert sport). Be smart and never watch (insert sport) again. Which is an outright lie. If I hated it, I wouldn’t watch or care. I care a bit too much. In the hours after my team loses, I am not the most fun to be around. I pout and mope about, pondering all the what ifs. If it is a particularly ugly loss, I might not be right for a day or two.
That is unacceptable.
This past Saturday, I attended a football game at the U along with my siblings and some good friends. The Utes are having a good season, beating teams that have often owned our program, and competing in the games we have lost. Sadly, this particular outing did not go well for the Crimson. Arizona handily defeated us. The game was essentially over two minutes into the 4th quarter. The weather was awful, cold, rainy, windy. Add to that a severe beat down, and many fans left very early. Maybe it was the fact my team was never really in the game, or maybe I’d had enough of the negative things I was experiencing in the stadium around me, but I no longer wanted to feel angry or depressed for hours and hours about sporting events. I didn’t want to go home and be no fun to be around, annoying my kids and spouse. I didn’t want the rest of my weekend ruined by one event. I chose then to not let the sting of the loss linger. It worked. I instantly felt less bothered (by the loss at least, the fans on the other hand…), less grumpy and actually had some fun with my friends and family.
Maybe it was a cosmic test, as once I decided this, team after team on my list of favorites went down in bitter defeats. It was still frustrating, still annoying and still painful, but at least for one weekend, I did not give in. I was angry for a moment, let myself be angry, then let it slip away. You will have to ask my wife if I was any more fun to be around.
Here is a photo from the Utah game. Most everyone had left by this point, but the faithful remained. I can’t get behind a great deal of the behavior I saw at the stadium. People were screaming at fans of the other team, screaming at the players, screaming at each other. It was everything that is ugly and awful about sports. I was going to bring a friend of mine who doesn’t really like football, but does enjoy my company. I am grateful she was unable to attend as I would have been embarrassed by my fellow Utes.
These cruel and petty fans are of course the first ones out of the stadium when things don’t go their way. If nothing else, it confirmed what I already felt about most football fans. They need to grow up. Do better. I’m taking my own advice.
On Saturday, November 15, I turned 44 years old. I have loved almost every day of my 40’s, found them better, happier, more interesting than any other point in my life. I can admit, I wish I had a bit more hair, a lot less gray, some of the old agility, but really, I’m healthy (mostly), happy and loved. Who could want for anything else?
My 40’s have also provided me with two of the best birthday celebrations of my life. When I turned 40, I planned an intense birthday gathering, heading out with friends and family for a night of drinks and dinner, conversation and bonding. Also, on that night, I reunited with my friend Amanda, whom I had not seen in over 15 years. I am unashamed to admit that I cried when I saw her. Some moments…
I may have drank too much, but I had a great time, and it will always be a memorable birthday.
This year was equally wonderful. First, my wife took my record shopping, twice!
She surprised me with a new camera as well. I honestly did not expect it, I was giddily grateful when she handed it to me. I may have done a dance. I’m not very good at photography, but I want to get better. Sometimes I think I have a decent eye, but as for what shutter speed, lens, etc, to choose. I’m pretty clueless.
I’m going to take the opportunity, the equipment I have been provided and see what I can do. So many of my friends are excellent photographers. I will be bugging them for advice and wisdom. Hopefully then can be patient as I learn.
On Sunday, Sheryl and I attended a concert. We used to go to shows all the time, but I feel more and more out of place when I am out and about with the teens and 20 somethings. It’s nothing they do or say, but completely on me. I need to do better, but then again, the bands I want to see don’t come around the SLC much anymore. There are exceptions, like the bands that played at Music Garage this past weekend.
I am not shy about sharing the bands that influence and impact me. I am also quite vocal in my support for the record label, Sargent House. I am in love with most of the bands on this label. Chelsea Wolfe, Russian Circles, Emma Ruth Rundle, Mylets, TTNG, Boris, Deafheaven, Marriages, Helms Alee, Tera Melos, No Spill Blood, are all putting out amazing music. The show Sheryl and I attended contained three bands from Sargent House- Emma Ruth Rundle, Mylets, TTNG.
During the week, the venue changed from The Shred Shed to Music Garage This led to some confusion about starting times. We arrived just before 7 and stood out in the cold (and it was cold) for 40 minutes. The bands were late arriving. They’d traveled 9 hours from Denver, and pulled up to the venue just after 7:15. Like the road warriors Sargent House bands are, they unpacked, set up, played. Not only did they play on little rest, all three bands put on amazing sets.
It has been a very long time since I attended a show with such a small crowd- Less than 150 people. I found myself standing front and center, less than a foot from the stage (which was a whopping five inches off the floor). It provided me a unique concert experience. I was looking directly into the faces, watching hands on instruments, while the artists performed. I was hoping for such an experience, but this far exceeded my expectations.
I have been a huge fan of Emma’s since coming across her work in Red Sparowes. I became completely addicted to her work after hearing her other band, Marriages She is a talented artist and musician with a long list of projects, all worth a good listen. I was ecstatic when I heard she would be performing in Salt Lake.
Her set was mesmerizing. Everyone in the venue listened, riveted. Her voice soared, and her guitar sound engulfed the room. Between songs, everyone was silent, respectful and in awe. It was the most intimate performance I have experienced live. To witness it, to stand that close, I feel fortunate.
I did my best not to fan out too much, contenting myself with commenting on the quality of the set, but I do wish I had asked about touring with Boris earlier this year, and how incredible Wata is. My hope is Emma tours through SLC again with Marriages when their new record comes out next year.
Then came Henry.
Henry Kohen currently performs under the band name Myelts. He plays guitar like a madman, and his pedal board is, well, the only word is epic. Basically a one man band, he sets up his loops, tones, beats, as he goes. Nothing is pre-recorded, making the entire performance mind blowing. Never at a loss for energy or passion, Henry blew everyone away with his set. People were shaking their heads in amazement.
Not only was he tired from 9 hours in the car, but he was sick as well. It only made the performance that much more impressive.
The best moment for me was when Henry recognized me in the audience and wished me a happy birthday. That was an unexpected thrill. He even hooked me up with a swell shirt. I highly recommend getting his record. A new one is due out next year. Maybe he can tour with Emma and Marriages. That would be superb.
The final band of the night was TTNG. I am not as familiar with their music, having only listened to one or two tracks, but their live performance made me a fan. I had to purchase their record before leaving. I don’t have a great center stage photo, because I stepped back after Mylets performed. I thought others who were more into TTNG would like to take my awesome spot.
All in all a fantastic birthday.
What impressed me most about the overall show- The bands genuinely cared for each other. They helped each other set up and take down equipment. They praised each other, their record label, dedicated songs to each other. It is part of what makes Sargent House such a fantastic label. Cathy Pellow finds the best talent and the best people. She provides them with a platform to express their art and to be successful. It is instantly obvious that she cares for the artists as people, not just music makers. If you don’t listen to these bands, start. You wont be disappointed.
Finally, I recorded Emma while she played Living With the Black Dog. I held the phone the wrong way, and the sound quality is obviously limited by my device, but when I listen to it, I feel that same intimate sensation I felt at the show. I offer it up not because it is the best video, but it is special to me.
I forget how wonderful and scary voting feels. Each time I stand in front of that machine, I do the same thing. I take several nervous breaths. I read the instructions three times. I skip the straight party vote (anyone who votes straight party deserves a smack). I vote and vote and vote until the pages are done. I double check my ballot before printing. As the ballot is printing, I get more nervous. Did I vote for the right people? Did I vote my conscience? Did I vote against that judge I thought did a stinky job? Am I being watched? Whew, it’s over. I feel amazing.
What if I made a written list of the places I wanted to go? Would that list be more important than the list I keep in my head because a written list is more tangible?
Why do I believe that saying things out loud in the presence of others makes them more real?
What if I stopped pretending I cared about all the things I pretend to care about?
What if for one day we all made different choices?
I am full of too many questions.