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A Season of Missed Opportunities

Coaches and players say that after each game the next week is a new week, a new opponent, and a new challenge. Facing Nevada this week is indeed a new week of preparation, and a new opponent; but like much of the season that has already past, the old challenges still remain. 

For the Cougars, the season had the promise of big time games both at home and on the road, a duel threat quarterback in Taysom Hill that resembles Nevada’s 2010 quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and a top tier defense anchored by Kyle VanNoy. Fans dreamed that this would be the season where BYU would finally hear the chants of BCS throughout LaVell Edwards Stadium; the same way Alabama fans seem to every year.

Now, in late November, LaVell Edwards Stadium is still waiting for the chants of BCS. For most fans, this season has become a season of missed opportunities. A season where a typhoon-soaked Virginia field led to a late interception, a Utah game that left fans wondering if the bye week was to blame, or the team’s struggle to finish drives once inside a snow covered red zone at Notre Dame. 

BYU has been plagued by injuries, a porous and inexperienced offensive line, a red zone offense that is scoring touchdowns less that 50 percent of the time, and final outcomes that have left the program frustrated but focused on the future.

Nevada is the regular season closer. It will be BYU’s final chance to fix mistakes that have plagued them and their fans all season long. Consider Nevada a final tune up leading to the Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Francisco versus a strong Pac-12 opponent. A win against Nevada can set up momentum heading into the post-season. Finishing with two more wins is crucial for the program’s outlook heading into next year where the schedule is even better.

But BYU will need to fix that offensive line, find a telepathic wavelength for Taysom Hill and Cody Hoffman to work on, and find a rhythm that will consistently put up touchdowns in the red zone. Will it be difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Definitely. Because, as we’ve seen all season long, just when you count the Cougars out they come back stronger than ever (just ask Texas). 

From the desk of Spencer Kinga producer for BYU Sports Nation on BYU Radio.

America Makes Us Equal

This past week, everyone in the BYU Broadcast Building got together and recited the Gettysburg Address. This got me thinking about how lucky we are to live in this country and to have the freedoms that we do. I began to think further …. America is not too shabby. 

Although we have had our ups and downs... overall...many people around the world would give everything to become a citizen here. I also think back to my ancestors and how they risked their lives and even died to come to the United States to experience the freedom we are so fortunate to have. My father is a family history junkie and I was talking to him on the phone the other day. He was telling me about my ancestors and how they got to America and HOLY COW... their life was ROUGH! I am forever in debt to them because I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for their craving of freedom. 

So... I have a confession... I'm a huge U.S. History fan (guilty).  And may I just say that Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and post-Civil War is very fascinating to me. You may ask why I am interested in this era of our country. I honestly don't have a direct answer. Maybe it's the fact that there was a huge disagreement within the States and they worked hard to enforce the UNITED States of America. 

As I listened to the Gettysburg Address recited over the radio, I couldn't help letting some tears run down my face. What an amazing time for our country. The main point was that Honest Abe was trying to help make us equal - no matter the color or religion. The Battle at Gettysburg was such an intense battle over a very simple subject. America had to go through this hardship to realize what we were all about. Many people come to our wonderful country just to feel like they are being treated equal. What an amazing thing we have!

I know this is somewhat of a disorganized, deep in thought post, but I just thought I would take the time to say, I'M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!! Are you? 

Go read the Gettysburg Address! It's always a great reminder to see how far our country has come and how fortunate we are. 

From the desk of Londyn Clawson, a producer for The Morning Show with Marcus Smith.

Rule #26: Assume Nothing

I’m pretty sure assumptions are at the source of every confrontation I’ve had with other humans. Sometimes I’m the one that makes the assumption, and can’t handle the disappointment. Other times someone else made the assumption about me and experiences equal trouble dealing with said disappointment.  That’s why I have Rule #26: Assume nothing.

Like the time I called a certain airline’s customer service department to fix a little problem. I assumed they were a department designed to serve the customer. Imagine my surprise when I connected the dots and realized their utter lack of helpfulness was because they had no interest in offering me any service of any kind. That’s when the fight started.

Then, there were my college roommates. They assumed they knew how my laundry process would go. The first step would be to put the clothes in the washer and start it up. The second step would be to take the washed clothes out of the washer, put them in the dryer and start it up. The third and final step would be to take the dried clothes out of the dryer and put them away. But most importantly, they assumed this would all take less than a day. My dried clothes would sometimes sit in the dryer for weeks. Well, imagine their surprise when they noticed the pattern and connected the dots - that I don’t really do the last part of that third step. That’s when those fights started.

What about the last time you got into a fight with your significant other? Who assumed what? Did they assume you wanted to go out somewhere because you agreed to go? Or did you really have no interest and decided to tag along because they wanted to go? Did they assume because you both talked about something just one time, that those were all your thoughts on the matter? Or did you have more to say? 

Who is really at fault here? Is it the person making the assumption? Is it the person who doesn’t live up to the assumption? I do think it seems a bit pretentious to conjure up some expectations and then fly off the handle when they aren’t met. Then again, much like my dried clothes patiently waiting in the dryer to be folded up and put away, there are some assumed expectations that are entirely reasonable. Rule #26 serves to remind me that whenever I interact with another human, I should hold back on the assumptions and wait for some solid data before making any hasty decisions. Because that’s when the fight starts.

From the desk of Bryce Tobin, producer and head rant-writer for The Matt Townsend Show.

A Tale of Two Teams: Notre Dame and BYU

When the Cougars travel to South Bend this weekend to take on the Notre Dame fighting Irish, they will find themselves in a battle. But the two schools have more in common than you might think. Both schools are religious institutions and hold a high academic standard. Both are independent teams and are sitting not far outside the top 25. Another common factor between only these two schools is —both have been home to BYU defensive back, Chris Badger.

Badger played on Notre Dame’s scout team last season while his team made a run to the BCS National Championship game. But when family circumstances warranted his return to his hometown of Provo, he approached Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly about transferring to BYU.  “He gave me time to think about it and let me know that if I did want to stay, that my scholarship would be there,” Badger said. Kelly and the NCAA allowed Badger to leave Notre Dame and play at BYU without losing a year of eligibility for transferring. Since his arrival, the redshirt freshman has played mostly on special teams, beginning his play on punt return against Middle Tennessee State. He has continued to play a role on kickoff, and even got in some time on defense against Idaho State on Saturday, making 5 tackles, 3 of them solo.

Part of what has made his return so smooth is his longtime friendship with fellow defender and high school teammate, Craig Bills. “The first few weeks I would stand there right next to Craig on the sideline and I’d look at the call and I would tell him what my responsibilities were… That helped me pick up the defense even faster,” Badger said.

While at Notre Dame, Badger had another great defender to help him grow. NFL linebacker Manti Te’o was in Badger’s LDS Ward at Notre Dame, and the two were even paired together as home teaching companions. “I was close with Manti… he’s just such a humble and great person,” said Badger.  

With the trip back to South Bend, Badger says he’s excited to see old friends and teammates. But when it comes down to it,” he added, “I’m excited just to play football.”

From the desk of Alan Miller, a producer for BYU Sports Nation.

Did you know that Radio Hosts Make Great Mouse Traps?

You would think mice catching and being a talk radio host would have nothing in common, right?  Well, read forward for the real truth . . .  

It all starts when the chill of autumn weather ushers rodents from the nearby cherry orchard toward our home. About this time each year my husband and son get rather fancy with the ways they are going to catch mice when they pop up.  Mostly the mice stick to the garage but we sometimes see them in our laundry room which serves as the connecting mud room between our garage and home.  

Over the years I have listened to my husband and son strategize about whether it is more effective to buy fancy mouse traps, the kind that draw them in and don’t let them out, or to buy the tested and true wooden ones that snap. I’ve also heard them discuss the relative effectiveness of using butter, peanut butter, cheese or bread as bait.  (You’d think they were fishing for pleasure.) They have tried encouraging cats but none were fast enough to catch the mice.  I have watched my husband lay in wait with a BB gun and try to shoot a mouse-sized rat under the dog house. I have laughed as my son has chased a mouse around the washing machine with a broom.

This year, as usual, as soon as it grew cold, we heard the squeak and scratch of a mouse. My son and husband immediately started setting traps which, by the way, were mostly ignored by the mouse. They also cleaned cupboards, the pantry and the laundry room with peppermint oil (they read that it deters rodents). Still we heard the squeak. This year the mouse and his friends were evading every effort my men made.

As I watched them try all kinds of ways to trap, capture and eradicate rodents, I realized I had done nothing to help. And had only stood at a distance and laughed as I observed human antics versus mouse. The mice were winning. Of course, my job, along with my teenage girls was always, when we saw a mouse, to scream until the men came. I continued with this pattern and did not participate in the hunt until today.

This morning I got up early to let the dogs out of the laundry room. I made several trips from the kitchen through the laundry room to the pantry to gather ingredients and a slow cooker, to get dinner started. I was humming and making lunches when my son went out to the laundry room. He yelped and ran back into the kitchen and exclaimed, “Mom, have you been out to the pantry today?” “Yes, several times,” I said.  He left and came back and said, “You did it Mom! You killed the mouse!”  

When I was brave enough to look, I saw that, sure enough, in the footpath I had been making back and forth from the kitchen through the laundry room to the pantry, there was a mouse squished flat in mid-flight, most certainly by my foot. (Before you scream, like I did for 5 minutes, please note that I was wearing thickly soled slippers.) 

 I had succeeded in killing the mouse where my husband and son had strategized and failed.  I suppose I could brag about this, rub it in, lord it over my men. Yet I won’t because I still have the heebie-jeebies from the dastardly deed I did without even knowing it.  Here I thought I was just a harmless radio host. And now I have become a deadly mouse trap. My son thinks I am cool but I can only shudder and scream! Eeeewwwwugggghhh!  Thankfully there are no mice in our radio studio.

From the desk of Kim Power Stilson, host of The Kim Power Stilson Show on BYU Radio.

The Truth About Mustaches: A Girl's Perspective

Okay... so yes... it is November, or in other words, "Movember." We all know what that means... the month of the mustaches. For guys, this month is their favorite time of the year. But girls... I "Mustache" you a question... how do YOU feel about the month of the stache?

Well... I'm going to just put my two cents in because I know every girl has some kind of an opinion about this topic. So here it is... 

Guys, I know that you love the mustache, and I know and appreciate the reasoning behind growing one. (For those of you who don't know exactly what Movember is – it's about supporting men's health and fundraising for prostate cancer research. Check out the website at http://us.movember.com/). Can I tell you, in my opinion, that it is probably not the most attractive thing that a guy can pull off. Now, once again, I LOVE the idea behind the mustache. I'm just saying that a guys-dating count with girls might drop for the month of November. I know I know... I'm no scientist that can prove these facts. BUT I can say that I talked to over 30 girls at our local mall and 25 out of the 30 said they would rather date a guy without a mustache. Crazy, huh? When I asked them why they wouldn't, there were about three responses that were consistent. Here they are:

1. It is hard to kiss.

From personal experience... YES it is gross to kiss. It gets in your face and tickles your nose. Also, just feeling that little bushy thing while kissing a guy that you love... not okay! Girls like to kiss their men, but they don't like having a little friend making the kiss uncomfortable.

2. They're creepy.

Yes, they are indeed. Let's be real. Every guy looks a tad bit creepy when they have a mustache. If you look at any picture with a mustache, a girl's first thought is... "He looks cute... but what's up with that mustache? CREEPER." I know that may sound shallow. But if we are talking about love at first sight, you may have some ground to make up if you have a mustache. You may just need to prove that you aren't a creeper.

3. They contain many different kinds of leftovers.

My co-workers and I got into a debate the other day about mustaches and one of them found an article that stated "a mustache can carry up to 20% of its own weight in moisture." Ew...ew... EWWWW!! Now, who wants to see that kind of thing on their face? Not a lot of people. Also, just think about all of the left-over food that gets into that little thing. And how often do they wash it?  Probably not a ton. 

So... there you have it. Once again... it’s terrific to celebrate Movember. I think it's a great cause. I'm just saying to the guys, please keep the stache for a month and then shave it off until next November. Trust me, girls will be lining up after that little hairy caterpillar is shaved off your face. 

From the desk of Londyn Clawson, a producer for The Morning Show with Marcus Smith on BYU Radio.

Cowboy Poetry

Krista Collins doesn’t care for cowboy poetry. There it is; I blew the whistle on her. Krista is one of our terrific producers here at “The Apple Seed,” and we love her. Let's get that straight right up front. She’s apologetic about her feelings for cowboy poetry, but…well…it’s kind of a running joke around the office, especially over the last couple of days as we've been assembling an episode dedicated to the stuff. What I’m keeping quiet about is how much I love it (Krista, don’t read this). I mean, good heavens. I’m listening to Waddie Mitchell’s poem “The Sounds a Cowboy Hears,” and my word – so dang pitiful and lovely and lonely and it’s got a SONG in the middle of it that uses the word “Corazon,” (I’m a sucker, an absolute sucker, for “Spanish is the Loving Tongue,” and, well, any gunslinger ballad from “Streets of Laredo” to, well, “Spanish is the Loving Tongue.”) And while it makes me crazy ("Are you KIDDING me?") Somehow I can’t get through this stuff without blinking back great big American tears.  

I played bass once for a guy, a dyed-in-the-wool cowpoke, who spent a lot of nights out on “The Fifty” (the long, flat, lonely benches rose, one by one, beyond his western desert town at something like ten-mile increments. They’d refer to those benches by their ten-mile names: “The ten,” “The Twenty,” etc.). And here’s this guy, singing about being alone out on The Fifty, imagining a dance with his girl, in a song called “Waltz Across the Fifty,” and…well…I’d better quit writing about it, while I’m still composed. Pretty tough bass gig. Tough and wonderful. And just when I felt like a wimp for choking up, I looked over at the tough-guy mandolin player, whose tears were gently splashing on the side of his Flatiron. So there.  

As I write this, Waddie Mitchell’s “The Old Nighthawk” is going by in the CD player. And oh, darn it. I give up.  Look for me tonight sunk deep in gunslinger ballads and tall root beers. Raise a lonely glass, all. You too, Krista Collins. This is America. Like crazy.

From the desk of Sam Payne, host of The Apple Seed on BYU Radio.

Rule #9: Remember, The Internet Is Forever

I have a set of self-imposed rules that I live my life by. The genesis of these rules was inspired by a movie I saw when I was a lanky, awkward 14 year old. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I decided to finally write them down. For those of you keeping score, that means I spent 10 years with this idea rattling around in my head. I currently have a total of 43 rules and counting. I’m here to share rule #9 with you. Remember, The Internet is Forever.

The other day I had a horrifying thought. Facebook came into existence around 2004. I didn’t start using it until 2006. My first nephew was born in 2007. Recently I had an opportunity to watch him read some books. It was pretty cool to realize that not that long ago, he didn't even exist. Now he could read just about anything.

Then I connected the dots and realized he could read any number of status updates, comments, or pictures from my past. All without any context, explanation, or degree of censorship to make me look like any less of an idiot. 

And I have a feeling this realization is no less pleasant for the parents whose children are quickly becoming literate.

I have one enormous issue with keeping a diary, journal, or any kind of record of my past. Anytime I take a look back, it isn't long before I cringe so hard that my furrowing eyebrows could create an impact crater in the surface of the Earth. Maybe I know too much. Maybe I’m too close to the situations to just sit back and enjoy how it all played out. My horror came to light when I realized that at this very moment, my nephew could find some flirtatious comment I made on some girl's photo from my high school days. I probably thought I was so clever (and I most certainly never was). Now that my nephew can read, there's nothing I can do to call it back.

In spite of this, Facebook has changed my past into a monument of my disgrace.

So before you click Send, Post, or press the Enter key, I’m going to offer some unsolicited advice. Stop for just a few seconds. Think to yourself - Would you be totally alright with this thing being permanently associated with your name? Would you have any problems with the fact that complete strangers can search for most of this stuff and find the source of it all? That source being you? 

So, don't fall for the illusion of privacy. It no longer exists on the internet. Rule #9 has saved me from countless cringe-worthy moments. I only hope it can do some good for you.

From the desk of Bryce Tobin, student producer and head rant-writer for The Matt Townsend Show.

Boise State

Two weeks ago as the BYU Football team was preparing to host Boise State at home on a Friday night, we talked about the importance of owning the moment.  On that night, BYU vs Boise was the only college football game on TV, and on ESPN to boot. They literally were the only game in town and everybody (locally and nationally) was watching.

That night BYU performed to the highest expectation beating the Broncos 37 – 20.  In the midst of the victory the Cougar’s stars took the spotlight and owned it as Cody Hoffman’s touchdown catch (while being interfered with) was  shown on Sportscenter many different times Friday night and over the weekend as a “Top 10” play.  Taysom Hill scored 4 TDs, and Jamaal Williams ran for 114 yards.

Monday night it was the Men’s Basketball teams’ turn as they faced Stanford on ESPN as the first game of their college basketball marathon.  The game, in Stanford, was one that many of the national college basketball fans and analysts were watching, and like the football team against Boise, the hoopsters delivered in a big way.  The 112 – 103 victory brought out comments lauding BYU’s play to twitter from ESPN Analysts Jay Williams, Seth Greenburg, Jeff Goodman and comments from other fans and analysts.  Before too long BYU was trending on Twitter nationally.

Like the football team before them, the hoop stars shined bright as Tyler Haws dropped 31 and Matt Carlino 26.  It may have been freshman standout Eric Mika who stole the show.  While his 12 point tally may look paltry in comparison, his play impressed enough to make him a nationwide trending topic on Twitter as well.

The lesson here is in today’s sporting world, when the opportunity is given you to be the “main event,” seize the moment.  By doing so it gives you the outlet to promote yourself and your team on the national sporting landscape and the social media landscape. Being able to gain this type of traction is priceless.

Traveling: Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Can I just say how much I love to travel? I think it is the greatest adventure that anyone can have. I know that everyone says that they like to travel... but I don't think people understand how AMAZING it is. Now, I haven't been to TOO many places, but I have been to enough to know that I want to travel everywhere around the World. 

I found my love of travel when I went to Ecuador and then to the Amazon soon after. I volunteered at an orphanage in Quito, Ecuador and let me tell ya... it is very different there than in America. It is a Third World country and it was really heart breaking to see what the people there have to live with. Although it had a lot of poverty, it was actually refreshing to see how humble all of these locals were. They have a different lifestyle, but it was great to step into their shoes and see how they lived.

I compare traveling to trying someone else's shoes on for a couple days (or months.) In my opinion, the saying "put yourself in their shoes" is very accurate. Whenever I travel, I try to learn everything about that culture. It is very interesting to take a step outside of America and realize that people around the world have completely different ways of life – from the food they eat to their lifestyle. Every little thing excites me. There have been places I've traveled (like Canada) that are pretty similar to our country. There have been others (like the Amazon) that are so different that you feel like a fish out of water. 

While I was in the Amazon, I learned how to cook without electricity and bathe with no tub. I would say that I experienced a little bit of culture shock. But I learned very important things during the week I was jungle woman. I learned how to admire the outdoors and how pretty our Earth is. I learned that every animal and plant and person has a certain purpose in life that will be of help to others. The locals had so little but they appreciated everything they had and treated it with respect. While being in a jungle woman's shoes, I was intrigued by how happy and grateful they were. I learned that we take too many things for granted and we need to take a step back and smell the roses instead of rushing through life without any admiration. 

So.... take a time-out from life... Travel... and while you're out there... put on someone else's "shoes"... and see where they take you and what you learn. 

From the desk of Londyn Clawson, a student producer for The Morning Show with Marcus Smith.

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