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Leap Year

I never really understood the concept of a Leap Year. I have a great aunt who was born on February 29th and would joke all the time that she was turning 12 or 16 years old. I couldn’t understand that at all. I simply thought she was crazy.

Now that I’m a little older, but not necessarily wiser, I understand there is science behind Leap Year. It has something to do with the rotation of the Earth, or the position of the moon every third Tuesday, or something like that… I don’t know the exact reasoning behind it still.

What I do know, however, is that the Earth we live on is fantastic. Once every four years, our year is 366 days long instead of 365. And everyone agrees on that. All the newspapers understand what day it is and government officials don’t need to shut down their offices due to chaos. We don’t agree on too many things and could have strife about petty situations, but something phenomenal, like adding another day to a year, goes on without a hitch, every four years. 

I think there is something to be learned from Leap Day/Leap Year. If an extra day that alters the entire course of a year and a lifetime can go on without arguments and issues and temper tantrums, shouldn’t we be able to take things a little less seriously, too? Maybe, instead of being so miffed about a restaurant in another state not taking your coupon or a guy on the road driving a little too slow, we can think about the millions and billions of people that accept February 29th. And, maybe, we won’t worry as much about the little things anymore. 

Perhaps an appreciation for the acceptance of something so significant as Leap Day and Leap Year will make all of us think twice, and help us accept something else that isn’t so monumental. 

From the desk of Maddy Richards who helps produce The Morning Show on BYU Radio.

Mark Your Calendars

99 times out of 100 a win over Gonzaga would earn the headline. Not even news of the great Jimmer and his eventual departure out of Sacramento could trump the announcement. 

In America football is king.

On Monday, Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announced the 2014 BYU football schedule. This was the earliest release of the schedule ever for the football team. And for Cougar fans around the country, it felt like an early Christmas gift. 

Games against Connecticut, Texas, Houston, Boise State, Utah State, and California highlight a schedule that seems to reflect what Bronco Mendenhall envisions for this program as it heads into its’ fourth year as an independent. 

BYU’s football team will be facing high-caliber opponents in almost every major region in the country. These are the benefits of playing in the “ESPN Conference” rather than a regionally bound conference like the Mountain West. With the flexibility to showcase each week on national television and remain relevant, BYU fans should be drooling over this year’s schedule. 

Taysom Hill will be public enemy #1 as the Cougars head to Austin September 11 to try and steamroll first-year coach Charlie Strong and the Longhorns for a second-straight year. Houston comes to Provo looking for revenge after last-year’s barnburner at Reliant Stadium that ended in a BYU 47-46 win.

Each week, regardless if it’s in Provo or on the road, the matchups are juicy.

This year’s team will be challenged to perform at an elite level like last season, but won’t have to worry about heading back to Wisconsin or South Bend. 

 With the strength of independence, BYU looks poised to continue to play nationally relevant programs each week, unlike our red rivals in Salt Lake who seem to become accustomed to being the doormats of the PAC-12.

So, flip your calendars to September and mark off the dates. Tell your boss you’ll be sick and fire up the grill; because it all starts 185 days from now, when BYU heads to Connecticut to kick off the 2014 season.

See you there. 

From the desk of Spencer King, who helps produce BYU Sports Nation.

Taking the Weight off Weight

From the time I stepped onto the playground in First Grade I considered myself as one of the “bigger” girls. It’s just something I accepted at a young age and learned to live with. I didn’t have the body I wanted. I’m not overweight, but I would look at other girls and wish I had their body type. But I remember when it all changed. I got married and my husband looked at me and said, “You are so beautiful. I love your body.” That isn’t something you hear every day, especially when you are telling yourself the opposite of that! It hit me like a ton of bricks. Why had I never heard those words before from myself?  I was, to a degree, upset that I had waited my whole life to hear those words from someone else. I should have been telling myself that every day, rather than greeting my body with the usual disapproving look.

Photo credit: Back on Pointe

At some point, each of us assesses how we measure up to everyone else’s body. And for most people, I imagine they are not happy with at least one part of their body. Look at what we have to compare ourselves to in the media! We are constantly bombarded with skinny technology-altered, perfect women. No one looks like those models. Not even those models look like those models after the editor airbrushes half their body away. But even skinny girls may feel they don’t have the body they want. The fact is, everybody is different, and that’s okay! We need to learn to love ourselves for who we are not what we look like. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you that your body is beautiful, or wait until you lose 10 pounds to tell yourself! Don’t let the weight that your body image has weigh you down. Learn to love your body for what it can do! Be willing to accept how amazing you are. Your body is the most amazing thing you will ever own. 

From the desk of Jessica Black, who helps produce The Matt Townsend Show on BYU Radio.

Only Ty Can Tell

The Cougars struggle on the road. 

That probably doesn't come as a shock to anyone. A simple look at their conference schedule will show that when traveling to WCC schools, BYU is 3-5, while at the Marriott Center they are a perfect 7-0. So what is so hard about playing away from home? It may be the raucous home crowd or the lack of experience on the roster. But there is one common theme in BYU's road woes, and that's Tyler Haws.

Now hear me out. In seven conference road games (not counting a triple-overtime heart-breaker at Portland where he scored 48) Haws is averaging 17.6 ppg. In seven conference home games, he averages 28.6 ppg. Not only is Haws scoring 11 points less, but BYU is losing the majority of those games. BYU is +11.2 points on their conference opponents this season when Haws has over 25 points. 

Two weeks ago after Haws scored twenty-one of BYU's first twenty-four points in a home win over Pacific, BYU Head Basketball Coach Dave Rose realized that Haws' excellent performances may have the rest of the team watching.  "He's a really good, consistent offensive player," said Rose, "and right now we are relying on him, maybe relying on him too much, and hopefully we can spread this out a little bit."

After four wins on their home court, the Cougars hit the road again last week. Before leaving, Rose commented on how his team needs to be ready to step up in case Haws has an off night. "Coming home we got some really big offensive nights from Tyler. And hopefully we understand the possibilities that Ty can have those kinds of nights, but we don't depend on him." Rose said.          

Am I blaming Haws for BYU's losses? Of course not! How could you blame the nation's third leading scorer with 24.2 points per game? Yes, his team needs to pick up the slack if they want to win when Ty's not on his game. Surely it's harder to get energized away from such an electric home crowd. But if he can figure out how to get hot to finish off the season and the WCC Tourney, BYU's NCAA chances might turn from bubble bustin' to a conference championship in Vegas for an auto-bid. 

From the desk of Alan Miller, who helps produce BYU Sports Nation on BYU Radio.

Dreams of an Olympic Athlete

Sometimes when I watch the Olympics, I feel very inadequate. These athletes are MY age, or younger, and are breaking world records. They’re making history, they’re traveling and competing and WINNING for our country. I am breaking records of episodes of Netflix watched at one time, traveling to the kitchen to make another batch of Top Ramen, and winning numbers of followers on my Pinterest board because of how often I am online. It’s interesting to think how different my life would be if I swapped my life with these Olympic athletes. If I was spending hours training each day, would I have the friends I have right now? Would I be working at this job that I love? Would I know how to cook college-friendly recipes for one? I think the answer is no. I would be in a gym, running, going to events and making appearances. Which is better? I don’t think there is a better or worse life, just the right life for you. 

Kate Hansen also attends BYU, and I’m sure she leads a fairly normal life, like mine, when she’s here. But when she’s not here, she is an Olympian. A world-class athlete. That’s something that I’ll never get to boast. But that’s ok. 

Not everyone is an athlete. Not everyone attends college at BYU. Not everyone travels the world, and not everyone gets to call one place home. Everyone has a different life and there is immense beauty in that. So, I’m going to enjoy watching Kate Hansen barrel down the icy luge track from the comfort of my couch, and tell her how wonderful she did when I bump into her later in a class or at a party. 

Underneath it all, we’re all the same. On the surface, we are all different. And that’s exactly the way it should be. 

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

Do You 'Likey' the Mikey?

On the Matt Townsend Show we’re always up for a good time! One of our most recent shenanigans has been getting our very own producer, Mike Pond, married! Lucky for him a post on Matt’s Facebook page has gotten a huge response! 

Women from all over Utah are signing up on our “Mike Survey” (84 at our last count actually). This is basically just from seeing a picture of him and hearing him on the show. But I’m sure you want to know more! 

So, here you go. We picked his brain so you will know exactly what you’re getting into. 

Mike Pond (July 1990-present), is 23 years old, a current Geospatial Intelligence major and a Media Arts minor at Brigham Young University. He is expected to graduate December 2015. Mike is most famous for his recent posting on the Matt Townsend Facebook page, but has also been on the local news reporting sports, and at a junior police academy to fake arrest someone. In high school he was involved in 11 clubs (California Scholastic Federation, International Baccalaurean Student, Model UN, and Mock Trial, for example). But that’s boring compared to the sports he’s participated in, which include track and football - all four years (details here). But before he could charm the ladies with his biceps, he was an average kid raised in California. Oh, except for when he almost got kidnapped from a grocery cart. Or, when he was 3 years old and was sitting in his car seat and his mom ran into the house. While she was gone, the emergency brake slipped and the car went rolling down a steep hill and ran into a tree. Luckily, Mike is the type that is happy no matter what’s going on. When his Mom ran down the hill to the car, she found our little Mikey laughing and exclaiming - “again, again!” 

Mike hasn’t always been the golden boy he is now. He’s dealt with serious down turns in his life. His most notable embarrassing moment was when he was a sophomore in high school and tried to express his love in poems to his dream girl. The best part went, “Your eyes are like the never ending blue sky ….” But all that work was met with silence. He was sitting next to her in class (his heart broken by the cold shoulder she gave him), and he noticed her eyes were green … oops!  

He served his mission in Helsinki, Finland where he fought off a gun to his head, and an axe threat. That was nothing compared to eating Kalakukko (call-a-cook-oh) which is raw fish baked into bread. (See photo). So, don’t worry if you’re a bad cook.  He can handle anything. 

Well, if you’ve made it this far, you must really be interested in him. One thing, he says, that is important for any girl that wants to date him to know, is that he likes hockey, and he’s driven. Three words to describe him are intense, passionate, and funny (and that’s no joke!) He says everything he did in high school doesn’t really reflect who he is now. He wants to go to law school or work in media, and, get married. His dream is to find someone who is kind to everyone, has a good mom (not manipulative), and helps him to be better. Now, we’ve covered all the normal first date questions.  So … is it an “I do”? 

From the desk of Jessica Black who helps produce The Matt Townsend Show on BYU Radio.

It’s Crunch Time

It feels like a season of severe weather patterns for the BYU basketball team. Some games have been like a warm sunny day on the beach in Hawaii, and others have felt like an earthquake in Pompeii.  Fans have seen Cougar Basketball take down teams like Stanford, St. Mary’s, and Texas. Wins that gave faithful BYU fans a glimpse of what this team could achieve when led by superstar Tyler Haws. However, losses to Pepperdine, Loyola Maymount, and Portland seem to have painted a very contrasting picture of what this team was actually capable of. 

So which team are we going to seek from here on out?

That’s anybody’s guess.

Being a BYU fan is not an easy job. Yes, it is a job. If you’re going to invest time, money, and your emotional well-being into something, it’s considered a job. And this job is coming into crunch time now (late February and March). There are only five conference games left for the basketball team this season, and crunch time is looking pretty good. 

The Cougars seem to be playing some of their best basketball right now. When I say best basketball, that doesn’t mean prettiest; but it most certainly can. Since the loss to Gonzaga on January 30, the Cougars have had their backs against the wall. Most college basketball analysts had this team heading to the NIT for a second consecutive season. 

After the Gonzaga loss, the Cougars beat Pacific by 10, pounded St. Mary’s by 13, Santa Clara by 13, and squeaked out an ugly one over San Francisco by 6. This Cougar team, during the four-game win-streak, has moved itself from 4th place in WCC standings into 2nd, with a showdown vs WCC standings leader

Gonzaga on February 22 in the Marriott Center. Tyler Haws is performing at a level that BYU hasn’t seen since the days of THE JIMMER. Eric Mika is finally healthy, and the rest of the team is all in on helping out however needed (biggest props to Mr. Mario Carlino). 

This Cougar team is figuring it out, and getting itself back into the conversation for a NCAA tournament bid. If the Cougars are playing their best basketball this late in the season, they aren’t late to the party. Actually, they’re right on time. 

From the desk of Spencer King, who helps produce BYU Sports Nation on BYU Radio.

Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that I’m a hopeless romantic. I want everyone to be in love, and want everyone’s love to be magical and special. That’s why romantic comedies, proposal YouTube videos, and yes, Valentine’s Day, have a special place in my heart. I’m convinced that one day I’m going to wake up to a harsh reality and turn cynical, and I’ve been disappointed countless times about romance. But for some reason, it doesn’t deter me. 

Valentine’s Day is often made into a huge production. Most will argue that it’s bad to put so many expectations on a single day. It probably is. However, that doesn’t stop me from hoping flowers are delivered to my office at work and that a romantic dinner awaits complete with the perfect piece of jewelry to finish the evening off. Some years, that idea is more realistic than others. While I do have these expectations, I also understand the reality. If it’s a year where flowers and a necklace aren’t looking like they’ll magically appear, I know how to arrange for it to happen myself. I am comfortable to go to dinner with friends, or make a favorite dish and watch my wonderful romantic comedies alone, counting on a better future. 

Maybe you hate Valentine’s Day. You find it a stupid excuse for people to spend money and say words they don’t mean. Maybe you’re like me, and you love every stupid candy conversation heart and balloon. All that really matters is that on February 14th you take a millisecond to think about someone you love. And hopefully, let them know how you feel. Me? I’m going to call my parents and my sisters to tell them I love them, spend the afternoon with friends who care, and then I’ll do the cooking, and let Julia Roberts or Kate Winslet have the romantic evening out, while I watch on. 

From the desk of Maddy Richards who helps produce The Morning Show with Marcus Smith on BYU Radio.

My Conversation with Charles Holt: Actor, Storyteller, and Author

I had a great conversation the other day with a guy named Charles Holt. As a young man, his grandmother hoped he’d be a preacher (“Martin Luther King, Jr. was a preacher, and you could be preacher, too!” she said). His parents hoped he would be a leader in business. His brother and his uncles wanted him to be a football star. And in order to appease them all, he tried all those things. All of 'em. But in the end, after giving all of those things a fair shot, with just $400 in his pocket, he struck out for the bright lights of New York City on the recommendation that he ought to try out for a role in Smokey Joe’s Café.

That was the beginning of a bright career as an actor, storyteller, recording artist, and author. Mr. Holt was in the Broadway cast of The Lion King for more than four years. In Europe, he was the first black actor to play the lead in the stage version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He’s currently touring a one-man show about the Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the songs of the Civil Rights Movement called Martin and Music.

With a resume like that, you’d think he’d pretty much be thumbing his nose at his family, saying “See, you all wanted me to do other things, and here I am, doing the thing I was born to do. Shame on all of you.”

You might think that.

Rather, Charles Holt gets all reverent when he talks about his grandmother – the one who wanted him to be a preacher. She taught him to love music. Taught him his first few songs: Church Hymns. She also taught him about the Civil Rights movement, which is right at the heart of the work he’s doing now. He gets all reverent when he talks about his parents – the ones who wanted him to be a business leader. His mother told him “Get an education, son. Start with high school – that’s the only free education you’re going to get. Everything else will cost you.” Those words: That’s the only free education you’re going to get, helped him get his diploma, and set the stage for the further education he’d get in college. Even the encouragement of his uncles to be a football star taught him about having a dream, and what a dream costs to attain.

The point is, whether he saw it or not when he was a kid, Charles Holt now sees the wisdom that his parents, uncles, and grandmother had in their pockets for him. And while his dream was a little different than their dreams for him, he attributes much of his success to the influence they had on him. It seemed to me to be an important lesson: to find yourself -- your path -- but also to recognize the debt that your wings have to your roots. 

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

Every Time I Go to the Grocery Store

Every time I go to the grocery store, I become uncertain of what time of year it is. I’ll walk into my local supermarket in September, and be confronted with Thanksgiving decorations. There will be an aisle of Halloween candy and costumes – seeing as that holiday is only a month away. 

But there will also be deals on turkey and pilgrim statues lining the aisles, and pie tins ready for your next pumpkin creation, which won’t take place for roughly two months. I’m continually floored by the fact that the day after Halloween – out comes the Christmas trees. And, instead of spending February only focusing on conversation hearts and paper Valentines, I have to begin thinking of eggs and bunnies for Easter. 

Why is this such a huge part of our society? Why, instead of thinking about the next holiday or event coming, we have to jump to the next and the next and the next event. I suppose we could chalk it up to preparation. But I have a sinking feeling that with the lines at the grocery store on Valentine’s Day or Christmas Eve, being prepared isn’t a consideration. Rather, I think that it is all about consumerism. Grocery stores want to bring out the next opportunity to get you to spend money. And they can get you to spend even more if they make you think you can stock up on the next several holidays all at once. Unfortunately, when you buy Christmas candy two months in advance, it will most likely get eaten and you’ll have to go out and purchase more at the last minute on Christmas Eve. If stores market their decorations months in advance, they know that you’ll be paying more after the holiday. Or, if they’re offering merchandise right before, it means they are trying to get rid of their overstock. 

Too much of our world revolves around money, in my opinion. If I owned a store, I would want people to spend February thinking about love and Valentine’s Day, instead of shoving the bunnies of Easter down their throats. Who knows, maybe if I begin the boycott on buying holiday treats and decorations too early, the stores will be forced to slow down and let me enjoy each holiday, individually! 

From the desk of Maddy Richards who helps produce The Morning Show with Marcus Smith on BYU Radio.

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