Saturday, January 26, 2013
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It was worth my time to write a quick post on The Zone because that is the station that got me into sports/talk radio. I had heard of KFAN in high school but still pretty much listened only to music. Now I pretty much listen to only talk radio (not always sports but rarely music in the car/at work, only background when I'm doing chores or something). Soon after the mission I somehow heard there was a new sports station called 1280 The Sports Zone. I tuned in and immediately had it as my #1 preset. Ryan Hatch was the host I remember listening to the most. I liked listening to him but noticed he said "1280 The Sports Zone" pretty much every sentence. DJ & PK in the mornings, Hatch mid-day (and a spat of E-Ray and Scotty G on "the average Joe's show", this is back when Scott Gerrard was still low on the radio totem pole) and Bolerjack and Monson in the evenings. I pretty much never changed the station as back in the early/mid '00's 1320 pretty much sucked. They had "Man Made Mornings" with Alan Handy (the dude that now does the little fan-promo games at Jazz games), Ron Boone, and somebody else. They had a good thing going with Ian Fitzsimmons for a bit but it was short lived. Anyway, I was hooked on the Zone for sure. I learned today from David Locke's podcast that Boler and Monson started 1280 which I didn't know but think is pretty cool. Definitely cool that Monson saw it through to the end.
Shortly after I started listening they brought on Alema Harrington and started the Red & Blue Show with Pace Mannion and Alema's infamous "50/50" chance announcement prior to the 2004 BYU/Utah game when everyone knew going in we were going to get trounced (I don't remember the score but we definitely got our butts kicked as that was obviously the Fiesta Bowl Utes team).
Somewhere around that time I remember Jake Scott being the intern dude that would give the updates "every 20 minutes" and they also switched over from "1280 The Sports Zone" to just "1280 The Zone".
It sucked when Boler left but Kevin Graham was a pretty solid replacement. I didn't know he had helped Locke start 1320 originally that was another nugget today from Locke. Pretty cool history for sports radio in the state.
It's interesting to think that when the Jazz decided to get serious about getting their flagship station back up in the ratings they basically just raided The Zone for their talent and brought them over. I guess that's why I like all those guys (DJ, PK, Alema, Gerrard, Boler) because I first heard them on The Zone. I liked the new hosts as well, especially Jon and Hans (and later Hans and OC) and still Monson during drive time. I loved switching over to the other station once one hit commercials and picking right up in their conversations.
All afternoon Jake and Monson were taking calls from callers giving their farewells and expressing their appreciation. I was pretty surprised actually some of the callers were quite intense giving up info about about how listening to The Zone helped them through some pretty serious situations (drug addictions, deaths in the family, etc.). I kind of wished I had called in. My main memory of The Zone is listening every day on my long drives from West Jordan down to Provo during the BYU years. It definitely made the drives easier listening to Jazz, BYU, & Utah talk from local guys, and after all the years of buildup you definitely feel like you know them having heard their famous lines and slip-ups (like Monson's "Where are you right now?" interview). Even now I prefer local over national for sure even if it can be argued that the national guys are better "talent". Sounds like most of the guys will land on their feet and change is part of life but fun to think about the impact something like a radio station can have. Not many things impact your life every day but I can definitely say I've listened to 1320/1280 on a near daily basis for 10 years now so it's obviously made an impact on me too.
Friday, May 18, 2012
First Time/Long Time (does it count in emails like it does on radio?) I want to defend (in an admittedly homerish way) the Jazz's "We can build on this" season. The Jazz organization is a winning organization and therefore chose to try to win and make the playoffs rather than lose and get their pick. Even in the hindsight of an eviscerating sweep to the Spurs (hopefully they are the eventual champs so we can say "hey, we lost to the champs"), I still applaud the move and think it's good for the long-term growth of the team. We're talking about a team that was starting Demarre Carrol down the stretch after injuries to 3 wing players (not that Bell, Miles, or Howard were necessarily upgrades). Ty Corbin has barely coached a full season's worth of basketball with no real training camp and the same can be said for Devin Harris and Derek Favors in Jazz uniforms. No shame in getting outcoached by the best active coach in basketball and no shame in losing, even badly, to the best team in the NBA. Bottom line: winning teams have winning attitudes; losing teams are the Warriors- and if karma is real the lottery will drop them to the 8th pick giving the Jazz back a pick in this draft anyway.
Salt Lake City
Sunday, January 8, 2012
What did 2011 hold for me? It feels like it went by too fast. Every year goes faster which must mean I’m getting old. I’ll probably skip over the part that in 2011 I entered my 30’s. . . what happened to my 20’s?
The winter of 2011 Jan-March was truly the “winter of Brandon”. I went to more Jazz games last season and went snowboarding more than ever before. Indirectly all of it was due to working at Backcountry. The snowboarding was more “directly” related to working there as I was able to visit multiple ski resorts for free. I hit the Canyons a few times and they have really expanded their resort since my previous visits in high school. The bubble lift is pretty sweet. Nothing like sitting on a heated lift with a windshield as you head up the mountain. The Jazz games were two-fold: 1) getting tickets through Backcountry either as a client of KPMG or through the company’s tickets, which of course was awesome; and 2) friends inviting me to games because they knew I was available to go, unlike in previous years where they knew the answer would be “sorry I’m working late, again”. So pretty much my move to Backcountry worked out pretty sweet in the “perks” department early 2011.
The downer that occurred in that stretch was that Jerry Sloan abruptly retired (already covered in previuos post) and DWill was traded all within a couple weeks in early February. I did get to see 2 of the last 3 Jerry Sloan coached games so that was pretty great, even though both were losses. Funny thing is, the night of that last game versus the Bulls, my buddies and I played ball down in Lehi. At the Maverik after, Thurl Bailey walks in on his way home from his Jazz coverage. We chatted with him for a while and he told us Sloan would be stepping down the next day. All of us, “Nah!” I will never doubt Big T again! :)
Early May I had to head down to Costa Rica for work. It was kind of weird being in another country. I found myself a little in fear that if something happened to me I now had a wife and children back home. Much different feeling than when I was on the mission. All in all Costa Rica was fun to speak in Spanish and be back in the Latin culture again but all I really did was work all week so we didn’t do anything special besides eat a lot, which is what I usually do anyway.
Two weeks later I got news I needed to head to Little Rock, Arkansas for work. We flew into Memphis and drove down to Little Rock. I crossed the Mississippi River for the first time. It was much bigger than I had envisioned. Pretty majestic to cross. Little Rock had a small time feel that I really enjoyed. The Clinton Presidential Library was also pretty impressive. I didn’t know that all Presidents had Libraries. You could spend a few days at least in any given Library since so much history happened during any President’s term. Clinton’s was pretty fun since it was right during my growing up years of the ‘90s.
In June the travel continued. For my CPA training I went to Bar Harbor, Maine, but in a round about way. We took the red-eye from SLC to Vegas, then to JFK in New York, then to Boston. From Boston we drove up to Bar Harbor. Maine is beautiful, Acadia National Park was fabulous and the little Harbor town I did my conference in was fun. The only unusual thing was my boss decided to book us a Bread & Breakfast instead of a normal hotel. It was nice and cozy but we felt a little weird checking in. The owner of the B&B is a CPA so he liked that we picked his B&B for our conference stay.
On the final day in Boston after the week in I got to tour Fenway Park. It was pretty cool to tour such an old park with all the history of the Red Sox. The scene in “Moneyball” where Billy Beane gets the Red Sox GM offer was pretty cool to me because I knew I was sitting right there in that press box just a couple months earlier.
From Boston I got home to SLC, only to fly the next morning to Vegas to meet up with my family who were already driving to Disneyland! Coast to coast in 2 days! We enjoyed a 4-day Disneyland vacation. Cannon was so good and loved all of the rides; well, except one. He kept asking every day to ride the Tower of Terror. He would grab a map as soon as we entered the park and point to Tower of Terror and say “I want to ride THAT one!”. Finally on the last day I decided he needed to get what he wished for. He knew as soon as we went into the little prep room it was a bad idea. But we had waited an hour to ride and I wasn’t letting him out of it that easy. Needless to say he cried pretty hard. His grandma Christine rode with us and she took a picture of him as soon as the ride was over, pure tears. I overheard people whispering “He is too young for that dad to take on this ride” so I announced to our crowd that he had been begging all week for his punishment of a ride. (I’m writing this from another Disneyland trip this week here in January. Cannon specifically said right away he did NOT want to ride Tower of Terror this time).
In August Rachel and I ran a pretty sweet “Rivalry Relay” with some of our neighborhood friends. It was a relay race from the U down to BYU. It took all day but we did pretty good I think. It was husbands against wives. The wives had around a ½ hour head start but we caught up with them by leg 5 (around Little Cottonwood Canyon) and never looked back. I ran the opening leg, a middle leg, and our final leg. I ran the opening leg as hard as I could. I honestly thought before the race I would have to run the final leg as hard as I could as well, figuring we’d be neck and neck with the wives. I took my sweet time on the final leg since we had such a monster lead J.
September. I turned 30. Rachel threw me a surprise birthday party. Very thoughtful of her. Once again I say to myself “What happened to my 20’s?”.
October- I make one last trip to Arkansas. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in Little Rock there is a restaurant called the Whole Hog Café that is the best barbecue I have ever had. Literally the best ribs I have ever had (and I’ve had a lot of ribs). I’m not sure I can express how impressive this place is. It is a simple restaurant in a strip mall with a modest sign. But walk in and you will immediately notice that the entire walls are lined with trophies from all the barbecue competitions they have won. The night we went there was some Corvette convention there or something because there were about 30 Corvettes in the parking lot. Pretty cool stuff. I also remember that while I was spending that second stint in Arkansas I read on twitter that Steve Jobs passed away. So I was riding in a rental car (as a passenger not a driver :) ) when I found out Steve Jobs had died. I feel like that is one of the big events of 2011 and commented on it when it happened.
November- Thanksgiving at my mom’s the Sunday before, at Rachel’s mom’s on Thanksgiving day. I would like to make a permanent note that I had multiple TD’s in the Turkey Bowl that day which is the most important thing after all J.
Also in November Rachel and I got to stay at the Stein Erickson Lodge at the Deer Valley Resort for a night thanks to her Dad & Stepmom Diana. We drove up in my crappy Civic into the valet-only parking lot. The bellhop tried to open my rear drivers side door to get my bags but it doesn’t open from the outside anymore so I had to open it from the inside. We had spent the night shopping for Christmas gifts at the Park City Outlets so really my whole backseat was filled with shopping bags, not bags for our overnighters. I pulled out a tiny little backpack and showed the bellhop, “This is all”. I felt really out of place with all the service and plush resort. It was fun to stay there but a funny night for Rachel and I as we realized we’re probably more comfortable at a Fairfield Inn.
It’s always amazing how fast the year flies. Time seems to pass faster, especially when you’re not paying attention. From writing my brother Casey every week I’m reminded of how it felt on the mission; you had a specific “end date” in your mind whether you wanted to admit it or not, and that end date made time pass slow in a sense. But in “normal life” you have no fixated end date, and when you’re not paying attention suddenly lots of time has passed. I do, however, feel that I’ve learned to appreciate events that happen during my time even at a relatively early age. Probably because my dad was gone so young, but I frequently sit back and think about how great my various experiences are.
December- Flies by as usual. A few Christmas parties, all great. I even through a “Ball Family Christmas Party Featuring Little Caesar’s Pizza” for the extended Ball family like Grandma and Grandpa Ball used to do. It worked out pretty well for year one of the re-launch. Hopefully we can keep it growing in the future. Santa visited our house and left Cannon a Batman Cave, Brooky a Kitchen, and Rachel some boots and a pea coat. Then right after Christmas was over we headed out on a two-week vacation to Southern California thanks to the invitation from our friends the Brewers! (and my boss :) ). So here I am, ringing in 2012 on the road in sunny California.
I frequently end meetings at work noting that whatever particular meeting that just ended was the “best meeting ever.” I say that mostly as an optimistic view of the results that will come from having the meeting. If you buy into the theory that you continually build and progress as a person and as a team/family/whatever unit, then each day at least has the potential to be the best day ever. And so will begin 2012, the best year ever. I have a great wife, 2 great kids, great job, great home, great everything. And that is the BASE, so it will build from here.
Friday, December 23, 2011
It first started last night talking to Rachel about the year I wanted a Nintendo game system. I had a Commodore 64 computer that had lots of games on it and my dad kept threatening that if Santa brought me a Nintendo I'd have to give up my computer. He also emphasized that I would only have the Nintendo with the 1 free game (Mario Bros. & Duck Hunt) or I could keep my computer and it's many games. From the perspective of an adult now I realize he was just trying to stave off the inevitable purchase of a Nintendo and the expense of the games that come with it. Shrewd move of him trying to threaten my computer games, which I loved dearly as well. I held strong in the end and kept requesting the Nintendo, hopeful that I would someday be able to secure another game or two. I honestly did have doubt waking up that morning as to whether or not a Nintendo would be waiting for me, but there it was sitting on the couch as I came out to the tree. I had already played Mario Bros. at friend's houses so many times that I pretty much immediately wanted another game. :)
Now here's where it gets fuzzy for me. I'll have to go back and check my scrapbooks because I can't remember if some of these gifts fell on the same Christmas or each were individual years, but if I rank the top Christmas's in the annals of my history, the top gifts include the Nintendo, the Sega Genesis (obviously a progression on the Nintendo, I even remember I must've been 12 on that one since it was the last Christmas in the Sandy house), the electronic racetrack, and the grand-daddy of them all, the basketball hoop. I believe I got the Nintendo or the racetrack the same Christmas as the basketball hoop, and here's why:
I had been asking for a basketball hoop for a long time but felt resigned to the fact that it was not meant to be. How could Santa even fit a huge backboard down the chimney? (Which we had at the Sandy house). I came out and opened my presents and was pretty satisfied with the haul. I had expected if a hoop had indeed been delivered from Santa's sleight it would be in a giant box with the backboard and rim. Since no box was present, it was obviously for naught. Oh well, maybe next year. As we were cleaning up the boxes and wrapping paper my dad asked me to head outside and shovel the driveway. Usually I would probably be prone to complain about such an assignment, but since I had just received a boatload of presents from Santa for being good i figured I better respond in kind. I peaked out the window to see how much snow had fallen the night before. . . sitting in the driveway, all setup in the concrete ready to play with a bow on the rim, was my brand new basketball hoop. Now that was Christmas magic!
Anybody that lived on Borg drive during those few years will remember the games on that hoop. Pretty much daily in the summertime we would play at least for a while. I don't think I have ever used a Christmas present more before or since. Cannon and Brooklyn are still too young for this year to be in the running for "Best Christmas Ever" but it's just a couple years away before Cannon enters that window where Santa will have to step up and provide a gift that will become his all-time favorite. I hope he likes basketball :)
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Back in my Comcast days I applied for a promotion of Call Center Supervisor. My boss at the time Steve Finch encouraged me to apply. When we discussed interview strategy he told me I had to find someone who was a good example of leadership. Finch's person was Walt Disney. He was always raving about Disney, Disneyland, the service, the magic, the whole experience. He told me that once in an interview he heard a guy use Hitler as a great example of a leader because he got so many people to follow him (Kind of makes sense, but i definitely wasn't going that route).
I chose Steve Jobs. I knew he was the leader of Apple and he was responsible for the ipod, one of the coolest inventions ever. I tried to do some research on him before my interview but looking back I know I butchered him in my interview. I kept referring to him but didn't really have any substance to back it up. Even today I don't have a ton of substance other than when you say his name you know his leadership is what has made Apple what it is. iEverything.
I didn't get the job that time around but I still remember thinking of Steve Jobs as my top example of leadership, something I would still think of today. Apple is a company that has taken risks, been creative, and hasn't been afraid to be the lead dog in many technological areas. I'm pretty much the antithesis of all those things since I'm so risk averse but I can appreciate how hard it is to stick your neck out there and hope it flies. In so many cases the products Jobs was responsible for bringing to market flew well and were copied the world over.
I may have written something similar to this before but all the time I think about how if I could go back to 1992 just before my dad died and visit him, I'd want to show him all the technological advances of today. When I have that vision in my head of what I would show him to represent all the advances from 1992 to now, I basically have in my hand an iPhone and an iPad and that pretty much covers everything I would want to show (the internet, the incredible advances in cell phones, computers, HD cameras, mp3's, touch screens, video phone/face time, apps, the works). So basically all the advances in the past 20 years that I would want to take back in time with me can be directly linked to products of Steve Jobs' mind. I felt like that was worth writing about. RIP
Thursday, February 10, 2011
The game was on February 3rd, 1992. My dad died 3 days later. I always have this memory in my mind of him coming home from work and coming in the door at 6:30. I would be on the couch usually watching "Cheers" reruns when he walked in. My memory is that I would always half-heartedly glance over with a "hey dad" and turn back to my show. Why put any importance on his arrival? He comes home every day. . .
Last night I had setup a recording of the Jazz-Bulls game (ironic it's the Bulls again) because I wanted to see how Carlos Boozer played in his return to Salt Lake City. I saw the first quarter or so and thought, "I don't need to record the rest I probably won't come back and watch it anyway. Just another game." And I left to go play basketball with my friends like I always do on Wednesday nights.
It's funny to think back how you would react differently if you knew something big was going to happen. If I had known it was going to be Jerry Sloan's last game, I would have bailed on ball with my friends and watched every last second. I'm sure most of Utah feels the same. Maybe it's better to have just a quick, cut-it-off ending instead of some type of retirement tour.
I can't pinpoint the time when I became so emotionally invested in the Jazz, but I know it's been a long time. Watching a game, I still feel like I'm 11 years old watching it on Channel 13 KSTU, before even the days of KJZZ or FSN. I loved hearing Hot Rod call the games and of course watching Stockton and Malone. Through it all, Jerry Sloan has been the coach. I was seven years old when he started coaching. I remember at the end of '88 when Reagan's term was ending and my dad commented to me how he was the only President I had ever known. Well, here I am much later in life and Jerry Sloan is the only coach I've ever known, at least as far as my basketball memory takes me.
The first game I ever went to was against the 76ers at the Salt Palace. I don't remember the year but it had to be after Sloan was already the coach. I do remember seeing Barkley and his bald head. The Jazz won, and for some reason I remember the 76ers coach got ejected in the second half. That was just another game in the books then, but I still remember it today.
I've actually had the Jazz season of my life so far as far as attending games is concerned. I've been to seven games already this year with an 8th scheduled (so far), including both the Rockets and Thunder games last week (both losses, unfortunately). But somehow I got to see 2 of Sloan's final 3 games at home. Interesting that they were all losses, but that's just been the trend this season; losing at home for whatever reason.
I wish it could have gone on forever; just one of those things that is a big part of your life, but not something that is consciously on your mind because it's so routine.
During a news clip today they showed highlights from the early '90s. We've had some great teams over the years. Some of the highlights were showing Stockton making some absolutely ridiculous passes to Malone. Just watching the 30-seconds of highlights was a reminder as to how great those players were. The 2007 series over the Rockets, Game 7 in Houston, was also an incredible run. I'll never forget Andrei Kirilenko's ill-advised 3 pointer to tie the game 88-all. My friends and I are all screaming, "No, no, no!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
It's funny how things work out. I've discussed future coaching candidates with friends for the past two years at least, always with the assumption that Sloan's departure was so far off that anybody we discussed wouldn't even be an option by the time the real decision came down. My favorite candidate was always Tyrone Corbin. Knows the Jazz: played for us, coached with us, part of the family so to speak. I can't help but wonder if part of Sloan's move was to help ensure Corbin was named the new head coach. While the details of why he really left today so suddenly are cloudy, if part of it was to segway Corbin into the new job, it was just one last sly coaching move from Sloan.
Thanks for 23 years. I love the Jazz!