Friday, 25 March 2011

"And if you bring the heart, then I'll bring the beat..."

-'Enemy of the World', Four Year Strong

Life at BYU rarely slows down. There's always something going on, and never enough time to go to everything. Here's a snapshot of incredible BYU events that have been stimulating my life recently...

Elder L Tom Perry Elder L Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at a CES Devotional at the Marriott Center on March 6th. He spoke about focusing your life on Christ, building your foundation on Christ, and to follow Him, and live His Gospel. We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ. Those who embrace His Gospel and follow Him will gain Eternal Life, the greatest gift of all.

Biology Outing
We receive well-needed extra credit in Bio 100H for going to the Utah Nature Days. Oh, and we go because it's fun, naturally. This outing was Tundra Swan Day. Here we are, looking for the swans. We could only see a few about three miles away in the distance. But it's ok, because it was a fun road trip, and we got five points.

This semester's Dancesport was on the 11th at the Marriott. This year, we were competing American Triple Swing at 280 level. I'm not the greatest swing dancer, but I had a fantastic partner, Mariah, and we made it through a couple of rounds. We didn't get as far as last year, and I wish we were competing Waltz or Cha Cha, they're my favourite, but it was great to get onto the dancefloor, heart pumping, dancing in front of judges and an audience.

Hiking the Y
Utah weather can literally change within minutes. Today, it was blizzarding on and off for hours, and then within half an hour it was bright sunshine with barely a cloud tainting the sky. Sunday the 13th was a beautiful sunny day, and we took the opportunity to hike the Y. The views from the mountain are stunning, and we just chilled at the top - well, Cody and Tara went ahead and climbed even higher while Cameron, Carley, and myself relaxed. You can see for miles and miles from up there, looking over the entire Utah Valley...

Hunger Banquet and Invitational
Last Saturday, the 19th, was the 21st Annual BYU Hunger Banquet, and the formal Invitational dance. Olive kindly joined me to both events that evening. At the Hunger Banquet, everyone is randomly assigned a class, and there's a 70% chance you'll be lower class on the floor, eating very little. Unfortunately Cody and his date fell into this category, and had to share a small burrito. We we middle class, and as such expected a decent meal. We got a small hot dog and crisps. It made me realise how fortunate I am, and how 70% of the world's population really would love to eat that small hot dog for their evening meal. There were dances and speeches, and it was a great event.
        We changed into our formal outfits after the dinner and headed up to the Wilk for the Invitational. It was an impressive set up. The Eiffel Tower and Big Ben were present, with a chocolate fountain, drinks bar, ice cream, photographs, mini-golf, horse-drawn carriage rides anndd even a dancefloor. There was good music, good lights, and we got to ride in the carriage. We had a blast, what a fun night.

Mark Zuckerberg and Sen. Orrin Hatch
Mark Zuckerberg spoke at BYU this morning in the Marriott. This highly anticipated forum was his first ever university address, and the arena filled up with about 10,000 people. One of his opening lines was: "I'm a bit nervous because I've never spoken to a stadium full of people before." He was well received, and was confident, intelligent, radiated awesomeness - just as a 26-year-old billionaire should. The forum was essentially a Q&A session, with Senator Hatch asking questions that had been submitted by BYU students. When asked whether management or marketing is more important to a successful business, he answered that success comes down to the people: it's about working well as a team. He answered questions to do with technological advances, entrepreneurship, and how to be successful. "It doesn't matter what you're passionate about, but be passionate about something. Show initiative . . . Do something." He's incredibly smart, and didn't appear like the socially inept character 'The Social Network' (David Fincher, 2010) made him out to be. The forum was an hour long, but it could've gone on for hours longer. I was so interested, and admittedly, quite starstruck. Here was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, named Person of the Year 2010 by TIME Magazine and he's speaking at BYU. Brigham Young University really is one of the best schools in the world.

BYU Volleyball vs Hawaii
Tonight we played Hawaii in volleyball. It was an intense game: we won the first set 25 - 20; they pulled back and won the next two straight; we beat them 25 - 22 in the fourth set, and then it all came down to the final fifth set. After hours of playing, the atmosphere in the Smith Fieldhouse was incredible. It was such a tight game throughout. The crowd was cheering and screaming for the Cougars. The 15 - 13 score in the end finished off the game perfectly. The BYU Volleyball team is currently ranked #3 in the nation. Tonight they showed why.

And that's not everything...
There really is so much going on. My roommate Cody got his mission call to Mexico City, Mexico. I went on a date with Krystle to a phenomenal Divine Comedy show. We ate desert pizza, and played a game of poker. There's been awesome devotionals, free food on campus, a dance lab with performances, and on top of that, homework and exams to take.
        BYU Basketball has done incredibly this season. We watched their NCAA Sweet Sixteen game yesterday against Florida at the Marriott on a big screen, in a crowd of a few thousand fans. The Cougars did really well, tying at full time 68 - 68 and heading into overtime. Florida pulled ahead and stayed ahead, beating us 83 - 74. They went out on a high, and I'm so proud of them. They're a fantastic team.
        It's been a great month, and there's still more to come. And, as you all know, I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ so much. I know that it is true. It's the best thing in my life. And I'm very excited to serve a mission in just a couple of months...

Saturday, 5 March 2011

BYU Basketball 2010-11 Championship Final

There were two home BYU games this week. The first against the New Mexico Lobos on Wednesday night, and today's game was against the Wyoming Cowboys.

New Mexico
Wednesday I got in line at just after three. Doors at 6, with tip-off at 8. Time went by pretty quick, and we had pretty good seats. From the beginning, New Mexico was putting on the pressure and performing better than we were. At half-time they were just ahead, then in the second half they pulled ahead even more... The black ref screwed us over, calling bad calls and ignoring travelling and fouls from the Lobos. It's the first time I've ever seen a ref get someone from the crowd escorted from the arena for shouting at him. Everyone in the Marriott was booing him and screaming "Take his whistle!" It was bad. It was the loudest I've ever heard the crowd, but not because we were winning. Final score was 64 - 82 to New Mexico...

After the game Wednesday night, we got in line for the game today. I was in a group, and we put up a few tents and took it in turns to take shifts throughout the week. I was there Wednesday night, a few hours on Thursday, and a few on Friday. This morning, I got up super early and, with a few others, got to the Marriott at about 6.30am so that the girls in the tents could go back to their rooms to shower and get ready for the day. We just slept there for a bit, and then as more people joined us we went to get food and get ready for the day etc ourselves. Before the doors to the Marriott opened, there were 140 tents wrapping around the outside of the centre, and a huge line of people after that wrapping back on itself. We were right near the front of the tent line, and it was worth the effort; I was in Row 8, the closest I've ever been to the court for a game. It was an incredible view. As the clock ticked down the minutes until tip-off, the arena filled up and we all got so excited. As well as being the last home game of the season, this was Jimmer Fredette #32, Jackson Emery #4, and Logan Magnusson #12's last home game ever. The game began.
        The team played incredibly. 2-pointer after 2-pointer after 3-pointer after free-throw. They worked as a team and put Wyoming in their place. Jimmer was on top-form, performing the Jimmershow. Jackson was on top-form, hitting a bunch of 3-pointers. Charles was on top-form with every shot he made. The crappy ref was there again, and people still didn't like him, but we were playing better as a team. The whole team played fantastically. Even though the score was close at half time, everyone knew we had it, and was chill. The atmosphere as the team scored more and more points was incredible. As BYU broke the 100-point mark towards the end of the game, there was possibly the loudest cheer I've ever heard.
        During one of the time-outs, there was a flash-mob in the student section. We had practised a dance at the NM game and before any of the public arrived at the game today. Then today we performed it. The public loved it. It was so much fun. I found this video of the dance on Youtube - look out for me, I can see myself in this video:

        We went on to win the game. Not just win, but pwn Wyoming. The student crowd was incredible. We won the game, and then each leaving senior gave a speech. BYU had just won the Mountain West Conference Season Championship. Cannons threw confetti into the air as the MWC Championship Trophy was lifted by Coach Dave Rose, Jimmer, Jackson, and others. Then they cut the net from one of the baskets. This was simply one of the greatest home games of the season. It was phenomenal, and way to end the season...