Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quarterback Forgiven

I have never bashed any BYU quarterback behind phony screen names on the internet, but I certainly have said a derogatory thing or two in the privacy of my own living room. Nothing brings out the whining and complaints like a BYU-Utah game. Last Saturday after watching Max Hall throw for a career low in his last chance to beat the Yewts, while watching the rest of the team inevitably squander our 14 point lead, it was getting pretty hard for any true blue cougar fan to hold it in.

Then overtime came and Max seized his last chance to be a hero. Despite throwing a 25 yard touchdown pass on 2nd down to clench the victory from the jaws of defeat I was not quite ready to forgive him for letting the Yewts take us to the wire again. I was softening but I was not quite ready to forgive, that was until the infamous post game interview.

Nice job Max! That pretty much sums it up! I don't care how many General Authorities went there, they don't go there anymore! That was Awesome! Consider yourself fully forgiven from Rangi Smart. I promise to not say one more bad thing about you the rest of your career, no matter how bad you play in the Bowl game.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Teaching Intensity

I may have heard this sentence more times than anybody in the history of the LDS Faith.

“Relax man, It’s only church basketball!”

Not that I am a hot head, quite the opposite. I am very level headed even after a couple uncalled fouls or an intenional cheapshot.

I get the relax comment because I have no offense and only one speed on defense, full speed. It’s not intenional. I just can’t turn it down. It doesn’t matter what the score is, or the fact that I have never even played a basketball game that mattered to anyone but myself, when I play defense, I only run a full court press, usually by myself. The worst part is, the more it bothers my opponent, the more I enjoy it.

I think it all stems from my personal belief that when you have short comings in anything, the quickest fix is to turn up the intensity. The second quickest fix is to put on your mean face. No doubt these are personal beliefs fueled by a lifetime of wrestling.

As a wrestler, I never felt bad about giving up one point for unnecessary roughness as long as I had at least a two point lead. In the video below I get a particular bargain on a unnecessary roughness call, leading 10-2 with less than a minute to wrestle and only being punished one point for a hum-dinger. I'll take that deal every time.

Recently I decided I needed to start doing what I could to pass the mean faces and intensity on to my offspring. Not that I would let any of my girls wrestle, but heck, life is just more fun if you have a good mean face in your arsenal. So I decided to get Jilli Bean started by working on her mean face and it seems to come pretty natural for her. Judge for yourself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pretty Boy Status?

No, I didn't get a cell phone.
At the start of this school year Sara asked me to organize my closet. If she would have asked me how many collared school shirts I had, I would have guessed about 10 or so. Upon completing my organization I was shocked and embarrassed to find that I had over 40.
My first thought was "Holy crap! When did I turn into a girl?" I decided I better embrace my stockpile of sport-polos. So logically, I challenged a couple other teachers to see who could go farther into the school year without repeating shirts. After getting no takers at my proposal, I was stuck competing against my usual challenger, myself. A personal quest to see how far my arsenal of apparel could take me, the rules were collared shirts Mon-Thurs, t-shirst only on Fridays, jerseys only after big wins. I lasted over 11 weeks, almost one-third of the school year. Sara wants me to get rid of some of them now, but the way I see it, I have already amassed enough shirts in 10 years of teaching to go almost a third of the school year, if I keep this pace by the time I retire I will be able to go my whole last school year without repeating shirts and she can go my whole last year without doing laundry.
Special thanks to Sara for taking my picture on every morning that I wasn't already running too late.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sara Re-defines Herself!

The other day Sara and I were listening to a little John Denver, when she heard our friend John describe one of his lady friends as "wild as a mink, but sweet as soda pop." She was instantly enamored by the description. "Dang, that's how I want you to describe me!" I thought it a worthy description and have delivered by changing her caption on my blog to exactly that. Which brings me to my poll question: What better defines Sara? Wild as a Mink or Sweet as Soda Pop?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rig bags peak number 2!!

This trip was a year in the planning. Rig, Grandpa Steve and myself all anxious to take (or retake) the largest peak in So Cal, the 11,506 ft. San Gorgonio. The 3500 feet of climbing would be Rig's longest hike to date, at 22 miles round trip. (There are shorter routes but we chose the longer flatter route.)

Rig and I had to play hooky from school for a Friday morning departure.

I got us lost and had to go into "Lippy's Country Store" for directions. Who would have guessed Lippy was an asian man who didn't speak any English. Only in California. When I asked for directions to Fish Creek, all he could do was try to sell me night-crawlers.

My hiking buddies.

The word stoked is an understatement for Rigdon on these types of outings. He doesn't even complain when I quiz him on his times tables.

The first day saw about 6 miles, 2000 feet of elevation and plenty of epic scenery.

Rig is following in Uncle Bram's footsteps and is yet to complain about a single meal while backpacking.

Rig said his favorite part of the trip was being at camp. We had a beautiful spot at just under 10,000 ft.

We were all a little shocked at how fast it went from sunny and warm to bitter cold. Thank goodness I brought the tent for Rig's sake. I almost decided we didn't need it.

Day 2, five miles and 1500 ft to go.

There was a plane crash that literally straddled the trail.

Rigdon searched for bones of the 13 killed in the wreckage. Luckily he didn't find any.

Finally getting above the tree line.

Rig took the summit first. It was a very clear day and we had the peak all to ourselves for about 45 minutes. The view was awesome.

Holy Crap! I couldn't figure out how to set the timer on my camera and had to try to take a picture of us on the summit just by holding the camera out. After multiple tries with this as our best result, I was convinced we were the two least photogenic people to ever climb San Gorgonio.

Luckily another hiker finally showed up and took a picture at a distance that masked our lack of photogenics.

When we were hiking with Steve this is all we ever saw of him. He gave us a lesson in setting pace.

Even at the end of the hike Rig had the energy to run and jump off of any rock on the trail that tempted him.

Rigdon didn't have to be asked to smile for one single picture. He was smiling from ear to ear the whole two days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reality Check

Make it 25 years without repeating as National Champions. My only condolences are that USC and Utah lost as well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oh Me of Little Faith

With the exception of the Kevin Feterik years, I have started every BYU football season since ‘84 with the same hope: To go Undefeated and win a national championship. Then as soon as we lose a game I am grounded back in reality.

Last Saturday I was all fired up for the BYU Oklahoma game. I had just gotten home from taking Rigdon to the skate park, when Sara layed this one on me:

“Our neighbor brought over four sweet Dodger tickets and a parking pass for tonight’s game. I told him we would definitely use them.”

“What? (A look of disgust on my face.) Are you kidding? Do you remember we are playing #3 Oklahoma today? You think I’m going to the Dodger game?”

(Rangi Smart Rules of Negotioation #1: The more unanswerable questions you can ask, the stronger your argument becomes.)

“You better take those tickets back up the street and tell him to find somebody else.”

Never having been to a Dodger game, Sara really wanted to go and at one point said she would take the kids by herself if I didn’t want to go.

An hour or so went by and I started to soften. After all the BYU game started at 4:00 and the Dodger game not until 7:15, and let’s be realistic BYU was a 22.5 point underdog. My expectations were that the Cougars would probably be down 3 touchdowns at the half and the second half would be straight torture.

Of course any other night I would love taking my family to a paid Dodger game and I had never even used a prefered parking pass before at any athletic event. The fact that each ticket had a 50 dollar face value, might have influenced me as well.

But still could I short sale my hopes for a national championship before the Cougs had even taken the field?

On the other hand I would be a hero to Sara at least for the day if I agreed to go to the game.

Maybe I could have the best of both worlds, watch the first half of the BYU game and then when it was no longer a contest, please my wife by taking the family to a free Dodger game.

So that’s what I went with, and as I’m sure you know, the football Gods punished me for it.

I watched the first half in HD at a friends house, most of the 3rd quarter video streamed on my computer, and then I sweated out the 4th quarter with only phone updates after big plays. It was a terrible way to witness the biggest Cougar win of the last decade.

When I got the call that they missed the field goal we were walking into the game and I went a little crazy and threw some things around. Sara finally had to tell me to calm down because I looked like an abusive parent/husband.

I was thinking blue but it was Cougar blue not Dodger blue.

Receiving an update. (For the record that is Sara's phone)

50 dollar seats aren't as close as you would think.

Rig witnessing his first Major League home run.

You cannot go to the Dodger game and not get a Dodger dog. After the news of the BYU win I didn't even bat an eye at the stadium prices.

Dang, now that is baseball.

Fully Invested? Maybe at least in my family?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For What It's Worth.

This is the video footage of our survival adventure. It pretty much sets our incompetence in stone. At least we were having fun, most the time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Birfday 0-LIV-I-A.!!

Special thanks to Riz and an impressive guest appearance by the newly discovered talent Pop Rox. You guys are the best.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hunters Vs. Gathers

This year the guys trip was one of the manliest sort. We had all been talking about it for years but it was yet to make it to the top of the priority list. This year there would be no more excuses. For there was no need for detailed preparations, permit applications, or expensive purchases at REI, we were going Old skool…getting back to our roots…our deep roots… almost caveman status, we were going to be men of the wild, we were setting out to tame nature. What could be more simple and manly than that. No food, no water, no gear, simply the clothes on our back, knives and a flint (of course with some exceptions for diabetics). Our only objective… to survive. We originally wanted 4 days and 4 nights to see how we would fair, but family commitments limited us to 3 nights and, if you round up on both ends, 4 days. The takers this summer were the regulars Bram, Rocky and myself, plus first timer Beetle and previous 26 hour survivalist, Roman. Rocky got a hot tip and chose us a sweet spot up above Strawberry Resevoir. The following log loosely documents how the trip went down.

This is Rocky with a local he had to stop for directions. Like us he was baffled by our map until he checked the date, it was from 1966. The road we were on wasn't even on our map. Chalk up another wrong turn and 2 hours lost for Rocky.
(Notice the rain on the windshield, that made the first night that much more miserable.)
We divided into two teams: Team Fire and Team Shelter. Beetle was the leader of team fire and came up big the first night. He had a little help from a "Cup of Noodle" package out of the diabetic grab bag. The bag also doubled as a pretty comfy pillow that left the rest of us a little desirous.

After a long night with very little sleep we were all fired up to go out hunting.

The combo of Beetle's mean face and sweet spear wasn't quite enough.

After five hours of hunting and only a few "near kills" to show for it, we decided that we were burning a lot more calories than we were replacing.

We decided a vegan entree would have to suffice.

Lunch is served.

After a lot of guys trips with Bram I have never heard him complain about a meal. He didn't disappoint me here either. He claimed they tasted like raw peas.

This is the Smart Brothers pictured in front of our most significant accomplishment of the trip, our shelter. It is a 'lean to' that we lined with pine branches and grass. We had big aspirations of sleeping significantly warmer the next night, but were greatly disappointed.

Picking grass for the 'lean to' lead to our most significant discovery of the trip, wild strawberries.

Wild strawberries that were about the size of Skittles, and pretty darn scarce. They were better than the grass though. We had envisioned ourselves as more the hunter types but ended up gatherers.

Chillin' in the 'lean to.' That's how we spent the last 24 hours of the adventure, not very adventurous.

Count down to McDonald's. The fatigue is showing on our faces in this picture. A pretty sorry outing by my account.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Desperation Situation

Last time I purchased life insurance, the salesman had a long list of questions to help him determine my eligibility for the policy and what my monthly premium would be.

At first the questions he asked were ones I was eager to answer no to.

“Do you smoke?”


“Are you currently taking any medications?’


“Do you use any illegal drugs?”


As the list progressed, the questions started to get less obvious.

“Do you skydive?”


“Do you white water kayak?”


“Do you hang glide?”

“Umm...Not really.”

“Do you do any kind of Winter Mountaineering?”

“Not since the accident.”

“Base jump?”


After admitting I didn't participate in about ten different Mountain Dew sponsored sports, I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me.

“Do you race moto-cross?”

“We owned motorcycles when I was younger? Does that count?”

“Do you own a motorcycle now?”


“Do you race any other type of motorized vehicle?”

“If we get a red light next to another mini-van, I will sometimes rev my engine and see if I can get the other driver’s attention.”

“I’ll mark that as a no.”

I was starting to get desperate. It appeared I was an insurance company's dream. Was I going to have to go through this whole list without answering yes to one single question? Where was the surfing or mountain biking question? Was I really living that boring of a lifestyle?

Then finally, it came…

“Do you participate in rodeo?”

My face lit up, “Yes….yes I do!”

Just to be able to answer yes to one question from the life insurance survey was well worth whatever it adds to my monthly premium.

Enter Strawberry Days Rodeo 2009 Wild Cow Milk.

Though ‘The Bold and Gold’ doesn’t go to the formality of assigning official positions on our team, most years Bram and I end up doing the Bull-dogging. Those are the guys who basically take the cow in a headlock and try to hold on until the cow finishes imposing her will on you. This is totally different than a wrestling headlock in which you are on the offense, this is straight defense. You try to dig your heals in and sit back into the cow to take some fight out of her but really it’s mostly survival.

That's an angry cow folks.

This year after letting the cow buck off as much nervous energy as I could bear to watch I clamped on and got ready for the ride. I was taking a pretty standard beating. All our fans said she was the meanest cow out there. (They say that every year. It’s getting harder and harder to believe.) I was doing a decent job of staying on the cow’s head and out of her way at the same time. I had just made another feeble attempt to get my feet out in front of me and dig my heels in, but this time she turned into me and my feet started to get tangled with hers. As she continued to move forward I tried to keep my feet, but her four hooves were far superior to my oversized pair of thrift store boots. Still clutched on her head, I was being overtaken. It appeared inevitable that all 1000 pounds of angry Slim Jims would soon be trampling right across my back. It was what we call in wrestling a “desperation situation.”

Bram and I lock on.

Digging my heels in but soon to be going to the ground.

Feet in tangles and nowhere to go but down!

I was going down, but I was going down swinging. I had no choice but a last ditch effort to go on the offensive with the only thing I had left, my headlock.

It is said that a wrestler with a good headlock is never out of a match. I was never that wrestler. The only effective headlocks I ever used were to give Rocky noogies back when he was four weight classes smaller than me.

After what feels like two lifetimes of wrestling, this would be (if it worked) my first ever headlock in competition and it would come against an opponent who had out grown my weight class some 800 pounds ago.

Pulling with everything I got!

No time to calculate angles of leverage, just throw my hips in on instinct and apply as much torque as is humanly possible by a 34 year old ‘has been.’ To my surprise as I was falling to the ground I felt the cow's head following me. For a second I even believed I was going to put her all the way on her side, but the fact that she had four legs saved ole Bessie some face.

It was a moderatly sucessful headlock and definatley the most successful one I had ever thrown. True she wasn’t pinned but given my opponent I felt pretty good about the result and it did save me from a trampling that would have left a mark (or two.) Unfortunatley it happened about 10 seconds too late and we were left grasping for third again.

And so I’ll have to go to church another 52 Sundays without a buckle for my belt. (Sara will be happy about that.) At least I have this sweet picture to show the insurance salesman when I have to renew my policy. (Thanks Rach for documenting.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dear Mountain Bike Action Magazine,

Dear Mountain Bike Action Magazine,

This letter is to inform you of my wife's eligibility for the mountain bike lessons. I have been a weekend warrior mountain biker for the past 14 years, but have never had a healthy budget for mountain biking. I have mainly used hand-me-down bikes from my older brother or garage sale finds for my ride. I decided about a year and half ago I wanted to introduce my beloved wife to mountain biking. I felt this would be the perfect inexpensive way to get away from the kids every once in a while, get a little physical exercise, and enjoy the awesome mountains in our area. I decided a new mountain bike would be the perfect seventh anniversary present.

Beetle raging on his hand-me-down hardtail.

At the time my current set up was an old specialized hard tail with just over 7 millimeters of its original 100 millimeters of travel on the fork, and about 3-5 useable speeds depending on how good of day it was having.  I knew my wife would need a decent bike to ensure a successful introduction and since funds were tight and my wife monitored our bank activity very intensely, I knew I had to be sneaky. I set up a savings account that was automatically deducted from my paychecks so I could save the funds needed to purchase her first mountain bike. I found a screaming deal on an entry level full suspension bike about three months before our anniversary. So despite the short comings of my hand-me-down hard tail I elected to spend the money I had saved on a sweet new ride for my wife.  Sure it meant rocking the beater bike for at least another season or two but at least I would be doing it in the company of my beloved wife.

I have never been good at keeping secrets but somehow I managed to wait until a week before our anniversary before I gave it to her.  She was so excited; I think it had to be one of the best presents I had ever given her. We went mountain biking that day and had an awesome time. She did however crash on a very smooth, fast, loose area. We got pictures of her first crash, and the minor scrapes that came with it. She didn't seem to mind too bad and admitted to having a really fun time.

The day Mindy got her new bike. 

Crash number two was only a few days after that on some loose dirt on a switch back. This crash did not go over as well because her hip landed on a cut off stump. She suffered more scrapes and a nasty bruise on her hip. I could tell she was hurting from this wreck, but she toughed it out and enjoyed the rest of the trail.

Mt. Biking Bliss.  

At this point I should have stopped to think why she kept wrecking on loose dirt, and maybe given her more time to develop on lesser trails, but I didn’t.  I was eager to share the full mountain biking experience with her. So the next weekend I found a sitter and brought her along with the crew to my favorite downhill romp.  This was by far the longest and most technical trail we had been on, complete with stumps, rocks and a few drops.  I knew the trail was a little out of her league, but I figured she could walk it on anything she wasn’t comfortable with.  

We were having a great ride, me leading the gang and my wife being content to bring up the rear.  It all seemed too good to be true.  About ¾ of the way through the trail I stopped to let the group catch up.  A few minutes later everyone had caught up except for my beloved wife.  After about 15 minutes of waiting we all started to get a little nervous.  I was especially concerned because I had seen a Mountain Lion on that very same trail about three weeks earlier.  I started up the trail on foot since my bike was having a particularly bad day and only offering me two speeds.  I had gone about 50 yards when I found my wife (I actually heard her before I saw her.)  She was crying uncontrollably walking her bike down the hill.  Her knees were bleeding and she was covered in dirt.  She had found a way to lodge a stick through one sidewall of her rear tire and out the other.  In my 14 years as a mountain biker I had never before seen such a feat. The stick was slapping against her frame with every rotation of her tire.  When I asked her why she didn’t pull the stick out, she sobbingly replied “I thought it was like when you lodge something into your eye, you aren’t suppose to take it out until you get to a doctor.”

She had tried to ride over a rock that had about a two foot drop on the other side of it and had a nasty crash.  She was beaten up pretty badly, her knees were cut up and she was bruised all over.  She said she was done mountain biking, because she did not know how to do it.  She cried for a few minutes after that, and then we investigated why she had crashed.  Apparently I had never taught her how the brakes work and she was mainly using her front brake.  This is why she would lose control when she would brake on loose dirt.  I felt bad and apologized for not giving her proper instructions before sending her down the trail. 

That was the last time she used her bike that season and to this day I have not been able to get her back out on the trail.  She does ride her plush full suspension bike from time to time on the road (It’s the wrong size for me), but says she is a little too timid to take it on any trails.  Meanwhile I am still riding my hand-me-down hard tail.  The only thing that has changed for me is I am down to 5mm of travel and I am alone again.  Talk about your all time back fire. 

I feel at fault for her not wanting to mountain bike.  She loved the few rides she went on despite the crashes she had.  She says she would like to get back into mountain biking but does not feel confident enough to do so.  With our kids becoming of age to start mountain biking I would love to make it a family activity.  I know mountain bike lessons would give my wife the confidence to return to the trails. She loves being with me and our kids, and loves enjoying our beautiful Utah Mountains.  Please consider my wife for the mountain biking lessons.

 Thank you,

Regan Smart