Thursday, August 28, 2008

Football is Finally Here

The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and it is sad to see that summer is starting to fade away, but the month of September is my favorite time of year. This is the time when the football teams take to the fields to play in the best sport in the world. On September 4th the Redskins and Giants will play in the NFL season opener. This is the day that I have been waiting on since the Giants won the Super Bowl back in February. I am not a fan of baseball and basketball is pretty good, but football is hands down my most favorite sport for many reasons.

Football starts during the most beautiful time of the year. The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors, the weather gets cooler and not so hot, and the kids all go back to school (my wife likes that part). I remember going to Payson High School football games and BYU football games with my Dad as a child. The air was chilly but we would bundle up and get hot cocoa and hot nachos at the concession stands. My wife and I are expecting a little boy (we currently have 2 girls) to be born in September and I plan on taking him to many football games over the years and will watch them on TV with him as well.

Football is the most team-oriented sport of the major sports. You need all 11 players on offense and all 11 on defense working together as one unit whereas basketball and baseball you can have a lot of one-man “showboats” on your teams. In football you need your blockers and your running backs and receivers working together to help protect and catch passes from the quarterback. It is fun to watch how the team interacts with one another and how they feed off each other’s successes and the support they give each other during the hard times.

If you enjoy action, suspense, big hits, and lots of unpredictability then you need to watch a football game. I have never seen anything to compare to a football game with seconds left in a game, the team moving down the field, Brett Favre as your quarterback throwing a huge bomb to a receiver in the end zone, the excitement of the win in the final seconds. I was witness to such a scene when the Green Bay packers traveled to Denver Broncos last year in October on a Monday Night Football game. My wife joined me on this monumental event in my life.

I had been waiting for 15 years to watch the Packers and Brett Favre to play in real life. It was finally my chance. The field at Denver was awesome. There were Packers fans everywhere. The game was exciting and thrilling and the Broncos scored a field goal in the final seconds to send the game into overtime. I couldn’t believe that I was in Denver on a cool October night watching my favorite team and my favorite player now going into overtime with the home team. The tension was mounting as the Packers received the ball first. Favre got under center and faked a hand off and heaved the ball about 50 yards to a streaking Greg Jennings down the left sideline. Jennings outran the defender to score an 80 yard touchdown on the first play of overtime leading the Packers to victory over the Broncos…and I was there to witness it.

Make sure to watch this year’s football…you never know what you might miss.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

The 2008 Olympics Finishes Up

This year’s Olympics has been filled with exciting finishes, record setting performances, painful disappointments, and even accusations of poor judging and possible cheating allegations. It has been an Olympics that will be unforgettable. The Opening Ceremonies were incredible, Michael Phelps lived up to the hype, the gymnastics were tense and exciting, and many other sports events showed why the Olympics is one of the most watched events in the World.

It began with the Opening Ceremonies which was an awesome sight and feast for the eyes and ears. Beijing put on an incredible show to get the Olympics underway. The dancers and the costumes they were wearing was a treat to watch. The fireworks and awesome displays were amazing to behold. It was fun to watch the athletes enter the stadium each representing their respective countries and each full of hope and excitement at the thoughts of competing with one another for the right to be awarded the gold medal of their particular sport.

Swimming was one of the first events showed in the Olympics. The focus was on Michael Phelps as he would try to earn a world record 8 gold medals in 1 Olympics. He went on to accomplish this feat but it wouldn’t come easily. It started with the 4x100m freestyle relay where Phelps and others started the relay and then Jason Lezak came on strong in the final leg of the race to pass France’s Alain Bernard and win the relay in world record time. I thought this was the most exciting race of the Games this year. The other race that Phelps’ turned up the “excitement meter” on was the 100m butterfly where he won by a fingernail or 1/100th of a second. This was an incredible finish that was so close that the second place finisher had the judges take a second look to make sure that Phelps actually finished first. It was shown that Phelps indeed won by an incredibly short distance. Michael Phelps completed all 8 of his swimming events with the gold medal being hung around his neck.

The gymnastics events were exciting to watch as well. They were going on the same time as the swimming providing many late nights full of excitement and intrigue.
China went on to gain many medals in the gymnastics despite the many allegations of underage gymnasts which is currently under investigation of the IOC. The US went to win several medals with Shawn Johnson and Nastia Luikin leading the way. There were many events which featured what many felt like were unfair judging, but for the most part the gymnastics delivered one of the most exciting events in the Olympics. The performances were incredible and the way each of the athletes handles the pressure was amazing. When Nastia Luikin won the gold for the all-around competition, with Shawn Johnson getting silver, the U.S. couldn’t be prouder.

There were countless other events that took place that were fun to watch and some were painful to witness. The 100 meter hurdles featured a US woman LoLo, who was leading her race when she hit a hurdle and it slowed her down to make it so she finished without a medal.
The US basketball team has been astounding. Their level of play has been turning most matches into blowouts. There were many more events that took place that should be mentioned but I am out of time for this blog. If you missed the Olympics then all I can say is you missed a great year of the best athletes in the world putting on the best show in the world. It will be another 4 years until you can watch the Summer Olympics again. Don’t miss out on the excitement in 2012 in London.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Michael Phelps- World’s Best Swimmer, Ever

The Olympics are about half way over now and it has been exciting to watch the best athletes in the world compete with one another. My wife and I have been watching the swimming events every evening all week long having a particular interest in Michael Phelps. Michael has been amazing in every race that we have seen him swim in. He has blown away the competition in every race and received a gold medal for the 5 times that he has raced up to the point I am writing this article. He has 3 races left and if he gets the gold in each of those races he will be the first athlete in Olympics history to get 8 or more Gold medals in a single Olympics. He already has 11 career Gold medals which is an Olympic record for the most gold medals in an athlete’s Olympics career. I didn’t know Phelps very well and thought that maybe I should, where he is the greatest Olympic athlete in history and is from the United States. I did some quick research to find out who he was and share my findings on my blog.

According to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia:

Phelps was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He has two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary both of them were swimmers as well, with Whitney coming close to making the U.S. national team for the 1996 Summer Olympics before injuries derailed her career. In his youth, Phelps was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).He started swimming at age seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his restless energy. He blossomed quickly as a swimmer, and by the age of 10 held a national record for his age group. More age group records followed, and Phelps' rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15 where he competed in Sydney, becoming the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens he went on to get 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals.

It has been amazing what Michael has gone on to do in the Olympics throughout his life, with this year being the culmination of all his hard work and dedication. As you watch the Olympics this year, remember that you are watching history being made. You will be able to let your children and grandchildren know that you were watching the 2008 Olympics when Michael Phelps went on to set many Olympic records.

Just as Michael Phelps has gone on to make a difference in the Olympics by his hard work and determination; we can use the same type of effort in our own lives. We can be an Olympian parent, Olympian friend, Olympian co-worker, Olympian spouse, and all of us can be an Olympian citizen of our own countries. We can make a huge difference in the lives of family, friends, children, and neighbors by setting records in friendliness, kindness, or even a simple hello and smile. Make the Olympics part of your everyday life and you will find that you, too, can be the recipient of gold medals of love, trust, and appreciation from those around you.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Let the Games Begin

The 2008 Summer Olympics are finally here. The opening ceremony will start on Friday evening of 8/8/08. The excitement is starting to mount for the athletes, the countries, and the many fans throughout the world. I thought it would be interesting to review the history of the Olympics and talk about when and how it all began and how the Olympics got to be what they are today.

According to the online reference
The very first Olympics were in Olympia, Greece from 776 BC to AD 393.
Interest in reviving the Olympic Games proper was first shown by the Greek poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead" in 1833. Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first modern international Olympic Games in 1859. He paid for the refurbishment of the Panathinaiko Stadium for Games held there in 1870 and 1875. This was noted in newspapers and publications around the world including the London Review, which stated that "the Olympian Games, discontinued for centuries, have recently been revived! Here is strange news indeed ... the classical games of antiquity were revived near Athens".

It is interesting to note that the games existed for almost 1,200 years and then disappeared for almost 1,500 years before being revived back near Athens, Greece.
The Wikipedia reference goes on further to say “The Games gradually declined in importance as the Romans gained power in Greece. After Emperor Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity the religion of the Empire and banned pagan rites, the Olympic Games were outlawed as a pagan festival in 393 AD.”
I studied further on multiple websites and learned that in 776 AD there was only 1 event—the sprint—a short run called the “stade.” In 1896 there were only 9 sports and 43 events were included in the program between April 6 - 15: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, weightlifting, tennis and shooting (rowing and sailing were also planned but were canceled because of bad weather). There were only 14 nations that participated and 175 athletes.
Today 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in 302 events in 28 sports from a total of 203 countries. There will be many gold, silver, and bronze medals handed out over the next 16 days. Make sure and tune in for the Games this year and cheer on your favorite athletes and support your country. It will be 16 excitement-filled days of watching the best athletes in the world compete with one another in the greatest event in the world.
Let the games begin!

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Friday, August 1, 2008

A Good Movie

Written by my wife who is locked out of her blog temporarily: Rachelle J. Christensen

Yep, it’s still summer and this 100 degree heat makes the air conditioned darkness of a movie theater very inviting.

My husband and I enjoy going to movies for a little date night once in a while. Of course, these days you have to be choos-y but I still think there are some great films available. Lots of us love going to the movies for the cool temperature of the theater and of course, the treats.

I enjoy being treated to the hot, buttery heart-attack popcorn you can only get in movie theaters and my husband loves frozen Junior Mints. It’s not really a movie experience without the treats, right?

We recently saw the second movie from The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian. I really enjoyed it and there were some awesome special effects. There’s a great message weaved throughout which C.S. Lewis put in all his books. I loved reading these books, but it was so long ago I couldn’t remember all the details. My husband hasn’t read the books and he enjoyed the movie too. I’d recommend it for the whole family, because it’s clean, exciting, and best of all based on a good book you can all read too!

There’s another side of going to the movie too. It’s called taking your kids with you. Our kids are still pretty young so we’ve only taken them to three movies over the past couple years. It’s kind of fun to watch them watch the movie. I get a kick out of their reactions and questions during the movie. We save this for special events only and as our family grows larger it will probably stay that way, unless they start giving away free movie tickets! :)

On the 4th of July we took our kids to Disney’s “Wall-e” and it was a blast! I think my favorite part of the whole movie was when the robot Eve blew up something and my 2 year old yelled out, “Holy Cow!”

Wall-e was a fun movie with plenty of laughs for the adults and the kids. I loved the message that I gleaned from it, whether it was intended or not, that we need to take care of our earth and ourselves—stay healthy.

I’ve noticed that there are lots of different family events at the movie theaters during the summer. They have special “kid showings” several matinees offered, even deals for dinner and a movie.

I hope that you get a chance to visit a nice cool movie theater to escape the stifling heat and that you enjoy this form of recreation as much as I do.

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