Saturday, October 11, 2008

Proposition 8: Moral Freedom, or Agency Buster?

Before I begin my comments, I would like to express that I am not a traditional Conservative, nor a "liberal Democrat," as they tend to be branded. And, to be quite frank, I have no idea where I stand on this issue. But there are some things in the "Proposition 8 debate" that bother me.

Proposition 8, to the few who haven't heard, is a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that would legally and lawfully define marriage to be between a Man and a Woman, only. Similar measures are also being undertaken in other states (Prop 120, or something like that, in Arizona), but the California debate is particularly engaging.

As an active Latter-day Saint, my senses have been flooded with talk about "preserving the sanctity of marriage." In fact, on Wednesday, Oct. 8, Elders M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presented a nation-wide fireside, urging members to support the California initiative and actively campaign for the agenda.

The argument is always the same: marriage has been defined by "history and tradition," and therefore, it shouldn't be changed. Also, religious believers argue that "since God ordained marriage between a man and a woman, man shouldn't ordain it any other way." I am in full agreement with the second point, but my mind always wanders to those who have rejected the counsels of God to such an extent. It's difficult, but I really do try hard not to offend or judge those beliefs.

However, the opposition also makes some valid arguments. They contend that marriage should not be left to the discretion of state or federal governments, but to the individuals involved in a marriage themselves. Therefore, they argue, if a man wants to marry a woman, man, dog, cow, or chicken, it should be their decision (although, I must admit, I have yet to meet a pro-bestiality Prop 8 rejecter). They argue that such a decision will only affect those marriages in which same-gender attraction is the norm.

However, the other side claims, that is not the case. For once same-gender marriage is constitutionally legal, it is assumed that there will be no time wasted before it is taught in schools, universities and community centers, as a way of "preventing discrimination." While the validity of such an assumption is question, this may be true. Once Title IX was passed by the federal government, it took little time for most college campuses to adopt policies in which equal viewpoints from male and female scholars would be taught and implemented.

But the question also goes back to the "history and tradition" argument made by the (principally) Religious Right Wing. They argue that, since marriage has "traditionally" been between a man and a woman, it ought to change that way. But how would life in the USA be if all of our 'history-darling' philosophers, lawmakers and generals had been under the same train of thought? Were the British Colonies "keeping with tradition" when the colonists took up arms against their sovereign nation across the bay? Was Abraham Lincoln "following history" when he 'prevented' a number of states from seceding from the Union? Was Joseph Smith, Jr., merely "keeping with tradition" when he prayed to God the Father on the Spring morning of 1820?

My point is not to convince anybody to vote a certain way on Proposition 9; I'm not a California resident, and hence cannot vote, so my opinion on the subject doesn't mean much. But it should be time that we began bring logical and well-thought arguments to defend what we see as "the sanctity of life."

Tradition vs Progressivism. It's an omnipresent battle.

Monday, April 14, 2008

RSL wins big in First Win of Season

Real Salt Lake, Utah's second professional sports team behind the well-established Utah Jazz, put two-and-two together in their third game of the season, routing defending MLS Supporter's Shield winner D.C. United, 4-0.

Kyle Beckerman, RSL's star midfielder who rose to national fame following Real's blowout trade with the Colorado Rapids last season, had two goals. The first came early, 12 minutes into the game, when Dema Kovalenko sent a ball blazing across the field to Beckerman's magic toe, before finding the net behind D.C. GK Jose Carvallo, who also had two saves.

“Tonight it all came together," Beckerman said after the game, "I don’t think it was our best performance soccer-wise, but as a team we fought and had a good spirit. The team’s spirit was just excellent tonight.”

Newcomer Fabian Espindola of Argentina knotted his first goal with Real Salt Lake, as he broke away in the 19th minute to receive a second pass from Kovalenko and tap the ball into the right corner.

“It was a long pass from Dema [Kovalenko]," Espindola said. "I put it down on the ground, did a little turn and just took a shot. Luckily I was able to get across on it and put it off the goalkeeper’s hands.”

Goalkeeper and team veteran Nick Rimando said this home win was crucial to RSL, hoping it will get fans more behind the team, and show them this year's squad is different from the past.

“It’s always good getting that first victory," Rimando said. "You get a tie and a loss and now you’re fighting to get three points. We knew we had to play well in front of our fans and play well for us because we believed in ourselves and we knew that we were the better team in those two games and tonight we proved it to ourselves.”

Beckerman's second goal came during the 78th minute, with help from D Nat Borchers and F Robbie Findley. Findley tapped in RSL's final goal late, an unassisted blast in the 87th minute that sealed the deal for Real's biggest win yet.

RSL will hit the road for a two consecutive weeks, going north of the border to battle Toronto FC April 19, and then looking for another win over D.C., April 30 in the nation's capital. All games will be broadcast live on KALL 700 AM radio.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March Madness, Baby!

It's time for a little NCAA Tournament Update on this puppy (even though nobody ever reads it).

After an amazing run into the Sweet 16, including a 74-70 schlacking of second-seeded Georgetown, Davidson has emerged as this year's prime Cinderella-team. Sure, Western Kentucky may have looked worse on paper, etc. with fewers stars and a weaker conference, but nobody can doubt the leadership and presence of G Stephen Curry as the Wildcats have tackled every challenge thrown at them so far.

Davidson will square off against the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, Wisconsin, Friday at 7 p.m.

The Blue Devils of Duke were shockingly upset last week, as Coach K's boys fell to the Mountaineers of West Virginia, 73-67. The Mountaineers appear to be for real behind the likes of F Joe Alexander, and Xavier better not take them likely if they hope to get their chance at UCLA in the Elite Eight. WVU and the Musketeers will square off Thursday at 7 p.m.

Here are the rest of your Sweet 16 match ups:
East Region
UNC vs. Washington St. Thurs. @ 7:30 p.m.
Louisville vs. Tennessee Thurs. @ 10 p.m.

Midwest Region
Kansas vs. Villanova Fri. @ 9:30 p.m.
Wisconsin vs. Davidson Frid. @ 7 p.m.

South Region
Memphis vs. Michigan State Fri. @ 10 p.m.
Stanford vs. Texas Fri. @ 7:30 p.m.

West Region
UCLA vs. Western Kentucky Thurs. @ 9:40 p.m.
Xavier vs. WVU Thurs. @ 7 p.m.

Expect UNC and UCLA to advance rather steadily, although Wazzu' and WKU aren't going to go down easily. Psycho T and the Tar Heels are definitely going to have to speed it up on offense if they expect to power their way through WSU's pesky D.

Tennessee, Kansas, and Memphis should have little problem advancing to the Elite Eight, although the Spartans of Michigan State may put up a good fight for the Tigers. In the end, be on upset alert with Davidson and West Virginia, and Stanford, if you can still call that an upset; everything else should go according to plan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's that time of year again!

March Madness is upon us! The nation is ready to plunge into utter panic! It's time to organize that office pool, crunch the RPI's, SOS', Winning %'s, and Conf. Play and make an attempt to pick "the perfect bracket."

That's why the CBI is the place to be....


That's right, ladies and gents; The College Basketball Invitational is the NCAA's latest excuse to allow "just a few more teams to have a post season." This year's inaugural tournament features the amazing stylings of teams such as Valparaiso University, Old Dominion, the Ivy league love Brown, and even the fabulous University of Utah! This 16-team tournament looks to be filled with excitement, cutting edge special effects, and amazing future NBA stars.


In an attempt to make the game "more exciting," the administrators of college basketball are merely taking up valuable air time on Fox College Sports TV to find "the 98th-best team in the nation." It is nonsensical, pointless, and entails absolutely NO BRAGGING rights for next year's season.

With that being said, here's how it should pan out, according to Slim Seanie, the marvelous Bracketologist:

--Round 1--



Old Dominion


Miami (OH)



--Round 2--


Old Dominion



--Round 3--



--Round 4-- (best of 3 final)

CBI Tourney Champion: Nevada Wolfpack

Monday, January 28, 2008

Obituary of a Great Man, even a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator

A little variation on a common theme to praise the life of a great man:

To seal the testimony of this Church and the Book of Mormon, we announce the death of Gordon B. Hinckley the Prophet, and James E. Faust the Counselor. They were brought to the other side of the veil, though not on the 27th of June, 1844, about five o’clock p.m., by an armed mob—painted black—of from 150 to 200 persons. James passed on first and fell calmly, exclaiming: I am a dead man! Gordon carried on as if leaping from the window, and was taken dead in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord my God! They were both criticized after they were dead, in a brutal manner, and both received multiple hazings.

Gordon B. Hinckley , the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus and Joseph Smith only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has re-directed the Book of Mormon, which he interpreted and challenged all to read by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on every continent; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has expounded on the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded many a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his Counselor James. In life they were not divided, and in death they will not be separated!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How do you motivate the "unmotivateable"?

I have been experiencing a problem lately, and I am wondering if I'm just getting old, or if my worries are valid.

Why are the current Youth of America so unmotivated? And lazy? We definitely can't forget lazy...

As a part-time Assistant Wrestling Coach, I have been facing a serious problem: how to motivate my athletes. I feel like very, very few of them want to be there; of those few, the vast majority of them are Seniors (no offense to you older guys, but Senior year is a bad time to try to "make up" for wasting 4 years of high school). My main job as an Assistant has been to work with the JV and Younger Wrestlers at the high school. Yet, on this past Friday, only FIVE of my TWELVE Wrestlers even managed to show up to practice! What makes matters worse, I saw FOUR of those "absentees" at the Basketball game later that night.

What is it in Hard Work that has these young men so scared to take part of it?

I asked two of my "absentee" Wrestlers why they didn't show up to practice. One of them responded that he hated the sport of Wrestling, while the other one told me that he just "didn't feel like it." Now, I can understand that, since the end of the year is upon us (the JV Region Tournament is next week), these boys are tired. But don't they have enough heart, and sufficient guts, to finish the season strong????

Now, as for the Wrestler who "hates the sport;" why is it that you hate the great sport of Wrestling so much? I happen to know this boy's family.... grew up with his older brothers, was raised by his parents while mine were in school, etc. And he never seemed like a lazy child when we were younger (granted, I knew him best when he was age 6 and younger...). Yet he explained to me that he hated Wrestling because he hated going to practice, hated "killing himself" to make weight, and hated "doing it all just to lose."

What ever happened to using losing-experiences to make oneself better? Whatever happened to using practice time as an opportunity to hone one's skills and abilities so that they didn't "just do it all to lose"?

In the end, I guess things have changed too much since I was in high school. Or maybe they haven't. Maybe I'm just noticing this more because I'm getting older... maybe it really is impossible to see "the power and destiny of one's youth" until it has passed you by. Maybe my ramblings really don't matter, and will never have any effect on people.

All I can hope, is that one day, these attitudes will change, and America's Youth will be motivated to work hard toward a common goal.... a motivation that will improve our economy, our society, and the way we handle most political issues.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Get me some Repellant for This Pesky Love Bug!

Spring has passed, and Summer is winding down. The longest day of the year is now behind us, and the only things that we have to look forward to are earlier sunsets, and the possibility of some beautiful someone to share them with....

Ack, can it get any worse than that?!!

While most people seem to get upset at comments such as this, I feel that I, as a legal citizen of the United States of America, and blessed with the power of Free Speech (not, notice, Freedom of the Press, as I do not consider myself YET as part of that "Press"), have a need to defend my position. I currently attend the University with one of the highest Married Student populations in the country-- Brigham Young University; or, as most of us cynics prefer to call it, "The Marriage Factory." Yet I have no real desire to get married, nor do I have any real desire to be overly "social." Although most of my good friends are deeply engaged in their "good cause" of dating and courtship, and many of them have even been married up to this point (one friend's wedding is tonight, prompting this post), I have never seen myself as one who enjoys the "social life." I feel that school is much too important, and I have plenty of trouble finding enough financial means to support myself, let alone a girlfriend, wife, or child. So, why do we, as BYU Students, feel this overwhelming need to "settle down" before even attaining a Bachelor's degree?

In a word, Sex!

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm talking about the ever-famous S-word. As the majority of us belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in a very strict commandment called the Law of Chastity. This law, divinely inspired and revealed to us by a Prophet of God, is that we are to have no sexual relations with any other person besides the spouse to whom we are legally wed. This includes, among other things, a need to maintain ourselves modest in thought, dress, and action, and a continually striving to avoid situations which may lead to a compromising temptation in later stages. It is for this reason, however, that we see so many of my fellow colleagues and classmates with engagement rings and wedding bands by the even of their 22nd Birthday!! The need to reproduce sexually is inherent in all of our genetic material, an understatement that would be agreeable amongst most main Christian and non-Christian religious denominations, and scientific philosophies. It would be Darwinian Suicide if we were programmed to NOT have these sexual impulses! Reproduction would cease, and the human race would fall within a matter of generations!

With that being said, I do not wish for the casual reader of these thoughts to think me anti-relationships, homo-sexual, or even homo-phobic; I am not. I believe whole-heartedly in the union of Man and Woman in Holy Matrimony, and I believe that the Sacred act of Procreation should be used ONLY within these bounds; That being said, I do not believe that Sex is good enough as a primary motive for Marriage. I believe that the relationship between a Man and His Wife should not be rushed into as one would rush to the Supermarket because they forgot an item on their shopping list; Marriage is a serious commitment, and the steps to pre-marriage should be equally thoughtful and regarded as an equally serious commitment. It is when two people see marriage is the answer to their "sexual woes" that they tend to find greater faults in their relationship, often times leading to extremely early pregnancy, divorce, single parenthood, and even a loss of one's religious faith, because "marriage was supposed to solve our problems." While the marriage relationship does have the capacity to strengthen the bonds of love between a man and a woman, and sex is an irreplaceable act in the strengthening of those bonds, a relationship that is founded purely on the sexual desires of the individual WILL NOT STAND!

I realize that there are many, many students at my beloved University who have married the woman whom they now call "wife" based on a very thoughtful and meditative analysis of their relationship together; to this students, I sincerely commend you! You are moving forward with your lives in a way that no successful career or honors graduation can make possible! But I also acknowledge that many of the products of our "successful Marriage Factory" are mere facades, imaginations of a "lustful heart and a horny spirit," rather than a "broken heart and a contrite spirit." To these couples, I say, "WAKE UP!!" Find the real reason for your relationship, and move toward it! Look for something that pleases you about your spouse that is non-physical in nature, and cleave to it! Ask yourself, "If I were blind, and had lost the use of my reproductive organs, would I still love this person?" If the sincere answer is Yes, then you will be able to trudge through any hardship of life. But if you question yourself upon asking these questions, then you need to sincerely re-evaluate your relationship, and possibly end it right there!

Marriage is sacred; Sex is sacred; and as two sacred acts, the maturity and thoughtful insight of the individuals involved is necessary in considering the preparation of two for these marvelous events. Think about it....