Why Do I Care So Much?

photo by RSL BOZ

"Why do I care so much?" My buddy Scott asked this question a couple of weeks ago when a group of us were gathered together to watch the MLS Easter Conference Championship match between Real Salt Lake (RSL) and the Chicago Fire. The match went 120 minutes with no score, but it was anything from boring as both teams created multiple chances only to be denied by stellar goalkeeping from both sides. Overtime had just wrapped up, and we were headed for a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner. Scott's question was so perfect for the moment. Our nerves were shot, and now the game would be decided in a cruel pressure cooker that is a shootout. Why do we care? We don't know the players. We are adults with adult responsibilities and families. We shouldn't care this much about a game, right?

I don't know the answer but I think that it has to do something with this: There is something pure and intangible in sports. There is something truly inspiring about watching individuals accomplish together something that would be impossible alone. While we don't know the players personally, we as fans have come to know in great detail their individual strengths and weaknesses on the field. We have come to know something of their character by the way they conduct themselves and by the way they cope with set backs and adversity. There are a plethora of sports cliches, but there really is something special about seeing a player sacrifice his ego for the good of the team.

As we watched Ned Grabavoy convert the decisive penalty in Chigago to send RSL to the MLS Cup Final in Seattle, I couldn't help but think about the strength of his mentality. He had lost his starting position a couple months ago due to two successive sub par performances and had seen little playing time since. I've been there as a youth player, and I'm sure even at the professional level it is not easy to deal with. Yet when he was called on by his coach to step on the field and make the difference, he did it.

We made plans and took the long drive up to Seattle for the final. The atmosphere was electric, and the game was incredible. Once again RSL's depth and mental fortitude would be tested as All Star play-maker Javi Morales went down with an injury 15 minutes into the match and All Star midfielder Will Johnson had to be subbed off at half after being sick all night with the flu. Clint Mathis and Ned Grabavoy stepped in and made the difference in the match. They provided a calming influence on the pitch that had been lacking. They controlled possession, made timely tackles, and combined with the forwards to create several dangerous chances. They raised the level of play of the entire midfield from slightly below average before they entered the match to absolutely stellar upon their arrival.

Regulation ended in a 1-1 draw and overtime carried the same score to the end. We once again faced the daunting penalty shootout. Los Angeles was lucky to be there as RSL had pressed hard for the winner dominating play throughout the second half and overtime. I was doubtful because in my experience the team who is holding on for dear life trying to salvage the tie and force a shootout (in this case Los Angeles) usually ends up winning.

So why do I care so much? Because every player on the team has a story like Ned's. Because caring makes life exciting. Because of the moment of utter exhilaration that comes when Robbie Russell slots home the winning penalty to give your team the championship. Because it's fun to hug your friends and high five perfect strangers.


Sneak Peek - It's Christmas Again

I've been posting track listings and writing a little about the songs. So far, there hasn't been a whole lot to get excited about except claims I've made that the production sounds great.

We have one song completely finished and mastered. I thought I'd share it now as a sneak peak of what you can expect from this Christmas EP project. The song is about the two sides of Christmas - the stress, worries, and hectic schedule, and the excitement, joy, and anticipation. Hope you like it. Listen to it here.

*update* I originally posted a very rough version of I've got a friend by accident. The correction is made and you can follow the link to listen to the final version of It's Christmas Again.


Updated Tracklisting

Herod the Fink's self titled Christmas EP is heading towards completion and things are starting to solidify. There may be an additional song on the final version, but this is how it stands now.

01. It's Christmas Again (original)
02. The First Noel
03. What Child is This?
04. By Night (original)
05. I've Got a Friend (original)


Studio Update

Day one of Herod the Fink recording couldn't have gone better. We got tracks laid down for 5 songs. The two originals are almost complete. A little tinkering and some re-recording of some vocals and they should be good to go. Jason has them sounding incredible. I've never heard my own voice (or any of my playing) in such incredible clarity, it left me feeling really exposed especially at first.


Halloween 09

At the Park, Grandmas

Mt. Timpanogos with the Scouts

We were a little unprepared for the snow, hence the hoodies rather than coats. This was at the beginning of October. We made it to the top, but did not summit due to cloud cover and windy, icy conditions.


Herod the Fink

I want to have a name for this Christmas project, and I think I have it - Herod the Fink. The inspiration comes from some of my oldest, fondest Christmas memories.

We used to go as a family up the street to Brad and LaRue's (family friends / fellow 5th ward members) for Christmas Eve. We would read the Christmas story and consume delicious holiday treats. Brad had created a miniature city of Bethlehem complete with the manger scene, sheep, shepherds, pigs, chickens, palm trees, peasants, a synagoge with hebrew scriptures, etc. It is a hand-made labor of love. There are lots of hidden gems in the scene including references to many of the Savior's parables. Brad's sense of humor was also evident in various parts, most notably in some scratched graffiti on one of the city walls which read "Herod is a Fink."


Preliminary Tracklisting

01. By Night (original)
02. What Child is This?
The First Noel
04. Away in a Manger
05. It's Christmas Again (original)
06. Silent Night

This is far from set in stone, but as of right now these are the songs we plan to record starting on Saturday.