I would like to say that my year (1993) was victorious but alas we were far from it (yet again) winning one game and losing two (both in overtime and both due to the refs blowing calls that would have allowed us to win the game!!) Let's not mention the part where I personally missed the game winning shot in one game but instead focus on the ineptitude of the officiating, that's more fun anyway. Mandy's year (1996) won their bracket championship as did my older brother Jeff's year (1986), which is my year's bracket as well but sadly we've never come close to winning that thing. There are 3 different brackets as to protect the old and decrepit from having to play the younger teams, say from 2008 that can still run and jump and have a BMI under 30 (man I hate those kids). My brain still thinks I belong in that category but sadly, this 36 yr old body begs to differ and today, Man is it begging!!
But it was great fun to see old friends that I haven't seen for a long time but it was even more fun to see my little Dylan interacting with so many people (most of whom he'd never met in his life). They would come and sit by him and he would talk to them as if they were old friends and genuinely be interested in getting to know them. So many people, afterwards, commented on how impressed they were with his attitude and sense of humor (ask him about his science project of a cup dirt by Brian Reagan and you'll laugh historically as he recites it). I can't thank all the people there enough for donating to the tournament. This year they had a silent auction wherein people/companies donated items that were bid on and I couldn't believe some of the items that were donated; 14th row Jazz tickets from Bank of Utah, a bunch of girly smelly stuff from one of Mandy's high school buddies Kelly and 3 beautiful paintings from a good friend of mine Russell Case. If you haven't heard of Russell Case, he's one of the most talented artists I know and his artwork (mostly of outdoor, fishing, cowboy, and landscape scenes is truly beautiful). All the other items were great too and I don't mean to single anyone out but rather to give a description of the level and value of things that people donated to the cause.
At half time of the young bracket championship game, they brought both us and the Friedli's to center court and Trek Lyons (founder of the alumni tournament) said a few words, thanked everyone for coming and introduced the families. Then he gave us the microphone to address the crowd. I was overwhelmed with emotion standing there looking into the crowd, seeing people I've known my whole life; a school teacher, a seminary teacher, a former boss, our son's pediatrician and many people who have loved and supported me and helped me become the man I am today (it truly does take a community to raise a child). I couldn't hold back the tears as I thanked them for their generosity. I've played in the alumni tournament since it's inception and our year has always donated money because it truly is for a good cause but to be on the receiving end was a place I never thought I'd be! It gave a whole new meaning to community and even though I no longer live in Brigham City, it will always be my home and where I will always say I'm proud to be from. Dylan kept saying he couldn't believe how many people would come to support him, he's still overwhelmed that so many people care and to me, as a father, it gives me hope for humanity. There is so much that is evil and bad in this world and it is easy to give into despair and depression and allow ourselves to give up because it is just too hard. When I feel this way, I always remember 2 Kings 6:15-17 When Elisha the prophet of Israel was surrounded by the Syrians, his servant asked how they could defeat such an army surrounding their city and Elisha said 'Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.' Yes, there is evil and wickedness in this world but there is also SO much goodness and people going about doing good. This weekend was full of those kind of people. One of the greatest men I know, Wendel Hess (a bishop and neighbor from my youth) who just recently passed away was one of those men. He simply went about doing good and not looking for public recognition for it. That is the kind of man I now strive to be. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank all those who participated and donated to the alumni tournament. The proceeds will allow us to accomplish things that before were not possible. What an experience, one I will never forget!