Open Season

WeddleUtah opened the football season with a rousing victory against Utah State last night! In preparation for the season I read No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story by Trent Toone (another May release). I have another blog where I track the Utes who have gone on to play professionally, and Weddle is definitely one of my favorites. He isn’t going to grace the pages of ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue, but he is the epitome of a professional athlete in my eyes. His determination to make pivotal plays is unmatched, and he deserves to be one of the highest-paid players at his position. If only Toone was as dedicated to being the best at his profession as his subject, this would be a truly great read. This biography discusses Weddle’s accomplishments to date, but it also examines his high character, family life, and conversion to the LDS Church. I was already a Weddle fan, and now I’m determined to get The Man’s Chargers jersey (even if he did admit to reading the Twilight series!).

Billy LynnFor a more complicated subject and superior writing, I turned to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. I’m no fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Destiny’s Child, or the war in Iraq necessarily, but I am a fan of writers who can meld difficult subject matter into an entertaining book, so that makes me a Fountain fan! He deserved to be a National Book Award Finalist for what he did with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. It may not be the definitive literary work of the Iraq war, but I have already recommended it to my buddy in the Navy. I await his verdict as to the authenticity of Billy Lynn’s experiences on both fronts, battle and home, but I thought the book was terrific. And, as someone who recently suffered a migraine, I can attest to the horror of that halftime show!

100 thingsI completed my off-season workout with Patrick Sheltra’s 100 Things Utes Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. It came out in 2011 so it isn’t entirely up-to-date, but I’m familiar enough with recent developments; it’s the history of the program on which I needed to brush up. I was working concessions in the stadium for #17 Yergy’s Drive from 55 in the 1993 Holy War, and I was delivering pizza while listening to #23 Lusk’s Dash in the Dusk. I’ve already written about my reaction to listening to the 2005 Emerald Bowl. But I wasn’t around for #31 The Lost Championship of 1969, or Fred Gehrke painting the first horns on the helmets of the Cleveland Rams. I’ve been tracking Reggie Dunn’s preseason in Pittsburgh for my other blog, and it bears a resemblance to Erroll Tucker’s experience in 1986. These are some of the 100 things I needed to know. Eric Weddle comes in at #19, three spots behind Larry Wilson, the only player from Utah in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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