Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mo Money, No Problems

As the last basketball season of my life approaches, I can feel my days at Ohio State slowly coming to an end. I arrived on this campus some three years ago with a lot of uncertainty, but have since realized that this school is quite possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Even after I graduate and move on with my life, I’ll always remember the time-honored traditions of The Ohio State University. No matter where life takes me, I’ll never forget things like singing Carmen Ohio at the football games, jumping in Mirror Lake before the Michigan game, and being absolutely hounded by charities or student organizations while walking through the Oval.

For those who don’t know, the Oval is basically Ohio State’s version of a quad, only I refuse to call it a quad because nothing about it suggests that it has anything to do with the number 4. Still, it’s probably the closest thing that Ohio State has to offer to what Frank The Tank would have streaked through on his way to the gymnasium, which is really the absolute best way to describe it. Anyway, since the Oval is kind of the focal point of the campus, all sorts of organizations decide to set up displays to explain why I should care that one out of every 2,000 babies born in Pakistan will become addicted to Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch at some point in their lives. It’s not that I don’t care (Gordita Addiction is very serious to me), it’s just that I usually walk through the Oval right around the time Home Improvement reruns are being shown on TBS and when given the choice, I’d rather watch Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor botch a toilet installation than hear about how Pakistani kids can’t resist the concept of a soft taco shell wrapped around a hard taco shell with a melted cheese buffer.

Because I want to avoid encounters like this at all costs, I usually end up pulling out my cell phone and faking a conversation, which is also a strategy I use when I cross paths with The Villain on campus. My guess is that most of you do the same when approached by these groups of people. The truth is, for the most part, that it’s harder to get us to pay attention to someone luring us into a conversation about their charity than it is to get Twisted Sister to “take it”. This doesn’t make us bad people. Not at all. We simply like to do charitable things on our own time instead of being coerced into caring. In fact, the only time most of us don’t mind being told that we should care about a particular charity is when we are informed by the DJ that Charity is currently dancing on the main stage. Again, we aren’t bad people. It’s just that it feels weird being told that we need to care. Unless, of course, we’re being told that “caring” involves growing a mustache for an entire month.

It was brought to my attention by a few members of the Trillion Man March that the month of November marks a very important time for lovers of mustaches and haters of prostate cancer. That’s because November has been dubbed “Movember” by a couple of Australians, which may initially sound like a month long tribute to GUTS announcer Mo Quirk, but is actually an event that was started to raise prostate cancer awareness (apparently “mo” is an Australian slang term for mustache). I thought Movember was just another event started by guys in high school who wanted an excuse to grow out their peach fuzz without upsetting their moms, but as it turns out, Movember is actually the biggest charity event in the world that is targeted exclusively for men, having raised over $47 million to date. It’s like the men’s equivalent of Race For The Cure, except instead of using your legs all you have to use are your upper lip hair follicles.

Even though one out of every six American men will get prostate cancer at some point in time, it should be noted that I can’t think of anyone close to me who has ever had the disease. I’m not trying to get you to care because prostate cancer has personally destroyed my life by inflicting the people around me. It’s not like that at all. I’m just trying to get you to care because Movember provides a great opportunity to have an excuse to grow a mustache and also provides a great opportunity to raise awareness for a good cause. You can become a better person simply by growing out your mustache. Call me crazy but I think this might be the epitome of a win/win situation.

The main reason I brought up Movember is because I wanted to explain to everyone why you might see me sitting on the bench with a mustache next month. I’m actually not the only one on the basketball team taking part in the event, though, as William Buford has informed me that he’s planning on growing his mustache out as well. In fact, Will said that he has been so serious about prostate cancer that he’s been growing out his mustache since the day he was born. Sure it looks like he doesn’t have any hair on his upper lip, but Will swears that he’s never shaved in his entire life. The world needs more heroes like William Buford.

If you want to get involved with Movember (and really, why wouldn’t you?), you can do so by obviously either donating money or simply growing out your mustache. One of the members of the Trillion Man March, Bryan Kendall, was the first to e-mail me about the event and in doing so he asked for me to join the team he started. I told him I would but being the fool that I am, I accidentally started my own Movember team that I don’t know how to delete. With that being said, I think I figured out how to remedy this problem. All of you in the Trillion Man March that don’t feel like growing out your mustaches but would like to donate money, please do so after you join Bryan’s team by clicking here and registering. That way I’m not taking donations away from Bryan’s team, in case the top donating team gets free t-shirts or something (I couldn’t accept anyway because of the NCAA). The rest of you who are either broke like me or just don’t feel like donating, but really want to grow out your ‘stache and support the cause, can join the Club Trillion team by clicking here and then clicking the “Join My Team” tab underneath the CLUB TRIL logo. In joining my team, you can upload pictures of your ‘stache to compare to mine. At the end of every blog post during the month, I will publish a picture of my ‘stache at that point along with the best mustache of the Club Trillion team (read all about the mustache growing rules here). Think about what’s going on here for a second. By simply growing out your mustache you can help raise awareness for a very serious disease and maybe get a shout-out on my blog. You’d have to be a fool not to take part in this. If nothing else, grow out your mustache to see how it competes with some of the greatest mustaches society has ever seen.

I apologize if I’m coming across as preachy on this post, but as I said earlier, I’m not personally linked to this disease in any way and therefore don’t feel like I’m on the Oval shoving a pamphlet in your face. I’m not pretending to be a spokesman for prostate cancer awareness (which is probably a relief to the Prostate Cancer Foundation) in the slightest. I’m just a guy who likes growing out his mustache and likes to help out wherever I can. Hopefully a lot of you will join Bryan’s group and donate or my group and grow out your ‘stache and make this event a lot of fun for both me and the Trillion Man March. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no excuse whatsoever as to why every college guy reading this doesn’t grow out their mustache. It’s not like growing out a mustache is really going to ruin your daily schedule of waking up at noon, skipping class, playing Halo for five hours, and downing a six pack at night. Plus, if you start growing out your mustache on Sunday, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around your ‘stache will be so long it will completely ruin your mom’s attempt at getting a nice family picture. I know that’s why I’m doing it. Just kidding, mom!

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If you want to learn more about the history of Movember, you can do so by clicking here.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse and T. Roche (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: A. Forth (streak of 10)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Mike R. There’s your shout-out, Mike. And here's your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (1st Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week.  I asked the Trillion Man March to not necessarily write stories about their time on the athletic bench, but just riding the bench of life in some aspect.  Most of you did write about sitting the bench on your respective team, but some of you wrote about striking out with the ladies or not getting the results you want when you Google yourself.  And then there was this story.  This story was the obvious winner to me because it not only made me laugh harder than anything I’ve read in quite some time, but also because it gave me a glimpse of everything I want my relationship with my son to be like, should I ever decide to spawn.  With that being said, here’s a look into Matt Young's life as a benchwarmer.

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First let me say that your blog is sweet.  There’s nothing like killing time at work with Club Tril.  I don’t fit the demographic of your usual fans.  I’m 38, married and have three kids.  To put it bluntly, I’m what you and most of your readers will become sooner or later.  Take what I write below to heart and realize you’ll be in my shoes one day.  Learn from my mistakes (and there are plenty) and take comfort that your future lot in life was blazed by a bunch of tool boxes like me.

If I had a blog, I’d call it “Parental Fail” because that’s pretty much what I’m good at these days.  I’m not like the Balloon Boy’s father or Todd Marinovich’s father. Instead, I’m just a regular helmet trying to make it through the day.  My kids have food on their plate, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads.  I consider this an A+ in parenting, especially when you look at kids in third-world countries.  However, in this day an age in America, that’s simply not enough.  And I guess that’s where my parental fail comes in.

Once you get married and have kids (or just knock up some hook-up and become a baby daddy or whatever single fatherhood is called these days), you’ll find that your friends and co-workers will judge your parenting skills all the time.  Every.  Single.  Step.  I quickly realized I don’t care what others think about my kids and how I parent (or as the case usually is, don’t parent) them.

Example 1
My wife was out with her friends and they came home to find our 4
year-old son in the middle of the living room watching TV while
dropping a deuce on the potty seat.  My wife, who has endured episodes like this in the past, shrugged it off.  She didn’t want to know the details.  She’s seen events like this too many times before.  Her friends looked on this scene in horror.

You see, my son was watching a TV show and didn’t want to miss it while in the bathroom.  I told him you can’t pause a TV show (We don’t have a DVR.  I don’t want my kids or my wife to have the ability to play back their shows at their leisure.  Only I can do that through the brilliance of Hulu, which I haven’t told them about yet).  I told him he’s got to hold it until the show is over or he can go now and miss a few minutes. 

This is not acceptable to my son, so he finds a third option: he hauls out the potty we have for our youngest child and goes in front of the TV.  Problem solved.  What really impressed me, and why I commended him instead of scolding him, is that he went one step further: he grabbed the baby wipes and a small trash can when he brought out the potty.  Now, not only could he crap in front of the TV, but he clean up without missing a beat.

The kid’s a genius in my mind.  My wife’s friends were horrified.  I could care less.  He took a crap and didn’t miss his show.  I allowed him to help himself.  I now don’t have to worry about kids whining about missing something if they have to crap.  That’s a win/win in my book.

Example 2
Lots of parents barrage their kids with flashcards and Baby Einstein videos and whatnot in an attempt to foster their child’s inner genius.  I don’t tell my friends and neighbors who do this that they are rubes in a money-making scheme by these companies that peddle this crap to well-meaning parents.  Let’s face it, if you’re not a genius and your wife isn’t a genius, chances are little Johnny’s not curing cancer when he grows up.  And there’s not any amount of flashcards or educational videos that are going to change this.

I’m quite comfortable with not spending my cash on such endeavors (my beer isn’t free you know) and letting my kids be kids.  Schools were invented to teach kids and I already pay for these facilities with my tax dollars, so why duplicate the efforts.  Besides, my wife handles three young kids all day and doesn’t have the time or resources to do any of that stuff with them.

Of course, this situation isn’t acceptable with our friends and neighbors.  They are mortified that my four year old can identify - maybe - five letters.  He can’t find his name at preschool.  His preschool teacher took me aside one day and told me that maybe we should sit down with him and work on his alphabet.  I told her that I thought we were paying her to do just that.  And if not, what exactly are we paying her for?  That went over like a lead balloon.

I get stares from other parents at the playground because my kids are dressed properly.  And by properly, I mean not dressed the way they think my kids should be dressed.  Who cares if my daughter is wearing hand-me-downs from her brother?  She’s under the age of two.  Getting her dressed is a chore in and of itself.  I’m not making it harder on myself if none of her clothes are around.  Just get it done.

My middle son likes to dress himself, which means he puts on his shorts and tee shirts backwards.  I don’t correct him because he doesn’t care.  Why should I?  Kids should get a free pass from societal norms like dressing with your clothes on the right way.  They have the rest of their adult lives to look somewhat decent.  Let them enjoy grubbing around in whatever they want while they are young.

When my oldest was potty training, he refused to pee in the toilet or the potty.  I asked him if he would like to pee outside, like dogs do.  He was elated.  I took him outside and he stripped himself naked (I have no idea why he did this or continued to do it for over a year) and pissed on a tree.  He loved it.  I loved it - the diaper chapter for one kid was finally closing.  Win/win.

For about a month, he’d go outside and pee on a tree or the driveway (if he had to go right away).  One morning, he’s buck naked in the driveway, pissing while walking backwards (“I don’t want pee on my leg, daddy”) and the neighbor comes outside, shaking her head.  She asked me why I would do such a thing to him.  I told her that he’s not embarrassed and neither am I.  If she didn’t like it, she could look the other way or potty train him herself.

Another time, I’m watching college basketball with my buddy.  There’s a timeout and they pan the camera to the  cheerleaders, one of whom is a bit chunky.  “Check out that porker” I said.  My son was playing blocks behind me at the time and frankly wasn’t paying attention to the game or us.

Or so I thought.

The next day, my wife comes home and utters the line that always means trouble: “Do you know what your son said?”  Evidentially, while cruising the aisle of the grocery store, my son (who’s sitting in the cart) blurts out “Mom!  Look at that porker!” as an overweight woman walks past them.  Meh.  What can you do?  I was impressed.  The kid was able to play blocks and pick up on the game at the same time.  You can never be disappointed at such a grand display of multi-tasking.
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As my last gift to the Trillion Man March for Fan Appreciation Week, I decided to bypass the fan submissions for the awesome YouTube and instead share a video that I probably should not be sharing.  As you are watching this, keep these things in mind:

1)  I made this when I was 16-years-old and a sophomore in high school.  Look at the five o’clock shadow I have going.  I trust you now understand how far ahead of my peers I was/still kinda am on the man curve.

2) The picture of the guy at the end of the video is that of my speech teacher, Mr. Mark Arnold.  I made this as part of a lip sync assignment for his class and thought I’d do a little sucking up to get a better grade.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling people.

3) I was sick when this was filmed and had such a sore throat that I had lost my voice and therefore wouldn’t have been able to sing anyway.

4) I barely knew any words to this song up until right before we filmed it.  It took listening to it twice to memorize the entire song.  I’m not sure if that speaks higher of my ability to learn things quickly or the overall simplicity of the song.

5)  This was the first and only take.  My brother, Ryan, operated the camera and I took over from there.

Enjoy.


Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (2nd Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the second best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week. If you don’t like it, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow. If you do like it, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow. Either way, here’s a look into Tyler Joseph's life as a benchwarmer.

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Half Truths and Whole Lies: The Sugar Shane Cowherd Story

I was introduced to The Legend before a summer league game preceding my senior year in high school. After our previous game, our long-time coach/summer camp host/volleyball ref/Teen Leadership teacher had informed us of his plans to take a job at his Church. This was fantastic news for our now ex-coach, as he was not only following his spiritual calling, but getting a raise, as well. The news of his departure led even the least discerning members of our team to the logical conclusion that the vacancy would be filled by his long-time, fully qualified assistant, Coach Pendergrass. Pendergrass was a fantastic coach with extensive knowledge of the program who already had the respect of the players. As this was clearly the most obvious and intelligent hire to make, our Athletic Director decided to go in another direction. Because Edmond Memorial High School is very large (6A, the highest class in Oklahoma), only the top candidates not named Pendergrass could have been accepted for consideration. After what I can only imagine was an extensive, intensive, and exhaustive resume review period, the AD had made up his mind. A hire was made, and a star was born.

I arrived for the first summer league game of the new era with my friend and teammate Jared. Not two steps into the gym we discovered our “old” coach chatting it up with who I figured was probably the new guy. I say “probably” not because he looked like a basketball coach, a former college player, or even someone who had once played basketball in gym class, but simply because he was wearing a whistle. As it would have been near impossible to avoid for an entire season, we decided there was no time like the present for introductions. First impressions were simple: Name was Shane Cowherd, coached at a smaller Oklahoma high school before this, originally from Michigan, seems nice enough, pretty short, doubt he ever played, nothing to abandon ship over. In fact, he seemed like a pretty cool guy. He mostly sat and observed during the rest of our summer games, leaning on and learning from Coach P, who had graciously agreed to stay on as an assistant to the man who had usurped his job. It seemed like a decent dynamic: Cowherd pretended to be interested in our offense (which he would completely change later), and Pendergrass voiced his feelings of support (which he would completely change later).

When school and practice finally started, Jared and I were fairly optimistic about our roles for the upcoming season. We had been primed for significant minutes in our old coach’s system, which was heavily predicated on the fast break. We were good enough to play for most teams, certainly good enough for our high school’s team, which had lost its top 9 players from the previous season. What we came to learn only a few days into practice, however, was that the phrase “good enough” was not in Shane Cowherd’s vocabulary.

If Coach Cowherd’s mind ran on Microsoft word, he had been clicking “Edit -> Replace” his entire life to rid himself of the ordinary. Everything about this man was fantastic, incredible, and spellbinding. “Patently Untrue” might also be a synonym suggested by Word, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Almost every day he had the team circle up so he could preach a little bit from The Gospel of Shane. As the only Commandment in this Gospel (as far as I could tell) was to let everyone know how great you are at every opportunity, I can only assume his treasure in Heaven could finance the Death Star. He started off by stunning Jared and I with the fact that he actually was a former player. And not just some Joe Jumpstop - he was a regular Jimmy Chitwood. His high school team, he told us, managed to amass a record of 110+ wins and only 5 losses during his four years in the program. While this may seem unlikely at best for a number of reasons (not least of all the sheer number of games played), it was made even more impressive by the fact that it was supposedly done at the highest level in Michigan High School basketball. He routinely recorded 20+ assists in a single game, and once exploded for 62 points – a career high, he said. These legendary years were also marked with four trips to the Finals in the Nike Tournament of Champions, including three victories, one loss, and one broken wrist that had to be frozen to allow him to continue to play. The one loss, he lamented, resulted in the team being booed off the floor by their own fans. A tough way to go out, I’m sure, but it would have been even harder not to enjoy the free clothes, free trip, free gear, and all of the girls that threw themselves at the players (his words).

At this point it might have only been Jared and I that were asking ourselves a few questions based on what he had told us. He was a 5’8” white guard with a jump shot not totally dissimilar from Shawn Marion that led his team to an outrageous high school record and national success. He was capable of dunking effortlessly with both hands and four of his high school teammates signed NCAA Division I basketball scholarships. Pretty outrageous, right? That’s what we thought, too. But pretty much everyone seemed to be going along with it, so we just kept the jokes to ourselves.

After the team was in sufficient awe of his high school achievements, it was time for the next chapter. It was only logical to assume that during his otherworldly run of high school success, college scouts would be forced to take notice. Due to the enormous demand for 5’8” white guards with limited range, he was contacted by Michigan State University, where, he told us, he was signed to a full scholarship. As he was still recovering from his wrist-freezing injury that I always imagined to be fairly similar to a scene from Terminator II, he was unable to play during his freshman season, and eventually forced to retire from the game. What could have been, nobody asked? “Who knows,” he said, “I might even be in the league.” Everyone on the team assumed he meant the NBA, but judging by his rather lofty opinion of himself, he very well could have been referring to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He also told us that he was a cousin of former Steeler’s coach Bill Cowher, but his family decided to drop the ‘d’. He was not kidding. I imagine that all of this was part of his interview, if not resume, which also led to my confirmation that our athletic director (I say “confirmation” and not “discovery” because his unflinching support of the football coach he hired after his 1-10 season induced my suspicion) was a complete dumbass.

As the days and weeks went by, Jared and I did not become increasingly skeptical. This was simply because the term skepticism hardly applies when you are absolutely certain that someone is lying. As respect was simply no longer an issue, we fell further and further out of favor, and further and further down the depth chart. It was nothing really sinister, just a casual indifference. During the season, however, we came to discover that both Coach P and our graduate assistant coach shared our feelings regarding our new leader. They had even taken it a step further (read: one step) and done some research. As it turned out, our legendary coach had played high school basketball. It was even in Michigan! But that’s about where the similarities between his stories and the truth end. Coach Cowherd, they discovered, graduated from Pilgrim Bible Academy with a class of five people, and two of the five were girls. Ever the skeptic, I was still a little uncertain that a school this size had produced five NCAA Division I basketball players within a span of four years, or that they were even eligible for Nike’s Tournament of Champions. After scouring the web for a good five minutes, Jared discovered that our assistant coaches had asked around on the Michigan State basketball website under a false name, and not one of the registered historians knew a thing about a player, manager, or mascot named Shane Cowherd during those years. Needless to say, Jared and I registered for the forum and provided an insightful response under the name “ShaneCowherdRules”.

It was at about this point that Jared and I realized that our senior season was pretty much a wash. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn’t be playing significant minutes, our team was terrible, and our coach was a compulsive liar. Sounds horrible, right? Wrong. What followed was undoubtedly the most hilarious basketball season of my life. The rest of the year included several totally outrageous events, including an incident where we staked a bet with our team’s star player that said he wouldn’t score a single point against our school’s biggest rivals in a tournament. Not only did he win that bet, but he made no effort to disguise his intentions and we lost miserably because of it. Perhaps best of all, he got himself pulled and screamed at by the legend for firing an open shot from the elbow with two hands that hit the top corner of the backboard. The season culminated with a fake Facebook account created by Jared and I on Shane’s behalf that became quite popular throughout the school, and later with the next year’s team. So popular, in fact, that it was even passed along to us that he planned on filing a defamation of character suit if the Facebook page wasn’t shut down. That wasn’t the least bit troublesome, though, because while everything on the page was completely untrue, it could also be directly attributed to him.

I’d be lying if I said I knew what round of regionals our season ended in. I’d also be lying if I said I knew what our final record was. But I’d also be breaking the one theme of this entire story if I didn’t, so we went 12-14 and lost in the second round. An incredible story and an incredible team. Keep your eyes peeled for the Disney Movie starring Jim Rome, who is his spitting image (feel free to re-read the story with that in mind). Although the facebook page is still going, the defamation suit still pending, and the legend still growing, this marked the end of our bench warming days. I’m moving on and looking ahead to bigger and better things. I’ve already begun falsifying my resume.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Steve F. There’s your shout-out, Steve. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (3rd Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the third best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week. If you don’t like it, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow. If you do like it, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow. Either way, here’s a look into Kevin Hopkins' life as a benchwarmer.
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My high school athletics career can be viewed in one of two ways:
  1. The College Portfolio Version: Three-sport athlete, Captain of 2001-2002 Football & Basketball teams, exemplary leader and winner of "Class Clown" and "Best Eyes" Senior Superlatives(which may or may not remain on current Employment Resume).
  2. The Truth: At a 375 student school predominantly known for soccer, I was one of the 12 kids per class that preferred to toss the pigskin around and was one of the 3 seniors left on the basketball team after four seasons. Led the Varsity Football team at quarterback for three seasons with an overall record of 3-27(winless as a junior) as starter, racking up a Favre-esque number of records in the state of New Jersey for Most Sacks Taken, Interceptions, Attempted Tackles After Interceptions(ATAI), Pick-Sixes(as Simmons would call them, TAINTS), and Ambulance Appearances On The Field Madden '92 Style(unfortunately, true story). Since we actually had a good basketball team and I was Captain because I was a senior, I took it upon myself to lead both on the court and in the locker room with the following duties:
  • Clap Sequences during practice - My go-to would be the beginning to "The Car Wash", naturally.
  • Pregame Prayer - Now, for most games, this was a basic Hail Mary/Our Father combo, but on two separate occasions ('02 County Semi's and States), I pulled The Ultimate: "...and David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it...and it struck the Phillistine in the head...and he fell to the ground....Amen." Needless to say, Goliath kicked our ass both times. Those guys were pretty effin' good.
  • Pregame Warm-Up Music - Undoubtedly the most important of my duties, I realized the magnitude of the job. Most games, we would come out to standard classics like "Thunderstruck" (drinking game included!) and "Baba O'Riley" (CSI:NY still photo included!), but on games that I took lightly, I let my Napster Shuffle Playlist decide, which resulted in three songs on three separate occasions which I distinctly recall: "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King that I decided we all had to hum the bassline to, "Superstar" by the Carpenters ("I can live with it if you can"), and the straw that broke the camel's back (in this case, Coach Sponz's back), "Circle of Life" from the Lion King. I was suspended 5 games from Warm-Up Music Duty for that one and we had to come out to the Michael Buffer "Let's Get Ready to Rumbleeeeeeeee" Intro to Jock Jams. Ugh.
  • After the National Anthem was sung, I was in charge of handshake/chestbump duties during the announcement of starting line-ups and then became the Drew Brees/Under Armour Guy while we all got in the big group huddle.
  • Last but not least, I was the unquestioned King of Bench Jokes. My main move would be the water-bottle-squirt-on-the-crotch-of-the-guy-next-to-me-right-before-he-subbed-in-the-game move, but I also borrowed a buck from the trainer at the end of the bench one time and successfully purchased a hot dog and ate it on the bench without Coach Sponz noticing in the middle of the game. Also a true story.
As you may or may not have noticed by now, most of the above duties had nothing to do with actually contributing ON the court...but that wasn't always the case, my friends. Let's push the rewind button to the Spring of '99, shall we?


THE PLAY.


Having shot up about 7 inches between my freshman and sophomore years and making no special attempts at anything resembling a "gym routine", I was an awkward 6'3, 150 pounds, with no recognizable definition between the portion of arm between my shoulder-to-elbow region than from my elbow-to-wrist region. Basically, I was a Simpsons character, most closely resembling Jimbo Jones, without the awesome hair and skull-cap. That being said, I was decent at basketball, priding myself on the corner 3 and developing an up-and-under move from the block that was nearly unstoppable. Think Bruce Bowen Meets Kevin McHale. Now imagine he's white. Oh, McHale is White? Whatever. McConaughey NAILED that.

In a shocking move, I was called up to sit on the Varsity team my sophomore year for the final half of the season and grew accustomed to sitting next to the trainer and filling up water bottles after timeouts. At this point, I had developed a a small cult following amongst friends in the stands that would start "Put Hopkins In!" chants at the very hint of a blowout in either direction. With two games left in the regular season, I had the crew prepare themselves for the Butler game, the only one we might be able to win by 60...and prepared they were, with "We Want Hopkins" t-shirts and posterboards. Up by 30 by the start of the 4th quarter, I actually was a little nervous. The chants grew louder and started to seem like it might actually happen. Sponz looked a couple times, but turned away at immediate eye-contact. With 4 minutes left, everyone on the team had played except for me and we were up by 38. My friends were relentless and it was nearing "Rudy" levels in the stands, I think the kids on the Butler Bulldogs bench even started to chime in. I finally got the nod with about 3:30 left. It was my time, and all my boys on the bench and the seven 16 year-olds in the stands erupted while everyone else looked on in confusion.

Upon checking in, I did the nervous "I'm-just-gonna-pass-it-and-not-make-any-mistakes" maneuver on the first 2 touches and then it happened...the ball went out of bounds under our basket. I looked at my fellow teammates on the court and knew immediately that I was far superior at inbounding over all of them, if only for my unparalleled ability to yell 'break!' and slap the ball at the same time. I looked at Sponz. He nodded. "Inside!" I yelled to everyone. And then the defining moment of my athletic life occurred.

I passed the ball in to the left corner who then swung it up to the wing. The player I passed it to came down on the block and set a screen which I used to pop out to the Bowen Corner where I got the pass behind the three-point line with 5 steps of space in front of me. It was slow motion, I tell you. I caught it and set myself. I could feel the movement of my teammates behind me on the bench starting to stand and what looked like cameras starting to flash in the stands. The ball was in the air for what felt like an eternity as I held my follow through and started doing the fall/hop towards center court until I heard the splash.

I DRAINED IT. It didn't even think about not going in. And I knew it from the release. Like any classy athlete, I did what my parents always taught me to do and "acted like I've been there before," right???

Wrong. I went NUTS. And so did the gym.

Oh, what's that? You want a diagram??


My reaction could be described as somewhere between Shaq's alley-oop from Kobe to beat the Blazers in Game 7 in 2000 and Maximus's(Maximi?) "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?" reaction after slaying the tigers and chariots.



Timeout was called immediately by Coach Sponz, for what I thought was out of respect for the moment, similar to how you'd call timeout to take the seniors out of a game or something. I was now at the other end of the court high-fiving and pointing to the stands. As I walked back to our bench, I was greeted at half-court with a harsh pinch around the shoulder by Sponz and a brisk walk back to the huddle where he said the following:

Sponz: Kevin, we're up by 41 effing points. Show some sportsmanship and class. And go sit back down.

I didn't play again that season, but took pride in the fact that for nearly 9 full months, I held the NJ State Record for Shooting % in a single season, minimum of one shot taken. And they can never take that from me, even if I finished shooting at a 27% career clip.

I never thought I'd want to be compared to an autistic team-assistant, but the parallels were all too similar to avoid it. I was J-MAC before J-MAC was J-MAC.


Now where's my effing ESPY??
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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Roy H. This video was funny to me because it shows that Michael Jordan was both the best player in the world and that guy at the local rec who takes the games just a little bit too seriously. Anyway, there’s your shout-out, Roy. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (4th Place)

The following are what I perceived to be the fourth best benchwarming stories that were submitted for Fan Appreciation Week. I decided to make fourth place a tie, because these girls are apparently sisters and I didn’t want to start a family feud by picking one over the other, even though I like one better (I’ll let the sisters decide which one that is). If you don’t like their stories, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow. If you do like them, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow. Either way, here’s a look into Carla and Johanna Sawatski's lives as benchwarmers.

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Jack of All Trades, Master of None

By: Carla Sawatski

Brother: Professional athlete

Father: Professional athlete

Grandfather: Professional athlete

Grandmother: Professional singer

With my genealogy, I would expect that I would be either an outstanding athlete or an immaculate singer. I am neither. Far from it, actually. And I've spent the past 24 years searching for my place to shine, my area of expertise, my 15 minutes of fame. Spoiler alert: I'm still searching.

Here's a play-by-play of my search for stardom, and I use that term lightly.

Basketball: I'd call basketball my "good sport". I wasn't bad, wasn't bad at all. In fact, ahem... I was named Most Valuable Player for my Junior High, District Championship winning team. Please, hold your applause. However, I'm saddened to report that that was the peak of my athletic prowess. The very next year, when moved to the Sr. High team, 3 teammates and I formed a revolutionary group named "The Four Corners". What we did was.... well, we sat on the end of the bench. Our responsibilities included: hydrating our upperclassmen, wiping sweat off the floor, and keeping our mouths shut. We were lucky to get 2 of 3 accomplished. What we didn't do, was sweat... thus making our motto "No Sweat... because we don't".

Softball: I'm a Sawatski. I did this because it was expected of me. I mean, Jay's good at baseball, Carla must be good at softball, right? To me, it was just something to do after school. And let's be honest, I really wanted one of those windbreaker jackets. Which now, in hindsight, sounds a little butch. I learned so much during my softball years. I learned what "moxy" means. Ok, no, I really didn't... but I had to act like I did every time I sauntered over to pick up a foul ball and my coach would inevitably ask, "Carla, is that moxy?". I'd always reply with "probably not". I later learned that it wasn't. I learned what it felt like to have a fan club. Mine consisted of approximately 6 people including my parents, but they brought signs, which made it legit. And humiliating. I learned what it felt like to lose... a lot. Over and over and over again.

Soccer: I came home from school one day and enthusiastically told my dad "I'm going to play soccer this year!". He looked at me blankly, and then began laughing hysterically. I wasn't kidding. And that was the year that I forced my dad to sit through the excruciatingly boring game of soccer. I'm not sure he ever forgave me. I'm not sure I ever forgave myself.

Pep club: This is something I never wanted to admit, especially in a public forum, but yes, I was in the junior high pep club. It was as awkward as it sounds. I proudly wore the gold mock-turtleneck, the pleated skirt, and of course, the Asics... the mark of any official cheerleader in the 90's. My career ended with a devastating blow to my ego. Something about being 2 heads taller and slightly heavier than most 7th graders didn't scream "cheerleader". At least not loudly.

Track: actual conversation between me and my basketball coach --

coach: "hey, do you want to run at the state track meet?"

me: "no, I do not"

coach: "you get to miss a day of school"

me: "what time does the bus leave?"

That day was the beginning, and the end, of my track career.

Choir: Most normal people don't join choir if they can't sing. I'm not normal. I was a part of the women's ensemble for two years and managed to never sing a word. If I wasn't forging my mom's signature to excuse myself from class, you could probably find me mouthing the words to the song amongst the rest of the altos. I still don't know what harmony means.

In my early years, I also experimented with piano, swimming, golf, gymnastics, tennis, and karate. All were short-lived.

It's also no secret that I have no hidden talents. I'm not double jointed, I can't draw with my toes (or fingers for that matter), I can't juggle chainsaws, I can't even roll my tongue... which I blame my parents for.

I think, I THINK, I have justified my qualifications to be a Jack of all trades, one that excels at nothing. And then I got to thinking, "what AM I good at?". And then it occurred to me... math. I'm good at math. Really, God? Math? You had those genes to work with, and you gave me MATH? Good one.

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Googling Yourself Never Ends Well...

By: Johanna Sawatski

That is, unless you are my brother. Or my father. Or my grandfather. Or anyone who's done anything of merit in their entire life.

I'm a questioner. I ask a lot of questions, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't always have all the answers. As a result, Google and I have grown close over the years and have shared many a search together in my never-ending quest for knowledge. In fact, I turn to Google on a multiple-times-a-day basis. And Google has always proven to be a faithful companion... that is until I decided to type my name in the search bar. (Note: I don't Google myself often. I just wanted to see what would come up if a future employer was to do so.) It was then that I realized that unless my future employer is concerned that I once came in 50th place in the Lake Hamilton Cross Country Invitational in the 8th grade, Google doesn't really have much to offer as far as I'm concerned. Crisis averted.

But then it hit me. I think it was when I noticed the little line at the top of the page that read, "Did you mean 'Jay Sawatski'?" Ouch. Touché, Google... all these years of me asking you questions, and you fire back with one question that is capable of completely blowing my self-esteem. So here's your answer: No, Google, I didn't mean Jay Sawatski. I typed "Johanna"... and I meant every letter. Leave the questioning to me next time, capiche?

Now that that is behind us, I'll save you some time. I'm sure you all are feeling the need to Google my name right about now, so here's a list of everything my future employer and you could ever want to know about Johanna Sawatski (according to Google):

1. I have a Facebook account. Which proves that I am normal. It's the ones without Facebook that you need to worry about.

2. I made the Arkansas Razorback Diamond Dolls in the Fall of 2006. Pig Sooie.

3. My high school e-bulletin announces that Johanna Sawatski has won the Most Improved Player award for golf... To which I should go ahead and let everyone know that I really didn't improve THAT much... plus, we all know what that award means. And I'm incredibly offended by it.

4. I scored 9 points against Batesville in what was probably a meaningless game of basketball. And by probably, I mean definitely. But there's an article about it, and my name was mentioned. Twice.

5. Google proves that I am, in fact, enrolled as a student at the University of Arkansas, College of Arts and Sciences. Along with 5,000 other people. One might assume that I would have a talent for the Arts. Wrong. Or for the Sciences. Wrong again. I'm actually a Communication/Spanish major. Which, I like to believe translates to "I have no idea what I want to do with my life."

6. I came in 50th place in a Junior High Cross Country meet with a time of 11:50.07. This is concrete evidence that even though I sometimes suffer defeat, and also that I'm not very fast, I always finish the race.. in my own time. And I smoked those who finished in 51st, 52nd, and 53rd place, thus making me a winner. Of some sort.

7. My teacher once made me submit a poem into an online poetry contest. And it is apparently still online for the world to enjoy. And now, I post a stanza, for you to enjoy... My rantings as a 7th grader:

Every day gets

Even more long

All of my answers

Get even more wrong

Talk about a cliffhanger... I don't have a copyright for this masterpiece (yet), so I fear posting it in it's entirety.

After reading all 7 Hits for "Johanna Sawatski," I tip my hat to you, Google. You captured my character perfectly. I wouldn't change a thing. And your reminder to me that I am not, in fact, "Jay Sawatski" only serves to keep me humble... Because it's no secret that the list of my accomplishments on Google could easily go to my head. So thank you, Google, for reminding me that no matter how many points I score, no matter how many poems I write, and no matter how many Cross Country races I lose, I will always live in the shadow of my older brother. And my father. And my grandfather.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Austin L. There’s your shout-out, Austin. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (5th Place)

I realized yesterday that I failed to convey how I went about judging these stories. Some of you disagree with my rankings after only two stories, so I think I should explain how I ranked them so you have a little better of an idea. The first criteria I used was simply how well-written the story was. I’m not my 5th grade English teacher who gave kids a Stone Cold Stunner for every misuse of a comma, but I was looking for some sort of natural flow to the story. Secondly, I looked at the content of the story itself. Rather than publish seven stories about sitting the bench in high school basketball, I rewarded the people who had unique stories to share. Finally, and most importantly, I judged the stories based on how hard and how frequently I laughed while reading them.

In reality, the rankings certainly are arbitrary but are also entirely irrelevant. The winner of the contest, and thus the winner of a free t-shirt, was completely obvious to me which means those who were ranked 2-7 really don’t matter all that much since they are all getting the same consolation prize of being published. Whatever the case, the following is what I perceived to be the fifth best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week. If you don’t like it, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow. If you do like it, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow. Either way, here’s a look into Seth Tommeraasen's life as a benchwarmer.

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I've always loved playing sports, just never been any good at them. This fact is compounded once the sports are taken out of my, or friends', front yards or driveways and placed in an organized setting. It's a bit of a reality check to find that attempting sky hooks from anywhere on the court is frowned upon when on a school team. I mean, if Kareem could do it, why can't I?

I could go on about how humiliated I was at every single practice over the span of four years, but that'd just be depressing. Let's just surmise it with the fact that over four seasons, I amassed a career total of four points (one basket in sixth grade and one in seventh). I even had a breakaway layup once that I missed horrendously. Not a boost to a kid's self-esteem.

At one particular practice in junior high, our coach went so far as to yell at me and my friends (who were better than I at basketball, but that's not saying much), saying "I don't even WANT you guys on my team!" Seriously, if you're yelling that at 12 year olds on a team you coach, there's a good chance you might be taking junior high basketball a bit too seriously. For all I know she was actually Pete Rose and had money on the game.

My inefficiency on the hardwood resulted in my spending most games on the hard wood of the bench. Even at that early level, our coaches still wouldn't play several players if it was a close game. So that's where a 12 year old Seth and a 21 year old Mark share some similarity.

Since we never got to play and even when we did we knew we'd never be given an opportunity to score, my friend Curtis and I decided that fouls were more fun than points anyhow, so any game we both got into, we would try to out-foul each other before our coach inevitably took us out and yelled at us. Hey, we had fun though. I even got to hit some other kids in the face. I think I kicked someone in the stomach once trying to mimic a Dennis Rodman-style rebound. There wasn't a foul, though, as he was on my team.

So as far as luck with the ladies goes, I didn't have the athletic skills to lure them in. Factor in that I was the skinny tall awkward kid with huge wire-framed glasses and an enormous head (it's about a size 7 7/8 or an 8) and a former rocker of the mullet, I really had nothing going for me with the 8th grade honeys in our school.

Sidenote on mullets. Growing up in Baltic, SD (you're not the only one who has witnessed a party where the country music is being provided by a pickup with massive CB antennas. Note I said witness, I was never invited to the hicks' parties), we didn't know what a mullet was. We knew them as safety cuts. I have no idea where this expression came from nor how it relates to the mullet, but to me, they're safety cuts. Mine was a tri-fecta of safety. Not only did my luscious locks naturally curl upon my shoulders, but I topped this off with gel-spiked hair on top AND the ol' cat scratches/bolts/stripes/whatever you want to call them shaved into the side of my massive cranium. If you'd like, I can scan a family pic to send your way.

But anyways, I digress. We were talking about my poor basketball skills (despite my love for the game) and my lesser luck with the ladies. It should be noted also that my senior class was only 30 total students (including myself), many of whom I had gone to kindergarten with. So all the ladies at the school I had known for pushing 10 years by the time we hit high school, therefore it wasn't like they were going to suddenly forget what a horrendous dork I had been my whole life even after I finally got contacts in place of glasses, a decent haircut, and maybe some handsome looks. Sitting at home playing Dragon Warrior on the NES probably didn't help either. But someone had to save the Princess Gwaelin and defeat the Dragonlord after all.

So I did what any logical guy would do. I gave up on athletics and joined the Future Homemakers of America (FHA), which is now known as Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, or something to that effect. I went so far as to become our chapter's president my junior year. To this day I remain the only male president of the organization at my school (this is purely assumption that no guy has ran for the office since I graduated). The results of this were twofold: 1) all the hicks at my school that always assumed I was gay seemed to think this verified it (please note that all the accusing hicks were members of the Future Farmers of America, which is/was comprised of mostly males and actually have an event where they judge horses' butts); and 2) I became a hit with tons of ladies that didn't attend my school. Seriously, joining FHA was amazing for my self-esteem in regards to my sexual appeal to members of the opposite sex. At a typical statewide meeting, there would be about 2000 female students to about 100 males students. A 20:1 ratio of ladies to guys is a world that I can live with.

So there you have it, I have always sucked at athletics despite my love of them, so instead I became a Future Homemaker of America and became a hit with all the out of town ladies. Though most of the girls from my high school did the typical small town thing and put on weight, cranked out the babies and never left town, so I'm not too distraught that we never hooked up. Except for Michelle. We would have been a great couple.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by James M. There’s your shout-out, James. And here’s your video.



Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (6th Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the sixth best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week. If you don’t like it, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow. If you do like it, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow. Either way, here’s a look into Chris Gaitten's life as a benchwarmer.

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Quitters Never Prosper: But they have plenty of time for easier activities

When I was 15, I faced a major dilemma. Did I want to be a professional athlete or a rock star? I know what you’re thinking--“Why not both?” or more likely, “Good lord, you were delusional.” Yes, yes I was, but pump the brakes and let me finish explaining. You see, becoming a sport star was my first desire growing up. Specifically, I wanted to be Jim Kelly. It should have been pretty obvious that being Jim Kelly was kind of a crappy gig, especially around the end of January each year, but for whatever reason that part didn’t faze me too much.

I spent my entire childhood playing sports. I played football, basketball and soccer and ran track. I even played a season of summer league basketball to fill up the year. I would have played summer league football, but it didn’t exist, and there was no way I was playing baseball. The reason for this is simple. Imagine that the best center fielder in the game is standing in the outfield. Standing next to him is a golden retriever. The batter is one of the three guys in the league who isn’t currently cheating and therefore may not hit a homerun at every at bat. He smacks one into the gap between center and left field. Who gets the ball, the multimillionaire superstar athlete or Sunshine, who was barking at the wind before the pitch? You’re not sure are you? Summer league basketball it is.

I was always a natural athlete and was usually one of the best players on any of my teams. I was tall and fast and always had great instincts for where to be on the court / field / pitch / track. Unfortunately, I was white (still am), but I don’t recall having much say in that, and I think I made a reasonable attempt to do the best with what I was given.

The dilemma came when I started playing guitar. I picked up the instrument when I was in middle school and getting into rock music. Not crappy, overly dramatic, what-in-the-name-of-feathered-hair-were-they-thinking rock, but good rock. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Smashing Pumpkins (You’re were right Billy Corgan, the world IS a vampire). After a year I was hooked, and at the same time I began to get burnt out on sports. Cue the close-up and dramatic music: it’s decision time.

Enter: Anonymous Midwestern Catholic High School. That wasn’t actually my high school’s name. Although, if it was, what would the mascot be? The Stalkers? The Anonymous Midwestern Catholic High School Stalkers? I think that has a ring to it. Anyway, the decision was actually pretty easy. I didn’t want to play sports anymore. I was a guitar god, and I knew it. Well, I wasn’t actually all that good, but I knew someday I would be. (Fast forward: I’m not.) The problem was that I was worried that my parents would expect me to play sports and wouldn’t want me to sit around the house playing guitar all day in my Kurt Cobain t-shirt. I knew they wouldn’t get my decision. In retrospect, I doubt they cared at all. I probably could have asked, but I was morally obligated as a 15-year-old to ignore them as much as humanly possible. Oh well.

I had some decisions to make during the summer before my freshman year. What sports could I go out for to appease my parents’ alleged desire to see that I had put forth some effort but would also likely result in me getting cut from the team? Track wasn’t until spring, and they didn’t make cuts so that was out. Football was the premier sport at our school (Go Stalkers!) and I had always loved football. But they didn’t make cuts either, and two-a-days in July for a sport I didn’t really want to play didn’t sound ideal. That left soccer and basketball. I decided to tryout for both to show how gung-ho I was about high school sports.

Soccer started in the summer, first with conditioning, then a week of camp, then tryouts. The first day of soccer conditioning was humbling to say the least. Apparently there’s a lot of running in high school soccer. I was the best soccer player in my class in middle school so I thought I was talented. I also was the only long-distance runner on the track team in middle school so I thought I was in shape. Nope and nope.

After some warm-ups and jogging, we had to run two miles. One would think, given the fact that I didn't want to make the team, I would have attempted to take the two-mile run easy and just finish it. I couldn’t not try, though. It’s like when Titus is going for the trillion. He doesn’t want any stats other than the minute of playing time, but he can’t really run away from the action for 60 seconds without looking like a jerk. So I ran as hard as I could. I made it six laps. Two miles is eight laps. The only other person not to finish was another freshman who looked like he spent his summer training at Golden Corral.

As the summer went along, I eventually got into actual soccer shape and even had some moments when I was borderline enjoying myself. The final day of tryouts I went onto the field knowing I was going to get cut and, of course, played the best soccer of my life. I scored two goals on one of the varsity goalies in a scrimmage and almost immediately got called over to the circle of coaches. The assistant coach with the list in his hands had his shoes off and big wad of chewing tobacco in his lip. I’m pretty sure he wanted to be there about as much as I did. I wondered briefly if I had just played well enough to make the team. Then he asked for my name. A note to anyone trying to make a cut of any kind; if the person in charge asks for your name, there’s a better than even chance you can pack it in. You aren’t on the list.

There was two weeks in between the time of final cuts for soccer and the start of my freshman year of high school. It was a great two weeks filled with pretty much nothing, which was a nice change from running, leg lifts, and being one of the least talented people on the field at a given activity for hours per day, multiple times per week. I know how you feel, Brady Quinn. I mean Derek Anderson. I mean Brady Quinn. I mean next year’s fourth overall draft pick.

High school started at the end of August, and I was busy wearing incredibly uncomfortable combinations of button-up shirts, ties and khakis and carrying huge piles of books around the hallways searching for theology class. Why does it take two full years for high school students to figure out how to modify the uniforms enough to be comfortable / look slutty? Or to figure out it’s just high school, and all you need is a pen and a three-ring binder no matter what class you’re attending? I had been doing the exciting high school routine (which, much to my surprise, was nothing like My So-Called Life) for all of two days when there was an announcement on the PA saying that all boys, excuse me, young men who were interested in trying out for basketball had to be in the cafeteria after class the following Monday. I was distraught because I had planned on at least another month of doing nothing other than learning how to do this before I had to start pretending to play sports again.

I don’t really remember the basketball meeting or anything that happened afterwards. I just know one minute I was enjoying my freedom, and the next minute I was back out on the track in a gray gym outfit running wind sprints. At least this time around I was already in shape. Like tOSU Buckeyes, we had to complete a mile in under a certain amount of time, except we only got one shot per week and it was on Saturday mornings. I finished mine on the first try. Sorry, Shark.

The only thing of note that happened before tryouts was during one of our open-gym sessions. Occasionally, older guys would show up to the games to really challenge the young guys like myself. On this particular night, Antonio Daniels decided to play. For those who don’t know who Antonio Daniels is, at the time he was playing for the San Antonio Spurs. The National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs. There were two games going and he joined my game. For the other team. And I got to guard him. Wonderful.

For most of the game, he clearly wasn’t trying too hard. He was probably intimidated by my 5’11”, 139-pound frame. I looked a little bit like Blake Griffin and a lot like Peter Brady. I spent most of the night trying to telepathically assure him that I wasn’t super interested in making this team, or guarding people who made paychecks dishing to Tim Duncan, so he could really do whatever he wanted and I wouldn't say boo.

At some point he finally got the message, or he remembered that he had several inches, 50 pounds and every conceivable genetic advantage over me. Either way, he gave me The Look. I interpreted it as “I’m in The League. Move it, Brady boy.” I could stand in his way, make some attempt to either take a charge or blatantly foul him and most likely get posterized anyway, or I could move and watch him dunk unopposed. Right this way, Mr. Daniels. As I watched from where I had given up on the play, I immediately felt sympathy for every European player in the NBA. No wonder Sasha Vujacic gives the bullfighter ole to anyone who has ever had the pleasure of being guarded by him. I don’t know what it’s like to end up on a sports card with a face full of shorts, and I think I’d like to keep it that way.

Here’s a reenactment of his dunk as best I can recall. Oh, wait that wasn’t Antonio Daniels’ dunk over me at a high school open gym. It was Allen Iverson breaking Antonio’s ankles on national TV. Wow, that must be embarrassing to have that recorded for posterity. I’m glad that never happened to me. The off-season is for ill-advised trips to the strip club, marrying reality stars and designing shoes, not dunking on 15-year-olds. Read your contract next time, Antonio.

The rest of conditioning went by in a blur of wind sprints, dribbling drills and wind sprints for screwing up the dribbling drills. Once tryouts arrived, I realized that I had a much better shot at making this team. First of all, I was pretty sure there weren’t any more NBA players hanging around. Second, the basketball team was much slower than the soccer team. Unfortunately, basketball practice was even less fun than soccer practice. Maybe two-a-days wouldn’t have been that bad.

We started with a group of about 40 guys and cut our way down to 30 and then 20 and then 15. I was one of the 15. The final day of tryouts came and went. There were 13 of us left. They were keeping 12. I needed to suck, but I still had this pesky thing about trying very, very hard despite my desire to get cut. We went into an unplanned, extended week of tryouts, with the coaching staff repeatedly declaring that they still planned on cutting one of us. There were 10 guys who had their spots on the roster assured. The other three of us attempted to out-mediocre one another for the final two roster spots. As we hit the ninth day of tryouts, I slowly realized the coaches weren’t going to cut any of us. They were just testing us to see how bad we wanted it. I probably should have stepped up and told them how little I wanted it, barely at all really, but I didn’t. I made the team.

Rather than go through a blow-by-blow account of the whole season (and by my recollection it blew a lot), here are a few highlights:

We beat one team 69-13. We were winning 35-10 at the half. That’s right, they scored 3 points in the second half. They hit a three at the buzzer, and that was the only basket they scored in the entire second half. And they were excited. We beat them by 56 points in a 32-minute game, and they were excited by the three that someone tossed up at the buzzer. I was a little jealous of their attitude.

In the seventh game of the season, we played an undefeated team who was always a powerhouse in the city. We were already down three players, and one guy had quit our team so we had a total of 9 players available. A guy named Patrick decided this would be a good game to bring his home shorts and his away jersey, therefore excluding him from being able to participate in said game. Our coach went Bobby Knight on the entire team for a solid ten minutes. The tirade culminated with him screaming at Patrick, “YOU HAVE PURPLE SHORTS AND A WHITE JERSEY! WHERE THE &@!% DID YOU THINK THIS GAME WAS GOING TO BE PLAYED??!!” This is hilarious to me now, but at the time our team was too terrified to lose. Best motivational speech I’ve ever heard.

Halfway through the season, some members of the team started getting blotchy, red rashes across their chests, stomachs and backs. It didn’t take long to uncover the reason. After the games, we all went in the locker room for showers. Someone realized that the combination of water, soap and a long stretch of tile translated into one big slip and slide. It did look like a lot of fun, if you could ignore the fact that at the end you slammed into a tile wall. And apparently got a rash a week later. I didn’t have to worry about the rash because it’s not really necessary to shower after sitting on the far end of the bench wearing a practice jersey for an hour. Sure, I wasn’t dating one of the cheerleaders, or accumulating statistics, or showing off for a gym full of people, but I wasn’t getting a rash either. Point… me.

The last story in this odyssey (or maybe it’s the opposite of an odyssey) that I will share is of a time I actually had a positive effect on the outcome of an important game. We were in the playoff semifinals against our archrivals, and they had beaten us by 23 points each of the first two times we played. I had no expectations of playing in this game. But we had made a little run towards the end of our season and came together as a team as we entered the playoffs. I was feeling the full-blooded spirit of Anonymous Midwestern Catholic High School Stalker Freshman Basketball. Catch the rash!

The key to the other team’s dominance in our previous two games was its point guard, Drew. He lit us up and ran their offense flawlessly. I knew we would use our defensive stud, Aaron, to try to stop him this time so I decided to spend my week using reverse psychology to pump him up for the game. Quick tangent: Wouldn’t reverse psychology just mean doing nothing at all? Is “psychology” defined as “getting someone to do exactly what you want by asking him to do that thing?” Because that’s the only way the term “reverse psychology” makes any sense. It should just be called “idiot’s psychology,” or maybe “low-level trickery.” Ok, moving on.

I harassed Aaron anytime I saw him, whether it was in class, the lunchroom, or the gym. I would walk up to him and say things like, “Drew’s probably skipping practice this week because he’s already won,” and “Drew’s already filled out the stat sheet cuz he‘s gonna put up as many points as he wants on you,” or if I was feeling particularly witty, “Hey John Starks, you suck.”

Aaron was a madman by the time the game came around. He was walking around with a half-crazed smile on his face and a look in his eyes that seemed to say “I am going to embarrass Drew to the point that he will quit the game of basketball, grow a beard and join Ricky Williams on his journeys to find meaning in this tiny blink of time we call life, except that when he finally reaches that moment of inner peace I will be there to steal it from him because everything he owns is now mine.” Aaron had very expressive eyes.

Drew was completely shut down from the moment he stepped onto the court. There was nowhere for him to go. Our team fed off of the energy Aaron was creating, and we smothered the other team. If we had had fans, they would have been screaming “Stal-kers! Stal-kers!” (Clap-Stomp! Clap-Stomp!) at the top of their lungs. I spent the entire second half waving my towel over my head and even pulled this move once or twice. We led the entire game, won by ten, and Drew scored only two points, for which I was directly responsible. Ok, maybe Aaron played some small part.

We ended up losing the championship the next night courtesy of a buzzer beater. But the season had been a success for me. Ok, maybe success is a little strong. I played in 12 of 20 games and scored 15 points. A highlight video of my year would be shorter than Heidi Pratt’s singing career (It’s strangely appropriate that she decided to name her single after what listeners would like to do after hearing her sing). But I did post 8 trillions, and if that isn’t success then I don’t what is. Our head coach said as much when he approached me after the championship game and said, “Hey, we really wanted to get you in tonight. Sorry that didn’t work out.” I responded with a smile, “That’s ok, Coach. I didn’t want to get a rash anyway.” Two weeks later they handed out the off-season schedule, and I did what I should have done in the first place. I quit.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Scott C. There’s your shout-out, Scott. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (7th Place)

Fan Appreciation Week is finally here and I figuratively couldn’t be more excited.  When I asked the Trillion Man March to send in benchwarming stories, I was pretty certain that I would only get five stories and three of them would be from people I know personally.  After all, as one member of the TMM explained to me, if you really do embrace the benchwarmer mentality you’d be too lazy to take the time to write about your shortcomings in the first place.  Touché.  Still, I ended up getting over 80 stories, all of which were entertaining to some degree.  The people who sent in stories ranged from a 53-year-old man to a 17-year-old girl.  Some people even sent in stories from foreign countries such as New Zealand, Canada, and South Dakota.  All in all, I was very impressed with the stories (I personally read every word of every one) and really did struggle in picking out the top seven.  If it turns out that I didn’t pick yours, just convince yourself that you actually kind of won because this is yet another instance of you riding the bench in life.

With that being said, the following is what I perceived to be the seventh best story that was submitted.  If you don’t like it, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow.  If you do like it, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow.  Either way, here’s a look into Zac Jackson's life as a benchwarmer.

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All I ever wanted to do was be a basketball star.

Sure, I also wanted to one day be president of the Los Angeles Lakers, unseat Vince McMahon as president/announcer for the WWF, get married to my sixth-grade girlfriend and eventually host the 6 p.m. SportsCenter. But my first goal was to be the biggest star point guard little Manchester High School had ever seen.

I shot free throws in my driveway all day. I watched basketball on TV all night. I remember watching a young Chris Fowler host a show on ESPN called “Scholastic Sports America” featuring Jason Kidd and believing that some day I would be so good that ESPN would send its cameras to Manchester to film me. To talk to me. To let me share my greatness with the rest of the world, because everybody was watching Scholastic Sports America, right?

Turns out I wasn’t that good. Several not-so-funny things happened on my way to the NBA, including me not working hard enough, other kids stealing the ball from me, my own father telling me I sucked, my coach keeping me on the bench because I was too short to see over the halfcourt trap defenses the other teams kept throwing at me, and me making 90 straight free throws in practice but always missing the ones I shot in the game. Truth is the only crunch-time baskets I ever made in my life came in my driveway while playing one-on-one against my brother.

When I was 11 and he was 4.

So even though I adjusted and tempered my goals, I was still convinced I’d make it in basketball. I knew one day my high school girlfriend would have big boobs and wear my letterman’s jacket around town, and that was OK because I’d have a fancy Manchester Basketball sweatsuit to wear with a necklace and my number, 11, as the charm. Man I worshipped the older guys who did that. I knew someday I’d own the Manchester assist record, play in college and just generally be awesome at life.

Things didn’t quite work out that way, but I think I eventually became pretty good at being a benchwarmer – so good that all these years later I can take this opportunity to claim I was a better benchwarmer than you. Listen, your blog is great. Your jokes are great. You’ve carved quite a niche, and I’ve enjoyed reliving some of my youth (that’s what washed up American males such as myself love to do more than anything) through your exploits.

But you were not a better benchwarmer than I was, and I’ve broken down our matchup below. Our rivalry begins now.

THE EARLY DAYS: There was a time when I truly thought I was the greatest sixth-grade basketball player in America. Maybe I was. I scored off the bounce, in the lane, from well beyond the arc and played two or three steps ahead of most other kids. What eventually started to happen is the other kids started not only learning how to play, but also growing muscles and hair on their legs and upper lips. It seemed like every game I was a bit weaker, another half-step behind, etc. And I was. I still made the team when I got older because I knew the game, dated the head coach’s daughter (the smart take from the strong) and could make a wide-open 3-pointer, but I wasn’t any good. From your stories, I’ve come to learn that you hit puberty at age 8 (or 9 years earlier than I did) and only dominated on the local basketball floors because the other kids couldn’t physically keep up with you. Ho hum, ho hum.

Advantage: Me

SUPPORTING CAST: My Manchester High teammates were good guys and great friends, but they never were anything too special. They’re all successful now, but nobody’s really rich, has a really hot wife or a really awesome kind of drug problem. My favorite teammate was this white guy named Dane who not only never passed the ball (even when quadruple teamed) but sported a curly little afro, bobbed his head from side to side when he walked and off the court wore a Mr. T Starter Kit around his neck and on top of his tight black t-shirt. No lie. You not only get to play with a big-time NBA prospect in Evan Turner, but you coined an outstanding nickname for him (The Villain) and have a dedicated army of Trillionaires willing to help you ruin his day at a moment’s notice. Plus, you’ve played with a ton of other big-time players who may not ever let you inside their inner circles, but have made you good enough and let you close enough that you’ll be making occasional appearances on Sports Century and absolutely dominating church league play a year from now like The Villain will be dominating the likes of Gardner Webb and Fort Wayne State a month from now.

Advantage: Titus

DURING PRACTICE: My fellow benchwarmers and I called ourselves the Scrub Club and we always enjoyed standing in the same spot against the stage during practice while the starters got their run. My friend Joe and I would stand there and jokingly trash the coach for keeping us on the bench when we had talent to be McDonald’s All Americans, something I’d aimed to be since those early SSA episodes with Chris Fowler. Since our All-American Days ended Joe and I have combined to put on 170 pounds and make it to our 30s unmarried, uninteresting and still telling high school basketball stories when we do get together. Now we get winded just watching basketball. I’ve never seen what you do in practice, but I’d imagine it goes like this: Make a joke most of the team doesn’t understand, make a fart noise, get swatted by Dallas Lauderdale, get funny looks from The Villain, make the coaches rue the day they let you walk on, repeat process next practice.

Advantage: Me

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: If my quickly-failing memory serves me correctly, one of our rival schools, Tuslaw, had the hottest cheerleaders around. I was particularly in love with one named Kristen Kidd (and I very much enjoyed my extended time on the bench allowed me to stare at her). I believe I gave her my pager number once, but almost 12 years later she’s yet to find the time to call me. You, on the other hand, had a relationship with Erin Andrews. Come to think of it, I never got ANY girl to ever call me back until I started listening to country music. You were way ahead of me on that one. Plus, I still wear a pager.

Advantage: Titus

SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: I stayed in the game, calling out plays the other team would run and answering any questions my coach might have had. Sadly, he didn’t ask “would you like to go in?” very often. I have this sick photographic memory, too, which helped me remember what certain opponents liked to do in certain situations. Today, when I run into someone our team used to play against in a personal or professional setting, I almost always remember him and what kind of player he was. Just the other night some guy in the bar told me had 17 points and 11 rebounds against us our junior year. He was lying through his recently-bleached teeth, but if 12 years later he needs that to redeem himself, who am I to cut him down? You stare down cheerleaders, fumble with a towel and try to get on camera. I don’t see much help to the team there.

Advantage: Me

ON-COURT CONTRIBUTIONS: Knowing my time on the court was going to be short, I always launched a long 3-pointer as soon as I got in the game. Not many of them went in, but I wasn’t deterred. On senior night I got the ball with about 8 seconds left and our team up by a bunch. I dribbled the length of the court and –despite being about 5-foot-9 – leapt off one foot and attempted a tomahawk dunk. My vertical wasn’t any more than 15 inches, but my arms were long enough to reach the rim. I slammed the ball into the front of the rim and fell backwards, sending the ball to the roof while everyone in the gym laughed like crazy. Except my head coach. You? Your whole goal is to record a trillion, which means avoiding recordable action of any sort. Nice blog name, terrible way to play.

Advantage: Me

APPEARANCE: These days I’m overweight, out of shape and battling several addictions and afflictions including a bad back and excess ear wax. Back then I was scary skinny, lacking muscle definition and always had the same buzzcut on my disproportionately large head. You may not be pulling the most beautiful ladies on campus, Titus, but you’re in shape and you can grow the type of mustache in a week that I couldn’t grow in a year. Plus, you get to stroll in around in a different Nike, Ohio State Basketball sweatsuit every day and I have to dress like a grown up five or six days a week.

Advantage: Titus

POSTSCRIPT: The Manchester assist record is now held by someone named Jackson, but it’s my little brother. We never won any championships. I never got a letterman’s jacket or a big-busted girlfriend, and I’m now the absolute last pick in the gym when I make my twice-annual appearances at the local old man’s open gym. Sticking with basketball at THE Ohio State University has allowed you to see the country on someone else’s dime, do Bill Simmons podcasts, hang out with Greg Oden, jump around elevators in fancy Minneapolis hotels and give ultra-uptight NCAA people even more reasons to be ultra uptight. More than anything, you’ve let a star-obsessed culture know that walk-ons are people, too. Well done, sir.

Advantage: Titus

CLOSING CEREMONIES: In the four or so minutes I got to play on senior night, I threw an alley-oop from halfcourt for a two-handed dunk to my good friend Justin and I tried that dunk of my own. When I fell back on my head just after my dunk attempt and had my moment of clarity/reflection while staring at the ceiling, I realized that I’d failed to become The Guy That Every Little Kid In My Town Looked Up To because of basketball; strangely, I was very much at peace with that. Now some of the younger guys who were wide-eyed kids at that game still know me as The One Goofball Who Tried To Dunk, and to that I say, hey, I might as well be remembered for something. You, on the other hand, won’t even get in a game this year because Coach Matta is scared of what you might write about it. Sure, you’ll get a big cheer from the crowd on your senior night and give that stupid-looking smile you give every time the cameras come around, but will your parents really be proud?

Advantage: Me

Final tally: Me 5, You 4.

Keep up the good work, Titus. But consider yourself dunked on.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse, and T. Roche (streaks of 15)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: J. Lee (streak of 11)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Taylor W.  There’s your shout-out, Taylor. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week

I’m of the opinion that the process of reflecting plays a pivotal role in the maturation and development of a society or an individual.  Before we can get to where we want to be in this life we must first understand where we currently are.  Anyone who saw what I assume is the Asian version of Pocahontas can tell you that without reflection it’s impossible to know that you are wearing just a little too much makeup on your face.  The importance of reflection explains why the developers of the Taj Mahal and the Lincoln Memorial chose to place reflecting pools near their monuments and also explains why The Villain spends virtually every waking moment looking at himself in a mirror.

(By the way, I bet the guy who invented the mirror had a hard time convincing people that he wasn’t full of himself…

“Hey guys, I just invented something that let’s you look at yourself whenever you want.”

“Uhh…why would you want to do that? What’s so special about you that makes you want to look at yourself?”

“Nothing, it’s just that, ya know, I thought it would be cool if you could see if your hair was sticking up or something.”

“Either that or you thought it would be cool to constantly check out your flawless six pack from a better angle, you arrogant prick.”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how the initial conversation went.)

As this blog approaches its one year anniversary/birthday (not really sure which term is appropriate in this situation), I thought it was important for me to reflect on how far it has come.  When I started this blog, I did so out of boredom from the combination of living by myself and nothing being on TV.  I had no intention of writing it for much longer than a month and my only real goal was to expose a handful of people to my favorite YouTube videos.  Now one year later, I’ve ruined two Simmons podcasts, I’ve been denied by the NBA (and countless women), and I’ve had my embarrassing combination of serious face and faux hawk on the front page of Yahoo.com.  I’ve achieved infinite times more success with this thing than I ever could have dreamed of and absolutely none of it could have been possible without you.  This is why I’m devoting an entire week to give back to the Trillion Man March.

Some of you may have missed my last post and in doing so didn’t read the announcement about how I’m claiming October 18th through October 24th to be Club Trillion’s Fan Appreciation Week (still waiting for the government to officially declare it).  I outlined a contest that prompted the Trillion Man March to send in stories about how you used to and/or still are riding the bench on your sports team or just in life in general (if you missed it, go back and read the latter part of the last post for all the rules and regs).  So far I’ve received a solid number of entries, but I’m yet to receive one that I think is the unquestionable winner.  With that in mind, you only have until October 15th to send your story in, so get to it.  If it doesn’t suck, I’ll publish it and you can brag to the two other people in your circle of friends who would think that it’s remotely impressive that you got something published on Club Trillion.

In the last post, I also promised that there would be much more to Fan Appreciation Week than just the writing contest, and if there’s anything my countless failed relationships have taught me it’s that lying is an awful way to tell someone you love them.  And since I love each and every one of you, I’m going to stick to my promise and outline everything else that will make up Fan Appreciation Week right now.

Free T-Shirts

Even though NCAA rules prohibit me from taking free stuff from just about anybody, I’m pretty confident that I’m permitted to give out free stuff to you all.  I had ten t-shirts with the CLUB TRIL logo made up (I would have had more, but these things cost money and money is something I simply don’t have) and will be distributing them throughout Fan Appreciation Week.  There is, however, some bad news to go with the t-shirt handout.

I’ve thought about how to hand out the t-shirts and every idea I have come up with involves me using my Twitter account in some fashion.  This is bad news because I’m guessing most of you don’t have Twitter accounts due to the fact that “Twitter sux” and you “don’t know why anyone would care that I’m having eggs and toast for breakfast”.  I completely understand your frustration but unfortunately, Twitter is really the only way I can give out the t-shirts because it’s the only fair way to do it.  In most cases, I’ll post a Club Trillion trivia question on Twitter and the first person to e-mail me with the correct answer will get the shirt.  I also plan on hiding shirts on campus and revealing their location via Twitter.  Because Twitter is a live stream site, it makes the most sense to do it that way.

If you really want a t-shirt but don’t have a Twitter account, I suggest making one to follow me (here’s my Twitter page) during Fan Appreciation Week and deleting it at the end of the week.  I know it’s a hassle, but it honestly won’t take longer than five minutes to create an account (if you’re old, have your kids make one for you) and there really isn’t a better way for me to hand these things out.  If you do make an account and follow only me, you actually will have a better chance of winning a shirt than those who are following more people because only my tweets will show up on your feed, which means it’s less likely for you to miss the t-shirt announcements.  Just something to think about.

All E-mails Get A Personal Response

Anybody who has ever sent me an e-mail has surely noticed that I respond to them almost as frequently as I shave my body hair (so about once a week).  It’s something I’m not really all that proud of (the lack of responding, I mean), which is why I thought that during Fan Appreciation Week I would personally respond to any and all e-mails sent to the Club Trillion e-mail account.  Due to the large number of e-mails I get on a daily basis (I consider more than one to be a large number), I usually put off responding as long as possible and then end up with the monumental task of responding to tons of e-mails all at once.  It’s a side to blogging that I never prepared myself for and I wish I had a better method, but as it stands I continue to let all sorts of e-mails get lost in the shuffle and then come up with various excuses as to why I forgot to respond.  Until now.

Fan Appreciation Week will give you the opportunity to ask me just about anything you want and be completely assured that I will respond.  Some of you have already taken it upon yourself to ask me something only to go months without hearing anything back from me.  If that’s the case, now is the perfect opportunity to ask again.  I vow to personally and truthfully write a response to every e-mail, which may sound like a pretty lame aspect of Fan Appreciation Week, but in reality will probably be a pretty hefty workload for me.  So send in your thoughts, suggestions, questions, and pictures you took of yourself in your bathroom mirror with your cell phone and I’ll do whatever it takes to write you back.

Letter of Recommendation for Anyone Applying to tOSU

Of the people who have sent me an e-mail in the past, a good portion of you did so because you were asking me to write something for you to use in some way.  The most frequent request was for me to write something for you to put on your own blog, but some of you requested that I write for your fantasy football league, write some sort of speech for you, or rewrite Swingers as a play for you and your theatre class to use in your end-of-the-year high school production (I obviously made up that last one, because I definitely would have done that had anybody actually asked).  Anyway, I declined virtually every request, because I didn’t have the time to do all of them and I didn’t want to play favorites and choose one or two.  Basically I took the same approach towards these requests as I did with the general e-mails, which is why none of you ever heard from me after you sent me your request.

Now that Fan Appreciation Week is around the corner, I’ve decided to loosen up a little bit and offer my extremely one-dimensional and completely amateur writing services to a certain demographic of the Trillion Man March.  I’m not sure if it’s too late for high school seniors to apply to colleges, but if it’s not, I’m offering to write a letter of recommendation for any high school senior applying to Ohio State.  I’m pretty confident that you don’t need letters of recommendation to get into tOSU, which is why I think this aspect of Fan Appreciation Week will be doubly awesome. Also, I’m pretty confident having a letter of recommendation from me will be as helpful towards your chances of getting in as having a letter of recommendation from Mike Tyson.  I would be pretty terrified for the future of Ohio State if the admissions people really consider a letter from me to be beneficial to an applicant’s cause.  Come to think of it, there’s a pretty solid chance that my letter will actually be detrimental to your chances of getting in, so I’d think twice about asking for help from me if I were you.  Either way,  the offer has been put on the table and it’s your decision to take it or leave it.

Podcast With A Member of The Trillion Man March

This is definitely the biggest gamble of Fan Appreciation Week, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s a gamble that’s going to pay off.  I plan on recording a podcast with a random one of you and plan on discussing just about anything.  Unfortunately, like the t-shirt giveaway, if you want a shot at being a podcast guest you are going to have to have a Twitter account.  I’ll post on my Twitter at some point in time during Fan Appreciation Week that the first person to call in will become the podcast guest.  Again, like the t-shirt giveaway, the live stream feature of Twitter makes it the only logical way to choose who will be the podcast guest, so I apologize to all of you who really hate Twitter or don’t completely understand it.  If you really want a t-shirt or want to be a podcast guest that badly, you should be willing to take the five minutes to create an account anyway, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.  All I ask is that if you do become the podcast guest, please don’t suck.  I’m already doing all I can to make the podcast boring, so I’d appreciate it if you brought at least one remotely interesting thing to the conversation.

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Even though I want this to be a humorous and completely unserious blog, I do want to thank each and every one of you for being an integral part of the success and growth of what I’ve created.  At this time last year I was a nobody who was underachieving in the classroom and on the basketball court, but now I’m a nobody with a blog who’s underachieving in the classroom and on the basketball court.  It’s been a fun first year that has quite literally changed my life.  I feel incredibly blessed to have the chance to play practice for a top notch Division I basketball program and be able to tell stupid stories on here that people apparently enjoy reading.  Fan Appreciation Week may turn out to be an awful idea, but even if it is, it will completely be worth it to me because I think it’s important for all of you to know that I love you so much that I’d pick you up from the airport or help you move into a new apartment (please don’t hold me to this).  God bless the Trillion Man March and God bless America.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse, and T. Roche (streaks of 15)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: J. Terry (streak of 11)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Mitch B.  There’s your shout-out, Mitch. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder