So it’s Friday, and I’m bored. I know I should be posting more often to this thing but after Snowverfield and having a life with a job and money I’ve been bad. I’m trying, though! So this top ten list was recommended by a friend and I’m going off the top of my head so I’m sure I’ll miss some, but here it is. The top ten cover songs:
10. “Eleanor Rigby” by Thrice (Originally by The Beatles)
This should probably be higher, but I’ve sort of strayed from this style of Thrice. It’s a vintage hard rock version of the song, and hard rock isn’t as much my thing anymore. Either way, this cover is still great. You have the electric riffs mixed with the fast drums for a very uptempo cover. This would be awesome to see live, too. You’re going along listening and enjoying it, then all of a sudden Dustin Kensrue turns on the crazy. The riffs get heavier, the drums get slower and his voice gets louder. All of a sudden this fun little cover turned into pure head banging rock. It’s hard to not appreciate an original cover. It’s refreshing to see what different artists do with certain songs. Sometimes you want to hear the song exactly in its original form but this version of “Eleanor Rigby” gives it a whole new meaning. Just listen is all I can say.
9. “Heartless” by Dia Frampton (Originally by Kanye West)
Speaking of original covers…wow. She performed this on The Voice and yes, I did watch The Voice. This was just cool. It may have been the best performance of the entire season. It’s indie meets hip hop. There isn’t too much else to say about this one, because it’s hard to really understand how good it is until you hear it for yourself.
8. “Animal” by Sky Ferreira (Originally by Miike Snow)
Now many of you may not even know the original song by Miike Snow. I urge you to check it out before listening to this one. The original is great. It’s a fun song with a catchy chorus. Sky Ferreira gives this song an added emotional element. It cuts deep and her voice is incredible. She sounds a little like Florence + the Machine. I can’t see anybody disliking this one, I really can’t.
7. “House of the Rising Sun” by Muse (Originally by The Animals)
Okay so I don’t know who originally did this song. I know The Animals have the most well known version of this song so I’ll credit them. It doesn’t really matter because we all know this song quite well. Muse turns it into epic rock. Matt Bellamy’s voice and insane guitar skills are a perfect fit for this song. I could honestly listen to this on repeat all day. Do work, Muse.
6. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash (Originally by Nine Inch Nails)
Not only is this simply a great cover, but this was Cash’s final gift to the world. This cover is my last memory of his life. He was an incredible musician and this song proves it. He’s one of those guys I wish lived forever so he could keep creating music. And now to someone covering one of his songs…
5. “I Walk The Line” by Live (Originally by Johnny Cash)
This is a great tribute to Cash, and the lead singer’s voice is fucking awesome. It’s a good, soulful version and you can hear the passion in his voice and in the instrumentals. Definitely listen to this one.
4. “Crazy” by States (Originally by Gnarls Barkley)
There’s no recorded version of this, just live videos from various concerts but man does Mindy White make this song. She slows down the chorus and gives it some power and honesty that’s a little lacking in the original, simply because of how much fun the original is. The instrumentals give it more of an indie feel to it, and while they slow down and change up a lot of the song it still has me tapping my foot to the beat. On another note, I am definitely an unofficial promoter of this band. They rose from the ashes of Lydia and Copeland to create a brand new, original band. They had a six song EP out for about a year and just recently released their first full length. I definitely recommend anybody to check them out. They’re very talented and appear to have the potential to make it big.
3. “Across the Universe” by Fiona Apple (Originally by The Beatles)
Yes, two Beatles covers on one list. It was on the soundtrack for Pleasantville and has a music video and everything. It’s pretty incredible.
2. “Pursuit of Happiness” by Lissie (Originally by Kid Cudi)
This bitch rocks the shit out of this song. Damn. The original is one of my favorites. The combination of Kid Cudi, MGMT and Ratatat is great, and this chick Lissie chills this song out a bit but really kicks it into high gear towards the end.
1. “My Body Is a Cage” by Peter Gabriel (Originally by The Arcade Fire)
So I was being a huge nerd and watching upcoming movie trailers one afternoon and I came across the one for John Carter. I still don’t know if I’m super pumped to see the movie because of the trailer or because of the song in it, which happens to be this one. To think how creepy and unique the original version is, Gabriel adds a whole new element. It’s a mysterious one that makes this song so attractive. The piano and orchestra are refreshing and make it a fun listen.
So this was a last minute splattering of words with these explanations of each cover, so don’t judge. Some that didn’t quite make the cut are:
“The Funeral” by Liz Lee (Band of Horses)
“Look at Me Now” by Karmin (Chris Brown)
“No One’s Gonna Love You” by Cee-Lo Green (Band of Horses)
Hello again to the couple of you that read this! So good to see you! I’ve been neglectful to my poor children lately so here I am to try and atone.
I’m just going to jump right into it here. Have you ever been out on the town and right in the middle of all that fun you realize you need to take a shit? If you answered no, then you’re a liar. We’ve all been there before and it is not a problem you would like to encounter at all. There is no convenient solution, that’s the first sign of trouble. You’re in the middle of a bar/club/whatever having a good time with all your friends and it hits you like a ton of bricks and the bricks happen to be made of poop. All of a sudden, no matter how drunk you are, the scenarios start to play out in your head. The first move you make is to the bathroom to scope out the scene. You walk in and see that the stall door is unhinged and the bowl itself is draped in wet toilet paper and smells like if feces had once been live regular feces that only smelled a little bit then they died and began to rot into a disgusting mess. So that option is out and you’re starting to feel a little bit worse.
You limp back to your group of friends because you know if you had a normal gait you may open Pandora’s box, or in this case, Joe’s…well you get the point. Now for some ridiculous reason people want to talk to you, but all you can think of is what’s going on down in the basement. The loud music, the loud people and the general setting you’re in now starts to become quite bothersome. While the friends are completely tuned out, you’re standing there looking around like there will be some magic toilet that nobody will be able to see or hear you use to rescue you. Okay that’s it! Stop thinking about it and maybe it will go away and you’ll feel better. Crap now it’s the only thing you can think about! It’s time to leave. Grab your phone and pretend you’re talking to somebody and walk out of the bar. When your friends ask what’s going on just point at the phone, roll your eyes and shrug your shoulders. They’ll understand.
Outside, you start considering maybe just rushing home and taking care of it. Then you realize you’re in SoHo and you live in…Connecticut. There goes another possibility. Maybe look up and down the street and see if there are any food establishments that are willing to offer their facilities. Time to trot/hobble/whatever you think is moving you faster through each block. Finally five blocks up you find a seemingly innocent little pizza joint! Just buy a slice, eat two bites and then get in! Shit! There’s somebody in there already, so start bouncing up and down by the door and shaking your legs and doing whatever other tricks are saving you from releasing the Poopen. The man finally walks out, but he looks like he could have caused some trouble in there. Hope he peed, hope he peed, hope he peed. Yes! And as a bonus he even lifted the seat! Thank you kind immigrant man for being so considerate! Okay now you’re at the work station, time to get things in order.
I won’t go into details on what happens next, but let’s just say you were dropping some friends off at the lake and it took them an unusually long time to get out of the car. I think one of them couldn’t find their sandals or something like that, but finally the demon has finished tormenting your poor soul. The crisis is not quite over, although it definitely feels that way. Oh crap, you left your friends thirty minutes ago and you’re still a five minute walk away. What are you going to tell them? Are they still there? They definitely know what’s going on, they have to! As you walk back into the bar, the bouncer charges you a cover again because after sanitizing (more like scrubbing the crap out of) your hands the little stamp has vanished. At this point you’ve dropped three bux on a slice of pizza you didn’t want and another five for paying cover again. You have just taken an eight dollar shit, but it was worth every penny.
You weave your way through the crowd and get back to your friends. When they ask what was going on just make up some bullshit excuse that they have to believe. You’re in the clear and it’s time to get back to having some fun! “Hey what’s that toiler paper doing stuck to your shoe?” your douchebag friend asks in front of everyone. “Dammit!!!”
And that’s how you write a story about poop.
is the worst show on television. I am severely disappointed in NBC for allowing something so terrible to air on that network. It would fit better on CBS with those slapstick comedies like Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory. Or maybe even take it a notch higher to TBS where it can viciously compete with House of Payne and Meet the Browns.
I watched the entire first episode of the show for all of you, definitely not for me. I knew it would suck, but I had to know for sure that way I can warn the rest of you. Going into it I thought Whitney Cummings was a somewhat funny comedienne who was sort of hot. Now I think neither of those things. She’s got a bony, pale face and her trying to be funny just makes me sad. The same goes for Chris D’Elia. He’s not that good of a comedian anyways, but he was hilarious in that one episode of Workaholics so there was hope. No more.
In the show Whitney has a couple friends. One is some gross ginger with a little brown boyfriend that really appears to be gay. The other is a deep voiced blonde who seems like kind of a slut and definitely an alcoholic. She dates a sorry excuse for a cop. He has a lesbian haircut. There is not much else to say about the show because that’s how much substance there is.
Please cancel Whitney. Just…do it.
1. Big East Tournament 2010
While it may not be fair that this was for three games rather than one, nothing can top this week. It was one of my last months as a college student and the BE Tourney is always a good excuse to party. Little did I know how much partying would go down. The tournament happened to be during the first week of March, and it was surprisingly warm and beautiful all week. We got to bask in the first 70 degree weather since September so that meant there was little time spent in class or inside in general. The first day that the Mounties played in the tourney it was a warm but somewhat overcast day if I remember correctly and we were all porch drinking. My friend Chelsea from back home was visiting that night which obviously increased the fun factor. By the time Chelsea had arrived in Morgantown I was already pretty tipsy. I got her settled at my house and we walked back to the Casto household to continue the fun. Soon enough after it was time for the WVU game against Cincy. It was the first game so it shouldn’t have been too much trouble and it wasn’t…until the end of the game. I don’t remember too many details of the game, just that Cincinnati had tied the game up and had the ball with about five seconds left. This was not good.
They in-bounded the ball and as their point guard brought the ball up the sideline, Da’Sean Butler’s defense was just too good causing the Bearcat to lose the ball out of bounds. There was life back in the team with three seconds left on the clock. The ball was in-bounded to Butler and he made one move to create space and then pulled up for the shot. He banked in a three pointer at the buzzer to win the game and the crowd at MSG went wild. Our reaction was a little different. I think the fact that we had been drinking all day and it was around 9 at night caused our excitement levels to be lower. We definitely were happy, but our celebration of the crazy ending didn’t properly show it. The rest of the night was fun though as we all caught our second wind and shared some drinks and laughs as we kept it pretty low key for the most part.
The next morning Chelsea left and it was back to a day of maybe going to class but most likely having some drinks. It was Friday and it was the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day so obviously there was a green party to attend. First I had to worry about a date, though. Obviously with all my dating expertise I would pick the perfect restaurant with intimate lighting and a warm atmosphere. So naturally we went to Damon’s. If I remember correctly, a mutual acquaintance saw us at the table and came over to chat. He asked if we were dating, and while there was no relationship status established it led to a very awkward moment in which I fumbled my words around. The moment passed and I made feeble attempts to recover. Luckily the food and the check came quickly and it was off to the party. The party was packed and it was quite the coincidence that everyone would wear green in celebration of an Irish holiday the night we play Notre Dame in the semi-finals. We stayed at the party for the first half, but had to stand at an awkward angle just to be able to watch the TV. This would not fly, so at halftime I made the executive decision to head back to my place (smooth) to watch the rest of the game. There we watched another nail-biter as WVU squandered yet another lead to cause panic in the closing moments. We were up by two and it was Notre Dame’s ball. We would not cause a turnover this time as the point guard swiftly dribbled the ball up the court. He pulled up behind the arc and launched the potential game winner, it rattled around before it popped out where it bounced on the court. A Fightin’ Irish player moved to grab the ball to try and lay it in but Wellington Smith quickly slapped the ball out of his hands to seal the victory.
The night turned out to be a great one, but still awkward because of my wonderful dating abilities. The next day was Big East Championship day, though so it was time to get excited. See the Mountaineers have never been Big East Champs before so it’s safe to say this game was kind of a big deal. I don’t remember much of the day, I think it was a pretty average day because the weather wasn’t favorable and many were recovering from their hangovers. As night, and the game, neared it was time to get the alcohol. I pre-gamed with some friends and then Rachel and I headed over to my old house to go to a watch party. There were many people there but we somehow were able to eventually land a seat to watch the game. The first half was up and down but we had the lead at the end of it. Everyone got up to go into the other room to drink, play pong/flip cup etc. I was set on not giving up our seats so I turned it an an opportunity to have a conversation rather than appear to be an alcoholic and get ridiculously hammered with everyone else. I had someone to impress and just being me barely did the job nevermind bringing beer into the mix. The second half arrived and there wasn’t much focus on the game other than some of us hardcore fans. We had a pretty decent lead so there wasn’t much to worry about.
Then just like the other two games, that lead grew smaller and smaller as the game was nearing its end. The attention at the party was now on the TV. Georgetown had tied it on a layup and there was less than ten seconds on the clock for us. Again, the ball was in-bounded to Butler and he drove right down the middle towards the basket. He went into a sea of Hoyas where he couldn’t even be seen anymore but then all of a sudden the ball popped awkwardly out of his hands. It made a few strange bounces on the rim before falling in. INSANITY! The whole house was jumping up and down but there was still four seconds left. The Georgetown point guard quickly took the ball and sped down the court. Our defenders raced to keep up with him and as time was expiring he went for a low release layup to avoid the defender. It fell short, Butler grabbed the ball and threw it in the air and it was time to party in Morgantown. We were going nuts but once I stepped outside I knew the true nature of what was happening in the state of West Virginia. You could hear cheers and fireworks everywhere around you. I had to get downtown to be part of the action. All the others decided to stay in South Park to celebrate so I took it upon myself to literally sprint downtown to meet up with some friends and go crazy. Couches were burned, cheers were to be had and High Street was filled with high-fives between strangers, random cheering and drivers laying on their horns as they passed the crowds. It was a great day to be a Mountaineer.
I hope the three of you who read these posts enjoyed, especially my fellow Mounties. It was nice to reflect on some of the wonderful experiences I had at West Virginia University. It was truly a life altering few years that I will never forget and I can only hope that anybody else lucky enough to have the same opportunity I did will make the most of it.
My apologies for not getting this countdown finished before the LSU game but things got crazy in my life! I survived Gameday weekend and it was great to see everybody back home. Still love my Mounties, now time to finish the list.
2. Last Game (WVU vs. Pitt 2009)
Sure I was about six months away from graduation, but it sure felt a lot closer on this day. This would be the last home game I would attend as a student and it couldn’t be any more fitting. The ninth best team in the country and also our fiercest rival was coming into town for a night game the day after Thanksgiving. Now my weekend became much more complicated than simply attending the game. Like I said, it was the day after Thanksgiving and it was a game I could not have gone to if it was any earlier than 8 PM. I had to fight off the tryptophan and the hangover just to even put in the effort to get into my car that morning to be on my way. I was hoping to have left early, but I had to settle for 11 AM which meant I would only get a couple hours of tailgating in, but as long as I got to the game it didn’t matter.
The journey was going smoothly. I sped pretty much the whole way, obviously and took my usual traffic-free route to make good time. I approached the uphill climb on 68 where the Welcome to West Virginia sign was located and the excitement for my return swelled. Then in the blink of an eye, all the joy and happiness of my trip was deflated by an accident involving at least five cars. They couldn’t handle the snowy/icy weather and it created a domino effect. Cars were spun out and crashed everywhere on the road causing a standstill in traffic for roughly an hour. This was not fair! I was a senior on his way to his final game and I needed to get to Morgantown to get drunk and watch football! Sitting in traffic and reading a million texts from those who I was supposed to meet up with only made it worse. I was only 35 minutes from bliss and yet I had to sit in traffic on a cold, snowy highway with tons of other frustrated drivers. Eventually room was made for us to get through and as I examined all the cars involved, only one or two seemed to have any damage worth worrying about while the rest just sat there pathetically. This only angered me more, but I had to push on.
Looking back it feels as if I e-brake slid into Morgantown. Not just pulling up to where I would be parking, but once I hit the city limits I did an e-brake slide all the way through town. That’s how much of a hurry I was in and how much of a flair for dramatics I am. I do remember literally jumping out of my car and running up to my friend’s apartment to start drinking. There wasn’t much time, we needed to get to the tailgates seeing there was only two hours left before the game started. I downed a few shots of tequila reluctantly, then it was time for the brutal fifteen minute walk to the tailgate. No worries, this turned into an eight minute run-walk-awkward combo. We finally arrived to meet with a couple other friends and next thing I know I was grabbing beers like Aron Ralston would grab water. I really only wanted a buzz, but the quick intake of a decent amount of alcohol got me a little drunker than anticipated and next thing I knew I was traveling to the stadium. I was not quiet. I berated any Pitt fans I found and high-fived all my fellow Mountaineers. Instead of stopping to say hello to any friends I came across I just screamed and made my way throw the mobs of people entering the stadium to get to the front of the line.
Now it was game time. My day started out in Ridgefield, CT and I all of a sudden found myself in the biggest gathering of people in the entire state to cheer on my Mounties. The game was great. While it was low scoring it did not lack excitement. Noel Devine had a long TD run. Pitt had a couple nice plays of their own. Fast forward to the end of the game and Pitt had rallied from a ten point deficit to tie the game and there was barely two minutes left. I don’t think I was able to breathe the entire time. My two previous years at the school we had lost to Pitt and I was not ready for another letdown, especially for the last game of my career as a student. Jarrett Brown was putting a decent drive together and we were slowly moving the ball. The clock was moving a bit faster, though and the fans started to get anxious. We found ourselves with only a few seconds left and our freshman kicker running onto the field. Tyler Bitancourt had a great season, but he was never asked to make a decisive kick like this one. The ball was snapped and there it went. It felt like it was up in the air for days. I looked down at the referees as they threw both of their arms up to signal the field goal was made. A massive celebration ensued. The emotion of everything got to me as I shed a tear or two. They were manly tears, though. They were made of beer and firearms. In our minds the night was just getting started.
A quick (okay let’s be real that’s not true) PRT ride got us back downtown where it was time to really celebrate. It turned out everybody else in town had the same idea and High Street was electric. We went to Sports Page and what I can really only remember was seeing a professor sitting at a table grading papers while many others were trying their best at karaoke. Let’s just say it was hard on the ears. We partied all night and I went to bed slightly hammered, but happy.
My weekend was far from over, though. It was time to head back towards the coast. I had a concert on Long Island to go to and it was time for yet another awfully long car ride. Seeing this is about WVU football I won’t go into detail about the concert. It was Brand New, Manchester Orchestra and Thrice and it was awesome. I slept back at my home in CT that night. I was there only 36 hours earlier but yet I had endured two very long and taxing drives, an amazing football game and a solid concert. My head was spinning. By the time we finally made it to Morgantown, again, I walked into my room and dropped all my stuff right in the doorway. I walked over to my bed and collapsed. I don’t think I woke up for about twelve hours, but it was totally worth it. I will always miss the upper section at Mountaineer Field, too many memories to count.
3. Homecoming 2009 (WVU vs. UConn)
There was plenty going on leading up to this game. First off, this was my senior year and there was nothing better than us playing UConn for my final homecoming game as a student. I decided to try and run for Homecoming King. I figured I knew a lot of people, had an organization to back me up and a smile you can’t resist. I applied which requires a $10 entry fee and an essay to go with. The top ten are then asked to interview so they can narrow it down to five. Turns out there were only seven guys who applied. I had this in the bag! I went for my interview and was told I had the best essay of the bunch. The whole thing went without a hitch and all I had to do is wait for the call that says I can start campaigning. When I did get that call, the news was not what I expected. I was somehow one of the lowly two candidates who did not make the top five. This was absurd, I thought I was a shoe-in! At the time and still a little bit now I blame the elections chair. He was a douche and I fear he had some sort of agenda against me. Upon further reflection, I treated the interview as thought it was a real interview that I as an accounting major had grown so accustomed to. Instead it was an interview that begged for creativity, wit, humor and enthusiasm. I have all those qualities! The problem is, why would I be myself in an interview when my whole life I was told to follow strict guidelines on how to act and what to say. Damn you School of Business & Economics!
Anyway, while that was a failure I still had the game to look forward to. My school versus my home state’s school. The parents were coming and there were only a couple of home games left in my college career. Then something much more devastating than a HC King snub happened. Jasper Howard, a starting defensive back and pro prospect from UConn was murdered. The sports world was in shock. Jasper was stabbed to death while trying to break up a fight only hours after having maybe the best game of his life. If you were a sports fan, you knew about this story and I know everybody’s hearts went out to this kid. He was trying to do the right thing and found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what made it hurt even more. Our game against the Huskies would be the first after his death and all of a sudden it became something much bigger than just another football game. This meant that our team, our school and our fans had to step up.
A very ambitious student whose name I wish I could remember was the first to do so. You could tell she really felt for Jasper Howard, so she set up a Facebook group. Her goal was to get white armbands with a blue 6 (his number) for all the fans to wear. She sold them I think for only a one or two bucks. Like most of my fellow Mountaineers I bought one in anticipation for this very emotional game. The rest of the week I wore whatever UConn gear I had. I received no negative reactions from other students for this decision because there was a sense that everyone understood what the game truly meant.
Game day finally arrived and to be treated like any other noon home game, I woke up early and headed to wherever I would be tailgating. We did a 9 AM power hour at my buddy’s apartment and the group of us pounded down a couple of pizzas in true college fashion. I didn’t get drunk mainly because I just wouldn’t feel right. We all got a decent buzz going and decided to venture to the stadium lots to finish tailgating. I split from my group and headed for another. This one was full of seniors like myself and we all soon ventured into the stadium to enjoy one of our last games as students. When I looked down into the away team’s tunnel I saw the huge banner expressing the school’s sympathies with kind words and signatures from hundreds of students including myself. The Huskies took the field and we replaced the usual boos with a standing ovation. Finally our Mountaineers did the same and everyone went through the same traditional motions. Minutes later the announcer came over the speakers. He asked that we all stand for a moment of silence in memory of Jasper. I’m not going to lie, I feared the worst. Mind you there were surely many drunk students and fans throughout the packed stadium of 60,000+. To my surprise there was not a peep. Not a single person at the game made a noise. I could feel tears welling and goosebumps all over my body because this was respect, sympathy and sadness in its rawest, realest form. The only sound that could be heard were the distant church bells marking midday. The announcer came back on to thank the crowd and wouldn’t you know it, there was some football to be played.
Time for kickoff! WVU would receive. The ball soared through the air and into Tavon Austin’s arms. In a blur we saw him make a move to the outside and fly down the sideline for a TD to open the game. The crowd erupted and we were quickly able to transition from tears to cheers. The entire game was filled with excitement. The Huskies were going to play their hardest in memory of their lost brother and it seemed like maybe it would be too overwhelming a battle for the Mountaineers to face. It was a back and forth affair as both teams were really putting everything into the game. With not much time left in the game and down by 4 UConn had a big play of over 80 or 90 yards to take the lead. With only a few minutes to go the Mountaineers started to drive and they were making progress. All of a sudden from around midfield I see Noel Devine pop out of the backfield and sprint down the sideline. He was pushed but stayed balanced and in bounds all the way into the endzone. We were all going quite crazy in celebration, but there was still two minutes left and UConn wasn’t having too much trouble moving on our defense. They again started to drive down the field, needing a TD as they were down by 4. We finally got some pressure on the QB and he tossed the ball. It was tipped and hung in the air for what felt like forever. Chris Neild, our nose tackle came down with it to end the game.
It was such a good, hard fought game and it was nice to see no ill will between the teams. Bill Stewart and Randy Edsall met in the middle of the field after the final whistle blew and embraced each other knowing that while the game was over, the healing process had only begun. The stands started a “Jasper Howard” chant which may have been misinterpreted as something in bad taste but it was only in support of our rival team.
I was very proud of our fans at the end of it all. It showed that my time at WVU meant something. It showed that despite our reputation as hostile fans we came together and showed that at the end of the day, we are normal people filled with compassion like everyone else. To me this meant a lot but in the landscape of things it meant very little. An innocent life was still lost and the University of Connecticut now had to move on and find a way to cope. Every time Edsall and his players and staff took the field the rest of that season they were the hero facing a daunting task, an uphill climb. While the rest of their season wasn’t a major success, the next was as they were Big East champs and represented the conference in the BCS for the first time ever. I like to think Jasper had something to do with that. R.I.P. Jasper “Jazz” Howard.
4. Gold Rush 2007 (WVU vs. Louisville)
I was roughly two or three months into my first year at WVU. Being a transfer was a much tougher life than I had imagined going in. When you are at a big school, you are essentially a statistic and need to build your base of friends quickly to survive. That is usually accomplished freshman year, but I was not around for that so I was quite desperate looking for friends at first. After meeting a few people in the dorms, I had been introduced to the organization Campus Crusade for Christ or “Cru” for short. Now I have trashed this organization before because I really think its members are a fairly ignorant bunch. The redeeming quality, though, is that they are very accepting and open to anyone considering joining. I needed friends and this was where I would get my start.
By this time I knew many of the kids I would be tailgating with, but on a very impersonal level. Usually people have that go to friend in a situation like mine to attach themselves to for the night, but I didn’t. I just sort of knew all of these people and at first I was far more uncomfortable than I expected. The tailgate experience was alcohol-free of course, but it was full of genuinely good people despite the fact that my lifestyle clashed heavily with theirs. I did not want to come off as some typical “Where’s the keg?” bro so I just went along with the concept of tailgating without drinking. By the time we were headed to the game, I’ll admit I had a good time! We played corn hole, I think they set up a water pong table and there were burgers and dogs to go around. I was very grateful to be fed for free. I got to talking to some of the kids and finally got to know them. Yes, there were some truly bothersome ones in the mix there. I just don’t understand how drinking beer and cussing in any way makes someone a bad christian, but that’s what I got from some of the kids I talked to. Then there were some others sprinkled in there that I really liked talking to. I felt comfortable enough to share the fact that I drink and swear and do other rebellious things and that was fine. I didn’t have to tip-toe around anything I said and it really opened me up to be more myself and more honest with everyone.
What’s funny is that my whole personality revolves around the fact that I don’t give a shit about what anybody else thinks. I think that is strictly tied to the fact that I will always have a family and a group of friends that will be there for me no matter what. This was different, though. My family was 450 miles away and these people were my only friends at the time so it put me in the vulnerable position of actually caring about what others thought of me.
I regained that mentality again that night, and was back to my take it or leave it personality. I became more and more vocal and outgoing throughout the night and while there were some that awkwardly steered clear, the few that stuck around and laughed at my jokes or listened to whatever I had to say are ones that I still keep in my phone and I know would still be there for me in a heartbeat if I needed them. Those are the kinds of people any person should surround themselves with, despite what they may or may not believe in. Those are the people today’s society need more of.
Back to the game. So after the tailgate we made the walk to the stadium. It was a Thursday night game and it was the first gold rush of my life. For those of you who don’t know, a gold rush at WVU is when all of the fans are encouraged to wear gold while the team wears its all gold uniforms. This is the result: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/-EuB4fIO-AA/0.jpg
The atmosphere was electric to say the least. It was the first somewhat important home game of my early Mountaineer life and I could feel it. We had a top 10 team pretty much all season and the fans really showed up. The game itself didn’t disappoint either. We were ahead and ahead big for most of the game. The offense was killing it as always and the defense was stingy. Then the fourth quarter showed up and so did Louisville. While they were a top 5 team in the pre-season they had faltered through most of the season, but then they quickly reminded us why they were given so much hype. Brian Brohm started to pick our defense apart and put together some crucial late game drives. All of a sudden the game was tied with little time remaining. We had to answer or otherwise all the momentum would in Louisville’s favor going into OT. Enter Pat White. While I’m heavily biased I don’t think there has been a player like him in the BCS era of college football. He is the only QB to win four bowl games, two of which were BCS bowls. Every time he had the ball there was a chance he would make a big play. Well this game was no different. WVU had the ball at around midfield with a little over a minute left and White decided it was time to work his magic. He took the snap, surveyed the field, made one move and he was gone.
The entire stadium erupted. The student section was a tidal wave of gold while the students went wild. I jumped into a mob of people I didn’t even know celebrating the TD. That night, that game, that play all were the beginning of WVU sports for me. It was the first time I felt part of the school and part of the team the way a student should. Every game day since then you can bet I’ve been decked out in blue and gold cheering on my Mounties. This Saturday night agaisnt LSU will be no different I can guarantee that much.
This week is a big week for me and all other West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Since becoming a student and fan in 2007 there have been many memorable games and moments but the game against LSU this weekend may be the most important. It is for me especially because of my short time as a fan, but I consider myself no less rabid of a Mountaineer than anybody else. This week is completely dedicated to WVU sports and with that, I will count down my top 5 moments and experiences as a fan while I was attending the school. It’s incredible that in only three years so many memories were created. Right now I will talk about number five and later today I will have the story for number four.
5. Final Four Weekend
This will be the only time I bring up a loss, but this weekend still had it all. I’ll start it with the Elite Eight victory against Kentucky. We were on spring break, my last as a student, when the Elite Eight game was played which honestly sucked. I mean it was cool to go to a bar and watch my Mounties pull off a big win, but I didn’t have anybody to celebrate with. No worries because either way my boys were in the Final Four for the first time in over 50 years. I grew up a big UConn fan and at the time I had already seen them make it to three Final Fours and win it all in two of those seasons. This was different, though. West Virginia was my school and my team and I felt it more than I ever did for the Huskies.
So that night my parents gave me the green light to enter the lottery to get a ticket to the Final Four which was in Indianapolis that year. I didn’t go anywhere for spring break so this was my trip to go on and it was well worth it to go to a mild, balmy Indianapolis over any beach on the planet. That day I sat on my computer for hours refreshing my mailbox until getting the e-mail with the link to enter the lotto for a ticket. It was first come first serve, so I anxiously clicked through each step hoping that nothing would get in my way. Success! I made it! I’m going to the Final Four for the student price of a $25 ticket! Now it’s time to get a hotel, now it’s time to figure out who else is going. I didn’t care if I was the only one, I was going to this game. I found out about several other people also receiving tickets, two of which were from CT. So then it was planned, the three of us CTers would embark on a weekend long journey that would never be forgotten.
The first day of the trip was just to get back to Morgantown. Connecticut to Indianapolis is a 12 hour trip, not one worth taking in one day. It also meant one less day paying for a hotel and I was fine with staying at my house in Morgantown for a night, especially because I had it all to myself. This trip of course couldn’t go without its bumps in the road. The first one happened in NY not even an hour into the trip. I was pulled over for speeding and I received my first ever speeding ticket. Damn you New York and your fluctuating speed limits! It’s called consistency assholes! Anyway, the next 6 hours of the drive went fine and we were finally in Morgantown and it felt like we were the only three there. As I remember it the plan for that night was to eat some Little Caesar’s and drink some delicious Natty Light’s to unofficially start the celebrations. After going home and getting a quick shower and rest, I left for Sunnyside to meet up with the others. Another road test came my way as some bitch who I forever hate decided to try and turn left into a parking lot from the middle lane of the three lane one way Spruce Street. The fun part was I was in the left lane about to pass her when she made this decision and her stupidity caused me to drive up on the sidewalk and almost take out a couple of parking meters, but I digress.
We had our food and drinks and decided to turn in a little early to prepare for another long drive the next day. Morgantown to Indianapolis is not the most thrilling of rides that’s for sure. Luckily we were one of hundreds of other cars heading to Indy for the same reason, and it meant a lot of honking at fellow ‘Eers, flipping off fans of other teams and other shenanigans. I most specifically remember Coilin doing the John Wall dance at a car decked out in Kentucky stickers (they must have bought their tickets prematurely). We finally arrive at the shitty, cheap hotel I booked for the weekend and rest was very much needed. We sat around and threw the TV on and showered (not together) until it started getting close to dinner time. It turned out that each school had an unofficial home bar for fans to congregate. Our bar was Scotty’s Brewhouse, maybe one of the best bars of all time. As we looked up the info on the place it had room for about 500 inside and roughly 400 outside or some crazy numbers like that. We had to go.
Scotty’s was everything I wanted it to be and more. WVU fans were everywhere and compared to what we saw across the street with the Michigan State bar and the Duke fans being at the Buffalo Wild Wings, everyone knew the heaviest drinkers and craziest fans were at Scotty’s. We put our name in for a table inside which was a two hour wait, but that was fine because we had a lot to occupy us with outside. We drank, drank and drank some more as we waited. We got to talking to many random other fans and were just enjoying being there, the center of the WVU universe at the time. We finally get our table and head inside and the inside was no disappointment that’s for sure. The food was delicious, we had a great waiter and the high-powered hand dryers in the bathroom were AWESOME. It felt like my hands were skydiving into a sea of warmth and dryness. We met a couple of local girls who now feel almost mythical because of the hilariousness that ensued. I won’t go into much detail, I’ll just say I had to help carry one out of the bar after she puked in her own cup and sat and waited for a cab with both of them. The rest of the night was again filled with drinking, but not too much more for me because I was driving. As we drove the fifteen minutes back to the hotel, the GPS took us through what I presume is the blackest part of Indianapolis. So naturally the best thing to do would be to blast the local pop station with the windows down singing along to a song by The Fray at 3 in the morning.
The next day was game day, because that’s what we were there for right? We all showered and tried battling through some vicious hangovers, because we had to get ourselves back to Scotty’s to continue the party. Let’s just say that morning/early afternoon was not nearly the same as the night before. We drank a little but that was to help cure our hangovers more than anything. The rest of our time there was waiting to head over to the stadium really. Eventually we did start making our way over and the cloudy morning soon turned to a beautiful, sunny day as we waited in line outside. There were four divided lines, one with Butler students with WVU students to their right, Michigan State students to our right and Duke students on the other end. This was smart to divide the lines this way to keep the fans of teams playing each other from getting too rowdy. WVU and Butler fans got along great. Nobody got along with Michigan State or Duke fans. For not even playing us those Spartans sure were a bunch of douches. Us and Butler started doing a chant where we would yell “Da’Sean!” and they would yell “Butler!” It was quite clever. The MSU fans were starting to get on my nerves though so I decided to say something, which I guess was more offensive to them than I had thought. I got most of their attention and I said “Hey so how did it feel to be wait-listed at Michigan?” I was quite proud of this, but it definitely did not earn me any praise with their fans.
The wait finally ends and we make our way into the stadium and luckily we were able to make it down to the floor seats. This was more than exciting, I was standing in the same spot that Peyton Manning has thrown many touchdowns to the likes of Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie. Michigan State and Butler faced off first in one of the more exciting Final Four games I had seen. We were clearly on Butler’s side because you have to go for the little guy, as we were in a similar role. They pulled it off and it was finally time to see our ridiculously athletic team take on Duke. I thought we would destroy them, but it turns out they were inspired by Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville because I don’t think they missed a shot. It was definitely not a great day to be a Mountaineer. Then something happened that completely changed the game (other than the outcome). Da’Sean Butler drove to the basket and after he went down, didn’t get up. This was like watching a superhero die. He was a superhero all season, knocking down several game winning shots for the Mountaineers but now there he was lying on the ground like he was human just like the rest of us. This effectively was the end of the season. There was not going to be a classic WVU comeback like we had seen too many times all season. Bob Huggins slowly walked over to Butler after berating the ref, and what followed was one of the most wholesome moments college sports has seen and will see for years to come. The coach got down and consoled the player while he was writhing in pain, doing anything he can to calm this kid down. It slowly worked and Butler finally made his way up with the help of some teammates and was carried off the court. It was hard to find a dry eye in the house, even from the opposition. The game ended and we all left hanging our heads trying to fight back tears after such a loss.
From there we walked back to Scotty’s, more out of necessity than desire. We had some drinks and food and laughs to try and cheer up, but it wouldn’t work for me. Not because of the loss, I had already begun to accept it, I lost my fucking debit card. I was such an idiot! I wet to the ATM and drew out money for the bar, but of course an ATM that takes your card rather than letting you swipe it coupled with my tendency to forget things and just overall be a complete moron was a terrible combination. So I quickly called Wachovia to cancel the card and ask to receive a new one. The card was cancelled and so then we began to relay information so they can ship the new one out overnight that way I would have it when I returned to Morgantown. She asked for my social security number and the address to ship the card and everything was going well. Then she asked for my birth date. Simple enough, it’s July 8, 1988. “Umm, I’m sorry that’s not the date we have,” she said. How can that be? That IS my birthday, so I thought about it for a second. Maybe my father’s birthday was on the account because he helped me set it up when I was under 18. “No,” she said again. “Well, I gave you my social security number which was confirmed,” I said “isn’t that all you need?” “Sorry, but if the birth date isn’t confirmed there’s nothing we can do.” I was at about 99 degrees Celsius at this point. “I’m stuck in the middle of Indianapolis, and then I’m going back to school in West Virginia and I only have $80 in cash on me. July 8, 1988 is my birthday. It’s the birthday that is attached to the social security number I gave you which you did confirm was correct. I want my card,” I angrily said. She pushed back sternly with another “No.” I had to hang up the phone on her because I was on the brink of saying some very unpleasant things to someone that right now is in control of my financial future at 1 AM on a Saturday night. I was happy enough to have the cash on me, but I couldn’t drink my problems away like I wanted to that night.
The next morning was truly an upsetting drive home. Morgantown would be just as sad as I, but luckily I would be around those who could console me. While it was a quiet drive it left me time to reflect on the past few days. It truly was a great time at the end of it all, and I didn’t want to forget that. I also realized that I had even more love for my soon to be alma mater. It’s always been that way with WVU, though. The hardest days usually lead to a greater love. It’s easy to say you love a team or a school when things are going well, but to be able to stick by it during a loss is a love and passion that is unrivaled by anything else. I do love where I went to school. I love the people I went there with and the experiences I had. This particular weekend was a great reaffirmation as to why.
Comedians! Let’s go.
10. Dane Cook
Nobody receives more shit on a daily basis than him, but we have to hand it to him that he’s still fucking hilarious. He may have sold out as some of you say but he’s just a naturally funny person and that is pretty tough to argue.
9. Louis C.K.
He’s one of my favorites solely because of how honest his material is. He just makes the most sincere observations and they’re hilarious. He’s a pretty dirty comic but the stuff he says is so funny and so easy to relate to that I laugh at almost every joke of his.
8. Demetri Martin
I would put him higher on the list but he just hasn’t produced much material lately. I know it’s hard to be a one-liner type of comedian but Hedberg was a pro at it and I was hoping Martin would continue that and put out new material every couple years. I still love his jokes because of how clever and subtle and well thought out they are.
7. Mitch Hedberg
This man was a poet. Why did he have to die? His jokes were the best and he can never be replaced. Drugs are a bitch.
6. Greg Giraldo
Speaking of drugs, this is another comedian I wish was still around. I still sometimes can’t believe he’s gone. He was always the best roaster and I can only imagine what he would say with the upcoming Sheen Roast. You will be missed by me, Greg. Hope you’re making them laugh down in Hell.
5. Nate Bargatze
This guy is pretty new on the scene but his delivery is hard to top. His jokes are pretty good but the delivery is really what makes them great. I really hope more people start to notice him because I’m in stitches anytime I even hear him speak.
4. Dave Chapelle
3. Kevin Hart
There’s something about him that is just hilarious. I actually love how he laughs at his own stuff most of the time. His joke about Shaq falling is one of my favorites, period. What puts him so high up is actually his YouTube videos. I recommend you watch them because him and his crew are a funny group of guys.
2. Brian Regan
Nobody does clean comedy quite like this guy. I’ve seen him live which definitely gives him a leg up but his jokes are great. He knows how to get a crowd going and it’s hard to find anybody that doesn’t think he’s funny.
1. Nick Swardson
While many may just know him for his ridiculous roles in television and the movies, his stand up is the best. All his jokes are hilarious and his delivery makes them even funnier. He says in such a way that it’s like some average guy is telling and explaining a story. He’s the only comedian that can make me cry laughing the whole way through his set too. I’d love to meet him.
So that’s it. Some guys that missed the cut are Sebastian Mansicalco, George Carlin, Nick DiPaolo and Jim Norton.