Saturday, October 28, 2006

Vakapuna's Example

After Fui Vakapuna scored BYU's first touchdown today in the win over Air Force, I told my 4-year-old son that Vakapuna had been a missionary here in Orange County (actually in the Carlsbad Mission, which extends into southern OC), and that I had seen him when he was assigned to another ward at the church building we previously attended. When my son heard this, he said, "That's neat that he was a missionary here!"

What a great example. My son has begun to show an interest--thankfully, from my standpoint--in watching BYU football with me. Any time someone in a higher-profile position does (or has done) something worthy of praise, it can be an influence for good. I'm glad to see a high percentage of LDS players on the team going on missions, and I wish that virtually all LDS players would go on missions. I'm reminded of the fact that, when LDS leaders have said that every worthy young man should go on a mission, they didn't say, "with the exception of athletes".

I incidentally resisted the (considerable, for me) urge to go up and talk BYU football to Fui when I saw him at church, as I had heard that he was commendably focused on his mission and downplayed his status as a football player.

Incidentally #2: I was whoo-hooing after Michael Reed scored BYU's second touchdown today, when my 4-year-old initiated this exchange: "Daddy?" "Yes?" "Sometimes you're a little loud."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Think He's Got "It"

In a post from March, I questioned whether John Beck had "it", the intangible quality that great quarterbacks have that allows them to win games even if they don't have all the physical tools. As recently as the Boston College game, I would still have said "no". Beck has been able to make a great number of plays, but hasn't appeared to have the ability to make them when it counted. I saw something different in the TCU game, however, and it was something that has been documented in articles from both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune, wherein he is reported to have had separate heart-to-hearts with Robbie Bosco and Brandon Doman.

In the TCU game, I saw a quarterback who made less errant throws to receivers. I saw a quarterback who audibled out of the called play to produce sensational touchdowns. In short--here's the hyperbole--I saw a winner. Never mind that the victory wasn't a matter of producing a last-minute drive that the great quarterbacks are associated with. To me, it is every bit as impressive to go into hostile territory, against a ranked opponent, and put your team up by so much late in the game that the opponent has no real chance of coming back, and that is what Beck and company did against TCU. BYU scored a final touchdown with 7:27 left in the game to go up by three scores. I can't imagine a more convincing victory on the road against a team that deserved to be ranked in the Top 20.

I also couldn't be happier for John Beck. From a self-serving standpoint, I as a fan have needed this to greatly increase the likelihood that BYU will have a great season. But for John Beck himself, this should be the entrance to the hallowed halls of quality quarterbacks that have played at BYU--something that he has so long desired. I believe he's finally learned what it takes, and he will likely end his BYU career the way he wants it.