Hello world o’ blog. I need your help. Today, I’m going to take a break from the X’s and O’s of the sports world to make an attempt at self-promotion (insert ego joke here).
Here’s a quick introduction to this post:
-I’m applying for a position on Tour Team- The University of
Missouri’s official student group in charge of giving tours and
answering questions pertaining to prospective students. By my own
estimations, there will be some 200 students (at least) applying for
about (gulp) 20 open spots.
-As a part of the application process, interested students are asked to include a project that creatively illustrates their passion for Every True Son, what makes their love a unique one, and what makes them qualified for such a competitive position.
-Now, the reason they include the creative project portion is to allow the applicants the opportunity to include their creative prowess as a dimension to the application. I feel like my best “creative attribute” lies within the realm of creative writing. I didn’t want to write a paper, however, because we already include a cover letter that explains our aspirations for Tour Team; I felt like the blog I contribute was my best option.
-So please feel free to read the following passage (first time the word “passage” has been used in that context in blog history) and- here’s the important part- leave your comments. Feel free to add why you think I should be on Tour Team, why I shouldn’t, why you liked the post, why you hated it, how you feel about my comb over, how you feel about my Xanga- you know- whatever. I would just love the support of anybody that can/wants to give it in order to aid my application process.
So, without further pandering and begging, allow me to make my creative case for my selection to be on Mizzou’s Tour Team.
10 Reasons I Love the University of Missouri-Columbia and/or Why I Am A Qualified Dude
1. I’ve never not loved Mizzou (wrap your brain around that!)
I’m going to start this party with an urban legend that resonates around my part of the world (Kansas City). Legend has it that- some 19 years ago- a young Jared Launius (pronounced lawn•e•us) was being held in his mother’s lap. His mother was trying to coerce him into his first word when the following conversation took place:
Young Jared: “M…M…M…
Young Jared: “Muh…Muh…Muh…”
Mom: “Yeah? Mommy?”
Young Jared: “Muh…Muh…Mi…”
Mom: “No, Mommy?”
Young Jared: “Muh…Mi…Mi…”
Mom: “No no. It’s Mom-my”
Young Jared: “Mi…Mi…University of Missouri-Columbia.”
Look people, I didn’t create the legend. It’s a legend! Nobody knows where they start. It’s just something that’s been passed down and permeated through the generations. Don’t kill the messenger.
2. I predicted the 12-seeded Tigers basketball team to go the the Final Four in 2002
Joke is over, people. This ain’t no legend. I wish I still had my bracket as documentation, but I picked us to beat the 5-seed Miami Hurricanes in round 1, and then advance all the way to the Final Four. This was, of course, based on nothing but love for Kareem Rush, Clarence Gilbert, Ricky Paulding, Arthur Johnson and company. My fatal flaw could only be described as loving them too much. I was so blinded by my love for them that I PUT A FREAKING 12 SEED IN THE FINAL FOUR! That’s how much I love Mizzou basketball, and gives you insight to the breadth of my dedication and mad love for the program and school.
3. I can walk backwards with the best of them
A position on Tour Team requires a certain propensity for being able to walk backwards- because a dedicated member must face the people they are enlightening on the tour while describing the wonderful attributes of the school.
I’ll level with you, I might be the most adept backwards walker that Missouri has ever seen. I’m not trying to brag, but sometimes when I sing along with Lil’ Wayne songs, I interchange the word “backwards walker” with the word “rapper” so that I say “I’m the best backwards walker alive” 18 times a track.
So what makes me such an elite backwards walker? Wish I could tell you. Just like anything else, you’re either born with it or your not- and I was born with six of ‘em.
Please, allow me to elaborate. When I played football in eighth grade, I was a cornerback. For all of you non-football people, the cornerback is the guy that covers the wide receiver. For all of you non-football people, the wide receiver is the guy that the quarterback throws the ball to. For all of you non-football people, the quarterback is the hot guy. So basically, a cornerback’s job is to keep the hot guy from passing the football to the wide receiver.
(I have a point, I promise)
In order to keep an eye on the hot guy AND the receiver at the same time, the cornerback has to…wait for it…RUN backwards! That’s right, run. Can you imagine how amateur hour WALKING backwards would be for me? Imagine Usain Bolt being put in a walking competition. Multiply that times a thousand.
But it certainly doesn’t stop there. Cornerbacks have to be aware of everything in front of them (the people I’m giving the tour to) and everything beside and behind them (potential curbs, poles, bicyclists, asteroids, etc.) while they are moving backwards. The best part about all of that is this: guess how many times I got beat by a wide receiver in eighth grade? I’ll give you a clue- you will need zero fingers to count the number of times. Want another hint? It’s the same number as the number of times you laughed at the last Dustin Diamond stand up you watched. Give up? Yeah, the answer is a big ZERO. What can I say? I’m a master of my craft.
Again, I didn’t ask for this power, I’m just trying to channel it for the good of the commonwealth.
4. I’m a server at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Yeah you read that 100% correctly. I am a PAR IV Server Trainer at the Pleasing People capital of America (pronounced u•muhr•i•ka). Have been for 3 and a half years.
Go ahead, make your joke. Seriously. I’m listening. Make your joke.
(picking my teeth as I listen to your joke)
Oh haha. Good one.
Anyway, you may say that this adds absolutely nothing to my candidacy. You may go as far to say that mentioning it is actually borderline disturbing to the point that it deters from it. But I say nay!!
I work at Cracker Barrel. Have you ever been to a Cracker Barrel? I will bet my $3.50 an hour salary over my next two shifts that there is absolutely NO demographic that I haven’t waited on multiple times and am therefore fully qualified to deal with, should they be a part of the tour. You know. People who want extra everything? Check. Smokers? Double check. Non-English speakers? Check. KU fans? What do you think? I worked at the Cracker Barrel in Kansas City for three years before transferring to Columbia. Guys that point at an imaginary watch on their wrist when things are going too slow? Check. Surgically-enhanced cougars? Come on, you’re boring me. Grandparents? Are you seriously asking me this? They probably went to Cracker Barrel at 6 am the morning of the tour to split an Uncle Hershel’s favorite and asked their server six times how to get down to one peg on the peg game.
Still not convinced? Imagine this situation: we’re starting a tour and an OCD father of a prospective student gets upset about the route we take to start the tour:
OCD Man: “Hey! The itinerary that I had the university send me in advance said that the tour started by heading east toward that thingy with the wrong Roman Numeral. Isn’t our ETA 10:13?!”
Me: “Sir, you are absolutely correct. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.”
OCD Man: (raising voice) “Are you the type of ‘rocket scientist’ that goes to this school?
Me: (remaining calm) “Sir, there is no reason for you to raise your voice. But you are absolutely correct. I am incredibly inept. Thank you for letting me know about this.”
OCD Man: “So what are you going to do about it?”
Me: “You know what sir? Because you’ve been so helpful and because I have made such a blatant error, I’ll talk to my manager and we will get your son’s tuition ‘taken care of.’” (wink at him)
See? You can thank me later.
5. I’ve gone to a KU game in order to root against them
In 2004, opening-round games of the NCAA Tournament were held at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. As fate would have it, one of the two games that I got tickets for was KU’s opening round game versus the University of Illinois-Chicago.
You know me by now. What do you think I did? If you said anything other than wear an MU shirt, shorts, high socks and headband to the game while chanting “UIC! UIC!” the entire time then you are sadly mistaken. I still have the ticket stub on my door at home as a memento to such a proud day in my Tiger history.
You might ask why I’ve only done this once if I’m such a great fan? Nice try, but there is a wonderful reason: Kansas won that game. By like 30. I don’t want to be a good luck charm for a bunch of slightly-overweight, bizarrely colored birds- so why would I go to another game of theirs? Sheesh.
6. I’ve wanted to come to Mizzou since middle school
I’ve known three things since I was 12 years old: I want to be a professional sports writer, I want to get my degree for this from the finest journalism school in the nation, and that the movie Ghost sucks.
I’ll only talk about the first two though, because I’m still trying to figure out how the third one works in to my destiny.
Anywho, I have no punch lines here. I haven’t waivered the slightest in seven years- despite the best efforts of my Statistics teacher last year. She told me I was wasting my parents’ money by getting a degree in journalism. I told her anyone can do statistics. Me: 1, statistics teacher: 0.
I seriously didn’t even look at an application for any other colleges last year. Either I would get accepted to Missouri or I was going to wait on Cracker Barrel regulars forever. How many other people didn’t even apply elsewhere? I remember when my mom suggested I apply at Truman State just as a safety blanket. I haven’t talked to her since. Sorry ma, but you knew better.
7. C’mon. I’ve been a Tiger’s fan in a KU city for my entire life, throw me a bone
I grew up in Kansas City. Been there recently? The word “Kansas” is in the title of the city. The retail shop at Cracker Barrel-Kansas City is littered with over-sized KU sweaters and tea pitchers. My entire formal education was in schools that are predominantly blue and red. Two of my best friends own multiple “2008 NCAA Champions” t-shirts that they ordered off of E-Bay. I was at a Royals game one time when Drew Gooden threw out the first pitch.
Have I ever broken my loyalty? Uh, no. I still have the ticket stub from my very first MU basketball game on my bedroom door. I still have a folder that I grafittied with Tigers players’ names in seventh grade. My mom refused to let me name my dog “Truman” because that was the name of the rival high school in my city. I didn’t care. One time I got cut and literally bled black and gold. Subsequently, I submitted the gold blood to “Cash 4 Gold” and wasn’t reimbursed in the least.
But I digress. Here’s the bottom line- I endured 19 years in a city that actually thinks this figure is imposing. I did it just because of that ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, that ray of hope that was my new life in Columbia. It wasn’t easy. I actually flat-lined one time, but I made it. How about some love?
8. I skipped my very first Spanish 2100 lecture last semester AND was late to my first shift at Cracker Barrel-Columbia to wait in line for Tiger’s Lair sign ups
After we had been waiting in line for 30 minutes and only made it a quarter of the way through the line, it became quite apparent that I wasn’t going to get through before my Spanish class started. Did I consider leaving? Sure I did. I had tested into sophomore Spanish, and I knew I would be missing important stuff. But if I left, I ran the risk of the section being full by the next day.
Did it affect me at all? Sure it did. I ended up getting a B in the class because I inadvertently missed the first 2 weeks of homework- which was explained on the first day. My teacher also gave 5,000 points of extra credit for everyone that was there on the first day. The class was only 1,000 total points. Yeah, I was the only guy that didn’t get 500% in the class.
Would I do it differently if given the chance?
Are you seriously asking that question?
9. I’ve talked on the phone to strangers before, and stuff
Another part of being on Tour Team includes sitting at the land desk at the entrance to Jesse Hall answering the questions of people needing a point in the right direction.
I’ve been to Jesse Hall before. I’ve actually been there like seven times. So, uh, like…um you know, I totally know where the stairs and stuff are. And that auditorium thing. So…you know.
I’m also wayyyyyy good at deferring questions!
In addition, I have plenty of experience talking to strangers on the phone- which is another function of the desk job. People calling the university with queries on different topics are directed Tour Team members. Sometimes people call my phone by accident, so I’m totally good at answering questions like “Is this Tom?” and “This isn’t Steve’s Bait Shop is it?” How hard can it be to tell someone that our campus is in Columbia, Missouri, or that our mascot is the Tiger? The questions can’t be much tougher than that, right?
10. I actually have some experience
Last year, as a senior in high school, I was the student council president of a student body of 1,600 students (please hold your applause until the end). I did a lot of things as a student ambassador, as I talked up my high school to audiences ranging from the Rotary Club to the student bodies of the city’s middle schools.
One time, a group of private school students that had to transfer to my high school came to visit. We started the tour in a conference room as I talked about the school’s history (William Chrisman is the high school of Harry Truman. Trivia!) and fielded questions about school involvement, classes, etc. Then, I lead the group around the school, showing them certain things and answering further questions. Later, I went to lunch.
Wait, that all sounds rather familiar.
What does the preceding situation sound like?
Oh oh oh!! Mizzou Tour Team! It sounds like the type of thing a member of the University of Missouri Tour Team would do!
Fabulous! That is 100% correct, Jared! What do we have for him, Johnny?
A position on Tour Team?!
Well, that’s up for you good people to decide.