Thursday, March 26, 2009

Me and my Flowbe.

Life is really good for me right now. One obvious reason is that I no longer have bad hair days. About once a month I adminster a "flowbe treatment" to my pate, and Voila--there you have it, a perfect haircut. Since my blog is very popular--after all, I do serve a "Vast Worldwide Readership"--I am more than a little concerned about revealing this little personal secret on-line. Nevertheless, here IT is: I was voted "Best Hair" in the seventh grade. What is most impressive about this designation was the era in which this honor took place. Afros were king in 1973. I had a loose tangle of afro-like curls on my head. Coupled with my recycled Navy bell bottom jeans that were meant to be worn as tight as skin around the booty, and a sexy silk shirt with fly away collars, you know that I was "Dynooomite!" However, occasionally, the loose afro thing just didn't work and I would have what women today call a "bad hair day." (Apparently, however, none in the 7th grade.) When your image is based in large part upon how cool you look, a bad hair day can be devastating. Those days are long gone. They ended way before I lost my hair--I think that happened in my late 20s. (Which incidentally coincides with the arrival of multiple children. The older I get, the more I am reminded by my children just how "uncool" I really am.)

I have never seriously thought about Rogaine and the Men's Hair Club, mostly because I am cheap. I have traded my glorious hair days for a most amazing device: the Flowbe. Now, there are some cheaper imitations out there like "Robo-cut", but for the money and durability, the Flowbe can't be beat. It's double strength vaccuum system insures no mess. (Like the ad says, "It sucks best!") It's high quality steel blades insure a great haircut, everytime. It's name insures confidence. Now some of you may think that I am a paid front man for this company. Not so. While it is true, that times are tough and all of us are looking for ways to earn a little extra cash, my commitment to the Flowbe is more personal; much more like a heartfelt expression of deep gratitude. These days, I never hear, "Hey dude, your hair is out of place" or "Check it out, you got a wicked cowlick" or "You must be having a bad hair day." None of that. I get up every morning with the absolute confidence that I'm gonna have a great hair day. I rub my scalp enthusiastically, look in the mirror and say, "I AM natural's greatest miracle!" And while I can't say that I owe it all to my Flowbe, I have to admit, when I look at the same beautiful head every day, I like what I see. As stated previously, I hate to reveal personal/family secrets on such a popular public venue such as Darrell's Yakimania, but I think it's pretty apparent to everyone who has witnessed the interaction between my wife and I just how much the She-wolf really loves my US Marine style "do". Seriously. Watch her carefully when we're together and you will undoubtedly catch her her rubbing my most awesome "do"; or at times looking at me with what is obviously an almost uncontrolable sense of passion in her face that one immediately thinks of Bella and Edward.

Although I must admit that at times when I see a rich, handsome, fiftyish year old man with a full head of hair driving a sports car, I wonder how it's possible. But then I remind myself that I was never tall. I grew up on South 3rd East in Downtown SLC. I have always had "ginormous" ears. Thin is not an adjective that is typically associated with the Smart Family name. And I don't even like tiny sport cars. As I think about who I really am, I feel pretty darn good about my average hair. It compliments my average face and fits in quite nicely in my average life. And although my satisfaction with my hair cannot be entirely attributed to the Flowbe Hair Treatment System, this too fits in quite nicely with my life. Life is, in deed, good.

*Included above is a picture of me in 1981 after a wrestlting tournament holding Darcee Kae. Did I mention how much I look forward to the resurrection and the restoration of all things? Alma 40:23 has always been a favorite scripture of mine: "The soul shall be restored to the the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored their proper and perfect frame."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wrestlemania at the NCAAs

The Parade of All Americans

2 of my all times favorite wrestlers: Mark Schlagel and Reece Hunter. I think that my shirt (courtesy of Ken Parsons) says it all: "The older I get, the better I was!"

Every wrestler worthy of the title "wrestler" must at some point in his life make the pilgrimage to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament and pay homage to our most worthy sport. This is something akin to a devout Muslim trudging to Mecca, or the faithful Christian visiting the Holy Land. There is nothing quite like it in any other sport. Wrestlers love and hate their sport like no other. They curse the first time they stepped onto a wrestling mat, and yet know that their life would be so much the poorer without the experiences that have enriched their lives. In wrestling, they know there will be pain every day and bleeding most. And so, it comes as no surprise that wrestling would have its greatest success in the heartland of America, and in small towns spread across our great nation. In places where the corn grows high and there is no sun or recreation to distract young men. Names such as Gable, Schultz and Brands are still whispered in reverance and respect because of what they accomplished.

This past week, a small retinue of committed wrestlers, parents and fans made the weary trek to St. Louis to watch the NCAA wrestling tournament. We took 6 wrestlers and about the same number of parents. My brother, Jeff and several coaches joined us from Michigan. There were some memorable matches. The quarterfinals were utterly amazing. The semis always seem to be better than the finals. This year, the quarterfinals were as intense as any semifinal matches that we have witnessed. For many on our trip, this was their first NCAA tournament.

Now to change the subject just a bit. Confessions are very much a part of a well lived life. Well, I keep telling myself this. The older I get, I swear the stupidier I become. Late Friday night, I and three parentless wrestlers became separated from the rest of our crew. These young men begged me to take them to dinner at Hooters Restaurant. You all know the place as a fine establishment with excellent food and impecable decor. Okay, Okay, I know that none of you have been there. The whiny pleas to dine at Hooters are made frequently by grapplers on our wrestling road trips.

"Hooters! Woohoo! Hey Coach how 'bout Hooters?"


"Coach, c'mon, if our parents were here, they'd take us."

"Then get your parents to take you."

"They're not here."

"Exactly. NO! We are going to find a 'nice family restaurant.' "

"C'mon Coach. Pleeeeeeassssse!"


"C'mon Coach. Pleeeeeeasssse!"

"No. And if you ask me again, my answer will include pain--lots of pain."


This dialogue has repeated itself with very little variation on every road trip with the West Valley high school wrestlers this year. Have I mentioned how much I missed Shea this year?

On Friday night by the time we exited the arena, it was late and as we walked past Hooters I realized there was not much open. Our choices were extremely limited. It was smokey bars or Hooters. I trudged on hopeful we would find something...anything but Hooters. In desperation I stopped by the Hotel and inquired with the desk clerk (we obviously weren't staying at the Hilton--there was no enlightened concierge to provide aide). He advised us that the only thing open that late that was not a bar was Show Mes. This is Missouri after all--the "Show Me" state. Show Mes sounded like a great family style restaurant. As I was walking out, he added, "They're famous for their ribs." I was encouraged. Show Mes was a short walk from the hotel through an almost safe neighborhood. My little group of wrestlers were still pouting about the fact that I would not give in and take them to Hooters. I was relishing in their misery (After all I am a wrestling coach. I am never truly happy unless my wrestlers are hungry, mean and really angry. Mission accomplished!) We were quickly seated at Show Mes despite a crowd. No sooner had we been seated, than I realized, what "Show Mes" was all about. Almost in chorus they enthuiasitically chimed, "We love you coach! This is like Hooters, but skanky!"

Now for the confession:
-There really was no other place to eat.
-It was late.
-I was tired.
-I didn't want to spend the money for cab fare to haul these ungrateful teenagers anywhere better.
-I was really hungry.
-My wrestlers had to eat.
-They're famous for their ribs.
-The waitresses seemed nice...blah, blah, blah... It's amazing what enough excuses or rationalizations can produce. We stayed. I would like to say that Show Mes' world famous ribs were worth it. No, not remotely true. As I choked them down with warm water that had a funky aftertaste (they were out of ice), I surmised that their world famous ribs had more to do with the ribs showing on the skinny frames of the waitresses in short, pink hot pants and skin tight wife beater t-shirts. Certainly, their name: Show Mes should have been clue enough. I might just make my personal mantra: "The older I get, I swear the stupidier I become!" It will be a while before I live this down. Coach Smart refused to take his wrestlers to Hooters, but apparently "Skanky Hooters" is a "nice family restaurant." With wrestlers there's no appreciation; no understanding; and certainly no sympathy. You would think they hate me for making them suffer. Go figure?!

In the end, we witnessed some amazing wrestling, with some fantastic young men.


Jace getting hustled in the metro for $20. This occurred a mere 10 minutes after we landed in St. Louis. Did I mention he was out of money by Friday?

Genealogy Does Not Lie!

There are lots of things that we can fudge about in life. My height for example. For years I have confidently stated my height as 5'8". It was an easier sell when I had ridiculously poofy hair. My weight is another prime example of an "almost" that has become a causally accepted truth. I weigh about "185lbs." Speaking of "truth", my brother Rick had a profoundly spiritual experience a number of years ago that created a "belief" amongst most in our family that we are Irish. As a man of faith, there are many things that I have accepted as verities in life without demanding actual proof. I will not bore my vast worldwide readership with the excruciating details of the Ricker's spiritual manifestation. Let me just state that it involved the "gift of accents." Over the years many in our family have assumed that it was a manifestation of the gift of tongues. This is not correct. This is not merely a matter of semantics. In deed, the Ricker's "Irish Miracle" was the gift of accents, which although appears to be a gift without biblical or spiritual reference, is nevertheless accepted widely in the Smart family as a legitimate spiritual gift. Please know, that the Smarts, as a people of faith, have been willing to accept many things exclusively on the basis of well told family stories.
Last year, verifiable and meticulously documented genealogical research revealed conclusively that our nearly pure English blood was tainted green by some wandering leprachaun from Dublin, Ireland. These are hard, cold, irrefutable facts--we're Irish! At times while observing certain family members I have serously wondered whether we had some kind of donkey blood in us. Now I realize that we owe it all to a lost Irish soul from Dublin.
For years, the Ricker (against the tide of public opinion and even harsh criticism from some doubting family members) proudly marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown SLC. At times, I confess, I too doubted. This year, however, as the "O'Smarts" donned their traditional Irish garb and valiantly marched for Eire, I felt a sense of destiny about who we truly are. To be sure, my blood felt green. While the name the "O'Smarts" is "technically"an assumed name for marching purposes only, make no mistake, we are Irish. Genealogy does not lie!

Irish to the Core!

A lovely Irish Lassie and her not so Irish and very neurotic hound "Clover."

A Beautiful Irish Pair!
Below are some cool pics of my most righteous Irish son chilling in Eire as a beloved laddie of the homeland.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rollin Like a 3rd Grader!

OK, so I turned 50 something and for my birthday ended up working from early in the morning to sundown. I finished work at the office just in time to go home, get a bite to eat and head to the Stake Offices for High Council. Sheila (AKA "Chuck Norris of Stadium Kitchen") had a tray of beautifully decorated cupcakes to take to High Council. I querried, "Don't you think I'll look just a little bit like a 3rd grader on his special day bringing treats for the whole class?" With all of the sincerity she could muster she replied, "Don't worry Big Guy, they're carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Honestly, what 3rd grader would be caught dead bringing 'healthy treats' for his special day?" I thoughtfully mused and agreed. (I have been a sucker for a pretty face since about the 3rd grade. When the Shewolf speaks, all I can usually see is her beautiful brown eyes and I somehow I end up agreeing with whatever she proposes.) To my chagrin the absurdity of a 50+ year old showing up to a professional setting with treats in hand to celebrate his special day, didn't register until I walked through the door with my loaded tray of spectacularly decorated cupcakes and caught a look of everyone's faces. I was had. I was rollin exactly like a 3rd grader, anxious to celebrate his special day with the entire class. The real "frosting" of this event was the delicate pastel purple napkins she included for my "friends." Several days later, President Grow inquired with a bit of a smirk, "So how was your 'special day'?" "Life is good President, I'm still rolling like a 3rd grader?" was my only response.

I have earnestly tried to remind the She Wolf that I've got a bit of a "rep" to protect:
-I don't golf. I roll with young men on a wrestling mat.
-I have never watched a tennis match on T.V. I am addicted to Ultimate fighting.
-I will never belong to the Country Club. My best friends are blue collar guys.
Men like me cannot just show up with spectacularly decorated cupcakes and then expect there not to be consequences. You cannot just pretend the whole cupcake thing never happened. People talk.

For clarification of my identity, I am posting a pic from a couple of weeks ago to prove that I am not a quiche eating, golf loving, Country Club type....honest!