Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Utah




THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2010
B
ARRY MCKNIGHT (b_mcknight@yahoo.com)

Troy basketball wraps up play in the World Vision Invitational in Logan, Utah, tonight against the host Utah State University Aggies. It's a late start, so the coaches accepted a gracious offer from our host family for the event and took the team to an elk preservation ranch outside town high in the Wasatch Mountains this morning. It's a breathtaking place called the Hardware Ranch , and we all had a blast. We were taken around on three different sleighs, one of which was the "working" sleigh, where trainer Alyson Gramley, manager Christian Laing, seniors Travis Lee and Levan Patsatsia, junior Flynn Clayman, and yours truly volunteered to throw the hay out to the (extremely hungry) elk. It was ironic, because Flynn immediately assumed a supervisory role at the front of the sleigh and left most of the physical labor to the rest of us; the irony was that Flynn was uniquely positioned to capture the full bouquet of the prodigiously gassy horses pulling us (left).
There were several snowball fights, obviously, with several players taking advantage of Vernon Taylor's limited mobility (he's on crutches with an ankle sprain) to practice their aim. VT set a state record in his senior year in high school with 11 interceptions; well, he caught a few snowballs today.


Here are some random photos: at left, Travis Lee, Alyson Gramley, and Christian Laing take a break after unloading all the hay and watch the very grateful elk.





Travis Lee, Christian Laing, Flynn Clayman, and Levan Patsatsia, contemplating all that hay they're gonna have to unload. Flynn's making sure the elk don't sneak up on us.





David Felix, Don Maestri, and our very excellent bus driver, Colleen, on Executive Sleigh 2. Our host family came along with us, and they told us that very few teams actually have taken them up on their offer every year of this tournament to come up to the ranch. Don and David, to their credit, believe that these are experiences these young men should be given as often as possible.








Travis Lee and Levan Patsatsia, experienced elk farmers, commemorating the last of the hay being unloaded.










This is a look from QB Corey Robinson's perspective of what he sees when he lined up in the shotgun formation this year behind Tyler Clark, Kyle Wilborn, and Tyler Graves.
No, seriously, this is the best guess I have of the area where I lost my cell phone while feeding these elk.










And here's the emotional payoff for all the girls who root for the Trojans. The obligatory bunny pic.

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