The 2003 installment of the jaylowe.com awards is finally here. Each category was taken from last year's edition, however this year's choices were more difficult. After countless hours (ok, 4 hours on the plane to and from Raleigh) and numerous submissions, the awards committee (me) is prepared to announce the winners of this year's jaylowe.com awards.
So without further adieu, I present to the internet world, the 2003 jaylowe.com Awards:
Jackass of the Year: This was a tough one. There were several jackasses this year that really made the decision very difficult. In fact, the award this year will be split amongst six Jackasses: Flippen, Ward, Ekhoff, Raphael, True and Stedman. These were the guys that kept the beer flowing and the good times rolling in DeKalb. Yeap, had it not been for these fools, I'm not sure I would've survived my year at NIU. You all truly are Jackasses of the Year.
Crush of the year: The NIU women's track team. All of these ladies are adorable and wonderful. Having them walk by my office, stopping in to say hello, made my day. The summer without them was difficult, but I found ways to survive. They easily take the award with their charm and beauty.
Greatest "I Don't Remember Doing This but Have Heard All About it" Drunken Moment of the year: My third Cubs game. Ekhoff and I hit Wrigley, and I loose my mind. I end up the next morning, passed out on his couch … late for a meeting … minus my cubs hat and my jacket. I hope somebody is enjoying those. And apparently I shook my tail feather at the Cubbie Bear, post game.
Best Set of "Eyes" Seen of the Year: This category could really get me in some trouble, so I'm going to go with … the stripper who worked the shower scene at Ward's bachelor party. Hey, at least this only gets Ward in trouble and not me. Ok, there are a couple of names I could mention here, but I'll save myself the grief.
Best Moment of the Year: Accepting my current position, Director of Events and Operations, at Vanderbilt University. This really was a difficult choice. Having so many good friends at NIU made this decision more difficult than I would have imagined, but I am where I need to be.
Best Road Trip of the Year: Bowling Green, OH. This was my final road trip as Event Manager/Football Travel Coordinator at NIU. Luckily, I had my great friend Flip make the trip with me. Once there, the atmosphere made the trip. ESPN Game Day in the house, the student-athletes all wishing me well in my new job, the coaches doing the same, witnessing Lee Corso run up and down the sideline like a jackass … despite the loss, it was great having my last official day on the job with that football team.
Most Touching Moment of the Year: Having ARGUS with me in DeKalb. For one weekend, ARGUS took over DeKalb. We were fortunate enough to play in the alumni tent before the Huskies game vs. Tennessee Tech, and then at Fatty's that night. We may not have had the largest crowd, but it meant the world to me to have a weekend with people I certainly don't see enough.
Wrestler of the Year: Oh yeah, I still watch wrestling. I didn't watch as much this year as last year, but it is easy to determine this year's wrestler of the year: Ric Flair. Yes, he is a gazillion years old, but he still entertains. He is the kiss stealin', wheelin' and dealin' limousine ridin', jet flyin', son of gun that all guys wish they were.
CD of the Year: Vertical Horizon, "GO". Without a doubt, this was the most anticipated CD of 2003 for me, and it delivered. Engineered with more power-chord pop songs, and a couple of oddities, this CD made for a great listen. It's nice to have the boys makin' music again.
Biggest Ego Boost of the Year: This one comes from Michelle Kennedy, who is my boss at Vanderbilt. During my phone interview Michelle said to me, "Jay, I think you have more fans than anyone we have ever interviewed." Countless friends and colleagues called Michelle and others at Vanderbilt to express their belief that I was ready for this step. It meant a great deal to me and won't soon be forgotten.
Team of the Year: The Northern Illinois University Huskies football program. Not only did the Huskies have a tremendous year finishing 10-2, but then won with class. The entire coaching staff and team are class acts. It was an honor working with Coach Novak and the rest of the Huskies. It certainly made me realize why coaches love what they do.
Game of the Year: This one is a tie. August 28, 2003, NIU 20, Maryland 13 (OT) and September 20, NIU 19, Alabama 16. I've never been involved in sporting events that meant so much to a program. NIU was a football team on the rise this year. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today ... they all documented the success of the Huskies, and that recognition mostly came from two very impressive wins early in the season.
Dumbest Moment of the Year: This one sort of falls under the drunk category … 2003 Super Bowl Party at Eks. I proceed to drink so much that I allow Ward to puncturing my left eyebrow and dislocate my left shoulder. I also fell flat on my face in Eks yard while trying to wait on Flip to drive us home … ahhhh, the snow … it is so soft.
Best Acquisition of the Year: I grew up a little this year. Purchased some bedroom furniture and a new couch and chair, but the best acquisition this year has to be … the Big Screen TV. I've been fairly quiet about this since I purchased it in July, mainly because my parents don't know about it, but I had to give this TV an award. I love you big screen.
Coolest Moment of the Year: My first Cubs game. The entire day was an experience. I may not have been born a Cubs fan, but Wrigley will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Video Game of the Year: Smackdown: Bring the Pain. Yes, for the second year in a row, a wrestling game steals the award. We were able to get a few matches under our belts in DeKalb, but the game also gave me something to do those first few weeks in Nashville. At least I have friends now.
Best Concert in 2003: I was fortunate enough to see my favorite band, Vertical Horizon, three times this year: Milwaukee, Chicago and Nashville. They did not disappoint. The Jackopierce show in January was a blast as well.
Dream of the Year: Being named the AD at UGA. I think about it so much, I DREAM about it. Maybe one day.
Best Song to Sing in a British Voice: "I'm still here," Vertical Horizon. I don't even know if Big Red has heard this song, but if he has … I bet he's sung it in a British Voice.
Over Used Joke of the Year: And for the second year in a row … "Oh, you're Jay Lowe, like JLo? I bet you get that a lot!" Uhhhh, no shit. YES I get that a lot. So don't use the damn joke anymore!
Best Wedding of the Year: Michael and Allison Ward. I was fortunate enough to be invited to this shin-dig in Raleigh. Aside from Michael being a jackass, they both were able to start a wonderful life together and put on a fun wedding. Yes, the AC not working at the reception was a bit of a drag, but they got me back to NC, if only for a weekend.
And finally ...
Lifetime Achievement Award: Mom and Dad. Oh, they are still going strong in their mid-50s. More importantly, they have been wonderful parents, friends and supporters over the past year. Struggling with the loss of their collective last surviving parent, mom and dad have really focused a lot of energy and time on the happiness of me and Marian. I'm fortunate they have given so much to me over the years. Hopefully one day I can repay the countless favors. Now they just need to visit me in Nashville.
That's it folks. I'd like to thank all of those persons who submitted entries (me) and the committee whom voted upon the winners (me). More importantly, I'd like to thank all the people who made these awards possible. I am continually surrounded by wonderful and amazing people. I'm one lucky jackass.