Sadly, our guest host could not be here this evening. According to TMZ, Rip Torn was arrested for breaking into what he thought was his own home. And there I was, looking forward to him hosting an intergalactic kegger afterwards.
You will have to do with me as the host, sorry. All the votes are in (disclaimer: I am the only one voting), and without further adieu and without a crazy musical intro like the Grammy’s, I give to you the 2009 jaylowe.com Awards:
Jackass Of The Year
Previous winners include Brandon, Doug, Flippen and a team of knuckleheads from NIU. This year’s winner is about to become a daddy, x2. With our move to Athens two years ago, he and his wife have been tremendous friends to us. And they have known me for a long time. That says a lot about your character if you can put up with my mess for 10 years. Congratulations to Matt Brachowski, jaylowe.com’s 2009 Jackass Of The Year.
Movie Of The Year
While the subject matter has interested me for years, the story of this movie caused it to be the outright winner. And yes, I realize this debuted in 2008. I did not see it until 2009. These are my awards. Deal with it. The Wrestler was a movie that had me hooked from the beginning. I have read a couple of pro wrestler autobiographies, and so much of the tales they told in their books seemed to come to life on screen in this film. The acting was superb and the direction of the film was outstanding. It is great to see a respectable nod to the men and women who try and entertain people through the art of professional wrestling.
Road Trip Of The Year
A fall road trip through the mountains and up to Asheville was certainly a road highlight last year. The Biltmore House, damn good friends and Bruce Hornsby bangin’ the hell out of a piano as the sun set over top of the Appalachians. While it would seem difficult to beat a road trip like that, it is easy to pinpoint the Road Trip of the Year. Late October the Lee’s welcomed several of us to their Virginia Beach home. There was a small ARGUS reunion as we sat around and played a few songs, but really it was about some very good friends just enjoying a weekend together and meeting the newest “family” member, Ms. Anna Lee. Greg and Sarah no doubt made a beautiful child as Anna was the true hit of the weekend. I was also able to see some great UGA donors on the trip, spending a couple of nights in historic Williamsburg. Beautiful there in the fall, and I now proudly sport my Tribe t-shirt. Jill would be proud.
Best Moment Of The Year
This is easy. Both of my parents turned 60 in 2009. Yeah, I realize mom would not like me sharing her age but it is a key part of this award. We all have not gone on a true “family” vacation in years. The last one was probably some NC beach about 10 or 12 years ago. Hell, maybe even further back. Regardless, my sister and I kept trying to find something great to do for our parents. Mom and Dad have always been very selfless. They think of what is better for us before each other. In early 2009, we somehow convinced them a family vacation was in order. Not just any family vacation, but something truly special to celebrate their birthdays. We ended up with a family trip … Marian and Darryl, Mom and Dad, Court and I … to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We all had a blast, and being able to lounge around with my family and have zero cares was superb. We lounged in the pool, the bars, the restaurants and of course the ocean. It does not get much better than that. And it is just like my parents to not allow us to pay for it. So I suppose they paid for their own 60 birthday parties. Hmmmm ... I need to make sure I do not have to do that some day!
Most Touching Moment Of The Year
I am going into my fourth year of this development gig, and I can certainly say I have learned a great deal. More importantly, the learning process continues each day. While the first few months in any new job can be challenging, this past year relationships which I had been building turned into some very generous gifts from our donors. Being able to demonstrate our greatest needs and having donors support those is a tremendous feeling. Each major gift last year reminded me why I do what I do and why I love college athletics.
Album Of The Year
It had been six years since Vertical Horizon had released a new studio album. There were rumors they were done. Their drummer and all around great guy, Ed Toth, had taken on to bigger gigs. Then late in 2008 their website gave some hints the guys were working on new music. Despite having other side projects over the past few years, VH came back together to put down solid tracks and offer up yet another strong album, Burning The Days. Current track favorites include: 3) The Middle Ground, 5) Save My From Myself and 8) Can You Help Me.
Team Of The Year
2009 brought yet another national championship to the Gym Dogs. For those counting, that was the fifth in a row for the Bulldog gymnastics team and 10th overall. Quite an impressive run. While they deserve the highest of honorable mentions, the 2009 jaylowe.com Team Of The Year award goes to the UNC Tar Heels men’s basketball team.
Their dominant run through the NCAA tournament was something not seen in recent history. They dispatched of every time in their tournament path by double digits. More importantly Tyler Hansbrough won his title. In this day and age of kids being “one and done,” Hansbrough stayed with the Heels all four years with the loan desire of bringing a NCAA banner to the Smith Center. It was well deserved and a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
Wrestler Of The Year
Ah yes, a category I am still proud to sponsor. Don’t judge. We all like our entertainment in different forms. Soooooo, my vote for 2009 goes to Randy Orton. It was probably seven years or so when 3rd generation wrestler Randy Orton broke onto the WWE scene.
I remember not being very impressed with him at first. Over the years his mic work grew from horrid to eh, ok. While he has been a main eventer the past couple of years, 2009 was a breakout year for him as a worker and an entertainer. Randy will be around for quite some time, and I look forward to the evolution of his character.
Wedding Of The Year
(Editor’s note - I am currently the lead candidate for 2010 Jackass Of The Year as I totally blanked on the fact I was in two other weddings in 2009. Changes below.)
I am hoping I can retire this category soon. It is not so much that I dislike attending weddings. I rather enjoy it. I am just tired of renting tuxes and buying gifts. So all of you single friends, just stay single. Got it? But I digress. This year’s award was difficult to judge. I had three great guy friends marry three tremendous women. Actually, those women should receive their own awards for putting up with the guys crap. Lauren deals with Brandon's terrible eating habits and insane work hours. Lindsey puts up with Doug's wild and crazy ways. Catherine, well she cuts up Steve's food. Each wedding truly was a blast. The Barca wedding allowed for a great reunion of the Four Horsemen. The Brouillard wedding made for a fantastic party and the Flippen wedding enabled us all to have a fun weekend together before the holidays. While I can only choose one, each wedding was a damn fine event. The new 2009 Wedding Of The Year award goes to the Brouillards. Downtown Athens will never be the same.
Dumbest Moment Of The Year
There are few times where a 32-year-old guy tries to act like he is 22. I had one of those moments in February of last year. I am not overly proud of it as I was dropped off at my house in a state unbecoming of a husband or an adult. Granted I was still in a suit and tie, let’s just say my dinner did not sit well with me that night and maybe it had something to do with the drinks which followed.
Best Acquisition Of The Year
So we added an extension to our deck, purchased some new outdoor furniture and was given a smoker for Christmas, however none of those I use on a daily basis. After finally retiring Bessie, my almost 10 year old Isuzu Rodeo, in May we purchased a new Honda Pilot. I love this thing. It does not have all the bells and whistles, but it is a smooth driving car with plenty of room. Bessie will be missed but Amelia the Pilot has been getting me where I need to go for the past eight months, and I think she has many more years left in her.
Best Concert Of The Year
The answer to this question for the 2008 jaylowe.com awards would have been REM. The 2009 version goes to U2. What do both of those have in common? Brachowski had the ticket hook up for both. Oh, and they were both listed in my top five concerts I’ve always wanted to see. The guys from U2 put on an amazing show. The stage set up was incredible and their interaction with the crowd was pretty intense. They made me realize I do not get out and see as many shows as I would like. When you only see a few shows a year and U2 is in that mix, you are probably still doing ok.
Video Game Of The Year
This is a reach back to a classic from this awards show. WWE’s Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 debuted in November 2009. Got that? Well, in the old NIU days a group of the fellas would play this game until all ends of the night because 1) there was very little to do and 2) we lived in DeKalb, IL. Ok, both of those go hand in hand. Regardless, the new version has online play which has allowed some of us to continue the trash talk and beat downs from years past. The competition will pick up in 2010, but it really is a fun way for us all to connect … and beat the heck out of each other.
The jaylowe.com 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award
This may be controversial, but the 2009 award goes to Michael Jackson. While his personal life was filled with triumph, confusion, pain and uncertainty, Jackson was an untouchable when it came to entertaining. His catalogue of music will live forever and will probably still have me jumping up to dance when I 80. Jackson’s death was still fresh when we took the family trip to Punta Cana. Over several drinks. We all talked about his influence on the world. The word “icon” is sometimes used too loosely, but Jackson epitomizes the word. There are very few of those left in this generation, so it is unfortunate he had to leave us at such a young age.
Marred by accusations and admittance to very borderline behavior with young children, most people will have their own opinion on Jackson. Admittedly I cannot sit here and say what he did or did not do. Jackson is honored with this award based solely on his contribution to the world through entertainment.
Thank you all for attending this year's installment of the jaylowe.com Awards. Have a great evening, drive safe and tell your family and friends you love them.