Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possiblities; truth isn't." - Mark Twain.
We’ve all had those moments.
Shock stops us as we see or hear something we just can’t believe is actually happening. Sometimes the disbelief mixes with disappointment, but eventually, our initial skepticism is overcome by the reality that the news that punched us in the gut, is indeed, reality.
Sometimes it’s a humorous shock. Other times, it’s a painful realization that something or someone in which we had faith or hope might have been misplaced.
It does seem odd that, just as Mark Twain points out, sometimes the toughest words to believe are those offering us true stories. But maybe the fact that our ability to be unpredictable exceeds our ability to suppose our limits is actually a small measure of comfort. News that shocks us doesn’t always have to be upsetting, it can, and often is, be uplifting.
So in honor of the day which should make skeptics of us all – April Fools' Day – I offer some headlines that one might only see on April 1.
• Utah Jazz are the model of consistency
SALT LAKE CITY – With the Utah Jazz in first place in the Western Conference, it may seem like they have nothing to play for in their late-season game against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
The players, however, insist that is not the case.
“We play for pride,” said veteran center Al Jefferson, who is a front-runner for his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. We play for our fans, for each other and for ourselves. A less than stellar effort would say more about us than it would about our playoff potential.”
His teammates agree, which is why the Jazz coaches had to limit practice times. Some of the players were in danger of injuring themselves because they practice as hard as they play.
“We know how much it means to the fans when we step onto the floor in that uniform,” said Jefferson. “We want people to feel proud of what they pay for, and proud to be associated with a team that is proud to work hard to bring them and this great city joy every day.”
• Bronco Mendenhall gets even friendlier with fans
PROVO — Already known for his affection for Cougar fans, Bronco Mendenhall decided to go where few coaches dare go — into the stands.
“Starting next week, I’ll be inviting a dozen Cougar fans to a special coaches lunch each week,” Mendenhall said with a huge grin and great enthusiasm. “I love hearing from fans. They put their heart and soul into this program, and I want to give them the chance to feel fully invested in this band of brothers. I want to hear their thoughts on what changes we’re making offensively and how we’re doing defensively. I’m maybe most interested in how they feel the program is progressing.”
While athletic director Tom Holmoe had his doubts about the new program, Mendenhall’s passion about ways to get fans more deeply involved in the program convinced him to support it.
“I know Bronco loves the fans, maybe even more than he loves coaching football,” said Holmoe. “Some coaches bristle at the often emotional reaction of fans, but he is an exception to that rule in every way.”
The program starts with season ticket holders, but will be extended to anybody whose ever purchased a ticket until every Cougar fan with an opinion is heard.
• Kyle Whittingham agrees to appearance on 'Dancing with the Stars'
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah Football Program Goes to Hollywood.
Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham is already known for his flash, but now he’ll be known for his ability to move in sequins and dress heels.
“I’m always looking for the next challenge,” said Whittingham, while posing for pictures with his partner, Karina Smirnoff. “We don’t do much in the winter, so I thought the timing was perfect. I mean, competition is competition, and I want to win whether it’s a national title or a mirror ball trophy on the line.”
Whittingham’s brother, Cary Whittingham, helped negotiate the deal between DWTS and the effusive Ute coach.
“Not many people know this, but Kyle is a great dancer,” said Cary Whittingham. “Some may question whether dancing is manly, but that’s never been a question in our family. It takes as much coordination, strength and emotional stamina as any defensive assignment on the football field. I only wish I’d had the chance to do this too.”
Whittingham will be competing against other well-known coaches, including Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, San Antonio’s Gregg Poppovich, Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma and Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
I’ve run out of room, and my plane is leaving Fantasy Island. But before you dismiss these storylines as one writer's delusions, keep in mind the wise words of Mr. Twain. And consider this thought from Robert Kennedy, "There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why? ... I dream of things that never were and asky why not?"
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