I’ve told this story before, but I’m going to tell it one more time.
I can still remember the first time I heard about YouTube. It was 2006 — it must have been late January — and I was a freshman in college.
I was sitting in Professor Chuck Marsh’s “Media and Society” class in Budig Hall at The University of Kansas.
There were about 800 people in the class, mostly college freshman, and Old-man Marsh* used to start every class period with a segment called “The Hot Topic.”
*That’s not really Prof. Marsh’s nickname, but hey, it makes the story sound better.
Basically, Marsh would pick a controversial issue in the media, or a new trend, or whatever — and we’d have a class discussion about it. Of course, this is more interesting than it sounds, considering the fact that there were 800 people in the class, and it takes a certain type of personality (read crazy) to speak out in a class of 800.
Well, one day in late January, Marsh comes into class talking about a new website called “YouTube” and a hip, new word — “mash-up.”*
But the original one, the one that started it all, was the mash-up “Brokeback to the Future”. And on that day in late January, Marsh introduced me to a world I’d never imagined…
In the last four years, that video has been watched more than 5.5 million times.
And like Windows and Google and iTunes and Facebook and Twitter, YouTube has become part of the fabric of our daily lives.
There are YouTube sensations and there are videos that go viral, getting passed around from friend to friend. And personally, I’ve spent way too many hours watching soccer and basketball highlights on the old laptop.
But for me, it all started four years ago.
OK, now fast-forward three years.
I’m working as the sports editor at The University Daily Kansan, and in an homage to the great former Kansas City Star columnist Jeffrey Flanagan, I created a daily Page 2 column entitled “The Morning Brew.”
Long story short, I started a weekly tradition called the “Thursday YouTube Sesh”. Why? Because sometimes, there are just videos that must be shared.
I saw one of those videos today.
If you’re a Kansas basketball fan, you probably know that KU beat Baylor 81-75 on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
If you’re a big fan, you probably know that Baylor coach Scott Drew created a mini-controversy before the game.
You see, about four years ago, when Kansas renovated Allen Fieldhoue and added a modern scoreboard that hangs above center court, they started playing a pregame video montage. The montage highlights KU’s incomparable basketball tradition — from Naismith to Allen to Manning to Mario — and works the crowd into a frenzy.
Here’s one version of the video here…
Well, Baylor’s Drew wasn’t having any of it. And he had his team walk out into the Fieldhouse’s concourse during the video. It’s not that surprising. More than one opposing team has looked visibly intimidated while watching the video.
Of course, it’s also true that KU’s Bill Self and Drew have what could be described as a rocky relationship.
Self and Drew battled over Darrell Arthur — and Arthur, in one of the more mysterious recruiting stories in recent memory, picked KU at the last minute after having “a dream” about playing at Kansas.
Let’s just say that Drew was not happy. And according to many reports, he told former KU recruit Dwight Lewis — who eventually went to USC — that he shouldn’t go to KU because KU does a poor job of graduating players (or something to that effect).
So yea, Self was not happy.
“We’d never do that,” he said about Baylor’s walkout.
Drew, for his part, said he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful.
“It was simply because we knew we only had a minute and we wanted to go over what we wanted to do to start the game,” Drew said after the game. “There are no rules against it or anything. We met in the hallway and discussed how we were going to handle the beginning of the game.”
One thing is for certain. And it brings us to our Thursday YouTube Sesh.
There’s no way Baylor would have walked out on this pregame video.
OK, where do we start? First a little background. Apparently, this is the pregame pump-up video for the University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey program. The Nanooks, as they are called, are a legit Division 1 hockey program. They play in a 4,500-seat arena and compete in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Other teams in the hockey-only CCHA include: Michigan State, Ohio State, Miami (Ohio), Michigan and Notre Dame,.
There are 12 members in all, but this explains why the polar bear drops bombs on the Ohio State, Miami and Michigan State campuses.
Of course, this doesn’t explain why the giant killer bear must use a hockey stick to chop a trapped oiler tanker in half. And it doesn’t explain why the fighter pilot polar bear must drop a bomb into a volcano and blow up the planet.
No matter how you slice it, this video just doesn’t make much sense. I just wish I was in the room when the creators of the video were brainstorming ideas*.
Person 1: Ok. We start with a polar bear rising up from the arctic and attacking a huge ship.
Person 2: Yes. Yes. I like that. And then we could cut to a polar bear in a jet fighter.
Person 1: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Person 2: Danger zone?
Person 1: Oh my god, Yes!
Person 2: OK, he could drop bombs on our rivals. And then, what about if we had him drop a bomb into a volcano and blow up the entire planet?
Person 1: Wait, the entire planet?
Person 2: Dude, this would be sweet.
Person 1: You’re right, screw it. I’m in.
Part of me thinks the creators were being a little ironic. I mean, polar bears destroying the planet, that has to be a subtle hint about the state of the environment, right?
In the end, all I know is that any video that includes “Highway to the Danger Zone” and polar bears blowing up stuff must be cherished. So enjoy.