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Friday, February 20, 2009

Campaign Propoganda


    Hello world o' blog. I need your help. Today, I'm going to take a break from the X's and O's of the sports world to make an attempt at self-promotion (insert ego joke here).


    Here's a quick introduction to this post:

    -I'm applying for a position on Tour Team- The University of
Missouri's official student group in charge of giving tours and
answering questions pertaining to prospective students. By my own
estimations, there will be some 200 students (at least) applying for
about (gulp) 20 open spots.

    -As a part of the application process, interested students are asked to include a project that creatively illustrates their passion for Every True Son, what makes their love a unique one, and what makes them qualified for such a competitive position.

    -Now, the reason they include the creative project portion is to allow the applicants the opportunity to include their creative prowess as a dimension to the application. I feel like my best "creative attribute" lies within the realm of creative writing. I didn't want to write a paper, however, because we already include a cover letter that explains our aspirations for Tour Team; I felt like the blog I contribute was my best option.

    -So please feel free to read the following passage (first time the word "passage" has been used in that context in blog history) and- here's the important part- leave your comments. Feel free to add why you think I should be on Tour Team, why I shouldn't, why you liked the post, why you hated it, how you feel about my comb over, how you feel about my Xanga- you know- whatever. I would just love the support of anybody that can/wants to give it in order to aid my application process.

So, without further pandering and begging, allow me to make my creative case for my selection to be on Mizzou's Tour Team.

10 Reasons I Love the University of Missouri-Columbia and/or Why I Am A Qualified Dude

1. I've never not loved Mizzou (wrap your brain around that!)

I'm going to start this party with an urban legend that resonates around my part of the world (Kansas City). Legend has it that- some 19 years ago- a young Jared Launius (pronounced lawn•e•us) was being held in his mother's lap. His mother was trying to coerce him into his first word when the following conversation took place:

Mom: "Can...you...say...'Mommy?'"

Young Jared: "M...M...M...

Mom: "Mommy?"

Young Jared: "Muh...Muh...Muh..."

Mom: "Yeah? Mommy?"

Young Jared: "Muh...Muh...Mi..."

Mom: "No, Mommy?"

Young Jared: "Muh...Mi...Mi..."

Mom: "No no. It's Mom-my"

Young Jared: "Mi...Mi...University of Missouri-Columbia."

Look people, I didn't create the legend. It's a legend! Nobody knows where they start. It's just something that's been passed down and permeated through the generations. Don't kill the messenger.

2. I predicted the 12-seeded Tigers basketball team to go the the Final Four in 2002

Joke is over, people. This ain't no legend. I wish I still had my bracket as documentation, but I picked us to beat the 5-seed Miami Hurricanes in round 1, and then advance all the way to the Final Four. This was, of course, based on nothing but love for Kareem Rush, Clarence Gilbert, Ricky Paulding, Arthur Johnson and company. My fatal flaw could only be described as loving them too much. I was so blinded by my love for them that I PUT A FREAKING 12 SEED IN THE FINAL FOUR! That's how much I love Mizzou basketball, and gives you insight to the breadth of my dedication and mad love for the program and school.

3. I can walk backwards with the best of them

A position on Tour Team requires a certain propensity for being able to walk backwards- because a dedicated member must face the people they are enlightening on the tour while describing the wonderful attributes of the school.

I’ll level with you, I might be the most adept backwards walker that Missouri has ever seen. I’m not trying to brag, but sometimes when I sing along with Lil’ Wayne songs, I interchange the word “backwards walker” with the word “rapper” so that I say “I’m the best backwards walker alive” 18 times a track.

So what makes me such an elite backwards walker? Wish I could tell you. Just like anything else, you’re either born with it or your not- and I was born with six of ‘em.

Please, allow me to elaborate. When I played football in eighth grade, I was a cornerback. For all of you non-football people, the cornerback is the guy that covers the wide receiver. For all of you non-football people, the wide receiver is the guy that the quarterback throws the ball to. For all of you non-football people, the quarterback is the hot guy. So basically, a cornerback’s job is to keep the hot guy from passing the football to the wide receiver.

(I have a point, I promise)

In order to keep an eye on the hot guy AND the receiver at the same time, the cornerback has to…wait for it…RUN backwards! That’s right, run. Can you imagine how amateur hour WALKING backwards would be for me? Imagine Usain Bolt being put in a walking competition. Multiply that times a thousand.

But it certainly doesn’t stop there. Cornerbacks have to be aware of everything in front of them (the people I’m giving the tour to) and everything beside and behind them (potential curbs, poles, bicyclists, asteroids, etc.) while they are moving backwards. The best part about all of that is this: guess how many times I got beat by a wide receiver in eighth grade? I’ll give you a clue- you will need zero fingers to count the number of times. Want another hint? It’s the same number as the number of times you laughed at the last Dustin Diamond stand up you watched. Give up? Yeah, the answer is a big ZERO. What can I say? I’m a master of my craft.

Again, I didn’t ask for this power, I’m just trying to channel it for the good of the commonwealth.

4. I’m a server at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Yeah you read that 100% correctly. I am a PAR IV Server Trainer at the Pleasing People capital of America (pronounced u•muhr•i•ka). Have been for 3 and a half years.

Go ahead, make your joke. Seriously. I’m listening. Make your joke.

(picking my teeth as I listen to your joke)

Oh haha. Good one.

Anyway, you may say that this adds absolutely nothing to my candidacy. You may go as far to say that mentioning it is actually borderline disturbing to the point that it deters from it. But I say nay!!

I work at Cracker Barrel. Have you ever been to a Cracker Barrel? I will bet my $3.50 an hour salary over my next two shifts that there is absolutely NO demographic that I haven’t waited on multiple times and am therefore fully qualified to deal with, should they be a part of the tour. You know. People who want extra everything? Check. Smokers? Double check. Non-English speakers? Check. KU fans? What do you think? I worked at the Cracker Barrel in Kansas City for three years before transferring to Columbia. Guys that point at an imaginary watch on their wrist when things are going too slow? Check. Surgically-enhanced cougars? Come on, you’re boring me. Grandparents? Are you seriously asking me this? They probably went to Cracker Barrel at 6 am the morning of the tour to split an Uncle Hershel’s favorite and asked their server six times how to get down to one peg on the peg game.

Still not convinced? Imagine this situation: we’re starting a tour and an OCD father of a prospective student gets upset about the route we take to start the tour:

    OCD Man: “Hey! The itinerary that I had the university send me in advance said that the tour started by heading east toward that thingy with the wrong Roman Numeral. Isn't our ETA 10:13?!"

    Me: “Sir, you are absolutely correct. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.”

    OCD Man: (raising voice) “Are you the type of ‘rocket scientist’ that goes to this school?

    Me: (remaining calm) “Sir, there is no reason for you to raise your voice. But you are absolutely correct. I am incredibly inept. Thank you for letting me know about this.”

OCD Man: “So what are you going to do about it?”

    Me: “You know what sir? Because you’ve been so helpful and because I have made such a blatant error, I’ll talk to my manager and we will get your son’s tuition 'taken care of.’” (wink at him)

See? You can thank me later.

5. I’ve gone to a KU game in order to root against them

In 2004, opening-round games of the NCAA Tournament were held at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. As fate would have it, one of the two games that I got tickets for was KU’s opening round game versus the University of Illinois-Chicago.

You know me by now. What do you think I did? If you said anything other than wear an MU shirt, shorts, high socks and headband to the game while chanting “UIC! UIC!” the entire time then you are sadly mistaken. I still have the ticket stub on my door at home as a memento to such a proud day in my Tiger history.

You might ask why I’ve only done this once if I’m such a great fan? Nice try, but there is a wonderful reason: Kansas won that game. By like 30. I don’t want to be a good luck charm for a bunch of slightly-overweight, bizarrely colored birds- so why would I go to another game of theirs? Sheesh.

6. I’ve wanted to come to Mizzou since middle school

I’ve known three things since I was 12 years old: I want to be a professional sports writer, I want to get my degree for this from the finest journalism school in the nation, and that the movie Ghost sucks.

I’ll only talk about the first two though, because I’m still trying to figure out how the third one works in to my destiny.

Anywho, I have no punch lines here. I haven’t waivered the slightest in seven years- despite the best efforts of my Statistics teacher last year. She told me I was wasting my parents' money by getting a degree in journalism. I told her anyone can do statistics. Me: 1, statistics teacher: 0.

I seriously didn’t even look at an application for any other colleges last year. Either I would get accepted to Missouri or I was going to wait on Cracker Barrel regulars forever. How many other people didn’t even apply elsewhere? I remember when my mom suggested I apply at Truman State just as a safety blanket. I haven’t talked to her since. Sorry ma, but you knew better.

7. C'mon. I've been a Tiger's fan in a KU city for my entire life, throw me a bone

I grew up in Kansas City. Been there recently? The word "Kansas" is in the title of the city. The retail shop at Cracker Barrel-Kansas City is littered with over-sized KU sweaters and tea pitchers. My entire formal education was in schools that are predominantly blue and red. Two of my best friends own multiple "2008 NCAA Champions" t-shirts that they ordered off of E-Bay. I was at a Royals game one time when Drew Gooden threw out the first pitch.

Have I ever broken my loyalty? Uh, no. I still have the ticket stub from my very first MU basketball game on my bedroom door. I still have a folder that I grafittied with Tigers players' names in seventh grade. My mom refused to let me name my dog "Truman" because that was the name of the rival high school in my city. I didn't care. One time I got cut and literally bled black and gold. Subsequently, I submitted the gold blood to "Cash 4 Gold" and wasn't reimbursed in the least.

But I digress. Here's the bottom line- I endured 19 years in a city that actually thinks this figure is imposing. I did it just because of that ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, that ray of hope that was my new life in Columbia. It wasn't easy. I actually flat-lined one time, but I made it. How about some love?

8. I skipped my very first Spanish 2100 lecture last semester AND was late to my first shift at Cracker Barrel-Columbia to wait in line for Tiger’s Lair sign ups

After we had been waiting in line for 30 minutes and only made it a quarter of the way through the line, it became quite apparent that I wasn’t going to get through before my Spanish class started. Did I consider leaving? Sure I did. I had tested into sophomore Spanish, and I knew I would be missing important stuff. But if I left, I ran the risk of the section being full by the next day.

Did it affect me at all? Sure it did. I ended up getting a B in the class because I inadvertently missed the first 2 weeks of homework- which was explained on the first day. My teacher also gave 5,000 points of extra credit for everyone that was there on the first day. The class was only 1,000 total points. Yeah, I was the only guy that didn't get 500% in the class.

Would I do it differently if given the chance?

Are you seriously asking that question?

9. I've talked on the phone to strangers before, and stuff

Another part of being on Tour Team includes sitting at the land desk at the entrance to Jesse Hall answering the questions of people needing a point in the right direction. 

I've been to Jesse Hall before. I've actually been there like seven times. So, uh, like...um you know, I totally know where the stairs and stuff are. And that auditorium thing. So...you know.

I'm also wayyyyyy good at deferring questions!

In addition, I have plenty of experience talking to strangers on the phone- which is another function of the desk job. People calling the university with queries on different topics are directed Tour Team members. Sometimes people call my phone by accident, so I'm totally good at answering questions like "Is this Tom?" and "This isn't Steve's Bait Shop is it?" How hard can it be to tell someone that our campus is in Columbia, Missouri, or that our mascot is the Tiger? The questions can't be much tougher than that, right?

Right?!

10. I actually have some experience

Last year, as a senior in high school, I was the student council president of a student body of 1,600 students (please hold your applause until the end). I did a lot of things as a student ambassador, as I talked up my high school to audiences ranging from the Rotary Club to the student bodies of the city's middle schools.

One time, a group of private school students that had to transfer to my high school came to visit. We started the tour in a conference room as I talked about the school's history (William Chrisman is the high school of Harry Truman. Trivia!) and fielded questions about school involvement, classes, etc. Then, I lead the group around the school, showing them certain things and answering further questions. Later, I went to lunch.

Wait, that all sounds rather familiar.

What does the preceding situation sound like?

(BUZZ)

Yes, Jared?

Oh oh oh!! Mizzou Tour Team! It sounds like the type of thing a member of the University of Missouri Tour Team would do!

Fabulous! That is 100% correct, Jared! What do we have for him, Johnny?

How about...

(Building suspense)

A position on Tour Team?!

Well, that's up for you good people to decide.

-Jared

11 comments:

Keith said...

I can think of a thousand reasons why Jared should be on the Tour Team. Being one of those friends that owns 10 Kansas National Championship t-shirts. In every breath Jared strives to do his best, whether it's in school, sports, or just knowing more about a sport than the other person so in the event a debate goes down he walks away the victor. I have no doubt with every breath Jared has(even while asleep) he will find ways to be better as a member of the Tour Team, whether it's finding out cool and interesting facts about the campus or just connecting with people while on the tour he will be at his best. And if not judges for this competition, I will lose my Kansas fanhood and attend the University of Missouri this fall.

Anonymous said...

Instead of anonymous.. this is Kyle Youngstrom..

Jared was once my nemesis.. I was raised a Jayhawk.. He wasn't.. For this reason him and I clashed. I even rememeber our Xanga arguments from 2005. HE was just a tot then.. but defended Missouri with the best of them.. Id venture to say he was "THE best of them."

I went to the University of Misery for the 06-07 academic year. to be honest, it wasn't for me. However, to picture Jared somewhere else would be more awkward than a fart in the bathtub.

I wish you luck Jared L.. and I only say "L" because i'm not positive how to spell "Launius" Is that right?

Anonymous said...

First of all, I have no account, so I am labeled above as "Anonymous." My name is Collin Pearman, and Jared is a very good friend of mine. When you take a tour, you want someone who knows how to answer your questions, who will take the time to find out any answer that he doesn't already know off the top of his head (which, let me tell ya a little something about Jared-there isn't much that he doesn't know off the top of his head...in fact, I had American History with this guy in High School, and he KNOWS his stuff; he was almost never stumped when it came to daily "bellringers." Gosh...I'm really glad I'm out of highschool...but, I digress.) You want a person who knows how to interact with people, who has had experience that counts (as a fellow ...former..Crackerbarrel employee (same store as Jared) let me tell you that his experience there is too legit to quit...seriously; it counts.) You want someone who knows when to be quiet and when to be loud (as a member of the international thespian society (theatre) if you don't know how to be quiet or be loud (and when the right time is to be either one) you'll either: look stupid on stage being too quiet to be heard, or you'll get punched by a fellow member backstage...Jared is a member and I never had to punch him.)
Jared is your guy, he has the skills, he has the drive, he has the patience; he's the one you want.

He's exactly where he should be at Missouri, and you can tell when you talk to him.

...Hi Jared! Good luck, dogg! (had to throw that in there)

Rob Bratney said...

haha wow Jared

You've done a great job at promoting yourself! I wish I could write about myself this well.

(If anyone from the Tiger Tours administrators is watching, HIRE THIS MAN!) please and thank you

Anonymous said...

The papers will read, "Independence Native Reigns High as College Career Comes to an Ultimate Climax With The Acceptance of the University Of Missouri's Tour Team, Isn't He AMAZING!"... Ok Maybe not but it would be sweet if it did. I mean its such a catchy title.

However, as a long time friend to Jared I have been a witness to Jared's ever growing dedication to the University of Missouri. Somewhere in the midst of playing "end of the world", and games like Number Munchers, Oregon Trail, Reader Rabbit, and saving all top score under the name of "Super CJ" Jared stopped pretending to be his BMX idol Matt (the Condore) Hoffman and became a real sports fan with the University of Missouri claiming his fan hood. Jared contued growing closer to the school when he found his knack of writing he became determined to be a journalist.

I can remember when Jared and I were in the same class in grade school. A 3rd and 4th grade split class. Jared had the hots for a little girl named Paulett Iloilo. Jared, not knowing what the hots meant decided to test the waters by going steady with the girl, which meant they would acknowledge eachother on a regular basis and maybe hold hands when no one was looking. One day, and Jared you remember this, this backbiting young dame tried to give Jared a Kansas University sports cap. Jared threw the cap, spit at her, and never picked her to be on the kick ball team again. As for me I never knew what he saw in her, but if that doesn't show that Jared is a devout Missouri Fan then I don't know my first name.

Now maybe that story I told you was fabricated, maybe it was a complete lie, or maybe it was every bit of the truth. The thing is the University of Missouri-Columbia and Jared go together like lamb and tuna fish... No? Maybe you like speghetti and meatball.

Anyways I had the opportunity to visit him at the University. Jared exercised his tour guide skills to perfection showing me around the campus and the city of Columbia. I was in complete awe, I was so impressed by the way he made the campus look. I mean he knew so much about the ciy and the campus it was hard to beleive that he was still a freshman at the University, he was more like a seasoned pro. He sold me so much that I have decided that I want to attend the college.

In conclusion, Jared Launius sells the University of Missouri. If Jared's tours don't improve the enrollment of the University by 25% then I, Craig Stoll, will live in the Master Suite of the Apartment next year.

THE MASTER SUITE IS MINE!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jared should be on the tour team because once he gave me a tour of his house and I was all, ohh, man, I gotta be livin' here.

I agree with Keith that one of his best attributes as a tour guide would be his ability to take his own initiative and put a personal stamp on each tour that he gives by spouting off obscure facts about the campus. He loves esoteric information! In fact, he probably knows enough about the school's history already that he could assemble a dream team of all-time tour guide greats. If you asked him.

Jared Launius For Tour Team 2009

-Aaron Steen

Anonymous said...

My name is Matt Boyd. I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia from fall semester 2002-spring semester 2004. I hold season tickets to MU football games not only because I love to watch the sport and cheer for my team but it gives me an excuse to go back to one of the greatest places on earth. The only reason for leaving that great school was that I couldn't find anything I wanted to major in. I remember going to MU to tour the campus and I remember how much fun it was and how fun and easy to get along with the tour guide was. Jared Launius is defenitely the man for that job. He absolutely knows his facts, is very smart and quick whitted, is very fun and outgoing, and can walk backwards like nobody's business. He may even be able to moonwalk for the entire tour.

If you are looking for the best person for a tour guide, Jared is definitely that man. I'd follow that man anywhere and if you hire him you'll see why.

Anonymous said...

Over the past few years I've gotten to know Jared Launius very well. Through out this time I have been able to see Jared grow and change into the wonderful person he is today. His talents are limitless and ever-growing, as displayed by his natural ability in creative writing and his playful and quick-witted way with words.

Not only is Jared charming in his writing, but he has such a contagious, positive personality that can brighten anyone's day when you meet him in person. He carries himself with confidence and pride as he represents the school he loves so much, Mizzou.

As a fellow applicant for Tour Team, I understand what talents and abilities are required to be a Tour Team member. Without a doubt, Jared Launius is a perfect candidate. One could choose Jared based on personality alone, but he also has an incredible work ethic, strong dedication and determination, a great GPA and the biggest love for Mizzou I have ever seen.

Jared Launius would be an exceptional member of Mizzou's Tour Team!

-Leann McLaughlin

Patrick said...

Jared,
You and I have never met but you seem like cool guy. Austin thinks highly enough of you to let you write on his blog that he ignored for 4 months.

I just wanted to wish you luck. I myself applied for Tour Team in my time at Mizzou. I was accecpted as a tour teamer in the spring of 2006... I quit two weeks later. I would like to think that you will be more committed to than I was. For my project I created a puzzle with all kinds of different places at Mizzou on it. It took forever.

Let me know how it goes.

John the Prez said...

I am one of the aforementioned friends with multiple 2008 Kansas National Champions shirts. And, just to plead my case, only six of eight were purchased on ebay... OOOKKAAAAAAYY!

The first time I came to Columbia to visit Jared actually fell on "Black and Gold Day," which worked out nicely for me as a prospective student. The day started off with a tour of the campus. As I proceeded to follow this young backwards-walking tour guide, (who will remain anonymous) he filled my head with strange facts about the school grounds and anecdotes that would tickle even the most stubborn of senses. Initially, I thought this young man did and excellent job... little did I know I was going to meet up with J-Fresh (that's Jared) and he would continue to enlighten me with even more knowledge about the campus buildings, history, lifestyle, etc.

You see, DJ J-Rock (mmhmm, that's Jared again) has this knack for retaining knowledge... it's quite uncanny. The kid knows so much about so many things that I am continually impressed, especially with the things that he loves and is interested in; both of which include everything about the University of Missouri.

I've known J-Money (that's Jared, too) for many years. In fact, I'm the poor soul who got him hired at Cracker Barrel... for which I am eternally regretful, J-Dawg (...again). Anywho, his thirst for knowledge and ultimate dedication for everything he loves have stood out and made Jazzy J (yup, that's him) the patient, loving, authentic and determined walking encyclopaedia he so proudly is today.

To give an idea of how much devotion he has for the things he loves I'll tell you (in a childrens book writing style) something quite personal about Jared the Junkyard Dog. Jared loves coffee. Jared really loves coffee. Jared really really loves coffee. Jared french-presses his own coffee in his room often. Jared probably drinks coffee more than once a day, on average. Jared's stomach does not love coffee. Jared's gastrointestinal tract really does not love coffee. If Jared loves The University of Missouri more than he loves coffee, and he loves coffee enough to put his body through gut-wrenching pain everyday, imagine what Jared would sacrifice for the University Tour Team... is that enough for you?

If you answered no, try this on for size... Jared adores the Tigers so much even stuck by them through the Quin Snyder years... talk about dedication!

All in all, Jared's pleasant and charming attitude is extremely contagious. He is a comfortable, interesting guy with everything necessary to make visitors feel at home on campus and leave with no questions unanswered and a gaggle of useful and interesting details. His love for Missouri sports, Columbia culture and Tiger pride will be continually beneficial to the Tour Team.

Good luck J-Bones.

- John Adams

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I truly don't understand the draw to Mizzou, call me old and boring, but it doesn't do anything for me. Jared, my little brother though. . . .good graciou. Seriously, the kid eats, sleeps and breathes anything and everything Tiger. He wasn't kidding when he said he has always wanted to go to Mizzou. The child has lobbied for acceptance into MU since he knew what college was.

I can honestly say that I was one of the naysayers that tried to talk Jared into applying at other schools as a safety net, but he would have none of it. Jared is incredibly loyal and steadfast in his dedication to the institution.

In an attempt to get my excitement level up about his attendance to MU, Jared and I made a day trip to Columbia last spring, before he was even a student. Jared showed me around the campus, pointing out the landmarks, showing me the cool stuff, and, I must admit, did a fine job of it. (He walked backwards the entire time, even though he was only giving the tour for one. I swear.)

Anyway, I can think of no one who would better personify the loyalty and excitement of the true Tiger sprirt than my dweeby little brother. So, what the heck. . . . .JARED LAUNIUS FOR TIGER TOURS!

Amy Martin
Sister of Jared "The Tiger" Launius

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