For me, the month of October is not just about Halloween, even though I do love trick-or-treating as much as anyone.
It is a time in early October to harvest the last of the garden and prepare the soil for the next spring. It is also the conclusion of the season for the “boys of summer.” Baseball is one of my favorite sports formerly played and now watched. For the most part, baseball is still played today like it was 100 years ago, at its core it is one player, a pitcher against one player, a batter. To this point, one of my favorite baseball stories which I recognize is replete with embellishment occurred in October of 1926.
One of baseball’s greatest heroes was sold to the New York Yankees by the Boston Red Sox in 1920 and by the time 1925 arrived, the “Babe” was out of shape and weighed 260 pounds. He had started as a pitcher and outfielder but by 1925, he was now usually just a power hitter. Ruth worked out at a gym in 1925 and 1926 and successfully got back into shape. Ruth batted .372 in the ’26 season with 47 home runs and 146 RBIs. The Yankees made it to the world series against the St. Louis Cardinals and lost the series 3-2.
But in game 4 a legend began. The story goes that a hospitalized young boy was visited and promised by the power hitter that he would hit a homer for the young boy. Whether it actually happened that way is up for suggestion, but Ruth hit three home runs in game 4, setting a postseason record. It is a great achievement any way you look.
Maybe the reason I like October has more than baseball to do with it. October is a time for me to recognize that the end of the year is right around the corner and I can take stock of how the year has gone so far. Last week gave me a fun new event that I want to chronicle this month. My oldest son is a senior at Lone Peak High School, so as a family, we went on a college tour trip to Cooper’s institutions of interest. Luckily for me, they are all close. We went to Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University and the University of Utah. In full disclosure I graduated from the U and Mrs. Gygi graduated from BYU. No connection to UVU yet, but we hear great things about it as we have many young friends that have gone or are going there now.
We have been told by friends and the school counselor that BYU is the most competitive and hardest to get into because people from all over world want to come to Provo to study. As long as my children go to college, it doesn’t matter to me if they go to any of these schools or somewhere else. It matters to me that they go because education is the great equalizer in my life.
The schools’ tours are all given by energetic students who do a good job of encouraging prospective students to come there. BYU was first and it was a nice fall day on Homecoming week, so lots of students were outside playing football, frisbee and more. It created a nice atmosphere and the tour lasted about an hour, consisting of short visits to various buildings where students seemed serious about their studies. UVU was next and we had a very charming young lady as our tour host for another hour. She did such a good job of presenting the university’s accomplishments as a teaching campus that it rose substantially above what I imagined.
Finally, we visited the U of U on a slightly colder day and the tour was about three hours long, complete with stops at dorms, eating facilities, the field house and numerous buildings where classes are taken. We had four tour ambassadors and a dorm host. My daughter, who is a sophomore at Lone Peak High School and has planned on going to BYU for many years, whispered to me during the tour, “Why didn’t BYU show us all the cool stuff the U is showing us?” I responded that I didn’t know why they didn’t because they talk about the same kind of amenities.
My conclusion is that all three universities are very good and I would be happy if my children went to any of them, but the U of U sells it much better. Maybe education shouldn’t be sold, but isn’t everything on some level sold? I think UVU tries hard to show you what they offer and it is impressive but as my life long “I want to go to BYU” daughter told me, “Dad, I have a 4.0 GPA and am on the high school swim team, does BYU even want me to go there?”
I know BYU gets requests from students who want to go there from all over the world, so admissions faculty must be highly selective. But I would recommend that the university may want to sell it a little more so it doesn’t lose students who would like to have attended.