To say that Matt Brantingham is a typical man of the 90s may not be a fair statement but he is like a lot of men is this day and age.
Matt is a divorced father of two children, a sports fan and, at age 38, he is "heavily involved" in his children's life.
"My kids were born at Carson-Tahoe Hospital," said Matt as we began our visit. "Ashleigh is 11 and Mitch is 9 years old. I have joint custody. It's 50-50 and they live with me in Dayton and with their mom in Carson City. It's a good arraignment for us. The kids like it too and I do plan on moving to Carson City before the end of the year, just to be closer to them."
Matt, who was born at St. Mary's Hospital in Reno, is a Carson High School graduate (1978) and the third oldest of eight. He has two brothers and five sisters.
"All live elsewhere except my sister Laurie, who lives in Reno," said Matt. "I work as an equipment operator for Tennant Construction Company in Dayton. My mom and dad (Laura and Stony) own and operate Tennant Construction. Mom is also the editor of the Leader-Courier newspaper in Dayton."
On a personal note, I met Laura and Stony and the family way back in 1990 when I had Thanksgiving dinner with them at their Dayton home and I will say they are neat people that I like.
But, back to Matt. He was a coach/player for the Tennant Construction Carson City League basketball team that was called "The Diggers" and they were good.
"We played against local teams for 15 years (1981-96) and we were the best team in the league for three years and we were average for a lot of years," he said with a laugh. "The team disbanded in 1996. I was head coach and played guard on the team. That was my thing for 15 years. It was fun and I loved it."
Matt added he "used to coach" girl's softball and basketball too.
"I did that for awhile but last year was it for me," he said. "I don't do that anymore. Finding the time is hard now. Now I am a youth basketball coach for the Carson City Recreation Center. I coach my son's team. That's fun for me."
LET'S TALK SPORTS
"I'm a big sports fan," said Matt as we changed the subject. "I watch and/or go to many San Francisco Giant games. I used to go to lots of football games - I'm a UNR fan - But now I watch them on TV. You can see more on TV than you can in person. Football is for TV and baseball is better live."
Matt says this is his "time of the year" with the NFL going full blast, the baseball season heading toward the playoffs and World Series and basketball cranking up.
"I follow it all closely, especially college basketball," he said happily. "Those are my main sports but I follow most sports closely. This is my time of the year and I do bet. Not a lot but I do make a wager now and then."
He paused and laughed as he added, "It's not how I make my living."
Care to make any predictions?
"Sure," replied a grinning Matt. "I like Cleveland and Houston to make it to the World Series and Cleveland wins in six games. I like Jacksonville and Minnesota to make it to the Super Bowl and Jacksonville wins 37-20. In pro-basketball the Lakers will be real tough but I still really like San Antonio to repeat as NBA champions. I like the Miami Heat in the east to make it to the finals but San Antonio wins a close series in seven games."
Matt really does like his sports but his kids are his main focus in life.
"My life really revolves around my kids," he noted cheerfully. "They are my life."
Time for us to part company so our visit with Matt must end but I do want to say that Matt is just one of the many who make up our community and it's people like him that make our community such a nice place to live.
Matt doesn't know it, but I talked with his mom Laura a couple of days ago and she had - as any mom would - some nice things to say about her son.
"He's a tough kid who is good-hearted and I say that not because I'm his mom but because that's what he is," said Laura. "He's honest, devoted to his children and I'm proud of him. He's just a good kid."
She paused and laughed, just like her son did, before adding "I'd like him even if he wasn't my son."
Well, he isn't my son and I like him too.
A WORLD CHAMPION?
This coming weekend in Las Vegas they hold the International Chili Society world championships. The three-day event features world champions being crowned in the salsa competition, the Chili Verde (Green chili) competition and in the traditional red chili category.
There will be around 120 cooks from all over the world competing - First place in the ICS red chili competition is worth $25,000 to the winner - And we have four chili cooks from Carson Country competing.
Heading the list is former world champion (1992) Dr. Ed Pierczynski, aka Dr. Chili, and his wife Mary Pierczynski, who placed third in the world a few years back.
Also, Carson City attorney and chili aficionado Bob Grayson will compete, as will Dayton's Marilyn Allen. All qualified to cook at the world by winning an ICS state or regional chili cookoff during the past year.
Good luck cooks. Hope one of you win and is crowned world champion.
-- You can see the Carson City Invitational Chili Cookoff that took place earlier this year on our Street Talk TV show at 6 p.m. today on CAT-10. We'll visit with Doc and Mary and many other local chili cooks and show you the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on before the judges actually judge the chili and declare a winner. The show repeats at 8 a.m. Monday.
ALAN ROGERS is a Nevada Appeal columnist. His message phone is 887-2430, ext. 402.