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Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down on his sport addiction

Michael Kim

upchurch 288x300 Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down on his sport addictionGreg Upchurch is not unlike many avid sports fans.  He might watch sports every waking hour of each day if he didn’t have to go to work.  The lifelong fan of University of Oklahoma football and the New Orleans Saints simply cannot get enough of his favorite teams.   Recently, he added the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder to his sports portfolio to help him deal with his football addiction in the offseason.

Of course, there’s always work to keep his mind occupied.

Unlike so many other sports fans, Greg’s job is one that even the athletes he follows would love to have.  He is the drummer for 3 Doors Down, an American rock band that has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide.  The group embarks this week for a concert tour in Europe with stops in Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.  Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Greg for this latest edition of “Kimmer & Answers”.

Michael Kim: Your group has had the opportunity to play in front of large crowds in many famous sporting venues.  Which one was your favorite or most memorable?

Greg Upchurch: Probably Yankee Stadium for the Home Run Derby (as part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities in 2008).  It was the last year for the stadium and that was an incredible experience that I will never forget.  (Yankees closer) Mariano Rivera asked us for an autograph.  That was surreal.  As far as the largest crowd, it’s hard to say because we have played outdoor festivals in Germany that supposedly had more than 200,000 in attendance.

MK: 3 Doors Down performs about 300 events per year.  With that many days on the road with rehearsals, studio sessions and actual performances, how are you able to keep track of your favorite teams?

GU: I’ve been known to keep a cell phone handy in score emergencies – even on stage.  Thank God for ESPN3.com.  I never miss a game.  I’ll never forget riding on a bus in Belgium and watching Texas Tech beat Texas with a last-second touchdown to Michael Crabtree.  That game put Oklahoma in the national championship game, which we eventually lost.  How great is it to watch college football on a computer on a bus at 3 in the morning going about 80 miles per hour in Brussels.  Thank you, ESPN.

MK: You have the “fleur de lis” logo of the New Orleans Saints on your drums.  Where does the Super Bowl win rank among your favorite moments as a sports fan?

GU: That was one of the most incredible moments as a sports fan I have ever witnessed.  First of all, I didn’t know if I would be alive to see that happen.  Everybody in 3 Doors Down is a Saints fan and it was wonderful to experience that.  What it did for a community is unprecedented.  I felt so happy for the people of the gulf coast because the Saints aren’t just a New Orleans team, they are a gulf coast team.

MK: Oklahoma is expected to be the #1 team in the preseason college football polls. That’s not always a good thing.  How do you like having that target on your team?

GU: First of all, as a fan, I don’t like the Sooners being ranked number one at the beginning of the season.  We all know that that is a slippery slope.  They have a great chance.  I know Florida State has a lot to prove with what happened last year but a loss to them wouldn’t completely move them out of the picture, though it would hurt.  If they manage to get by FSU, and as long as they compete, the Oklahoma State game is the scary one to me.  We have them at their place two years in a row.  They would love to ruin our season if we were to be unbeaten or with one loss and a chance for a BCS title game.  That would be a season- and, possibly, a recruiting-changer.

Michael Kim is the host of SportsCenter, ESPN America’s flagship US sports news programme, now airing in the UK on ESPN America – Sky channel 430, Virgin channel 531 and TalkTalk TV channel 566 – every weekday morning live from 6:00am with an updated show at 10:30pm. For more details visit: www.espnamerica.com. Watch the final stages of the NBA and NHL Playoffs, and the MLB regular season, live and exclusive on ESPN and ESPN America.

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