Matt Griff - Rugby, Skeleton, and Stuntman

July 13, 2008

Some people are just a natural at anything they pick up, and it's just a matter of time before one of their interests makes the world stand up and take notice. Matt Griff is one of those guys. I first met Matt when I was running with the Haggis rugby team in Salt Lake (now called the Park City Haggis team). I was a little runt, who happened to be slow -- not a good combination for a rugby player. If you aren't big, you better darn well be quick. Griff would give me tips & run drills with me -- a couple of times a week we would meet at the Highland High School track at 5:30am with some of the other guys and run ladders or stairs in the stadium. It was extremely helpful, and by the end of the season I was my fastest ever. I can even boast of having chased down and caught the star winger of the team a couple of times - Jason Pye (Jason now plays for the US rugby team). And while I'm sure those happened to be moments when Jason just wasn't trying too hard, it never could have come close to happening without the encouragement of someone like Griff. But Matt's athleticism doesn't end with rugby, where he is a high scorer in every game he plays. He also plays on the Utah Jazz demonstration basketball team -- you know, the guys who do flipping dunks off of a trampoline at half time? Crazy! He is a guy with a natural body awareness that he has honed over years and years of eager practice. You can tell there's nothing he loves more than to analyze a movement until it is dialed-in perfectly. This body awareness and analytical approach to motion is what has now landed him stuntman roles in several recent and upcoming films, including Eleventh Hour and this fall's big Hollywood release about the Highland High School rugby team: Forever Strong starring the next Tom Cruise -- Sean Faris. It also stars Gary Cole ('Office Space'), Neal McDonough ('Flags of our Fathers'), and Sean Astin ('Lord of the Rings'). Click here to watch the movie clips for Forever Strong. All those stunts you see where a guy is getting hit and doing a flip? That's Griff. You'd think that would be enough to tire a guy out. But not Matt. He is also shooting for Olympic glory at the Winter Olympics in the Skeleton event ---- which is like luge, but face-first. And he is making people stand up and take notice at the times he's throwing down in skeleton: placing 2nd in the US Western Regional Championships, and 2nd in the Utah Winter Games. So keep your eye peeled for Matt Griff -- he has talent that is undeniable. And the next time you're wondering why you are such a talentless clutz, it's just because God gave Griff a little extra.

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