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Mark Zupan's 'Murderball' Journal

For the next few weeks, Mark Zupan — world-class athlete, beer aficionado and, for the time being, highly effective movie promoter — and some of his buddies will be traveling the country and overseas talking up the new film "Murderball." The movie is a documentary about players in the amazing (and aggressive and graceful) sport of wheelchair rugby, a.k.a. murderball, but it's also about imagination, suffering, striving, the will to win and the harsh reality of defeat.

Zupan's story is one of the movie's main threads. He's a music fan (Anthrax, Slayer, Jack Johnson, Modest Mouse). He's an all-star Paralympics murderball player. He's going through a strange time right now — but then, having your life chronicled in a movie will do that to you.

This is his journal from the road. Let's roll.

Watch Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O meet up with murderballers Mark, Andy and Scott for a head-punching, belly-diving, wheelchair-crashing good time ... right now, on Overdrive.

  Plus check out everything we've got on "Murderball," including photos from the New York and Hollywood premieres.

  Visit MTV's think Web site for more information on "Murderball," including bios of the guys in the film, tips on how to fight stereotypes and myths about people with disabilities and other insights into issues that affect your world.

Sunday, July 24, and Monday, July 25, Austin

I woke up and started to do yardwork. Fun stuff. Jess mowed the lawn, and I picked up leaves. You might be thinking: Picked up leaves? Isn't it the middle of the summer? These leaves are from a year and a half ago. Needless to say, I have no grass left. None at all. I have to re-grade my yard, put in a sprinkler system and re-sod it.

 Photos from Zupan's ongoing, sleepless, cross-country, beer-filled promotional tour
I was almost late to one of the screenings because of the leaves. I got there and held court outside the theater, which was cool. I had to go directly to another theater and do another Q&A. Did that and then went home and tended to the leaves. Finally got finished with the leaves and then had to figure out what to do for dinner. I called Pete, an old college buddy, to see what he and his wife, Kelly, were doing for dinner. It seems like when I am in town, we do something for dinner every Sunday. He grilled, I cooked shrimp and asparagus. Dinner turned out great, and then I proceeded to try to go to bed. Finally fell asleep, and then I woke up at 2:30 ready to go to work. I managed to go back to sleep until 5:15, and then got ready for work again.

I continued my process of getting ready, then hopped in the car and drove to work. It's nice to go to work at that hour, since there are not a lot of people on the road driving like idiots. I got a lot done at work today. It was fun to see all the boys and shoot the sh--. I did my regular job, which to the average person might not seem like fun, but it is cool because the people I work with are cool. I got to go to the gym with Stephen, a guy I work with. Cool, because having a spotter lets you use heavier weight. I proceeded to drive home, and then I ate a PowerBar and proceeded to the track to push five miles before dinner. Ate dinner, but by then it was almost 10 p.m. OK, off to bed. Nice bed

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Saturday, July 23, L.A. to Austin

I woke up and did some work — yes, for my job. I finally was able to get online so I could check my e-mail from a computer instead of using my phone. Then I went to the airport and hopped on another plane. At least this time I was able to come home. I left L.A. at 9-ish and got to Austin at 5. I had to go right to the movie theater to do Q&As. I was able to go home for a little and grab a bite to eat and a beverage. The Q&As were good. I met Shawn Badgley, the guy who wrote the article in The Austin Chronicle, and his girlfriend Amy at the second theater. Did the Q&A, and then we went out. I was on the cover of the Chronicle, so when we went out, people were buying drinks. Fun. Plus I got to go home and will sleep in my own bed.

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Friday, July 22, L.A.

It's D-day. I had to get up at 5:30 to do more press. Yes, it is press time, again. It is still hard to get up this early but, hey, this is what I am not paid to do. It will be cool since it's "The Tonight Show." I got to do live TV in the morning, then radio and then some print interviews, and then an interview for The Associated Press. The AP interview was fun, and then I talked to my friend Matt from Whiteboy clothing.

For those people who don't know what Whiteboy clothing is, it is not a white-supremacy thing. It is a great clothing line that just says, "Have fun." It started when Matt's brother, who used to play professional football, came to him and said, "What about 'white boy'?" (the nickname he was given by his teammates). So for those of you who worry that I am a skinhead and anything that goes along with that, I am not. The clothes are cool. Matt gave me some gear so I would be decked out. I got ready and a limo came to pick me up, and I got to the studio and went into the Green Room.

I was sitting there and William H. Macy came in. He was so cool. He was quoting from "Murderball," and he told me to tell the directors that he loved it.

Then a man by the name of Robert Plant from a small band called Led Zeppelin came in. So let's survey the situation: I met Jay Leno, I met Bill Macy and I met f---ing Robert Plant, all in one day. Who would have thought? Getting ready to go onstage, I called my coach, Gumbie, and left my phone on so he could hear the whole interview. It was cool coming onstage and seeing the audience. I got to sit right next to Jay's desk and we just had a conversation. People asked me if I was nervous. I wasn't — it was easy and fun. I got to see Robert Plant perform and shot the sh-- some more with Bill Macy.

I got back into the limo to go back to the hotel. Well, the limo's air conditioning broke. It was hot as f--- in L.A. Oh well. I got back to the hotel and I actually went to lift with Matt from Whiteboy, and then we went to dinner. Awesome place, right on Sunset. We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful night and had good food. Then we went back to my hotel room to watch "The Tonight Show." Got to hang out with Matt and Connor, who was co-editor of "Murderball." I also got a tape of the "Jackass" stunt, which we also watched. Funny. Very funny.

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Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22, Hartford to LA

More press today. Yes, press on the way to the airport, and then I got to sit on a plane for eight hours. I did a lot of work on the plane, but when I tried to save it all, it wouldn't save and I lost f---ing everything. Sucks. I did hours of work only to piss it away. So I said screw it, and I went to sleep for the whole flight. I got off the plane and got situated at the hotel, right on Sunset Boulevard. I ordered room service, since I hadn't eaten all day. A tuna steak and a salad? Seventy bucks. Welcome to Los Angeles.

Today I had to go to the "Tonight Show" studio to make sure everything was cool on the set. I got there, we did our thing, and then Jay came over to me and said, "Hey Zupan, you a--hole." From that point on, I knew Leno was a cool cat. We sat and shot the sh-- for a little, and then we both left. The publicist, Jess, took me out with her boyfriend and three other friends. We went to the Velvet Margarita, which was a chill place and the margaritas were good. The owners had seen the movie and they were really cool. They took me home and I had to begin my Friday real early — like, 5:30 Pacific Time, maybe. Great. No ... sleep ... 'til ... Brooklyn!

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NEXT: When we got to the room it was stocked with a blow-up tiki bar, blow-up sex dolls ... and enough adult beverages to kill a small farm animal.
Photo: ThinkFilm

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