With apologies for the delay- Had trouble finding my camera cable (damn propietary technology), and without pictures, this would be even more lame than it is already gonna be.
So, if you want to read about an old, thick fellow meeting aged heros and finding new ones, laughing, crying and getting ripped with Mongo- yes, Steve McMichaels, at the 2010 Comcast Sports Awards, read on after the jump...
I work for a health insurance company, (fighting the high cost of healthcare everyday, so save your jabs for someone who doesnt care how much your hospital stay costs, cause I do) and we were a sponsor of the event, so we got a table up front near the stage. Everyone at my place knows that I am a huge Sox and Hawks fan, so I was included in the invite again this year.
First of all, it is a fundraiser for the March of Dimes- more on this later.
Second, the crowd was mostly business types, mid 30-50's ish. Some had brought their bratty kids (and I call them bratty because they were- priviledged little snots who pawed all the auction items, and pushed ahead of adults to meet athletes), some had brought their LBD-wearing spouses, who added some nice eye-candy to the evening- thanks guys!
So, with a bottle of barley pop on board, I was cruising the auction room and noticed several TV cameras- I amble over, and stand 5 feet from Jonathan Toews of the 4 Feathers Hockey Club, which was very cool. As I am watching him being interviewed, I glance to my right and my jaw drops to the floor- it is Frank Thomas, standing with family, including an Uber-hot wife (presumably a mark 2) and toddler-aged son, and his older teen-aged children.
All day, I had been thinking- "What am I going to ask the Big Hurt if I get the chance?"- knowing the sharp jabs I would take from the SSS'ers if I just said "goober goober" I had decided on "So, do you think the Sox can win without a full-time quality DH?"
So, I walk over, stick my hand out and gush "I am a HUGE fan... can I take a photo?" Yeah- brain freeze. For those who have never met a hero, your rational thought goes out the window, you revert to being 12 years old, mouth goes dry, you stammer, sweat, and all you can think is "I am talking to frank thomas...I am talking to frank thomas...OMG I am talking to frank thomas...OMFG, I am talking to frank thomas...JFC, I am talking to frank thomas..."
Then, I walk away, dreamily, and in my near-opiated state, see A.J. Pierzynski .
Cue replay of meeting Frank Thomas- "AJ- I love the way you play the game. Can I have a picture?" (as I fell into the deep blue of his dreamy eyes)
Totally cool, made my month, even more than the job promotion I just got.
Then at the bar I ran into Steve "Mongo" McMichaels- he was more of a hanger-on than an invited star, so he was chatting up the bartender while drinking hard liquor copiously. Yeah, drinking with mongo is cool.
But, here is the most precious thing I walked away the event with- a blue dempsterfoundation.org bracelet, because I now have a Cub I will always root for, except when facing the Sox. Here is why:
The event was a fundraiser for the March Of Dimes- if you dont know what they do, go find out. Ryan had a daughter born premature with a rare disorder involving her digestive tract, and while he could have just sat at the table with his friends before recieving the award, he and his wife got up to share their experience before the live telecast began, while a photo montage of his daughter and family played. It was obviously emotional, and he and his wife choked up telling their story- a brief recap is at :
My wife and I lost a newborn nearly 17 years ago, and I still carry it with me- I could never stand in front of a crowd of strangers and talk about it. His sincerity, genuine emotion and open-ness about what it is like to deal with such difficulties won me over, and I am Ryan Dempster fan from here on out.
Finally, it appears my hair was inspired by Cameron Diaz in "Something about Mary"- I have no idea why my hair product failed, but it certainly failed dramatically.