I am going to throw a temper tantrum. No. Make that I am throwing a temper tantrum. Right now.
See, I went to live out my dream. To meet Marshawn. And look, I knew it wasn't going to be like we met and became besties and moved to Buffalo together. And look, I knew I was really paying $30.00 for a few words, an autograph, and a photo together. But hell, I would have loved to get that.
And I was all ready to write the "I TRIUMPHANTLY AND FINALLY MET MY EPIC MANCRUSH, MARSHAWN" post. It would have gone something like this:
In conclusion, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I MET MARSHAWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But instead, I won't get to write that joyful gibberish at all. This story is as dreadfully painful as all the other gibberish I pen for this site.
No, instead I get to tell a different story. A terrible story. The kind of story that makes you simultaneously pity me for having experienced it and judge me for it affecting me the way it does.
For I went to Sporting Gallery, home of the eventual Marshawn on July 13, 2008. I paid my 30 bucks for an 8x10 (of Marshawn Patrick Chunging Patrick Chung). The event (purportedly) started at 3, but I got there early, at 2:30.
To answer your question, no I did not wear a jersey. It was hot that day in Walnut Creek. Sweat poured down our brows as we waited patiently for Marshawn to arrive. Minutes crept towards 3 and I texted with Hydro in excited anticipation. I had been around Marshawn previously, but only by walking down towards the Cal side in the stands. Dozens of feet away, him in full pads, focused elsewhere, that offered nothing compared to what I hoped for that afternoon. A few moments together, our hearts aflutter in the endless joy of possibility.
Once before I had had an opportunity to meet a mancrush as so. It was several years back. At an As Beerfest. Barry was there. Oh. Barry. Now, that was a man crush you could believe in. None of this 129 billion Barry Zito.
"I am a Billy Beane double agent. And how!"
We were in line for Barry's autograph. Finally, it was! A few moments of talking. A photograph together. Our destiny was to be met! But, then. No. Unbelievable. A few people away from the front of line we were and Barry, he had to go. No. Noooo. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
That was rough, but that was nothing compared to this. Not to promote stereotypes, but at least I didn't pay any money for that disaster. And no interaction is sometimes better than a negative one. Especially a negative one that devastated me so as Sunday, July 13.
Most of the people there at Sports Gallery were dressed in Cal gear, although there were a few Bills fans sprinkled in. Some were "miscellaneous."
We all waited there with our gear to be signed. I just paid for the photo, but there were mini-helmets and whatnot to be signed. Minutes passed in this sort of dull appreciation of nothingness. The line started to grow and grow.
3 became 3:15. 3:15 became 3:20 and soon that became 3:25. I don't think it was 3:30 before he came out. At first, I was sort of fine with waiting. But soon it started to drag on. Before I fill in this portion of the story, let's jump to the end:
I get to the front. Marshawn is there, resplendent as expected.
I ask one of the Sports Gallery employees if they would help me by taking a photo of me with Marshawn. They are of no use. I ask the dude behind me, who has like a football in his hands already. I feel bad, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.
I walk up, hand outstretched for a friendly handshake. Marshawn's head was down and he missed it. Awkward! Then, I asked if we could take a photo. While occured, the dude took a photo. This photo:
Marshawn said yes and I turned around to smile. The dude taking my photo had trouble taking another photo. This is because my camera takes a few moments to recharge the flash. It is frustrating to be sure, but here it was deadly.
Because the woman running the show started berated me for taking too long. In the amount of time it would have taken to explain "Well, my flash needs to recharge," my flash would have recharged. But I didn't apparently have that time, thanks to the lateness of the show.
Realizing my goal of having my photo taken with Marshawn was shot, I just turned to him and said "It was a pleasure meeting you, good luck this season." He said "Thanks" and I walked out. Bee Tee Dubz, Marshawn has really gentle eyes. The eyes of a child. Not BeastMode at all!
The 3 seconds of talking meant nothing. The signed photograph meant nothing. It's the photo I wanted. The photo I didn't get. The photo I might never, ever get. So, then. This is all too much to write about and take it, to relive those moments, that pain. I need something to help, something to soothe me.
Ok, ok, ok, ok, I feel better now. Happier. Calmer. Soothed. I can talk about it again. Let me take a deep breath and start over:
This was particularly devastating for me and I still can't figure out why. Let's run it down again. Let's take it in slo mo:
1. Dude takes photo too soon.
2. Flash can't recharge in time
3. Woman barks at me to move on.
4. Tears burn my cheeks.
Who is to blame for this devastating situation? There are 3 major players
1. Dude who took photo. But it's tough to fault him since a)he was doing a favor for me and b)he doesn't know anything about my camera.
2. Marshawn. He was 30 minutes late. This required the Sports Gallery woman to push everybody through quickly, denying me the vital 10 seconds I needed.
3. Sports Gallery. Marshawn was 30 minutes late. This required them to push everybody through quickly, denying me the vital 10 seconds I needed.
So, the question is inevitably:
"Why was Marshawn 30 minutes late?"
How much blame can be assigned to Marshawn and how much can be assigned to Sports Gallery?
Well, it was clear that Marshawn was there. Several members of his entourage were milling around well before he came out. The dude to Marshawn's right there (whose job it was apparently to shake up Marshawn's pens so that they always had ink and what a stereotypical entourage job that is!) was walking around for a while before I saw the big guy.
And some of the Sports Gallery employees were joking around about how he was fixing his hair and putting in his mouthguard, all jokes that went over poorly to the waiting crowd. So, if he was there, why didn't he come out for 30 minutes??? Why?
Is he a diva? Or did Sports Gallery have some problems that kept him from coming out?
Judging by this article on Marshawn from Saturday, he is still as awesome as ever.
During a 45-minute autograph session, there were a handful who were more interested in sitting on Lynch's lap than getting a signature. Lynch took his time with everyone who approached, taking relief only once in a while to sprint toward and hug someone he hadn't seen yet.
So, I have to believe that Marshawn, who seemed kind of silently sad when he came out, wasn't wholly at fault here. I just can't. I just can't! So, then why did you do this to us, Sports Gallery? Why did you destroy my opportunity with Marshawn?
Why do you think I can't have heroes? Why do you think I shouldn't have fun? Why do you want me to be devastated, Sports Gallery? Why did you single me out for humiliation and embarassment, Sports Gallery? What did I ever do to you? Why did I deserve this? Did you wake up on Sunday morning, entire employee staff of Sports Gallery and say "I can't wait to ruin TwistNHook's dreams today"? Well, did you?
The only reasonable answer is "Yes." Sports Gallery hates me. They despise me.
"It's definitely everywhere at Sports Gallery."
How does this story end? My brother helps me heal emotionally the only way modern American 20-something males know how. Open and frank discussion? Nah! Just kidding!
We quoted Simpsons episodes until the tears stopped flowing. After a few "If said foodstuff shall hit the ground, the local village idiot gets it...well boy I don't see him, so it's ours" and "Hired Goons? Hired Goons!" I was feeling better.
I guess it says something terrible about my state of adultlescence that an unfortunate experience with Marshawn would devastate me so. Was I justified to stagger out like a zombie, unaware of my outside surroundings, focused solely on the paradise lost? Or was I throwing an inner temper tantrum over not getting my photo with my hero, Marshawn?
What would you have done fair reader?
Finally, for those curious:
(And bee tee dubya, for those of you wondering what I look like, there is your answer. Well, at least for those of you wondering what my arm hair looks like. And hoping for the answer to the time-tested question of "Is TwistNHook as Jewish as he claims.")