I am also a huge fan of attending sports events and if my teams are within driving distance, I GO! My teams include the Marquette Golden Eagles (NCAA), the Green Bay Packers (NFL), the Detroit Red Wings (NHL), Chelsea FC (EPL) and the Wisconsin Badgers-Football (NCAA). My dad is responsible for making me a sports fan because he raised me as a Packers and Badgers fan since he's originally from Madison and a UW alum. Little did he know that I would grow up and become such a big sports fan.
Now that you have a brief background on the teams I support, let me tell you about the coaches and players I've met.
Coach, Barry Alverez, Uni. of Wisconsin Football (8.30.2003: in Morgantown, WV) - Coach Alverez and the Badgers were pulling up in their buses with a police escort when he was the first off the bus to greet me and my three friends who were all painted out. He thanked us for coming and said that he was excited to kick-off the season! I guess he was serious because on the first possession, the Badgers blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end-zone where we were siting (10 rows up) and apparently on TV going nuts!
Wisconsin Badgers Basketball Team:
Coach, Bo Ryan, Uni. of Wisconsin Basketball (1.8.2005: in Bloomington, IN) - My girl friend at the time and I went on a road trip from DC to Indiana for the Badgers vs Hoosiers basketball game! It took us ten hours to get to Bloomington but it was worth it because when we showed up to our hotel (the Courtyard) we saw a sign that read "Welcome Wisconsin Mens Basketball." After we checked-in to the hotel we saw Kammron Taylor walking to the snack machine. I saw him and said "Dude, you're Kammron Taylor." He was like "yup who are you guys?" I responded by introducing ourselves and told him that "we drove 10 hours from Virginia for the game!" I then asked "are you guys staying in this hotel?" He said "yeah on the 4th floor, come on up once your settled in!" We went upstairs and when we walked out of the elevator Mike Wilkinson, Alondo Tucker, and Brian Butch greeted us and said "Are you the fans from Virginia?" The next morning we woke up and went to breakfast only to find the entire UW Bball team were also eating. After breakfast, star player Alando Tucker took the time to pose for a picture with me. Later that day, I had this strange feeling that someone was standing outside our room and when I opened it, Head Coach, Bo Ryan was standing there and said "just wake up from a nap?" I laughed and said yeah, have to rest up to cheer loud tonight!" He then also took the time for a picture! The following year I ran into Kammron Taylor in Madison on State Street during Halloween and he remembered me as the Virginia Fan!
Devin Harris, at the time Dallas Mavericks "NBA - Rookie" but now with Utah Jazz (2/18/2005 in Denver CO "All-star weekend") - I waited patiently outside with other NBA fans of the hotel where the All-stars were staying and saw Devin Harris, the former stud the Wisconsin Badgers Basketball team. No one in the group of fans knew who he was except me. At the time, he was talking to this attractive girl when I yelled for "Devin, I'm the biggest Badger fan in the world!" He looked up because I caught his attention. I continued by telling him "I have pictures with your former team and I want one with you!" He responded "I got you, I got you!" 10 minutes later, Devin was still talking to that girl... so I yelled again from the barrier gate, "Dude are you coming to see these pics?" He sent the girl over first to check the pictures out and yelled "He's telling the truth." So he came over and saw that I was wearing a Badgers shirt and we got a picture together and we conversed. I told him that if he had stayed his senior year to play for the Badgers that they'd be in first place in the Big Ten and that they'd win the Conference out right. He agreed.
Bobby Purify, Running Back for University of Colorado (Regis University Bball game in Denver, Colorado) - When I attended Regis University my freshmen year, my best friend played, Turner Scholl, played basketball for them. As a result, I became close with both the mens and womens teams. One of the girls on the women's team was seeing Bobby Purify who was the star Running Back for the Buffaloes. I went over and introduced myself and sat with him for a few minutes during half-time since there wasn't many people/fans at the game.
Kobe Bryant, (3.24.2005 in Denver, CO) - My friend Turner and I scored free tickets to the Lakers vs Nuggets game at the Pepsi Center. Our seats were located directly behind the Lakers bench. During the game, Kobe was BOOed every time he touched the ball because he was allegedly being charged for rape in the State of Colorado. Fans were chanting "How's your wife?" and "You're a Rapist." The Lakers ended up getting killed by 20 but Kobe still made some ridiculous moves and one dunk I'll never forget. Near the end of the game when Kobe was on the bench and still being heckled "You suck Kobe, I still hate you" a fan yelled. I simply said "Kobe I sill think you're the man," and he turned around and thanked me and gave me a high five. Kobe's teammate, Luke Walton, turned around to and I said, "don't worry Luke we still love you too," both players turned and gave us the head nod to show appreciation.
Coach, George Karl (3.24.2005 in Denver, CO) - While sitting court-side of the Lakers at Nuggets game, a classmate of mine from Regis University approached me and gave my friend Turner and I, VIP tickets to the Nuggets locker-room since he worked for the team. While waiting for the players to change, I saw Carmelo Anthony walk passed and met Earl Boykins and his wife (who is also very short). I also met the head coach, George Karl who asked me to hold his shoes while he signed autographs. He was a downed to earth and really cool.
Shaun White "Flying Tomato" (X-Games 2005 in Aspen, CO) - My friends and I from Regis University decided to drive up to Aspen for the Winter X-games. I lucked out because one of the guys on my dorm wing had a chalet that we could stay at. When we arrived to base of the mountain, we walked up along side of the Half-pipe to watch the women's event. While we were watching the snowboarders warm-up, one of the boarders stopped right in front of us. I couldn't see the face of what I thought would be a girl since they were next on the schedule, I tried to use my charming voice and ask "how are you doing?" To my surprise, the snowboarder responded in a deep voice, "not bad at all." Then I noticed some red hair peeking out and asked "Are you Shaun White?" "Sure am" replied the snowboarder. Shaun asked us "where you guys from?" and we told him "from all over but we go to college in Denver." He responded "right on! Well guys what trick should I do for you guys next?" So I said a "1080." He gave us all a fist pound and dropped into the pipe and did a 1080 for us. So awesome! I'd like to add that the blue outlining of the Halfpipe is made up of Blue Raspberry Syrup. I ate some of it and it was like a giant snow cone!!
Chelsea Football Club (07.23.2009 in Baltimore, MD)
Two minutes later, in walks Captain, Legend, Leader, John Terry! He came right up to me since I was wearing his #6 England jersey. He made his rounds, saying hello to the handful of Chelsea Fans and returned to sit next to me for about an hour. We talked about David Beckham and Landon Donovan's relationship as well as if the MLS would ever be as popular as the EPL. While I was conversing with JT, Ashley Cole and Goal Keeper, Petr Cech came over!
Caitlin "Katie" Uze (11.24.2010 in Arlington, VA) - 2010-2011 Miss Virginia. I went to high school with Katie at Washington-Lee High School. The night before Thanksgiving, I ran into Katie and I congratulated her on her win and we briefly caught up. I didn't want to bother her because she was with her boy friend but she posed for a quick photo before I left the bar.
MARQUETTE Golden Eagles Basketball teams (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) Notable Players include Steve Novak (NBA - San Antonio Spurs), Jerel McNeal (NBA D-league), Dominic James, Wesley Matthews (NBA - Portland Trailblazers), Lazar Hayward (NBA - Minnesota Timberwolves), & Jimmy Butler. Other teammates include Darius Johnson-Odom, Dwight Buycks, Maurice Acker. My personal friends were Jamil Lott, Wesley Matthews, Lawrence "Trend" Blackledge, Patrick Hazel, David Cubillan, Joe Fulce, & Chris Otule.
|Tom Crean, now with Indiana|
Steve Novak, drafted by the Houston Rockets and was traded to the LA Clippers, now currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs . I met him at several Marquette Basketball events on campus. One summer, I was in Milwaukee celebrating a friends birthday and we hit up the bars on Water Street and in walks Steve. He was nice enough to pose for a picture with Lizzy and I.
Dwayne Wade, drafted by the Miami Heat in 2003. I had 2 encounters with Wade.
- While I was a student at Marquette and Wade showed up to "Marquette Madness" October 2007. He was our celebrity judge for the Dunk Contest. After Madness was over I tried to get Wade to sign my/his #3 MU jersey but all the students rushed the floor so he only gave me a high five.
- After LeBron James made his announcement of "taking his talents to South Beach" I was able to find decent priced tickets on eBay for when Miami Heat was in town to play the Washington Wizards. After the game, I maneuvered my way near the Miami tunnel where after scoring 33 points and leading the Heat to a 123-107 victory, he came over and gave me his arm sleeve... when really all I wanted was him to sign #3 Wade, Marquette Jersey!
|Wade Coaching MU players|
|Me with Wade's Arm Sleeve|
Jay Bilas (1.26.2009 in South Bend, IN) - a four year starter at Duke University who is now an analyst for ESPN. I drove to South Bend for the Marquette at Notre Dame Basketball game which Marquette won 71-64. After the game, I went court-side and asked Jay for a picture which he agreed to.
This past season (2011) I was selected to shoot Free-Throws during the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden where I won Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for a year. As I was walking off the court I passed Jay Bilas who was covering the game and he pointed at me a winked. I'm just going to pretend that he remembered meeting me 2 years earlier!
Wesley Matthews, went undrafted and signed with the Utah Jazz. After his first year he signed a 5-year deal with the Portland Trailblazers. During my first semester at Marquette, Wes sat next to me during my theology class. When I wasn't falling asleep and being woken up by 50 Cent (Candyshop as my ringtone), I would talk to Wes about basketball. During our four years at MU we saw each other regularly around campus and at MU basketball fan events. In my opinion Matthews was the hardest working player and was built to play in the NBA. Which is why, when he went undrafted, and still made the Utah Jazz, I wasn't surprised at all. I wanted to go show my support for him when he came to my home city to play the Washington Wizards on March 27, 2010. My girl friend, Lizzy bought me his NBA jersey for Christmas and we decided to attend the game together. During warm-ups we went down to the court where Wes would hopefully see us. Within minutes, he came over and gave me a handshake and a hug. I congratulated him and we joked around about his rookie hazing. He asked where we were sitting and I pointed 15 rows up behind their bench. I then joked by asking "why do you want to give me your jersey?" and he said "Marquette already bought all of them" Since, I had his replica jersey, I asked him if he could sign it. We even got a group shot together!
Coach, Brent "Buzz" Williams, Marquette University Basketball - I have met Coach Williams multiple times and I would actually consider him a friend. After making the Journal Sentinel during the Wisconsin at Marquette Basketball game for holding a sign "Hey Dad... My School's Better then Yours," Buzz ordered the print for me and had me come to his office to pick it up. I also attended his weekly Radio show where Coach would walk around and say hello to everyone in attendance. In my senior year at Marquette, Coach Buzz gave me tickets to the Marquette at Louisville game and to the Big East Tournament in NYC. I also attended all fan events, such as "Marquette Madness" and "Marquette Fanatics Picnic." During MU's run to the Sweet Sixteen I was able to speak with Buzz briefly after MU's open practice. Every time that I had an encounter with Coach Williams he called me "his guy." In fact, while waiting in the student lines outside the Bradley Center or even standing in the student section prior to an MU game he would point at me and mouth "that's my guy."
Mike Kelley (3.7.09 in Milwaukee, WI) - is the former point guard for the UW-Badgers that let the team to the Final Four in 2000. Kelley now works for ESPN as a game announcer. When Syracuse was in town to play Marquette on "Senior Night" Kelley was covering our game so during halftime I went to the center table to request a photo. I told him that my older sister Cecile who attended UW when Kelley was a student had a massive crush on him. He laughed and I thanked him for the photo.
Gaby Sanchez, (2010 in Arlington, VA & Washington DC) - Gaby is the first baseman for the Florida Marlins. He went to college at the U and is married to my friends sister. When the Marlins come to town to play the Nationals, Randy (my friend), Priscilla (Randy's wife), Judy (Randy's sister and Gaby's wife) and I, all hangout. We obviously attend all the baseball games at Nationals Park, we even have VIP Family passes to go down to the locker-room. We've also gone out to dinner. But my most memorable time was when Gaby was suspended for fighting, and we had a BBQ where we played corn-hole!
Ryan Lochte, USA Olympic Gold Medalist (9.24.2010 in McLean, VA) - I was working a retail job at a store called Sport Fair that specialized in selling racing suits to swimmers. Our store had a partnership with Speedo so every year we had a member of the U.S. Swimming Team come to our store for a signing session. As an employee, we got to have dinner with Ryan Lochte the night before the signing. We made dinner reservations at Wild Fire and ate in a private room. During dinner, I could tell Ryan was bored so I mouthed to him "Drinks after?" because I didn't want any of my managers/boss to hear and he responded by giving me 2 thumbs up. After dinner, when I approached him for a photo when he slipped me his number to text him the bar and address where we should meet up. My co-worker suggested that we go to Clyde's so I texted him the address. I didn't think he was going to actually show up but sure enough, he did. We chilled for about 3 hours where we discussed his thoughts about Michael Phelps, life at University of Florida & hanging out with Tim Tebow. Ryan even let my put on his blinged out necklace (boxing gloves made of diamonds).
Coach, John Thompson III (3.8.2011 in New York City, NY) - While I was in NYC for the Big East Tournament and walking around the Georgetown Hoyas bus pulled up next to me and out walked Coach Thompson. I approached him from behind saying "hey coach, can I please get a photo?" Before he turned around, he said "sure thing." After seeing me all decked out in Marquette gear, he said "I'll only let take a photo with you if you put my jacket on." I replied "Let's trade then! You wear mine and I'll wear yours!"
LaPhonso Ellis (3.9.2011 in New York City, NY) - was an All-America College Basketball player who played 10 years in the NBA. He is now an analyst for ESPN and can be seen on "College Basketball Live." While walking the streets in Manhattan, I passed Ellis and was like "Hey that's LaPhonso!" and he smiled so I asked for a picture. We quickly discussed his thoughts about the Big East Conference and I told him to keep praising Marquette on TV!
James "Jim" Nantz (3.24.2011 in Newark, NJ) - Jim was covering the NCAA East Regional Basketball tournament at the Prudential Center. I took the Bolt Bus from DC to Newark for $3.00 round-trip. I wanted to attend the open practice held the day before the games. I saw Marquette, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio State all practice for FREE! During the 4th practice session, I was sitting front row watching OSU's Jon Diebler make 3 after 3 when Jim Nantz walked past me. I quickly asked if we could get a photo. He told me that I had a nice jersey and that Coach Al McGuire was his all-time favorite coach. When we were posing for a photo someone asked Jim who he thought was going to win the Masters because he is known for his coverage during that Major Golf Tournament - A tradition unlike any other.
Clark Kellogg (3.25.2011 in Newark, NJ) After attending the Marquette vs North Carolina game & the Ohio State vs Kentucky game I returned to my hotel where I went straight to the bar. While I was conversing with Lizzy and other MU fans when Clark Kellogg walked in. He was gracious enough to take a moment and pose for a picture.