Sunday, September 4, 2011

a quick thank you for the best summer of my life

“Whoa.
Never gonna grow up.
Whoa.
Never gonna slow down.
Whoa.
We were shining like lighters in the dark
In the middle of a rock show.

Whoa.
We were doing it right.
Whoa.
We were coming alive.
Whoa.
Yeah caught up in a Southern summer
Barefoot Blue Jean night …”
-- Jake Owen, “Blue Jean Barefoot Night”. Just enjoy the video. If you can’t want a day like that, then you will never get the appeal of a float trip, or a day on the lake. That, and you’re damned right I’m never gonna grow up. At least as long as I can avoid it …

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I know I still owe you a recap of Y’allapalooza (sorry DJ – it’s the official name of the concert, the “palooza” designation stays) but my quick thoughts on that are:

1. Eric Church rocked the house and then some.
2. David Nail is amazing, and
3. Holy crap, is Hunter Hayes good! I’ve argued with “The Ex” about this for a week now, but as much as I loved Eric Church, and as great as David Nail was, Hunter Hayes’ set was the best 45 minutes of the night. This kid’s talent is just sick. I love seeing greatness in front of me. This kid is going to be phenomenally great. (And he’s just 20! Are you effing kidding me! Seriously, if you don’t know who this guy is, spend the $1.29 on iTunes and download the “Storm Warning” single. Or go to youtube! and watch the video. He’s 20 … and playing every god d*mned instrument in the video! (And he played every damned instrument on stage at some point last weekend to boot – it’s not for show. This kid is crazy sick talented.)

No, rather, I wanted to just post a few words of thanks to the people that made the Summer of a Lifetime possible. I spent my Sunday evening (after waking up from a solid nap after Roddick’s third round victory, Go Andy GO!!! If he beats David Ferrer (to be fair, a tough, tough task) late tomorrow* or Tuesday night, then Rafa Nadal is next. Roddick, to reach the Finals, has to go through the world’s number 5 (Ferrer), 2 (Nadal), and 4 (Murray), barring upsets. And if he survives that insane gauntlet, he likely gets Djokovic (1) or Federer (3). Four of the top 5 in the world (Roddick is 21), potentially in the span of 120 hours. Uuh, yes? Please? Pretty please? God I love the US Open! And not just because every Andy Roddick match guarantees you two straight hours of gratuitous shots of his lovely better half Brooklyn Decker …), anyways, I spent my Sunday evening having one last dinner on the back deck, grilled out in the West Wing, with the folks that are in essence my second family. And on most days, hell, I like ‘em better than my actual family.

(*: if I’m Roddick, I want the 4pm ET slot at Arthur Ashe tomorrow. And since CBS wants it as well, figure it’ll happen. Why? Because Labor Day weekend at the Open is sick. Think Connors’ incredible run at the Open two decades ago. OK, I remember that, since I’m old, when a 41 year old Jimmy Connors somehow made the semis, fueled by his epic upset on Labor Day against (I believe) Boris Becker. I’m too damned lazy to Google it and confirm it, but the Labor Day comeback (down 2-0, faced multiple match points in the third set) still makes me smile. I refused to leave the couch in my folks’ main room that day, and me not going outside on the last weekend of summer was unthinkable even back then. Roddick needs to take the same approach -- the crowd will be COMPLETELY behind him, and he’d have a national TV audience on CBS. Win that one, and set up the showdown with Nadal on Wednesday night? Best night of tennis since Agassi and Sampras threw down one final time in the quarters at the 2002 Open, or since Nadal emerged onto the national scene by upsetting Roddick in the quarters at the 2007 Open. Either way, the winners? Us, the audience.)

So, I wanted to post a quick thanks to a few folks for making this unbelievable summer of fun, frivolity, tomfoolery and hijinks possible.

Since I’m a man of few words (yeah right), I’ll just be brief.

Thank you to Gregg, for continuing to be “The Voice of Reason”, and for coming up with THE best idea (non-river related) of the summer: the Fed Ex Playoffs Gambling Pool! We usually bet on the Majors, but the PGA is in mid August. What to do until the Masters next April? Easy. Gambling pool on the playoffs. I know he’s not my golfer, but I am rooting like holy hell for William “Mr. 125 … excuse me, Mr. 96” McGirt, the last golfer in the field who somehow is still alive. All “Mister 96” has to do to survive two more weeks … is basically post par tomorrow. Come on Billy! I want to change that 96 to any number higher than 71 tomorrow night …

Also thanks to Brent, for joining us in said gambling excursion. And I promise any and all IRS employees reading this: I will file a 1099 if I win. (I assume, due to my gambling wins/losses, I’ll want to do that anyways, like I always do.)

Major thanks to Russ and Mona for continuing to offer the best summer setup imaginable: watching NASCAR while floating in a pool. And the “pay in advance” sign on the beer machine was pure comedic gold*. Best summer ever.

(*: yes, it’s up to $.75 / beer … fully payable by the $50 some odd dollars of quarters on top of the machine. It ain’t the cheapest, coldest beer in Raytown for nothing folks!)

Thanks to the rest of the pool “regulars” – Nancy, Susan, Larry and Karen, Stacey and Jose, Joycie and Jerry. We definitely are the talent pool of the two worst volleyball teams imaginable.

Thanks to “The Crush” for her annual appearance at the pool. I’m still drafting you number one next summer, under the dream that you’ll lead my side to at least score 4 points.

Also, thanks to two of my best friends, DJ and Kellie. Not just for being yourselves, because you’re awesome enough as you are. And not even for my ability to call you two “damned good friends of mine”, because that’s sweet too*. But for being willing to take a chance, take a risk, and try to make it together in this life. I love you guys.

(*: Katie is known as “your friend” by DJ to Kellie. She’s not “his” friend, she’s “her” friend. That will never fail to crack me up. Oh, speaking of “The Ex” …)

I would not have wanted to share this summer with anyone else, chica. It was epic, it was awesome, and while, in the words of Ronnie Milsap, I “wouldn’t have missed it for the world”, I definitely wouldn’t have wanted anyone else recording my drunk ass halfway lit in the river, fist pumping to Tears for Fears.

Anyone I forgot, I apologize – it was one helluva long and epic summer. (stevo raising beer) Here’s to believing this wasn’t the last great one.

(stevo offering the traditional season opening toast next Sunday voice) And here’s to believing the greatest Chiefs season of most of our lifetimes is kicking off less than 180 hours from now …

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