It's Pro Bowl here over here in Hawaii and I'm finally starting to get excited again after the disappointing loss. I planned on starting my Pro Bowl experience Friday night with a downtown block party, followed by the "official" NFL Pro Bowl Tailgate Party on Saturday (official meaning $200 a ticket, good thing I had hook ups), and of course the Chargers vs the NFC exhibition.
I'd be stoked if I got to meet one or two Chargers. Wednesday comes along and I get a text message from my roommate, "Guess who I met today at work (hospital)? I'm pretty sure he's the guy you like!" In the middle of sending a reply defending my sexuality, I get a picture this time. Lo and behold... LT! She had only known who LT was from my pre-playoff rants about the Chargers. Grumbling about how that should've been me, I continue on to my day. I'm greeted by my other roommate at home who says he met some Charger player at work (Marine base). He couldn't remember his name, but he did print out a picture of him and got his signature. Lo and behold again... LT! He hung out with about 10 of them for 20 minutes. I'm 0 for 2.
Thursday rolls around, several signings. Willie Parker (HoF Raiders corner) and Warren Moon (who was an hour late).
Friday comes, and I score some free VIP tickets ($75 a piece, access to blocked off sections) to a Pro Bowl party at a club sponsored by Tony Gonzalez and Warren Moon. There are Pro Bowl parties every day, the big one on Wednesday sponsored by Devin Hester, Thursday was Ocho Cinco. From what I heard, this was the one to go to... with players like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Jason Taylor and Brian Urlacher named as confirmed guests.
The entrance looks like a Hollywood red carpet, parking lot full of limos, long lines, backdrop for photos, groupies and entourages that rival Johnny Drama and Turtle. My roommates and I roll up past the lines with our VIP passes and out walks Peyton Manning, only 30 minutes after the party had started. Talk about taking "making an appearance" literaly. But I guess you can do that when you leave with three chicks.
Two steps in the club and I bump into some guy with a slight mohawk dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I thought to myself, how did this jerk get in? It was a no t-shirt, no jeans dress code. As I begin to look up in preparations to talk some trash, I notice I'm about to throw down with none other than the "Iceman" Chuck Liddell himself. Strolling around, I see lots of football players I don't know, lots of "ice" and "bling", lots of 300 lbs plus athletes and plenty of groupies ready to pounce. I think I spot Charger players here and there, but I'm still hesitant. I spot Chuck Liddell in a corner table with a couple of blondes (who I saw on the last UFC sitting with him). He was chatting away with who I thought was Kassim Osgood at the next table. After thinking about it, I remember that Liddell is at most of the Charger home games.
The night continues and I swear I think I recognize David Binn. I ask my roommate to ask him if he's from San Diego. A guy standing next to me overhears me and asks if I'm from San Diego. Apparently, he was a 97 Helix grad living in Mission Valley who was brought to the Pro Bowl with Kaeding for being his golf instructor. He introduces me to Binn, Mike Scifres, Clinton Hart and confirms that it was Osgood that I saw earlier. I get invited over and hang out with them for half an hour, Scifres gratious enough to buy a couple beers. I'm able to get pictures with all of them. In summary...
Pro Bowl was ok. I sat AFC side close to the 50 10 rows up. Besides the LT TD, Merriman forced fumble and insane Hester returns, nothing too exciting. The guards wouldn't let the players come over to the stands. So unfortunately, no game worn Jamal Williams underwear for me. Chad Johnson did sneak by to say hi to a childhood friend and sign a couple of autographs. Tons of LT chanting during the game from the crowd, but he wouldn't even turn to acknowledge. Kickoffs were fun, I counted 6-7 Chargers each time. Great finish, Kaeding got the game winner.