Forgive what could prove to be an epic post. But having just spent an entire day escorting Brett Favre and his family around L.A. and to/from the ESPY Awards this Wednesday, I feel I may be entitled to a little extra room in the blog-o-sphere.
Wednesday morning I arrived at the W Hotel in Hollywood to meet with the people in charge of the 30-something athlete escorts for the ESPY Awards. We were all designated different athletes either nominated or presenting for the awards, responsible for making sure they had everything they needed and getting them to and around the event. I was lucky enough to be given Brett Favre.
First off, allow me a quick sidebar to talk about how awesome Favre is. On paper, he’s already one of the greatest quarterbacks who ever lived, despite how much everyone (including myself) makes jokes at his expense. But in person, never before have I met such a down-to-earth, relaxed, funny guy who appears in the media every week. Especially with everyone and their dog hounding him down trying to discern his intent towards playing next year.
Whether it was walking around the hotel, rocking the red carpet or backstage at the show, I was constantly surrounded by celebrities who nearly broke my jaw off. I kept a list of everyone I came within 5 feet from, but that would be too long to post here. Highlights include Favre, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Bosh, Erin Andrews, Stu Scott, Brooklyn Decker, Landon Donovan, Seth Myers, Will Ferrel, Ashley Greene, Lindsey Vonn, and Shaun White. Then there were people I actually got to meet and shake their hand, including Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis from SNL, Reggie Bush, and, best of all, Dr. J. That blew my mind.
We were hanging out backstage before the show with Favre when Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis came in, asking to meet him. They shook his hand, and ours, and just started to talk to him. Then Will asked the all-important question: “So Brett, are you coming back next year?” Everyone in the room went quiet; that subject was supposed to be off-limits. But staying true to his awesomeness, Favre replied honestly and calmly, with a joke at the end. Classy.
The toughest part of the day was getting Favre to the red carpet, and then down it. The minute we exited the hotel he was mobbed by fans, and it was my job to keep them off of him and keep microphones looking for an interview out of his face. This meant even turning down Erin Andrews, something I vowed long ago I would never, ever do. It was really hard shoving kids out of the way, not to mention guys who were significantly bigger than I. But once we got to the red carpet, everything became easy, and SUPER cool. I was walking down a red carpet a step behind Brett Favre, hanging around Rachel Nichols and Chris Johnson, Danica Patrick and Amare Stoudamire.
Once in the theatre, everything was exploding with energy. The lights, the cameras, and at the end, the confetti. It was incredible. I didn’t get to actually watch any of the event, but just to be in the company of these people… never before have I felt so important! I will never forget this awesome experience, or the image of putting the Favres back in their car and having them personally thank me before driving off. I did something really right at some point in my life, and this was that paying off. I feel so blessed, and lucky. I won’t take that for granted.