Not many people who might read this blog know that in college, I hosted a sports radio talk show for a couple years with a few friends. We thought we were big time because one time people recognized our voices at the bowling alley. I wrote a couple articles for the sports section of the school paper, and even got to review a brand new golf course after playing for free. Good times.
For two years in a row, my friends and I submitted our press info to the NFL and applied for media passes to Super Bowl week. Once in Tampa, once in New Orleans. Believe it or not, not once, but twice, the NFL approved our application and we headed down to stay at the cheapest hotel possible, while planning how to work in press conferences, media day, and strolls up and down radio row, in the midst of grasping to get comp tickets to celebrity parties. (The prices are in the thousands.)
I’m not sure what the Super Bowl week parties are like anymore, but the big deal back in 2001 and 2002 was The Maxim Party. That’s where all the celebs wanted to be, and so did we. Don’t get me wrong, attending the NFL events, hobnobbing with hall-of-famers and ESPN analysts was great fun. **Having Daunte Culpepper order me a drink (Cranberry and Gray Goose) is a random memory if I’ve ever heard of one.** But hanging with movie stars, rock stars, and TV stars was where it was at. So the first year, my friend Bret and I were denied tickets to the Maxim Party, but after some buttkissing (translation:begging) were included on the red carpet press list. We figured that to be better than nothing so headed off with our cameras, hoping to get pictures with Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears + Justin Timberlake (they were boos at the time), and Nelly. (Remember this was 2001).
Our cab pulled up to the valet area and dropped us off, right next to the long line of limos. We tried to squeeze our place onto the red carpet to prepare our attention-seeking questions and our VHS-C video cameras. (Somewhere I still have the video of Bret asking ol JT a Britney question that ticked him off.) I vividly remember the moment of seeing a piece of the makeshift wall open in an area where nobody was looking. The security guards were too busy watching the red carpet to pay attention to the two dummy college guys sneaking in to the $1500 ticket star studded event…so naturally we strolled right in like we owned the place. For the next few hours we (felt like we) did. We had drinks/danced/chatted it up with/took photos with/and felt like equals with Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, Nelly, Tara Reid, N Sync, LL Cool J, 98 Degrees, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Snoop Dogg, and tons more. P Diddy would’ve been on that list, but anytime you’d get close to him, his security guys would pummel (and I mean pummel) you out of the way. Great time.
Moral of that story…if you’re ever on the red carpet at a star-studded event, keep your eyes open for your moment to sneak in. I’m sure it’s easier than people think, just not everyone has the guts to try it.
But it was great fun. Those are some great memories from my college days, as you’d expect. I do love watching Super Bowl week media coverage remembering what it was like to be in the mobs of people. I love hearing people broadcast radio show from radio row. And I’d probably enjoy those things again. But as I have reflected on these experiences later in life, I realized that they were just one night, or one week out of many nights, days, and weeks. So what I realized is that Jesus gives is the only one who can give us those nights, weeks, years of experiences that will mean something forever. One moment with Jesus won’t mean the star-studded red carpet or photos with celebs, but it could mean eternity. (Cue Famous One – Chris Tomlin)
I have more stories to share about how we snuck into other events too. I will share more tomorrow.