Saturday, May 2, 2009

I met Sam Calagione

Today I met the man, the legend, Sam Calagione. That's right, I was able to meet my hero today. And I have yet to stop smiling.

After the devastating news on Thursday night, I though all was lost. However, the good news was that Sam was going to be in town through the weekend. And there was no way on God's green Earth that I was going to miss my chance to meet Sam. So thank you God, I did!

After my sons baseball game, I drove across town to the Bocce Tournament. I was never able to talk to anyone at the hotel who could tell me anything about it. I called 5 times on Friday, and still had no answers. So the only way I was going to find out, was to go. I am so happy I did.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be fun. Right there, in front of me were the Bocce Ball fields and a good sized group of people holding red cups. Red cups are always great sign. So I got out, and simply watched the for a while. As I sat there, I scanned the area for any site of Sam. I kept getting distracted by all the people dressed up in costumes. There were Super Heroes, Safari guys, Human Beer Bottles, and countless groups wearing matching Jerseys or shirts. All I knew was that I was missing out on a good time. And the only way to make the trip,was to meet Sam.

So I grabbed my backpack, and walked out onto the field. I was amazed at how nice everyone was. There were people playing Bocce, people playing Cornhole, and people just chilling, or recuperating from the night before. I grabbed a chair, and enjoyed the time.

After 15 minutes or so, I spotted Sam. He was in the group wearing Sombreros. A good look for them. I watched him and his team win their match and have a celebratory beer. I wanted to walk up and introduce myself, but I didn't want to bother him.

Finally, Sam came walking by and noticed me. Actually, he noticed my shirt. He thought it was cool. He shook my hand, and asked me my name. Then he asked if I was playing. I explained to him that I was huge fan, and tried to get a team together. However, all my friends are too cheap and I wasn't able to pull it off in time. He then told me that I should have come by yesterday, because he could have got me on a team. Go figure. I told him how I called 5 times on Friday and nobody at the hotel was able to help me out.

Then he told me to just hang out then, and "go grab a beer". Was he serious? I told him that I didn't pay, and I was just here to watch and get his autograph when he had the time. He told me. "Who cares, go grab a beer, and hang out with us, and I will sign your stuff".

Wow, after a moment of shock, I went over and poured myself a beer. 60 Minute IPA was on tap, and something else. I didn't know what it was, so I poured myself a cup. I am glad I did.

I did exactly what Sam said, I poured myself a couple pints and watched everyone play Bocce Ball. I have never played, so I wanted to figure out how it works. It looks simple enough. And I am going to start practicing as soon as I buy myself a set.

After an hour or so, Sam noticed me again and said "Hey, you wanted me to sign something, bring it over". So I did. I had a copy of Draft Magazine with Sam and Jim Koch on the cover. He signed it and asked "should I sign it over Jim's face"? I told him he could sign it where ever he wanted. He chuckled, and said "No, Jim is my friend, I couldn't do that". So he signed it for me, and then he signed my his book, Brewing Up a Business. I told him that I have met hundreds of famous athletes and got their autographs. But meeting his was really a big thing for me.

I thanked him again for everything. He was so gracious to let me hang out and drink the beer, for free. But it didn't end there. He told me to go grab another beer. And to be sure to try the Pale Ale, because it isn't available anywhere other than the Atlantic region because it "doesn't travel well". So that is what that was. I liked it. I really liked it. How could I turn down Sam? I didn't. Then he started asking me questions.

Sam: "Do you home brew"?
Me: "Yes, but just a little bit. I am trying to be more prolific at it".
Sam: "You know, I only brewed 7 batches before I went into business".
Me: "That is amazing. And I can' believe you did it on that home brew system".
Sam: "I know, it was hard, but it worked".
Me: "That is amazing".
Sam: "Go grab another beer and watch us play"
Me: "OK, I will thanks so much for letting me hang out today. And thanks for the autographs".
Sam: "My pleasure".

So I poured myself another Pale Ale, and watched Sam and his team win their next match. He really seems to enjoy Bocce Ball. And I can understand why. It looks like fun, and you can play while you drink beer. It is the perfect sport, or game. On one occasion, he said to me, "We are in this"! He really seemed to take it serious, yet in a fun way. And his team did indeed pull off the win, in come from behind fashion. I told him I was pulling for him.

But my time was up. I needed to get home. So I thanked him again for everything. He said to me:
Sam: "__________, are you leaving"? (He called me by name. On all 3 occasions, he remembered my name)
Me: "Yes, I gotta get going"
Sam: "Well thanks for coming and hanging out with us today".
Me: "It was my pleasure. Thanks for letting me hang out".
Sam: "Are you going to play next year"?
Me: "Are you going to do it again next year:?
Sam: "We sure are".
Me: "Then I am going to have a team ready for sure".
Sam: "Great".

I asked him if I could get a picture with him, and without pausing, he said sure. He was more than happy to do it. He asked the woman standing next to us if she would take the picture for me. Then he told me to make sure I sent him an email. How could I forget. (I already sent him one). You see, he liked my shirt. And as luck would be, I just so happened to have an extra one, brand new. I told him I would send it to him. He told me if I did, he would send me a Dogfish Head shirt. How could I turn down a deal like that? So he gave me his email address, and told me to send him an email and he would give me the info and where to send it.

That's my story. Can you believe it? I can't. I am still in awe. I can't believe I got to meet him. And to make it even better, he was cool as hell! He was so much cooler than I thought he would be. Completely down to earth, and an all around nice guy. If I wasn't already a fan, I surely am now. In fact, I am a fan for life.

A truly amazing day. A day I will never forget. Thanks Sam.


1 comment:

Seawolf said...

Great work Good Burp!

I think you were drinking Shelter Pale Ale. I will make sure to send you some in the next round.