2014 is half-over and I can unequivocally say that I don't think it can be topped. Between still reeling from finally experiencing a Super Bowl win, having the Mariners still in the playoff conversation in August and getting to ride in a Patriots jet... I'm waiting to wake up in a cold sweat or find out that it's all fake and I'm being laughed at on The Truman Show.
Is Seattle even real right now? Is this what it felt like in 1995?
It didn't take long after Robinson Cano signed his deal with the M's before people started comparing him to the greatest Mariner (and player) of all time. The man who saved baseball in Seattle. The man who Kid Sensation wrote a song about, the man Nintendo made a video game for, and the only MLB player to appear on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Seattle's Lord & Savior; Ken Griffey, JR. He was the sole reason my family would load up the Mercury Villager & drive 450 miles to Seattle to spend a few hours in The Kingdome and the man responsible for making every 90's kid wear their hat backwards. Dan Wilson may be my favorite Mariner of all time, but JR made baseball romantic.
My sister had Griffey's "Moonshot" poster on the back of her bedroom door (I was so jealous that I took it when she moved away to college) and that word feels appropriate to illustrate my experience with The Patriots Jet Team last week. These types of once-in-a-lifetime experiences are usually reserved for the bigger names in radio (ie morning show folks), but thanks to a lucky lottery drawing at Hubbard Radio -- I found myself strapping into a flight suit and trying not to burst into tears with excitement. 2014 just got awesomer.
We were briefed by "Smurf" who taught us what to do in case we were forced to perform a super scary mid-flight ejection (unstrap yourself from the seat, lean forward, open the canopy, and let the pilot turn the airplane upside down to literally drop you out), then what to do if/when you start blacking out from excess g-forces (clench your thighs/abs while grunting the word "HOOK" to force the blood back into your head). He also gave me a "Sic Sac" just in case the coffee and donuts I ate earlier decided they wanted to play, too.
Then he said something I'll never forget: "not many people get the chance to do this, so go have the time of your life."
24 will always belong to Ken Griffey, JR and Marshawn Lynch, but it only seems fitting that this particular Blahg experience shares the number with both of them. If it weren't for Griffey, I might not have fallen in love with baseball, which would mean no baseball scholarship and certainly no Seattle. And if it weren't for Beastmode, I'd still be Championship-less in Seattle.
Here's 95 cheers toward 2014.