Have you ever had one of those nights that change your life? And you know instantly, somehow, those 24 hours have fundamentally, and irrevocably transformed you from that moment on? No? Me either, but Sunday was as close as I will ever come to such a night. I got two words for you: Kevin Costner. Okay, now I got three more: back stage passes. Ah hell, I’ll just give you a whole sentence instead of dragging this out. I saw Kevin Costner and Modern West (his band) play in Berlin with my long time friend Karina Thiel, annnnnnnd we had back stage passes. How did I get so lucky? This is where I thank Coach Vaughan, Tim Hoctor and the band from the bottom of my heart. And below is where I make you incredibly jealous with the details.
It’s all a blur; a fantastic, unforgettable string of improbable moments I can hardly believe. And if not for the embarrassing bag o’ swag I coaxed from the band as evidence, proof of an otherwise unbelievable night, Sunday would seem merely an illusion. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
There we were, the 3 of us—Tim Hoctor (friend to Coach Vaughan, Kevin Costner and Buena Basketball), Karina (who conveniently lives in Berlin) and myself walking back stage to see “Kev” as Tim kept saying, with a casualty and familiarity that was simply laughable to Karina and me. “Ah yes, Kev” we’d repeat between giggles, our own disbelief as evident as our lack of sophistication required for this moment. We approach a door, “Kevin Costner’s Dressing Room”. A small squeal slips from my mouth. I sheepishly look around confused--wasn't me I suggest. Get it together Sam. “Ready?” Tim prompts. In that exact moment, Karina and I learned that there are some things you just can never be ready for. We nod, like idiots, terrified that even breathing wrong will disrupt this sublime moment. Upon entering Mr. Costner’s dressing room, I observed what could only be described as the loosest interpretation of the word “room” ever used. Room? This room was bigger and nicer than my apartment. This room was no room at all. While I was lost in my own trivial observation, it happened. I saw him. And then I was shaking his hand, and I promise you, if my palm hadn’t been so disturbingly clammy, I wouldn’t have let go. After taking some pictures and talking basketball, Mr. Costner played a couple songs for us, perhaps also in preparation for the show, which I had now forgotten entirely about. The band invited us to join them for their pre-show traditions, which I have decided out of respect for them to not reveal. It was awesome though, I assure you. Then, it was time for the show, and even though Karina and I had convinced ourselves we were apart of the band now, walking on stage with them wasn’t really an option. As Karina and I walked out of the room we immediately clung to each other as if to ensure ourselves it was all real, and as our eyes met all we could do was laugh, hysterically, in awe of our luck. And still, amazingly, our night was just beginning.
After the show, the fantastic show, we spent another hour with the band and Mr. Costner gave Karina and I a present I think we both will never forget—sitting about 2 feet in front of us, he sang us a song he wrote about the Ventura Fair called “Where do we go from here”, and I kid you not, I thought I might faint. You look into those man’s eyes while he’s singing to you and smiling and your knees will wobble too, don’t matter that I was sitting down. Before we left, we got to see their tour bus and I turned on the old Whitcomb charm and got us some swag--the drummer’s sticks, posters, t-shirts and CD’s.
For 4 hours that night Karina and I weren’t in Germany, we weren’t 5,000 miles away from a home cooked meal and ice. For one night, thanks to Mr. Costner, his band, and some incredible people who made it happen, we felt like we were home. And while we were sad to say good-bye, we will always have Berlin.
Back to reality—my weekend wasn't all fancy dressing rooms and sweaty hands, sadly. My team also played our final preseason games this weekend before my trip to Berlin. We won both, though not by much. In fact the first game we won with a 3 right before the buzzer. Ya like apples? Well, I hit the 3—howdya like them apples? Saturday we played a division 2 team and on our way to the game one of the vans was having problems so we barely made it on time, and had just 10 minutes to warm up. We started out pretty bad, but managed to win. Season opener is this weekend. We play Freiberg, the best team in our division. Season opener here is a big deal. All the teams come to the city that is hosting it, and this year we are. So there are games here all weekend. Kinda cool.
Shout out to Ryan Bolland! He is coming Wednesday and staying for almost a week, so he will be here for season opener. It will be really nice to have a friend from home. Sorta feel bad for him though, Kevin Costner is a tough act to follow.