Chapter 1: The Road to Nowhere
November 21st, 2013
Fridays before game days in Corvallis are my favorite. While working at the Hilton, the biggest hotel in Corvallis, I was privy to all of the pre-game action and anticipation for the upcoming football game. UW (University of Washington) was in town the following day to square off against the OSU (Oregon State University) Beavers. David, my boss, and I had scored sideline tickets through the Beavs director of operations under current coach, Mike Riley. The last two football seasons, largely because of my role as Director of Sales at the Hilton, I had close ties with many of the OSU athletic teams. Having backdoor access to OSU that I did during those years fueled my ego to the fullest. I prided myself off of being known in the hard-to-break circle of coaches, donors, and athletes. I began to believe the assumption that I was pretty goddamned important.
Once my duties were tidied up that day before the game I snuck out the back door of the hotel to start “my weekend.” Football weekends were special to me. They were my reward for working so hard throughout the week. Plus, due to my sales team’s efforts that year, we were crushing our numbers in terms of our budget. So, why not leave a little early to get the party started? I deserved it.
This particular weekend was going to be extra fun and delinquent as I had several friends from Portland and Bend visiting for the game. With the glorious feelings of the impending excess that was about to occur, I quickly made my way to the nearest corner market down Western Ave. After picking a couple of stout IPA’s, I snuck into the yard in back of the store, where the homeless tend to congregate and sleep, found a nice patch of lawn overlooking Reser Stadium, to sit and drink, relishing in the fact of how far up the ladder of importance I had climbed in this little Oregon college town. Once this train of thought had sufficiently fed my ego, I called some friends to meet them out for drinks to continue some well-earned debauchery.
After having drunk myself blind the previous night, I woke up on Saturday morning not having a clue where my car was. Fuck, I must have left it downtown. I threw on my Orange and Black Beavs gear to go retrieve my car and pick up where I had left off the night before. The excitement continued to build as the texts from friends, who were on their way to Corvallis, began to stream in. This was standard operating procedure for most game weekends. Friends plus booze plus football games equaled all of the fun. The only way I could process the excitement was to swing by 7-11 and paper bag an IPA on my way downtown to pick up my ride. I must have looked classy as hell.
Later that afternoon, leading up to kickoff time, I had once again found myself clearly overstepping the bounds of intoxication. I had corralled all of my friends into the parking lot behind my hotel to partake in a hour of Carlos Rossi. I vaguely remember who was actually there; maybe my friends Rob and Mary? my buddy Cole? All I did know was that the gallon of wine that I had in my hand had to be finished by kickoff. I was cleverly persistent in making sure that would happen.
As the story goes, once I got into the game, again, being on the sidelines with the team, I began to embarrass the hell out of myself. A friend of mine, who is also in recovery today, recalls that I was being a blithering idiot on the sideline in front of several OSU donors and administrators. Apparently I had trouble standing up straight. My buddy, whom I did not know at the time, had approached the guy, who had originally given me access to the sidelines, to ask who the hell I was. My contact’s response was something like: “He’s just some dude that helps us out at the hotel.”
Apparently it got worse from there. As I found out later, at the end of the first quarter of the game, I had stumbled behind the sidelines and across the field, fortunately keeping out of the field of play, to a set of stairs that led out of the stadium. Apparently I had crawled on my hands and knees up the set of stairs next to the OSU Marching Band and in full view of the entire stadium to try and make a quick exit out of there, hopefully undetected. Epic fail.
Later that night I came to in the front seat of my car having not known how I had gotten there. On top of that, I was in a city park nowhere near where I had left my car before the game. Clearly I had driven in a blackout to my current location. It was 2AM. After clearing the fog from my eyes I noticed that there was still a half of a fifth of whiskey sitting in the passenger seat. Gratefully, I picked up the bottle, drank the rest of its contents and proceeded to once again pass out.
Five hours later I once again woke up. However, this time I was in my own bed. How the fuck had I gotten back? Fortunately I didn’t have time to assess the evening at that point because I had places to be.
That Sunday morning my running team and I were scheduled to pose for a photo shoot on and around the trails in Corvallis for a feature in a local visitors guide. Amazingly I arrived at the shoot in time, having somehow rustled my shoes and running kit together. After about an hour of being photographed, the thick haze of my hangover was beginning to fade. Somehow I was able to jaunt around the trails with my team to capture some iconic shots featuring the lush Corvallis outdoors. Once we wrapped the shoot up, I returned to my car to prep for the days run. With whiskey and wine still flowing in my veins, I completed a solid 20 mile trail run up and down the hills of Corvallis, trying to reflect on what the hell had happened the night before. Oh, and I felt great doing it. At the time I was totally oblivious to the shame and embarrassment that would arrive in just a few months