Story: The 2007 UDXC Season ft. Sam and Gourlay

This Was My Chance.

Our top runner leading the way.

Our top runner leading the way.

It was the fall of 2007 and the Upper Dublin boy’s cross country team had high aspirations, eyeing the state championship in November.

As a desperate runt who always fell in the shadow of my older brothers, this was my opportunity. The 7th and final spot on the varsity team was open, and this was my chance.

But there was one person standing in my way…

Andrew. Gourlay.

sam-and-gourlay

Gourlay (standing) – Top Right (not the Asian) Sam (kneeling) – Bottom Left

Gourlay was always a little faster than me and I hated him. Over the previous two seasons he’d stamped himself as a better runner, most notably running a 4:38 mile as a sophomore.

We traded victories throughout the XC season but I got the nod for the seventh varsity spot at districts. This was the big audition.

I ran 17:11, a PR, but not to be outdone, Gourlay ran 17:08 and placed 6th overall in the JV race, a more impressive performance.

Our resumes were so similar, now it was up to the coaches.

The Fateful Conversation

It was the day before the race and our coach called me and Gourlay into the room.

Here’s how it went down:

Coach: “So… who WANTS to run?”
Me and Gourlay: “I mean, we both do”
Coach: “Okay, but who wants to run more”

*Awkward pause*

Gourlay: “Sam probably does.”
Coach: “Okay, well then that’s it. Sam’s going to run.”

Vandegrift was pissed at Gourlay and questioned why my “desire” was greater than his. Gourlay basically said “I don’t know, Sam cares more than I do.” To this day, Gourlay will say he was just being honest.

Deep down, Vandegrift knew the answer, he just wanted to hear us say it. The 7th man didn’t matter, and odds are Gourlay would have run faster than me, but Grift thought “This would mean more to Sam“, and once Gourlay confirmed that though, it was a done deal.

The Aftermath

Gourlay and I hated each other forever after that and I haven’t seen him since.

Story: The Time I Fixed My Dad’s Computer

This happened today.

>get home for lunch
>dad says laptop is broken
>mom was messing around with the wires downstairs or something
>this could take a while since I don’t really know what I’m doing
JC>shit.png
>go into computer room with dad
>open laptop
>press power
>computer starts
>lets see what we can do
>dad interrupts:
>”Oh my god”
>”You did it!”
>”How’d you do that!”
>”Was that the power button?”
>areyoushittingme.wmv
>”I’m so f*ckin’ stupid”
>youcansaythatagain.mp4
> do a 360 turn and walk away

And that was the time I fixed my dad’s computer.

The One That Got Away, Until…

14382146392133When I was in 9th grade, I was a loser. I was short, skinny, and slow. Video games had an inverse correlation to girls, and I played a LOT of video games (see diagram 1).

However, some of my friends were cool. Believe it or not, Jared was actually kind of cool. Alex too. I invited them down the shore with me in 9th grade.

One night Jared was talking on the phone with a girl he met a few weeks earlier on the beach. She was our age and good looking. These are the things that I would never do, but since I hung around Jared, I could act cool.

tips hatWe were drinking a little bit, and I ended up talking to the girl on the phone for like an hour that night. Fast forward a week and her and I actually talked (just us, like, just Sam and a girl, on the phone, talking) for like two or three hours.

After our two romantic phone calls, I never spoke with her again. I never even met her in person. She was lost. Gone. Out of my life forever.

Fast forward nine years. A few weeks ago I signed an ad contract for work. I received an email from the guy I had been speaking to – “Sam, great to have you with us! We look forward to working with you. I’ve copied (insert phone-call girl’s name here), our data specialist who will helping with the ad campaign“.

Wat. No way. A quick Facebook stalk revealed that it was in fact the girl I had spoken to nine years earlier. I couldn’t believe it.

spongebob storyShe emailed me today about work. I don’t think she remembers me. And if she does, she definitely didn’t write a blog post about me. The end.

Story: The First Time I Got Caught Drinking

It was the fall of 2006. Upper Dublin football was 0-100 and everyone was getting ready to party for their next game!

knight so grossI had consumed alcohol a few times in the past, most notably taking five shots of Peach Smirnoff and puking all over my basement carpet, but never in a “party” scene, and certainly not with the cool kids. However, the few times that I drank prior were just a warm up for the big party that was going down at a cool kids house… and I was invited.

The Plan

  • Pregame at the party house with a group of dudes.
  • Go to the Upper Dublin football game.

If all goes well!

  • Go back to the party house.
  • Do body shots off of the hottest girl there.
  • L(ay) the P(ipe) in front of the entire party.
  • Keep drinking until 8AM.
  • Go to cross country practice.

 

The Pregame

window jumpAt the time, I was 5’6 and 125 pounds. I had about a 6 drink maximum before things exploded.

I had 4-5 beers at the pregame, and was on the edge of black out. I wish I was on the edge of a cliff instead and just jumped off then and there. We made our way to the football game.

The Football Game

?

The After Party

spongeI don’t really remember the football game. I don’t really remember the after party either. The only thing I genuinely remember is going to take a shot, having a friend tell me I shouldn’t, falling to the ground, then yelling “I NEEED IT!!!” I took the shot and it was lights out. Good game. Seeyuhlayer.

The Down Hill

pukeNext thing I remember, I was in the bathroom desperately trying to clean up the vomit that had just been spewed all over the bathroom. I assumed my bare hands would clean the mess quite easily.

I called my dad a number of times to pick me up, but couldn’t manage to tell him where I was. The voicemail he left me was hilarious, “Sam, it’s your dad. Where the hell are you? You said by Mondauk, I’m driving around here like a dope, I have no idea where I’m going, I don’t see you anywhere. I’m going home.

For better or for worse, my mom knew where the house was. She picked me up. I smelled like puke and beer, couldn’t form words, and was wearing only one sandal. I played it cool and didn’t say anything the entire drive home.

Boom Goes the Dynamite

nic cage vampire 3I stumbled up to my bedroom and sat down. My mom came in. I don’t know if she was going to yell or me or what, but I just started crying like a five year old. Lucky for me, my mom is cool and she didn’t make a big deal out of it. I just have to live with the embarrassment for the rest of my life.

The After Math

cool storyI had a horrible hangover and laid on the couch all day. I had just gotten owned in every way possible. Life was awful. Why did I ever leave my basement? Why wouldn’t I just stay in like every other weekend and play Diablo? What was so cool about being cool? Who says my cats can’t be just as good of friends as humans? As if girls liked me before (they didn’t), they certainly didn’t like me afterward.

Story: Second Grade Screw Up

The year was 1998.

Sam Circa 1998 2

Check out the dome on this kid.

Or 1999. I’m not actually sure. But I was in second grade, and things we’re going great as a seven year old. I had class with a beautiful blonde, the girl I “liked”, I had just met a best friend in Ben L, and I was well on my way to being the “it” kid. I may not have been in the advanced spelling group, but I made up for it with my good looks and great personality.

Then, with one jump, everything changed

It was a typical weeknight in Upper Dublin. I was tarding out in my basement playing Don’t Touch the Ground. I hopscotched from pillow to pillow, making my way from the corner of the basement to the staircase; Until I hit an obstacle. The jump from the last pillow to the couch was too far. Seven year old Sam had to improvise. The computer chair was in arms reach, so I rolled it over, and got on. I had two options:

  • Slowly roll my way over to the couch (gaye).
  • Make a hero-leap from the wheely chair to the couch (not gaye)

Standing at 3 feet 6 inches, and weighing 45 pounds, I pushed off the chair with all my might to get to the couch, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

As expected, the wheels slid and the chair came right out from under me. Instead of landing safely on the couch, I came about three feet short and smashed my arm directly into it. Oopsies.

The Aftermath

I cried like a pussy for the next four hours while my parents drove me to the ER to have my arm checked out. It was a routine break, but I needed a full arm cast. So much for being the “it” kid. I suffered through the consequences like a man, and ~8 weeks later, the cast was off and I was good as new!

Then, with another jump, everything changed, again.

After getting my cast removed, I was back to being a badass. About two weeks later, we had indoor recess one day due to inclement weather, which could only mean one thing – midget jumps off the radiator! (For those unaware, this is basically where you pull your shirt over your knees so you kinda sorta not really look like a midget. The “jump off the radiator” part is self-explanatory.)

Being a natural leader, I tried to aid the kids who were too scared to jump off. One kid in particular was being a total poon. We got on top of the radiator, and were going to go down holding hands, but he bailed last second. Because I was holding his hand, I changed directions mid-fall, and alas, slammed my other arm on the ground, shattering it into a million pieces.

The Aftermath 2

I cried like a pussy while my next door neighbor’s mom picked me up from school and drove me to the ER. No words were spoken, just sobbing.

It was basically the exact same break as before, but in my other arm. What are the odds of that? I suffered through my 8 weeks, again, with a cast above my elbow, and sucked at life. While everyone was chasing girls and kissing on the playground, I was face down in the dirt under a tree until the recess lady blew the whistle.

It’s a miracle I even survived second grade, let alone became the man that I am today. Perhaps this experience shaped me for the better.

Story: A Vacation-Ruining Shit

It was the summer going into my Junior year of high school, and Sam had just had a breakthrough sophomore year track season by breaking 5:00 in the mile for the first time and running a stellar 10:35 two mile. Summer training was just getting underway in mid-June and I was excited. Jeff, Palmisano, and I decided we would do a nice easy track workout of 16 x 200 to break in the training. However, the night prior, Sam had different plans.

Sam & Ben probably around 10th grade.

Sam & Ben around 10th grade.

I don’t remember why, but I pulled an all nighter at Ben Landau’s house the night before (well almost). I went to bed around 6 in the morning and woke up at like 7:30 to meet Jeff and Mike at the track. I was ill-prepared and had to take a dump prior to doing this workout. Naturally the bathroom at the track was locked, so I ran behind the bleachers and took care of business, using some large, shiny leaves as my TP. I ran the workout, got crushed, and went home to sleep for hours afterward. It was definitely an odd night/day, but I would be no worse off for the wear in a day or two.

Three Best Friends

Three Best Friends

I woke up to Mike and Gourlay knocking on my front door asking if I wanted to ride our bikes to Nick’s Pizza. I said sure, and we headed out, but something was definitely wrong. My b-hole was itchy, and not the kind of itchy after you don’t wipe well enough; itchy like you wiped your ass with poison sumac leaves 8 hours earlier. Could I really have been that dumb? We were in public, and I wasn’t going to go poking down around there with people all over the place, so I rode my bike home in extreme discomfort.

Poison Sumac

This is pretty much exactly what I wiped with.

I toughed it out only to return home and realize what I had done. What. The. Qua. How could I be so stupid? Who picks the shiniest leaf to wipe with?! This was trouble. To make matters worse, our family was taking a vacation to Avalon in just a few days, was I really going to have poison ivy in my crack on vacation? I was scheduled to bring my good friend Jake Boyd but would he even want to go if I couldn’t do anything?

It was the night before vacation and all over-the-counter treatments proved useless. Fortunately for me, Jake came down with a fever, so we went to Avalon together, and had a really shitty vacation, together. The night before we left, my testicles had swollen up to the size of an orange – a big orange, and I was in no condition to have fun.

real bad

Not from that event, but a similar rash from a drug reaction.

Once in Avalon I would sit outside in the sun and roast my rashes thinking it would help. I also took boiling hot showers because it made the rashes feel better, little did I know that’s the complete opposite of what you’re supposed to do. Within a day or two or arriving, the poison ivy had spread all over my body and it was beyond the point of do-it-yourself. I needed medical attention.

I went to the Avalon Medical Center and told the lady that I got poison ivy in my “bum” and she gave me some steroids to fix it. After a week or so it all cleared up, but between Jake being sick, and my incredible stupidity, we had the worst vacation ever.

*A note, poison ivy, oak, and sumac, are all the same oil, they just come from different leaves.

Story: My One and Only Fight: 0-1

Preface

It was circa 2003 and I was in sixth grade. I stood about four feet six inches tall, weighed probably 85 pounds, and had a mile PR north of 8 minutes. The height and weight are slight exaggerations, but the mile PR is not. I’ve never been a physically intimidating person and I’ve generally done my best to avoid fights. In sixth grade however, I was beat up. I’ve never been in a real fight and no one has ever beat me up outside of my brothers, except for this incident in sixth grade.

The Story

In sixth grade I shared two classes with her. Who’s her, you ask? Her, is Shayna Mason. Shayna was a well developed black girl who had a good sense of humor but didn’t take shit from anyone. By well developed, I don’t mean she had big boobs, I mean she was stronger and faster than almost every guy in our grade, including me. Because we had two classes together, we knew who each other were and had worked together a couple of times. Though we weren’t “friends”, we weren’t enemies either.

Little Sam

Stud Sam in middle school. Note the BA shirt.

One day in the winter, snow had been coming down and the walk to the buses was covered. I didn’t really give a qua about the snow, and I actually wore shoes then, so walking through the snow didn’t phase me. Behind me however, Shayna was walking in these ridiculous high heeled boots and having a lot of trouble with the snow. She was doing her best to avoid sticking her boots in the snow, but it was inevitable. I looked back and made some smart ass comment like “Awww, Shayna doesn’t want to get her boots wet” (I wasn’t particularly creative back then). That was the spark.

I turned forward to continue walking and before I knew it I was decked from behind. Shayna’s hit launched me forward and I landed face down in the snow. Wat. I was pissed. I was furious. But I obviously couldn’t fight her, she’d kick my ass. So I did what, in my mind, was the next best option. At this point she was a few feet ahead of me, and as I stood up from the snow, I hocked up the biggest loogie I possibly could, and spit that shit right on the back of her snow jacket.

At this point, I knew I was fucked. I Instantly turned and ran in the opposite direction as fast as I could. Shayna didn’t realize what had happened at first but of course her friend ratted me out right when it happened. I had a head-start, but the tortoise needs more than 10-20 meters if he’s going to escape the big black hare. I rounded a corner up towards the main building and hoped to god a teacher was going to be there, but it was too late.

cops win

I almost got away.

Shayna, once again, decked me from behind. But this time, I didn’t have a gentle landing in the snow. No no no. This time I skidded along the concrete and insta-cried. Two guys who were in the area stopped her from doing anymore, but the damage was done. I got up and ran to the bus with blood on my elbows and tears in my eyes.

The bus ride home was made worse when Kurt sat next to me and insisted on asking what happened over and over despite the fact that I obviously didn’t want to talk about it.

That was a tough day in the history of Sam. I’ve only been in one fight with anyone ever, and I lost, to a girl.

The Great Cricket Escape

Preface

Mergatroid was a bearded dragon that Jeff and I owned for about 8 years. He didn’t do anything ever. We fed him crickets every couple of weeks. Before there was the big Petco (next to Sam’s Club), I bought crickets at a small pet shop near the Willow Grove Mall.

The Story

mergIt was circa 2007 and I was making my bi-weekly trip to get crickets for Merg. I walked into the store and there was a new lady there who I had never seen before. She was younger, probably early 20s, with a wacky hair cut, piercings,tattoos, and was a total space cadet. However, I’m not one to judge and didn’t think it would matter much. Boy was I wrong.

As always, I asked for two dozen crickets. This wack-job did one of two things

  1. Thought I said 200
    or
  2. Thought one dozen = 100.

Normally you would think “Oh, she just misheard and thought 200” which is what I thought too. That was until about half way through putting all the crickets in the bag she said something along the lines of “… But two dozen, man that’s a lot!”

I was baffled, but at the same time, I had a years worth of crickets right there and only had to pay for two dozen, so I wasn’t complaining. I walked out of the door with a few bags filled with crickets and headed home. I would guess there were probably 100-150 crickets.

I got home and encountered a problem. The container that we normally kept our crickets in was about a foot long, 6 inches wide, and a foot high. This was not nearly enough space for all the crickets, so I tried thinking of alternatives. The best answer I could come up with was a shoe box, as there was more floor area for them to move around in. I would move a large majority of the crickets to a shoe box and keep the remaining few in our normal container.

The move proved to be a challenge but ultimately successful. After a few minutes my crickets were comfortably placed in both containers and I was pleased.

I left the room for a few minutes before coming back in and saw one or two out on the floor. I realized the shoe box didn’t close tightly enough AND there were holes on the side that allowed for escape. I tried a few things, but ultimately decided to move all of the crickets BACK into the normal container. Sure, there was going to be a shit load of crickets in one small space, but if half of them died, I still had plenty left for Merg. Then it happened.

Tard Sam went to pick up the shoe box and somehow I dropped it spraying literally 100 crickets all over the entire room. My initial reaction was a total freak-out. Crickets were on everything, jumping all over the place. I ran out of the room and regrouped. Time was short though, as the crickets could sneak under the bottom of the door. I needed to act fast. Could I gather them all and put them back in the shoe box? Simply put, no, I couldn’t.

I’m not a violent person, and I don’t like killing animals (except bees, I hate bees), but there was really only one solution to this problem. I grabbed two old running shoes, one in each hand, and let the massacre begin. For ~15 minutes I was smashing crickets left and right. There were no survivors and I was left sweating, breathing heavy, and with a bit of an adrenaline rush.

I cleaned up the dead carcasses, and that was that.

Story: Sam, Gourlay, and Modest Mouse – 8 years later

My last post was explaining how I use Twitter and Facebook, two social media platforms, but I left out how I use this blog. I don’t think I’m taking full advantage of this blog, meaning I can use it in more ways than how I do now. One way that hit me like a brick wall is story telling. I never use this blog to tell stories. My competi, err, uh, fellow-bloggers Tom and Gourlay both wrote a post that told a story. Tom’s was about how he dropped a Gatorade in Wawa and it spilled everywhere, and Gourlay’s was his dramatic tale of texting and driving which likely saved lives. Coincidentally, before these two posts were written, I was texting Gourlay saying that I was going to write a story about us in 9th grade and post it. It doesn’t matter if the story is good or bad (this will be a bad story), it’s content that I can use and should up my count consistently. Here goes!

Sam, Gourlay, and Modest Mouse – 8 years later

For those who don’t know, I hated Gourlay in 8th and 9th grade. Though most of the time it was a subtle hatred, it did hit some serious notes like us wrestling at a middle school track meet only to have Mrs. Merback catch us and Gourlay rubbing my shaved head a mile into the JV race at Lehigh for Districts our Freshman year.

It was XC season during my freshman year when Jeff purchased the Modest Mouse album Good News for People who Love Bad News. We would listen to the album when driving to and from school so I got to know it pretty well. One day, I was singing some lyrics to Ocean Breathes Salty when Gourlay overheard. He acknowledged it and said something like “You like Modest Mouse! WELL THAT IS THAT AND THIS IS THIS YA TELL ME WHATCHA WANT AND I’LL TELL YA WHATCHA GET” (lyrics to the song) in an obnoxious voice.

I was flabbergasted. Here was this great band that I had really come to like, and fuckin’ Gourlay liked them too. I had almost thrown in the towel on Modest Mouse. How could I like them if Gourlay did too? It seems stupid, but I remember that I was genuinely upset that he knew and enjoyed Modest Mouse.

Me and Gourlay

8 years later and we’re best friends!

Fast forward 8 years later: Gourlay and I will be going to a Modest Mouse concert next a month. I’m really looking forward to it and it should be a blast. Had you told me 8 years ago I would be friends with Gourlay, let alone going to a Modest Mouse concert, I would say no chance. What do ya know!

The End.