December 29, 2010
Hey guys, just checking in again.
I wanted to tell you all about the trip my daughter, Haleigh and I took to Orlando, Fla.
We had planned to catch the Carolina Hurricanes’ game against the Washington Capitals Sunday, but the snow really threw a wrench into things. It was going to be about eight of us going to the hockey game, but instead Haleigh and I drove down to Charlotte so we could fly from there instead of Raleigh. She and I had a great dinner, stayed at the Westin and caught a big 747 bird down to Orlando the next morning.
On Monday, we met up with the Goads – Tim, Gaye, Blake and BreAnn. We went to Nordstrom’s café for lunch with them and shopped for a bit. Then, we split up and the girls did what girls do and the guys did what guys do.
Monday night we had a great meeting with more than 100 agents and 15 new guests in Orlando, Fla. We worked with our people until probably midnight. It was great and we all learned a lot.
Tuesday morning, we had another meeting and more than 80 people turned out. I was pumped and I got to teach a lot of people.
Once that wrapped up, it was really time to get serious … father-daughter time with Haleigh and NC State football at the Champs Bowl!!! The only thing missing was my wife, Jane and my son, Spencer. They were busy at a hockey tournament and couldn’t make the trip.
We went to this huge VIP tailgate where it was all the important NC State people that you can think of. Randy Woodson, our chancellor, was there, our new athletic director Debbie Yow led us all in an anti-Carolina chant and Kelly Hook, the student body president, was there. It was great for Haleigh to meet all these key Wolfpack people. After Debbie Yow’s talk, the chancellor didn’t have much to say because it’s hard to top a lady that showed us she was red and white for life by publicly professing her love of NC State and her disdain for that silly light-blue school in Chapel Hill.
During the tailgate, I found out that the Poole family gave NC State $40 million dollars! It’s a huge deal and it’s going to help the Wolfpack in a big way. Again, this was a VIP event and there might have been 100 people there and they all love NC State.
From there, we met up with some National Agents Alliance guys before the game. We loaded them up with NC State gear before we let them roll with us just to be safe and they were OK with that. We get to our seats, cheered like a bunch of crazy people for the red and white and watched Russell Wilson, Nate Irving and Coach Tom O’Brien whip up on West Viginia! Now it helps when you get four fumbles from the other team, but it also helps when you have Irving and Wilson. Irving was like a mad man out there flying around the football, destroying people, breaking up passes and all that other mess. Then Wilson … what else can you say that hasn’t been said about that guy. He’s almost made me forget about that other quarterback we had … Philip what’s his last name?
So here’s Russell … probably playing in his last football game because he so dang good at baseball, carving up a defense that was one of the best in the country. He threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and got named Champs Sports Bowl MVP after our 23-7 win. It was the first time this year that a team scored more than 21 points on them poor Mountaineers. Oh, by the way. Coach O’Brien won the 100th game of his coaching career too.
The best part was that Wilson went out with a bang! This crazy reporter tried to press him on whether that was his last game in the postgame/trophy presentation and he couldn’t have handled it any better. Now, he was either prepped for the question or he’s as heady a person as I think he is. Russell told this “reporter” it wasn’t about him that it was about NC State football that night and the fans go nuts at that point – including me. They pressed him again and he gave all the praise to OUR University and the team. Dude tried one more time and again Russell told him what Coach O’Brien preaches: that we are going to be great on the field, great in the classroom and great in the community. Then, he adds that “tonight we are champions and walked away.”
I thought that was the greatest thing ever. He did a great job talking about the team and not himself.
So I’ve got the ticket stub from that game and I don’t save a lot of tickets, but that bad boy is going to be one I hold onto because it was probably Russell Wilson’s last game with the Wolfpack. I will add that to the wall and I might even get him to sign it for me. Wilson’s got his degree and he’s got a future in baseball and he’s been great for NC State athletics. He’s one of those kids you can’t help but root for.
Just when I didn’t think things could get any better we go to a postgame celebration deal at the hotel for NC State-minded people. Haleigh and I are just enjoying being around all these people and I hear a name that stopped me in my tracks: “David Thompson is in the house!”
If you know anything about college basketball or the ACC, then you know who “Skywalker” is! He was on the 1974 NCAA championship team at State back when Norm Sloan was coaching us up.
Now, this is a guy who I grew up idolizing because he was Michael Jordan before Jordan. Jordan has even said he wanted to be David Thompson when he was a kid. So I’m talking to David about having my own photographer – Haleigh – with me and he says, “you have a very beautiful photographer.” He’s not just a basketball legend, this guy’s smart too! I then go on to explain to David that you’ve got to get your family involved in your successes and that was why Haleigh was with me on the trip. I make sure that I get a picture of Haleigh with Thompson. I also talked to DT about coming to speak to our people at some point, so I think we might see each other more often in the future. He’s a good dude.
We hung out with Chancellor Woodson some more and met all kinds of people and it was so much fun. A bunch of the players were roaming around signing stuff for people and celebrating the win, so it a blast!
We finally go to bed and then got up Wednesday and met with Tim Goad again. Mapped out some things for 2011 and how we can use our time most effectively during our trip to Steamboat Springs in February over Valentine’s Day. We have to get people on point and it’s going to be fun. We will enjoy our spouses and have fun, but we are going to get some things done too.
After that, we caught a plane back to Charlotte and I’ve got Haleigh driving her new red pick’em up truck back to Burlington, N.C. while I type up this blog. We just had a blast and she’s probably had too much daddy time. She’s got a sledding date tonight and Spencer and Jane are still playing hockey. Spencer scored three goals in the tournament, which is cool since he’s typically played goalie until now. He almost never skates, so it’s been cool to hear that he’s pretty good on offense too. Hate I missed it, but I will get the full report from him once we get home.
Traffic is crazy heading out of Charlotte so I’m going to wrap this up and help Haleigh navigate through this mess.
Stay tuned … keep reading!