In the mid 90s I was disappointed in Rock music.The joy I had felt at the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Van Halen was now eroded by cookie cutter pop and unbearable rap .My friend Jim introduced me to the music of Garth Brooks; a mixture of Country, Rock, and genius marketing.It was something to get excited about in the world of Music again.Jim and I made GARTH a “hobby.”Like stamp collecting or antiquing we started to seek everything Garth Brooks.It wasn’t fan obsession as much as something to do that was fun, and challenging.We "capered" to go to as many concerts as we could within driving distance (If you haven’t seen Garth Live you’re missin somethin. The picture here is of Jim and Sherri when we were in the front row of an Anaheim Concert) We once went to 6 shows in 8 days; 3 in Anaheim, 2 in LA and 1 in San Diego.We went to tapings of television specials and late night talk shows that he was a guest on.We started running into the same people at some of these events and struck up conversations and Garth related friendships.
Garth’s birthday had just passed and we discussed what we could do that would be something special for the next years birthday.Something that a gazillianaire, award winning, music icon couldn’t just go down to Walmart and buy.After brainstorming ideas we (about a half dozen of us) hit on what we thought was complicated, but perfect.We pooled money and purchased a Takamine guitar, exactly like the one Garth plays.We gave it a code name so that we could discuss the project in the presence of others.We called it “The Football.”
For the next year we carried The “Football” around to every event we could attend where there was a person of some fame, performing or appearing.We presented ourselves with the Football for their autographs.This was no small feat.We had to “get” to, in some cases, superstars; close enough to get their signatures, and get them to trust us that it was in fact a gift for Garth Brooks!(Having police badges helped, sometimes.JWe were remarkably successful, and as Garth’s birthday approached every usable surface of the guitar (including the fret board) was covered in the scribbling of Music legends, new comers, and icons.The “Football” project was a success beyond everything we had hoped for.It had not been easy and more than once it had been downright difficult.(A few people had to be really convinced that we were not con men )
We had made a connection with a person who worked for a radio station and was a “personal friend” of Garth’s.She was going to be with him on his birthday and agreed to present him with the “Football” at his birthday party, that she was attending.The six of us each wrote a short note expressing our best wishes and hoping he accepted the “Football” as a token of our appreciation for the entertainment he provide, to us, as well as millions of others.We handed the “Football” off to her and waited anxiously to hear what his reaction was to our project.
(Insert sound of chirping birds here)
If you read my last post, this is how it relates to this one.We NEVER heard what Garth thought.We did not hear from his friend that delivered it, or saw any public notice of the gift.We DO know he got it.We ASSUME he liked it (who wouldn’t) but we were missing that acknowledgement of our efforts.We are happy we undertook the project, it was fun.We are happy we got it to him (there was a time when we were lost as to how we were going to accomplish that.)The bottom line is, we did it FOR him, not for the applause, BUT it would have been nice to KNOW he liked it.If I ever get the privilege to meet him one -on- one (fat chanceJ my first question would be; “Did you get the “Football?”