Ever had a person that you idolized? I know, it’s silly, but everyone has at least one person that makes them stop what they’re doing and pay attention. For some, it is movie stars – being star struck after seeing Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Ben Affleck. For others, it’s musicians or athletes. For aspiring sports journalists and sports media nerds like me, it’s broadcasters, journalists and media members. My sports media idol, let’s say “role model,” is Dan Patrick.
In late 2012, a caller from California (I apologize for not remembering who specifically suggested the idea) proposed that Dan and his show should fly out to Los Angeles and reward his loyal fans, who wake up at 6 a.m. Pacific Time every morning to hear the show, with a meet-and-greet. Full disclosure: I think I’ve listened to the show at 6 a.m. maybe five times. I religiously subscribe to the DP Show podcast, which is a commercial-free version of the entire show.
So, Dan announced that after the Super Bowl, sometime in February, he and the Danettes would fly to Los Angeles and meet with fans. A meet-and-greet at the Huntington Beach Buffalo Wild Wings on February 23rd was set.
I began listening to the Dan Patrick Show – a daily, nationally-syndicated radio show, which is also simulcast on the NBC Sports Network and DirecTV’s Audience – probably two years ago. My family had just gotten DirecTV. I was home from school with the flu and was awake at 9 a.m. for some ungodly reason. Sick of Sportscenter’s 28th rerun of the day and never being a fan of Skip Bayless and “Screamin’” Stephen A. Smith’s hours of “debate” they call First Take, I thought I’d give the Dan Patrick Show a chance. Watching a radio show is not one of the most entertaining things on television. C-SPAN2 broadcasting British Parliamentary meetings may be more exciting, actually.
But this show was different. The Dan Patrick Show is a constantly moving, constantly changing television show – a static camera in front of a yammering sports shouter, this is not. It’s a combination of a knowledgeable, rational voice who shares the greatest radio studio on the face of the Earth with four goofballs – called the Danettes, a nickname given to them by Reggie Miller – who happen to be great at their jobs as well. The Dan Patrick Show gets the best guests and has callers who actually have something educated or funny to say. (This ain’t PAWWWL Finebaum, y’all). Dan and the Danettes effortlessly navigate through three hours of sports talk every single day. “Every day is the Super Bowl,” they say.
When the day of the meet-and-greet arrived, I (lovingly) made my dad accompany me to this Buffalo Wild Wings – on a Saturday morning – that was an hour from our house. I expected a line of 100, maybe 150, people when we got to Orange County at 10:30 a.m. for an event that was scheduled to start 11 a.m. There were easily 300+ people there. After waiting in line for two hours, after the crew sent out Casey – the host of the Danette wrap-up show “The Box Score” – after they tried to appease the masses again by sending out “Two-A-Dayz,” who answers the phones for the show, Dan emerged from the restaurant and began taking pictures with fans lined up outside. This move was presumably an attempt to rid the Orange County shopping center of 500-600 members of “Dan Nation” as quickly as possible.
Dan went person-to-person, taking pictures with every fan that asked. And finally, it was my turn. The man whose voice I hear through my headphones or iPhone speakers every day, the man who is the gold-standard of broadcasters and my idol, was standing next to me and smiling.
This was my Beatlemania moment. But I didn’t yell or scream, I acted like a rational person and smiled as my intrepidly-skilled paternal photographer took the one picture that I will always have showing me standing next to my career role model, then stepped aside and let the next super fan get their moment with Dan. Dan Patrick won’t remember the picture he took with me amongst the hundreds or thousands of others, but I will.
Thanks for coming, Dan and Danettes. And I promise that as long as I live, this is the first and last fan-boy blog that I will ever write. Until I meet Dan again, then all bets are off.