Sunday, September 9, 2007

Coasties Can Dance - Kinda

(Trent and I doing what we do best...being goofy.)

So last night was the 1st ever Pacific Northwest Coast Guard Ball. The truth is that I was kind of "voluntold" to go. See...I was tasked with marketing the event and since I refuse to be one of those people who sells a product that they themselves would never buy, I decide that I was on board. I wasn't sure it was going to be my kind of event but I figured that it was only one night so what the hell? Obviously, I am not ashamed to admit that I am a CG geek and therefore I am not ashamed to admit that I had a GREAT time. It was turned out to be one of the most fun events I have been to in the Coast Guard and so here is a brief recap of the night since I want to capture as much of it before I forget any of it.

It started by Mikel (the blond seen above jamming with Dino) and I arriving early to help greet the guests. This actually turned out to be a lot fun because I got to see and greet just about everyone on their way in while not having to make awkward conversation with people like I would have had to at the cocktail hour. It was pretty enjoyable.

(Trisha, who worked really hard on this, and I after the work was done.
BZ Trisha for helping to make this an awesome night!)

So I finally made it upstairs and went to find Mikel and our table. We were pretty bummed out to find that our group was not sitting together. Nevertheless....we watched as the Color Guard did a great job with presenting the Colors and honored our fallen shipmates. Then they started getting ready for dinner and that's when things got interesting.

As I was waiting for my salad...Commander A. (above) came over and asked me if I would be willing to "rise to the occasion" and help out by leading the 400+ people as we sang Semper Paratus. I am no singer and in spite of the fact that Semper Paratus is on my iPod (I told you I am CG geek!) I don't actually know the entire song by heart. Not a problem, said the Commander, because he had the words. I knew that I could have said no, but I also knew that I couldn't. I couldn't because I knew that Commander A. had put so much into this event and deserved for it go well. I couldn't say no because I knew that I probably would never get another opportunity to sing the Coast Guard's motto with so many of shipmates, most of whom I know and respect. So at the risk of embarrassing myself in front of said mentioned shipmates, as well as the 3rd in command of the Coast Guard, I said I would do my best.

(Dino, Me, Commander A, and Mikel representing P Division, YO!)

It wasn't as bad as it could have been. I vaguely remember walking up the stage when they called my name. I strongly remember Retired Admiral Houck walking up and lowering the microphone for me (ruining my plan to keep it up high so it wouldn't pick up my voice). I remember singing the first two verses pretty well, with reliable shipmates like Julie and Trent in the back and Commander LeBeau towards the front helping by singing loudly as promised. I also remember totally screwing up the 3rd verse. Oh well...two out of three ain't bad.

(The brass can dance!)

I received my award from the Navy League and Admiral Currier as planned. Admiral Currier thanked me for my singing which was nice. Yet, one of two highlights of the evening was when Vice-Admiral Papp stood up for his keynote speech and called me out and had me stand up again. He thanked me for leading the song and praised me for having the courage to do so in front of so many people. He was right when he said that having so many of my shipmates in the room made it easier to do. That is the second time that an Admiral called me out by name at a formal ceremony in the past year. How awesome is that???

(Mikel and Julie, who got everyone to do the Electric Slide!)

The second highlight was when the Headquarters CMC came up to me afterwards and gave me a coin. (Thanks again to YNC Harris for teaching me the proper way to receive one!) I knew that he knew that I had been given less than an hours notice that I would be doing this. It made it all worth it to know that he respected that enough to give me a coin. Of course the word spread quickly that I had done this at the last minute which I think redeemed the fact that I screwed up the 3rd verse. I got high-fives and hugs but I have the feeling that everyone at the Pier is going to hear about on Monday.

(Mr. Hill cutting it up on the floor!)

And then the dancing started! My knee didn't allow me to dance as much as I would have liked to but that is okay. It gave me the opportunity to take pictures and enjoy everyone else dancing. It was amazing to see so many Coasties out there dancing and having fun. Everyone from the Admiral to us junior folks were cutting loose and having a blast. I did the group dancing thing a little bit (for those of us who were not there with spouses/dates) and actually had fun. I did get one real dance. At the end of the night (at least the end for me since Mikel and I called it quits at about 11) the band started to play my favorite song to dance to which is Brown-Eyed Girl. I said it was my favorite song and being the great guy that Trent is, he dragged me out on the floor. It has been years since I danced anywhere other than the shower or while vacuuming. We looked silly but what else can you expect from two geeks in a restricting uniform?

So all and was a great night. We Coasties know how to have fun!

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