I jumped a little when I heard my name. This was my first audition, and although I'd stayed up late repeating my measly 8 lines over and over again, I felt far from prepared for the opportunity. The receptionist repeated herself, sounding a bit frustrated this time.
"Charles Schmitty! John's ready for you."
I'd waited what seemed like a lifetime for this day to come. Now that it was here however, I couldn't muster up the stones to walk into the room with him.
"He's so dreamy!" said the ladies. The men on the other hand noted a supreme confidence, while noting that he's "not physically imposing, but definitely good looking."
My heartbeat raged out of control, I couldn't do it. I'd sit here until she moved onto the next candidate then leave quietly.
She was looking right at me! SHIT! That's right, I sent in a face shot. I had no choice, I'd have to meet the man. Would he think I looked too grungy? Should I have worn my slacks? Shaved even? Oh gawd so nervous!
As she led me through the door all sorts of fears swept over me, most of them too embarrassing to share with you here, then... it happened. He shook my hand.
"John Schneider, nice to meet you brother."
His smile was so disarming. He was confident, I could feel it, but there was not a hint of cocky in there. I could have married him just then, but I have a wife and polygamy is illegal. I'd have to get this part! I began asking him questions, attempting to sound as engaged as I could. As time passed I found myself enamored with the story, more so even than the man.
It was a story of a time in his own life. He'd taken control of a professional football team, the Seattle Seahawks.
"See when we first came in, there wasn't much on the roster. Poor decisions and chances taken in all the wrong spots left the team downtrodden, reeling, and desperate for leadership. A big name coach out of USC had just taken the reins, and he'd chosen me to come in and help him setup a program that rewarded those that really busted their tails, figuring it'd really help turn the ship around. Do you feel me dawg?"
I nodded, not wanting to slow his roll one bit.
"Anyways Charlie, so we went into our first draft feeling like we really needed to get the most out of every pick. Luckily we were blessed a couple of good picks on account of the team being so bad. With so many holes we were also able to really go HAM on the whole 'best player available' thing."
"What's HAM mean?" I was confused.
"You dummy! H, A, M... Hard as a m*therf*cker. Duh. So like I was saying, the team was crap. No heart. We brought in a couple good guys in year one. Big name guys like Earl Thomas and Russell Okung. But the late rounds were where we really killed it. In our first two years we snagged Kam Chancellor, KJ Wright, and Richard Sherman in the middle rounds. All those guys made multiple pro bowls in their careers, Sherman actually ended up in the Hall of Fame. In layman's terms Charlie, we effing killed it. There were young studs all over the defensive backfield on that team."
"Wait is Sherman the guy who-"
He interrupted me, "does games on Fox with Tim Ryan? Yeah."
"Shit man are they ever gonna get rid of Tim Ryan?"
"I hope not, love the way Richard calls him out when he's way off base. You're getting us off track man. I'm trying to get to the climax."
"Okay okay, go ahead man." I'd become completely calm at this point.
"So in our third year we'd gotten lucky as hell with the Russell Wilson pick, he really kind of took off and we ended up winning eleven that year. It was a year earlier than either Pete or I imagined we'd get to that level, but we could feel it. You could see it on the field really, the team was Superbowl ready.
"So... we just f*ckin' went for it. Trading for Harvin was a no brainer; when he told us he didn't mind going a little under market to play with his old coach we decided the trade compensation was well worth it. I mean shit, what were we going to do? Draft another SEC offensive tackle?
"See what's so funny is that at the time, we were all getting asked about how big Percy was going to be for us. We both knew though, that the real key was going to be what came next. Now listen close because this is where the story gets good, and I know your page of the script really only covers the beginning of the story.
"While we were waiting for Percy to fly in for his physical, we had Cliff Avril on speaker phone. He said he had a couple offers from teams, he didn't want to say whom, but the number to beat was 5 years at $8 million per. We'd watched tape on him and knew we would be so much better off with him in the rotation on defense.
"Now Pete was a charmer, a real players' coach. He knew how to make a man feel wanted, and I could see him putting together a pitch for the young defensive end. But I knew just what to do. I put my index finger firmly up against Pete's lips and said, 'whoa there boy, I've got this b*tch.' And worked my magic."
Well by now I was far too curious to have him leave it at that! "What'd you say to him?"
"I says to him, 'Look Cliff, I'm going to level with you man. It's not that you're not worth it, but we can't afford 5 years and $8 million each. And honestly man, you can't afford it either.'
"There was a moment of silence, and I could tell he was confused. 'If you sign with some sh*t team in the AFC South you're going to end up cut in three years because they're a crap team and you're going to be their easiest way out of cap hell. I've got another option for you. Sign here, two years, seven... maybe eight million a year. You'll be 28 when your deal's up, and after two years in this machine of a defense my man Pete has put together here... You'll make Mario Williams look like Cat Stevens after he changed his name to Yusif Islam. You'll be like that kid in blank check. Name your price my man!"
I was honestly kind of shocked. Did that guy actually take less money to travel all the way to the northwest? Even knowing he ended up playing in Seattle, I was surprised that this was all he had to say to snag him.
"Now is where it's just comical Charlie. That next day, we started calling all the defensive ends and giving them that pitch. Next thing you know our defensive line was stacked with guys who knew how to put an offensive linemen on his rear!"
Now they'd only given me the first couple pages of the script, because that's the only place you'd find my charactor. So I really didn't know what the movie was about, so out of curiosity I asked, "What is this the story of? If you don't mind me asking."
"The time we smashed all the record books up in Seattle, and won 7 Superbowls in 11 years. Bringing joy to the entire region, and putting faith back into the hearts of all Northwest sports fans."
"That sounds like a boring movie man."
"Oh it'll be fine. We've got Charlie Sheen playing Pete. Wow, we need to get to the next actor man. Are you ready to read? I just want you to do this line right here."
Now nice and relaxed, I read loudly and with passion, "If you're going to be a good offensive lineman I think you gotta be a little bit of a... uh... can I say it? A dirt bag!"
In case you're wondering, I got the part.
I'm Luke. I tweet more than I write. Find me @MyHawkSoFly