Saturday AM: We departed Tallahassee Regional Airport at 6:45 a.m. EST for Newport Beach, California via Atlanta. We arrived at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California at 11 a.m. PST. We were met by Tom Brown, a Board Member of the Pacific Club and the Lott Trophy Committee. Mr. Brown took us to get fitted for our tuxedos. Afterward we took a tour of the Pacific Club's two main facilities: an executive-styled building and a multimillion dollar fitness center. The complex reminded me of a country club without a golf course. There was a half court basketball court behind the secretary's desk. There was an upstairs gym with two massage rooms. After a quick lunch at the Club we checked into our hotel rooms at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach, CA.
Saturday PM: At 7:00 pm we attended a casual dressed buffet dinner that was quite entertaining. We met additional Board Members including Mike Salmon, the founder of the Ronnie Lott Trophy Committee and a former safety at USC and San Francisco 49er's who actually played football with Coach Dexter Carter in the NFL. I met Brian Orakpo the massive Defensive End from Texas who is a MAN physically and definitely passed the eyeball test. He was accompanied by his girlfriend, UT's Sports Information Director, and two video technicians from the UT football team. I also met James Laurinaitis' father, Joe, who was known as "The Animal" in his wrestling days. He was a big guy with a Mohawk hair-cut. James arrived late because The Ohio State University had Bowl practice earlier that day. He also passed the eyeball test and is a very friendly and pleasant individual. The younger Laurinaitis arrived with OSU's Sport Information Director for Football. Later that night I met former Cal and Oakland Raider Coach Mike White. Aaron Curry of Wake Forest was not present but was scheduled to arrive on Sunday. Myron represented FSU well, was very affable and attracted a wide range of individuals who wanted to met and speak with him.
The day was long and tiresome. Both Myron and myself retired early to be ready for an eventful Sunday.
Sunday AM: Myron and I had a late breakfast at the buffet in our hotel. Myron did some reading and I worked on some stories, and visited the message boards for NoleDigest while watching the morning NFL Gameday shows.
Sunday Mid-Day: Myron and I went to the Pacific Club and played a few games of HORSE on the basketball court. I lost twice in a row but Myron knew my left hand shot was pretty weak and used that to his advantage. Myron scheduled a massage at 2:15 p.m. and I also scheduled one for 3:30 p.m. Myron had his massage that he was not quite happy with as the lady seemed afraid to apply pressure to his muscles. Myron said he thought she was use to massaging old men and was not use to athletes with 4% body fat. While Myron had his massage I ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes or so. After that we ate a quick lunch in the dining room area of the Club. We were running late and I decided to not get a massage so we could have time to get ready for the ceremony.
Sunday PM: Myron and I were among the first individuals to arrive at the Black-tie Ceremony. We were taken to "The Grill", a room set-up for the VIP reception and where all the photographs were being taken. During the dinner, I met Sam "Bam" Cunningham (USC 1970-72). Sam was a really pleasant gentleman and I later found out that he is Randall Cunningham's older brother. I also had the pleasure to meet Ronnie Lott. He is a very genuine and nice person. I did not have the opportunity to meet Roger Goddell, Commissioner of the NFL who was also in attendance. However, Commissioner Goddell had a long and extensive conversation with Myron. Again Myron was the focus point of many in the audience and much of those in attendance knew about him and his achievements.
The actual ceremony was taped live by Fox Sports Network. Keith Jackson was the keynote speaker and he was a joy to listen to. Mr. Jackson made several references to Myron, his accomplishments and Florida State during his speech and during the presentation. At my table were Wake Forest' SID, Ohio State's SID, Texas' SID, Brian's girlfriend, and his line coach from Texas. It was a great and memorable night even though Myron did not win the award but he was honored to be a Finalist and recognized. The only somewhat negative aspect of the event was the poor presentation prepared by FSU in that the film clips of Myron was perhaps the worst clips presented by the various Universities. However, the people at the Pacific Club did an excellent job organizing this event and they really showed great kindness to all of us throughout the weekend.
The evening ended with my meeting a few college friends who wanted to show me the more enjoyable side of Los Angeles. Before I went on my LA tour, I made sure Myron was secured in the hotel.
Monday AM: We awoke at 4:30 PST and boarded our air plane bound for Tallahassee. We arrived in Tallahassee at 4:00 pm.