A moment I will never forget, and a story I can’t believe I’m telling.
Imagine being asked “How was the Superbowl?”, hard to do right? Now imagine you get to go for free… I imagine the next thoughts are “Oh my goodness! I can’t even imagine! No freaking way!” Well before January 2019 that would have been my thoughts exactly. Thanks to an incredible story and an amazing experience, I can answer that question and so much more.
It all started with a phone call on January 15, 2019, from my sister, Gabe. The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, reached out to her to ask if she thought I would be interested in having a short (30-60 minute) sit-down meeting with All-Pro Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry. We were going to talk about the Foundation, upcoming events, and my willingness to act as a “point person” for future events. Admittedly, I found this odd because they called my sister and everyone at the Foundation has my number. Gabe told me the reason they contacted her was this meeting was on short notice and they would need me to fly to Atlanta, and didn’t want me to feel obligated to go. Undoubtedly I found the logic to be ridiculously flawed, but I didn’t ask a lot of questions it was a free trip to Atlanta. The trip was set for Wednesday, Jan 30 – Feb 1, 2019, with the meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2019. As time got closer, the excitement started to build. We had no set agenda or time for this meeting. We were simply told to go to the NFL media row and wait until Jarvis had free time. Being backstage was an unbelievable experience. The first player I saw was Deion Sanders (one of my all-time favorites), and as I continued to see media personalities, current players, and hall of Famer walking around I knew this was going to be a special experience. Once Jarvis finished his interview, his publicist introduced him to Gabe and me. We then followed him as he made several stops, ultimately making his way to The Jim Rome Show.
Once we arrived, Jarvis looked at me and said, “Hey Nick I have a surprise for you, wanna go on the Jim Rome show with me?” Me being me, my response was “Of course, I Love Jim Rome!” I couldn’t believe it! I walked on the set thinking how often I listen to his radio show, and how excited I was to be on it… I grabbed a headset and began to sit down, while a man began directing my eyes to camera 1. At that moment I realized, “Oh crap!, this is going to be on TV.” My heart instantly started to race a little bit, but I thought to myself it’s okay if I mess up that’s why they have editing floors. From there the interview started, things were going great as we discussed The Browns, the city of Cleveland, and Cystic Fibrosis. All of a sudden in the midst of the interview Jarvis looks at me and says “Hey Nick I have another surprise for you.” I look at him dumbfounded, like, you just brought me on the Jim Rome show not only don’t I need another surprise what could be better than this. It was at that moment Jarvis gave me what was inevitably the surprise of a lifetime, two tickets to the super bowl. Words can’t express what that moment meant to me! It was such an unbelievable surprise.
One of the best ways to describe it was the words Jarvis repeated during the embrace, “it’s all love, it’s on love, it’s all love”. He was right the love and emotion at the moment is something I will always remember and cherish.
After we finished the interview, we talked to Rome off the air for a few moments and as we were walking offset, my phone was going crazy. I pull it out thinking it was just a group chat talking about nothing, yet the first text I opened was a message from my cousin Josh. It was a picture of his TV with us sitting on set and it was not until that moment I realized I was on live TV, and the whole world got to share this experience with me in real-time.
One of my favorite parts of this story is I had no idea I was going to be on the show, on TV, or receive the tickets; so everyone watching was able to see my truest reaction and expression in its purest form.
It’s hard to put this experience and the emotions associated with this moment in words. This moment illustrated my hard work and drive had been recognized (although I don’t do it for recognition), it gave me a chance to share my story and raise awareness for a cause I am extremely passionate about. As a result, it exposed Cystic Fibrosis and me to a slew of new CFers and non-CFers to learn, build, and grow with/from. Lastly, it gave me someone that I not only root for on Sunday but also know can say I root for every day as a friend.
P.S. If you are wondering how I had enough clothes considering for a trip I originally thought was 2.5 days, it’s because of my sister and her mischievous ways. She told me I had to pack 7-8 outfits so that she could approve what I was going to wear when I met Jarvis. I understand to most this may sound ridiculous, but Gabe is so logical I didn’t even give it a second thought. So that’s how I had enough clothes for what I thought was a 2.5-day trip, which really turned into a 6-day trip.