I'm not new to this as I am lucky enough to say I am one of the few who have been part of this from the very beginning, yet the Junkie Gathering continues to do what it has always done, be special. Of course Vegas will never disappoint and the events Goze plans every year seem to be perfect, but in the end it's the people, the Junkies that make this what it is.
So let's go back to the beginning, my beginning of the past week. Monday night I get to my gate at Newark International Airport for my flight out and as I look at all the people waiting to board with me, I immediately recognize a face with this unique hair I know, yet never met personally. I immediately walk over to him and say, "Danny, what up it's Sam 'All Jam'." Yes, Danny the producer and I were on the same flight and he was quick to let me know not to say anything on-line about it as it was a surprise for GG and Goze.
The surprise turned out to be great. However, what would turn out even better was that Danny was just part of an outstanding rookie class this year. A class that included Jon from Seattle AKA Sergio Pettis, Lewis "You better get Tough kid" from the UK, Lucas from France, 'Air Force' Carl from Virginia, Kyle "Is anyone here a marine biologist" from South Carolina, Josh from Canada and Cousin Geoffrey 'The Beast' from Tennessee. There was also Ryan AKA Jon Anik who was part of a tandem from Sacramento along with Micah (who I hid behind in the Escape Room hatch for the brave), Twindra AKA Berkeley and Stanford from Humboldt, CA and of course, Rookie of the Year Jersey Mike/Oklahoma Noles who is built like Ben Rothwell, but looks likes Justin Wren. My apologies to any rookies not mentioned, I'm writing this still half asleep. Some rookies mentioned above are in the pic below:
Highlights are way too many too mention, but a few to help recollect each day included Lackey making a diving effort in football with no shoes on in the football game. That was followed by Sam working the grill at the BBQ. There was Jon hurdling the bed at The Escape Room and Jason the intern bum rushing some strangers table at The Beer Park thinking they were Junkies; he was soon adopted by them.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony as Muna, Hal, Mike AKA Northern Lights and Burt Watson comprised the second class to be inducted. Congrats to my fellow Hall of Famers; it truly is a great honor to be in the same sentence with you gentlemen. Oh yeah, thanks Goze for the bad ass Hall of Fame bracelet from Enson Inoue. I was proud to rock that piece all weekend.
Goze asked me on Saturday where I would rank this Gathering and I couldn't give him an answer. I'm lucky enough to say I've been to every one, which is a blessing and I mean that in every sense of the word. We look at blessings as wonderful things that have been bestowed upon us by God. We're blessed to have life, good health, good fortune, family, friends etc.
This Junkie thing we have going and experienced is all that and then some. We have forged friendships from across the country and around the world. We have shared laughter and in some cases tears. We've depended upon one another for support in a drunken stupor and have shared love for one another in the same state. Let's face it, you can't spend days together with people downing unlimited amounts of Jello shots and not feel something for that person. ;)
Goze's theme for the gathering this year was "This time it's personal," well it was. It was love, laughter and friendship, everything we enjoy in life. This time it was personal!
Props to GG and Goze for their efforts and allowing us every year to be a part of Junkie Nation
Photo credit to Mike AKA Northern Lights for the group pic at the TUF Gym