I realized a few months ago that former Sports Illustrated writer and author Steve Rushin lives just a few miles from me. He's very tall, and is married to former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo, who is also very tall, so I figured I would recognize them if I saw the pair at the grocery store, or a local coffee shop, or something. I happened to be in a Starbucks last week, and saw an advertisement on the bulletin board stating that Rushin would be doing a book signing at Hooker Brewery (yes, I spelled that correctly), also nearby. An opportunity for beer, to interact with a tall, somewhat well-known somewhat-Minnesotan (born in Illinois, raised in Bloomington MN), and to listen to sports stories sounded great, so the wife and I checked it out last night.
Hooker beer is actually very good. Most reading this blog have probably never had it, unless you have spent time in Connecticut, or maybe parts of Massachusetts. They were giving out "samples" last night, which meant the glasses were small, but you could refill them often. Their Octoberfest is always very good, and because it was about 90 degrees in there, the Blonde Ale was a nice alternative. Importantly, there was pizza, also free. The crowd was, somewhat surprisingly, a little on the older side. As in definitely retired and perhaps living in a senior housing community. I did, however, see some younger guys that undoubtedly were Rushin fans from his days at SI.
Steve Rushin did not disappoint. His wife was in attendance, and much of his self-deprecating words focused on being continually outshined by Mrs. Lobo-Rushin. In fact, he was pretty hilarious. He discussed his career at SI, being the father of 4 and a stay-at-home dad, and his current work in fiction and non-fiction books. For me, the best part of his talk was when he discussed working at Metropolitan Stadium as a boy in the commissary. He prepared hot dogs and sodas for vendors, but, when necessary, his group would double as grounds crew, pulling the field tarp before and after a rain delay. He described this double-duty as: 1) unhygienic with respect to the preparation of food that occurred immediately thereafter; and 2) the result of Calvin Griffith being a cheap bastard. I was entertained.
As Rushin signed my copy of "The Pint Man" after his talk, I told him that I was also a native Minnesotan, and that I appreciated, among other things, the piece he wrote on Harmon Killebrew earlier this year. Upon finding out that White Bear Lake was my hometown, Rushin inscribed the book, To Andrew, of White Bear Lake. Go Bears!" He then promptly apologized for the Fargo reference. All in all, it was a great night. I started reading "The Pint Man" last night, and know that I will enjoy it. It's about beer, bars, sports, wordplay, and, perhaps, middle-aged men growing up just a little. I will review it for the blog after I have read it, but if you wish to purchase it, you could order it here.