My brush with Shaun Alexander – #37 of the Seahawks
GO HAWKS! What a great game. Ok, here is my promised story:
Not many people know that there are actually two people named, “Shawn Alexander” in the Seattle area. One is the superstar MVP running back for the Seattle Seahawks leading the league in rushing yards. The other is me, a Microsoft employee whose been lucky to have my smaller moments in the limelight. I wish I could say I get preferential treatment around town but that’s not the case and no, I’ve never met the man. But one day about four years ago, our worlds collided. It all started with my wedding.
My wife and I were married in the Summer of 2000. The ceremony was held in the Bay Area and it was the best day of my life. We received a wide range of gifts from friends near and far that seemed to trickle in over a almost a year. Then, about 14 months after our wedding, a package arrived to my office. I opened it up and realized it was a wedding present, and subsequently left it in my office for about a month (bad Sean!). Then packing up to leave one day, I realized my error and brought the package home.
It was a typical evening- Nickie and I were chatting about our day and I left the package on the kitchen table while sorting through the mail.
“What’s this?” Nickie asked.
“A belated wedding present I think.” I responded.
Nickie opened the packaging and missed the envelope for the gift card. She then went on to open the card.
“Honey?” she asked.
“Yes” I responded.
“Do we know a ‘Coach and Kathy Holmgren’?”
The words hung in the air for a second as we went through our mental wedding lists. Then it hit us.
“You don’t think… isn’t Holmgren the Head Coach of the Seahawks?” she started.
“Oh my gosh” I said. I had remembered seeing Shaun Alexander had just gotten married. It clicked- the package and gift was from a local Seattle store on our registry.
“They must have picked the wrong Alexander from the gift registry.”
We talked about what to do. The gift was nice, something we had picked out. I was running scenarios in my head- would Shaun care? Would he be offended to think Holmgren didn’t give him a gift? Probably not. But ethically, we agreed we just couldn’t keep it. So next posed the problem- how would I get it back to the Holmgrens? It was from our registry, so I wasn’t sure Shaun would want it.
Then I started the process of trying to return the item. No daunting task.
You see, there are thousands of Seahawks fans locally who would like nothing more than to share their zeal for the team with the coaching staff and players. You won’t find an email address or phone #of the Seahawks on the web site (at least I didn’t back then). Eventually, I realized the path of least resistance was likely the Seahawks PR department. Many a time I’ve been contacted the same way at Microsoft. So, I cold-called the PR department, and left them a voicemail message.
Two days later, I got a call back from the Seahawks. They apologized for the situation and explained that the Holmgren’s assistant had accidentally picked the wrong Alexander off the gift registry. They asked to coordinate a time for a “runner” to pick up the item. Later the next day, sure enough the “runner” arrived at my office and apologized for the inconvenience. I explained it was no problem. He also gave me a small bag with two Seahawks hats and bumper stickers as thanks. I was appreciative to receive it. I wasn’t expecting tickets or anything.
So… that was my first brush with Shaun Alexander. Judging by the hugs after yesterday’s game, I’m sure everything is fine between Holmgren and Alexander despite all the hoopla at the end of last season.
By now you’re probably wondering what the gift was. I’m not saying… until after the Seahawks win the Super Bowl <g>.