A bit later, HUaL posted on facebook that they were looking for Raleigh residents to help publicize the show. I offered to help, which resulted in a short email conversation with Josh Levin, Slate’s sports editor and the moderator of the podcast. That interaction made any publicity I’d do more than worthwhile, I thought. The posters arrived last Wednesday, and on Saturday Jacob and I drove around to local libraries, sports bars, and the NC State campus to hang them up.
To thank us for our contribution, Jacob and I were invited to the private post-podcast dinner at a local steakhouse. We were informed that TIAA-CREF, the sponsor of the evening, would be picking up the tab for the valet parking. Clearly, this was a much nicer restaurant than Jacob and I frequent.
Since I hadn’t had much luck talking up the podcast to my friends (it turns out a live podcast is less exciting if you aren’t familiar with the people involved), I had no idea how many people to expect last night. I’d feel really bad after “publicizing” the event to only have Jacob and myself there…Happily, the event was decently attended, with probably a little more than 120 people there. We were allowed to sit in the reserved section, so we ended up in the center with a clear view of the stage.
The podcast itself was quite entertaining, with discussions of college basketball and football. I’d never heard of guests Julius Hodge and Anson Dorrance until I learned they would be on the show (I then wikipediaed them), but both were interesting. I particularly liked Dorrance (crazy-successful coach of the UNC women’s soccer team) and his talk of the differences in coaching men and women. However, he missed one question is his lightning round. The best national anthem is clearly Uruguay’s.
After the show, we introduced ourselves to Josh, Mike, and Stefan. This was only Jacob’s second HUaL podcast, but he’d read Stefan’s book about kicking in the NFL, so he brought a football for Stefan to sign. We talked Strongsville HS mascots with Mike and ultimate with Josh.
A little after 8, we headed over to the restaurant. Slate had a private room at the back of the restaurant with capacity for ~30 people. I recognized some of the people from the podcast, but some others appeared to be TIAA CREF people who’d skipped the show. I have no idea what the requirements were to be invited to the event in general, as our table was composed of the hard core Slate fans who’d hung up flyers. (Or in the case of the Poli Sci prof, made one of his students do it.) Coincidentally, the other couple at our table were Case alumni who were on campus the same time as us. (I recognized the woman, but we never definitively figured out the reason.) As with me, the others seemed to be bigger fans of Slate in general than sports specifically, so the conversation was less sports-centric than I’d feared. Definitely interesting people and conversation.
As expected, the dinner was super-swank. In addition to the nice appetizers, there was an open bar (I stuck with my cabernet sauvignon, which kept on getting refilled for me… always dangerous) and for the sit down dinner we had options for soup/salad, entrée, and dessert. (I went with the spinach salad/Chilean sea bass/Bananas Foster bread pudding combo.)
The Slate guys worked their way around the room, and we had the opportunity to talk to the director of Slate V and the Sales and Marketing guy in addition to Mike, Josh, and Stefan. We ended up sticking around long enough that at one point we had the entire Hang Up and Listen panel at our table. It was 11:30, but I wasn’t going to argue against this. When we did leave, one of the Slate men mentioned that “there were still a couple of books left.” I’d noticed that there was a stack of Stefan’s books in the corner but didn’t realize that these were free copies. So, on the way out, I got Stefan to sign my new free copy of Word Freak. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…
So, thank you so much, Slate and TIAA CREF. I had a fantastic time, and – if it’s possible - I’m an even bigger fan of Slate and Hang Up and Listen now.