“The Hell You Will!”

That’s exactly what he said. And no, I never saw it coming…especially from my own father.

The Backstory

I was student body president my senior year at Western State College. One of the many perks that came with the job was a trip out to the Coors Brewery for a special tour given to all the student body presidents from the various colleges and universities across Colorado. They even flew us in. How cool was that!

The real reason for this gathering was for Coors to promote their college marketing department and to encourage us to consider them for future promotional and sponsorship opportunities on our individual campuses. Interestingly, much of the persuasion came while we were testing the various brands of complimentary Coors beer. Perhaps that’s why I left Golden fully committed to Coors, even though I wasn’t quite sure why. Nevertheless, it was a fun trip and I got to meet many of the key marketing execs while there.

As graduation slowly approached, I applied to Miami University in Ohio for graduate school plus an assistantship. The assistantship would essentially pay my tuition, room/board, and leave me with a modest stipend each month. Without it, I couldn’t afford MU, so it was an all or nothing deal for me. And given my blustering 2.95 GPA and poor GRE scores, I was a longshot at best.

I needed another option.

The phone rang.

“Greg, this is Jason Dawl (not his real name) from College Marketing over at Coors. We have a position opening up in our department and I wanted to encourage you to apply for it.”

“Me?  Really?” I asked, in a complete state of shock.

“Yes. Our reps have really enjoyed working with you at Western State and they thought you’d be a great addition to the team here.”

“Tell me more,” I asked, trying to cover up the big smile on my face.

“You’d be the Coors liaison with colleges and universities across the country. You’d help us sponsor events and create branding with Coors on the campuses. It would involve a lot of traveling, hanging out with college students, and having a lot of fun. Are you interested?”

I tried my hardest to sound like I had hundreds of offers on the table already. “I’ll look into it.” Of course what I was thinking was, Are you kidding me! I’d do that for free!

Two days later I get a thick letter in the mail from Miami University. Well aware of how thin a rejection letter looks and feels, I knew this wasn’t one of those. It read,

Dear Greg, we’d like to congratulate you on your acceptance into the graduate school. You’ve also been granted a full assistantship in residential life and will receive out-of-state tuition, room/board, and a monthly stipend. Welcome to the Redskins.

I jumped out of my shoes in exhilaration.

By the third jump (amidst shouting from the resident below to knock it off) my eyes gazed across the room before spotting the overflowing trash can topped with empty Coors bottles from the previous night’s graduation party.

Oh wait, I realized, I have a decision to make.

My first phone call was to my parents, who couldn’t have been more excited. “I’m sure you’ll make the right decision,” said my father.

I thanked them for their support and hung up, wondering what he meant by the “right decision”?

During the next couple of weeks I met with Coors and moved back into my parent’s house. The Coors option had now turned into a job offer.  A decision had to be made.

It was a Thursday night when I headed out to the local pub to hang out with my friends and to finally make this important decision. I wanted their input. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a fair fight between the two options given that I was drinking Coors while deciding on Coors. Nevertheless, by the third beer I had made my decision. Can you guess what it was?

On the drive home, I began preparing my script for what I was going to say to my father. To his credit, he never tried to persuade me either way. He did however let me know on many occasions that I made a mistake by selecting Psychology as my major instead of Business.

That’s it! I thought, I’ll emphasize to him that I did in fact take his advice and went with the business option. He’ll be thrilled. Besides, he’s a marketing and advertising guy himself; why wouldn’t he want me to follow in his footsteps.

As I drove up the driveway I could see a light was still on in the den. It was 1AM or so in the morning and my parents were always in bed by 9PM. Why would a light be on in the den? I thought as I got out of the car and approached the front door.

Memories of sneaking back into the house when I was in high school came back as I eased the door open and tip toed towards the stairs.

“Is that you?” came from the den.

I looked over to see my father sitting in the recliner. “Yes, it’s me,” I whispered, “what are you still doing up?”

“I couldn’t sleep,” he said, “and I wanted to know what you decided to do.”

“About what?” I asked, knowing full well what he meant.

“About your decision.”

“Oh, that one,” as I looked away for a second, trying to gather up some confidence for what I was about to say next. “You’ll be happy to know that I decided to go with Coors.”

His eyes pierced right threw me. “The hell you will!”


To be continued next week…

  1. Greg, this was fantastically done! Way to keep up on the edge of our seats and g r e a t title to this article. 🙂 Looking forward to being a guest on your show next week!

    • Shelly Spalding
    • October 9th, 2012

    Nice job, my friend.

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