Scott Marks 4:19 p.m., June 19
Chargers Blood Drive
I've given over 13 gallons of blood. Not all at once. I tried that one time and got real dizzy.
The only time I went to the Chargers Blood Drive in Hotel Circle, it was a cluster ****. Parking was horrible, it took almost three hours, and the only person I recognized was newscaster Jack White.
That was about 20 years ago. I decided I'd go today, since I hadn't donated blood in about 6 months.
They had things going a lot smoother. Parking was easy.
They were asking everyone for $5 to enter, and said they'd give it back after you donated. I thought that made sense, since many people probably go in and get autographs, and leave.
I saw Ben Davidson, with his huge white handlebar mustache, walk by me. I thought it was cool that he showed up, when he's probably a bigger name than any of the current Chargers that are here.
I went thru all the various steps, and forms I had to fill out. After 20 minutes, I was in line to donate. Former kicker Rolf Bernirschka (sp?) came by and said hello. He's the one that started this whole thing, after a medical condition that almost killed him (can't remember the details now, and as he talked about it, I was reading a magazine). You really need magazines for the amount of time you're in the lines.
A guy was walking around with an accoustic guitar, and a mask over his face. He looked like a luchador (Mexican wrestler). Someone wondered if it was former Padre Tim Flannery. When he took off his mask, someone behind me said "Uh, he should've left it on."
As I was donating, I heard a nurse telling one woman to lay down. She said that so many times, big guys wouldn't lay down, they see the needle, and they faint.
It wasn't until we were eating donuts and drinking orange juice, that I saw a woman collapse. She was thin, so maybe that had something to do with it. A guy noticed she seemed out of it, and he held her as she collapsed. They then laid her down, and brought a wheelchair in. The two big guys I was sitting next to, started talking about various things they've seen over the years. One big guy that screamed at the pain. Another guy that collapsed afterwards, which caused his kid to faint. Then a few other children fainted. A woman that worked for the Blood Bank then chimed in saying, "That's why we don't let kids in here anymore. One child thought his dad had died."
The big guys were talking about the Nutter Butter cookies they brought out. I gave them mine. I offered to give their teenage daughter my blue Charger bracelet, since she was mad that her dad lost hers. She thanked me, but didn't take it.
Which is good, because when you leave, to get your $5 refund......well, first, they try to talk you into donating that money. The woman in front of me said they could keep it. When they asked me if they could keep it, I said "No. I'm kind of a bastard that way." She then said, "Okay, well...then we're going to have to take that Chargers bracelet back from you." It was so bizarre. I mean, haven't I donated enough blood to these guys over the years? They want money from me, too! I didn't even care about the bracelet, but it was the principle of the thing.
The big guys than walk by me, talking about how Cold Stone is giving away free ice cream. I followed them, but since it was only vanilla, I passed.
A country-western band was playing, which made the choice to leave real easy.
A number of local radio stations were set up. I grabbed a bread stick from Pat & Oscar's booth, and glanced at the Chargers that were signing autographs. There were about 15 of them, and I only recognized Luis Castillo. I didn't care about any of their autographs, so I headed out.
A guy that had gotten Chargers autographs on a football earlier (and said he missed a few of the bigger name guys, like LT and Gates), asked this young boy to sign it. He's a kid that was earlier telling us how he survived some disease, thanks to a blood transfusion from donors like us. The kid seemed thrilled to be asked for his autograph, especially on a football signed by other stars.
The kid, with Chargers autographs all over his shirt, was excited. He then asked the man if he could take his photo next to him and Rolf.
It made the hour worth it for me.
Okay...that, and the breadsticks.