I grew up in Thornton, Colo., and we'd make regular road trips up I-25 to buy fireworks or beer on Sundays.  I also had a bunch of friends who went to college in Laramie.  None of them graduated, of course, but they did take me to one of the most epic parties ever.

It was 1994, and my buddies invited me to a 14 kegger at a place outside Laramie called "The Barn" (I have no idea what it is now).  I have not seen more kegs at one party before or since.  At the time, Theo Ratliff was the big man on campus in more ways than one.  Not only was he 7-feet-tall, but he was one of the best basketball players in UW history.

That night, all eyes were on Theo as he entered the party.  I was across the "barn" filling up at one of the kegs.  As I made my way across the room, I stumbled on the unstable terrain and spilled a full beer directly in the face of the future two time NBA All Star. It was not a glancing blow.  The entire contents of my freshly filled beer spilled all over him.

As I got back up and dusted myself off, I was sure that either Theo or one of his teammates were going to slam dunk me back on the ground.  Instead, this gentle giant actually reached down, grabbed my hand and lifted me up.  As he wiped the beer off of his face, shirt and jacket, he laughed and asked if I was ok.  He asked ME, if I was ok.  I apologized profusely and shook his hand.

I remember waking up the next day on a strange couch in a strange room with no recollection of how I had gotten there.  Turns out, I passed out in my buddy's dorm room on the UW campus.  When I finally caught up to my pals later that day, they weren't nearly as forgiving as Theo Ratliff was the night before.