By Gavin Dawson, G-Bag Nation | @gavindawson
105.3 THE FAN — On June 22nd of 2014, the USA played Portugal in their second match of the FIFA World Cup. The USA lost the lead late and suffered a heart breaking tie losing two points, but they weren’t the only big losers on the night.
I left the GBAG Nation flag at The Fan’s awesome viewing party at Bottlecap Alley off W. 7th in Fort Worth.
I’ve left a lot of things at bars over the years, but all of those things were replacable. This flag was hand made by a super loyal GBAG national named Joyce. She made the original GBAG Nation flag (last sighting pictured below) for March to a Million 2012.
I left that one in the back of a cab following the March to a Million 2014 opening ceremonies. The picture above is literally it’s last service time and last moment of glory. It has not been recovered.
Without knowing the original was lost, Joyce heard we were doing March to a Million 2014 and that we needed a new flag. So she made another one. It was another beautiful piece of art and it served us well during our yearly campaign to expose new people to the broadcast.
We went to Burleson one Saturday at noon for some fellowship.
Here we were with Walt the Barber at the Duck Commander 500 during the rain delay.
So March to a Million was a success. The flag serves a very important role as a rallying point for nationals looking to fellowship and as a beacon to help forge contact with people unfamiliar with the popular local broadcast.
Three months later, it’s time for a big Fan World Cup viewing party in Fort Worth and it was important the flag came along. Ya know, the Metroplex was rivoted. Carnival like atmosphere. The flag ensured you could see through the soccer-mania that had whipped people into a blind frenzy of believing that we would win. It was the…..OK my bad back to the story.
For 95 minutes that afternoon the flag in it’s black, red, and white, and the lads in their red, white, and blue, had a strong run. Until late in the match when Portugal equalized 2-2 — a mere 30 seconds from time.
What had been a moment of complete patriotic sports jubilation quickly turned to stunned silence. Every sports fan knows that feeling. Some would argue it’s worse in the World Cup because there are only three games in group play and the tournament comes every four years. A missed opportunity is a historical event.
I’m not making excuses for neglecting the flag; quickly paying my tab, saying my goodbyes, and jumping in Walt the Barber’s Nissan for the drive back to Dallas. It’s just an explanation of how. The 5 goblets of grog a factor as well.
So there I was the following Monday. Asking myself “how do you lose two hand made flags in four months”? I hoped a colleague from the station had picked it up. I waited awkwardly at the end of conversations with each of my coworkers, hoping they would volunteer the information that they had picked up the flag. They didn’t. And I didn’t want to bring it up, not in the halls and not on air. I had just done that back in March and there was not a positive ending to that one. And oh yeah there were other times I had left the flag in peril only to have a national rescue it from the hands of misguided and angry listeners of a rival station.
I clearly have a flag losing problem and I’ve hit rock bottom. Shame would be too strong of a word, but not by much.
I finally realized Wednesday, July 16th, that not bringing it up and having it remain missing would be a bigger crime against the Nation than losing two flags in four months. And so I mentioned it and offered a few items as a reward for its return and tried to genuinely convey how serious it was. As the segments and hours passed without a solid lead, the list grew and so did my anxiety that it would not turn up.
The show ended and I had a real suspicion that this was going to go the same way the search for the original flag went. That night I decided to levy some accountability against myself. I pledged a beer fast. No brew and no booze at all until the flag surfaced.
Thursday we delivered another quality broadcast and included more pleas for the flag, but when the show ended there were still no quality leads. We had a better chance of setting up a gambling ring taking action from people willing to bet that I wouldn’t make it X amount of days without a coldie.
We didn’t give up though, and had sent in a request for the security footage from Bottlecap Alley and made sure to communicate that no charges would be filed. It’s a cool flag and it’s community property. We just wanted it back. And oh yeah that list of items had grown even more, to include a half gallon of Fireball.
At 4:13 PM, an hour and thirteen minutes after the show, Chris Arnold called me. A twitter user named @IceMavs41 (cool handle) had tweeted asking ” is this the flag y’all keep tweeting about? Lol”. Chris wanted to alert me to the tweet as it had been twenty minutes since he posted it and I had not replied.
Yes, yes it was. And even better I didn’t recognize the background behind the flag, so I didn’t believe it was an existing picture that a prankster had ripped off the internet and was using for hijinx. It seemed real, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. We had received at least 2 dozen prank leads in the previous two days. And surely there had been pictures taken that I was unaware of. But I knew this one had a pretty good chance of being real.
My heart dropped a few minutes later when I received a tweet from a different user also claiming to have the flag. This one from @jimmie_moreland read “boys, is this the flag you are looking for? You’ll never believe where I found it”. As I clicked to retrieve the picture I realized the credibility of tweet from moments earlier was now in question.
LOL, it was a funny prank not a mean prank! Original twitpic credibility lives on!
A few minutes later, Original GBAG Phillip West aka “cousin bleeper” (ask Jeff) helped corroborate @icemav41’s integrity and stated they would be in route to pick up the flag later in the evening.
I allowed myself to believe the flag was 99% secure and I would not be disappointed.
At 7:14 the GBAG Nation received the following tweet from the iceman. “Apparently this is bigger than Lebron returning to Cleveland. #securetheflag”. With the following image attached.
As the story goes a couple ladies left the bar with the flag that night in the spirit of fun, or maybe more like in the fun of spirits. As the guy that left it in the bar to be exposed to the whims of the universe, I appreciate them taking care of it for the better part of a month. In the days following June 22, 2014, they snapchatted with @icemav41 asking him if he wanted it. He declined, but Wednesday on twitter he saw all the tweets and retweets with #securetheflag and put two and two together and reached out to us.
In a final touch of poetry on this story, it was the power of the people and not the power of broadcast signal that returned it home. We could have talked until we were blue in the face about the flag, without you tweeting he would have never known. For one reason or another he doesn’t listen to the broadcast. Salute.
The next public appearance for the flag will be Sausage fest 2014. Go to sausagefestdfw.com for tickets to join us.
And if you see me beer me!
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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