So back on December 16th, 2019 a Monday Night Football, New Orleans Saints, quarterback Drew Brees past Peyton Manning for the person who threw the most touchdown passes in NFL history. A Breeza story is pretty cool. He’s a graduate of Purdue university, but as an undersized quarterback, early in his career, he had the struggle to find his way, but he did it because his work ethic is one of the strongest you’ll see, and it’s held up in the league as a model. And all these years later, he’s now 13 times pro bowler, the winner of the NFL man of the year in 2006 the comeback player in 2004 two NFL passing leader seven times and a bevy of other awards, but possibly the greatest highlight of his career was the super bowl 44 in 2010 now that took place in Miami, Florida. But the night before myself, Elizabeth are two young kids and my brother, we’re in Cape Canaveral, Florida and we were there because one of the last space shuttles was about to launch and we always had a dream of seeing a space shuttle launch in person.
They had them scheduled out the year before, but we couldn’t find the time to go. So we saw that on February 7th was going to be the final night launch of a shuttle and we were still in Indiana at that point. We said, we’re going to do a road trip. And my brother decided to fly out from New York because he wanted to be a part of it too. And with two little kids, we drove from Indiana to Florida stopping in Chattanooga, Tennessee to actually sleep on the Chattanooga choo choo train because our kids were so into trains at that point and we learned they made it into a hotel. So we had to experience that and then driving all the way down for the plan lodge, which was to take place at 4:39 AM now, how are we going to go there and keep two little kids up until four 30 in the morning for a launch?
We didn’t really think about, but we got to Florida. We picked up my brother at the airport. We drove to the Kennedy space center on nine o’clock at night and we said, okay, what do we do now? So we looked around the museum and we found ourselves in the odd spot of our kids playing on the playground at the Kennedy space center around one o’clock in the morning, which was bizarre in itself. But then it was even more bizarre that there were a bunch of other kids and parents all around doing the same thing. We’re all acting like it was four 30 in the afternoon because everybody eventually got exhausted and we found a comfortable place to lay down like a bunch of other people did as well. We all took little naps and it was slightly miserable, but we were ready and we’re awaiting and at some point we said, okay, let’s go.
And we got up and we got our chairs, we walked out there and we prepared for launch and the kids are now wide awake and everybody’s excited and they start the countdown. I can’t remember if it was 30 seconds or a minute, but at some point we’re counting down and then the clock stopped and we’re thinking, well maybe this is just procedure. They’re getting everything ready and we’re all waiting and it’s getting a little bit restless. And then about 4:37 AM we hear a muffled voice come over the loudspeaker and they said a couple of words, but the only word that I could make out was sorry. And before we know what was going on, we saw people picking up their chairs and starting to walk towards the exit. And I’m like, I don’t know what the heck just happened, but I think they’re not launching tonight.
And we’re in a jam parking lot. Like, Oh my goodness. We weren’t planning on getting out with everybody at the same time. So we grabbed our chairs and we rushed to the car to beat the traffic. I think Andrew was four, no one was two and Nolan was like, what’s going on? And after we got some information, Andrew was like, Nolan, there’s too many clouds in the sky, they can’t launch. So it turned out is that it was either too cloudy in Florida or one of the designated spots. We’d have to have an emergency landing. And those locations are not cleared for weather. They can’t launch. So the thing was canceled. So we’re like, Oh my goodness. So we head back to the car, but we didn’t plan for us. We didn’t have a hotel that night because we thought we’d just head over to a Disney, which was our next stop.
But the traffic was so horrendous getting out that we couldn’t go anywhere. So we only got a couple blocks away and we pulled into a parking lot of a local insurance company and the five of us just slept cramped inside of our minivan. And we woke up the next morning exhausted with sore necks and we headed over to the Cracker barrel to get some breakfast smelling like who knows what and planning out what to do next. And what we learned was they’re going to try to relaunch the shuttle Sunday night, but luckily this time it would be two 30 not four 30 so at this point, everybody’s exhausted. Nolan’s now becomes sick and we had to decide what to do and we said, there’s no way we’re coming all the way out here and we’re not going to see the shuttle launch. So we said, okay, we’re going to get our room at Disney.
We could get a good meal, we’re going to chill out in the hotel and we’re going to watch the super bowl between the saints and the Colts. And then when the game’s over, we’re going to head back to Cape Canaveral and we’re going to watch that shuttle launch. So my job was to make sure that everybody’s awake at midnight to leave. So now everybody is wiped out and the Superbowl starts. And Elizabeth, Andrew and Nolan are asleep by the end of the first quarter. But me and Steve stayed up in the hotel and watch it. And we were both exhausted, but we knew we needed to make this happen. So we watched late into the night as the saints and drew Brees win the Superbowl and we then make the rounds waking up, Elizabeth waking up, Angela Nolan and saying, let’s get ready and go. So everybody slowly got up, packed into the car.
It’s now around midnight, maybe a little bit after that. And we stopped at the local CVS to get known some cold medicine and we headed off to Cape Canaveral and that’s when we got our first break because the first launch was supposed to happen on a Saturday, which drew heavy crowds, but a lot of people couldn’t come back. So when we went back out there the following night, the crowds and traffic was so much less that we didn’t even try to go to the space center. We got a closer view in Titusville and lucked into a $20 parking spot with a beautiful view of the shuttle just sitting there. It was fun. This time as there was not much wait time and everybody was just excited and we all sat on top of our minivan and waited and counted down and just hope for good weather in those spots set for the emergency landing.
And then the countdown continued and then it stopped again. And the rumors were somewhere in Europe were supposed to land, had bad weather and rain and we just sat there like, we can’t do this one more time, please just launch the shuttle. And the kids were waiting nervously and patiently and the clock started counting down again. And there was some point we looked around and we realized this is going to happen. And if you’ve ever been to a shuttle launch, you know this feeling cause all of a sudden you feel the ground start to shake and you hear the noise as a point of you go, there’s a point of no return. This is going to happen. And we sat there feeling the rumblings and we’re looking at each other and we’re just huge smiles and nervous at the same time. And we’re staring at the shuttle and there’s lights on it, but everything else is pitch black.
And then all of a sudden you see the smoke start billowing out from underneath the shuttle. It seems like it’s taking forever. And then the fire starts flying out from the bottom of the shuttle. And before, you know, at night turns into today, it becomes so bright from the flames of the shuttle that the entire sky lit up. And with that was liftoff. And I still remember the gasps from everybody around us. We all made like a silly childlike noise because we were in complete ours. We watched the shuttle rise into the sky. It was probably a good 30 seconds of daylight. And then it started to fade because we watched the shuttle go higher and higher towards space. And that look of amazement on our kids’ faces. I don’t think I’ll ever forget. And it couldn’t have been more than a minute and a half later before it was gone. And we all got in the car in silence and we couldn’t believe what we just saw and that it really happened.
I dominated the conversation in the back seat until the kids knocked out asleep and we say, we’re sleeping in the next morning. And then we get started on a Disney trip. And then we realized on the drive back that there will be a parade for the MVP of the Superbowl. You know, the whole, we’re going to Disney world. I’m like, Oh my God, that’s happening here tomorrow. But we looked it up and we saw the parade was going to start early and nobody was convinced to get up early to go for the parade. So we gave in and we said, we’re sleeping in and we’re not gonna worry about the parade, even though I wanted to go. So we got up in the morning, the kids were still excited from the shuttle and we got ready and they were excited for Disney. So we got dressed and we headed over to magic kingdom.
And as we started walking in, we noticed all the saints balloons and we said, we know we missed it, but I bet the parade happened right here at the entrance. And we check our tickets and we check into Disney for the first time and we noticed there’s still noises and commotion going on. So I got aggressive. I was like, I think there might still be something of the parade going on. So I was like, let’s go, let’s go, let’s get over there. And I led and I ran ahead to the Gates and the kids and Elizabeth and Steve were behind me. And as we ran up, we noticed a bunch of people lined up waiting for something. And I’m like, there’s no way this could be the parade. So we quickly scooted to the right and we squeezed into a spot, which as we looked around was the very end of the parade to our right.
Literally was the door that closes with the parade ends. And as we stood there, I said to Elizabeth, I said, we could not be this lucky. And I didn’t even finish saying it before. Everybody started screaming. And to my left was a convertible. Slowly turning the corner and in the car were drew Brees and his wife smiling and waving the crowd and I have just enough time to pull up my camera, snap a couple of images and one of them was just perfectly timed. Were drew Brees blue kiss right at us to our right. The door opened the convertible with breeze and his wife went behind the door. The door closed and the parade was over. And I tell that story because it’s a story of if you want something, you have to not only push to get it and overcome the obstacles when it doesn’t work out.
For Drew Brees, it was the Chargers not believing in him, allowing him to go to New Orleans where we became those prolific passer in NFL history, but also would have been very easy to say, we’re not going back out to the shuttle the next night. We already stayed here until four 30 in the morning. This was a disaster. But what is it that you want that you’re willing to endure the pain for? The night that drew Brees broke that record, there was a video posted on social media a couple of days later and it was him by himself in the same practice facility. It was 45 minutes after the rest of his team had left, but breeze didn’t know he was being videotaped and there he was late into the evening, long after everybody was gone by himself, dropping back to pass, doing the visuals, doing all the things in more to get them prepped to face the cult again, just like the Superbowl on that Monday night game and that preparation and that dedication. Let them have a magical night where we went 29 for 30 only missing one pass and in turn setting the record for most touchdown passes thrown by an NFL quarterback in his career success, it turns out often comes down to how persistent you’re going to be after you did the things that you thought would make you successful. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.