Harbaugh in the house


Luke Finkel, Managing Editor

My brush with 49er’s head coach Jim Harbaugh:

Cal High hosted its annual fantastic fundraiser, Grizzly Madness, on  March 9, but this year it was much more memorable because the school got a special guest appearance from none other than San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

This may have made the event plenty memorable for all of the parents and donors who attended that night, but it was especially memorable for me as I covered the event for The Californian. This was the night that I told a joke, a joke so fine it got a laugh out of Harbaugh himself.

Here is my story:

I arrived at Crow Canyon Country Club and was instantly impressed by this fine event’s elegance and sophistication. Grizzly Madness helps raise money for all Cal athletic teams through silent and regular auctions. But I wasn’t there for that, I was there to meet Harbaugh.

After hours of taking pointless pictures, and hunting down the waiter with the mini-quiches – he seemed to avoid me after my 10th or so quiche – I heard some commotion outside. I thought this might be the arrival of our much awaited special guest, so I decided to head out and see what it was. Sure enough, it was Harbaugh arriving in a white Escalade.

I instantly admired Harbaugh’s style. A white escalade says, “Yeah I’m rich, but I also like to be slightly modest.” But as soon as he walked out of the car I noticed a few large gashes on the right side of his face. I instantly wanted to know what happened, but my first words to an NFC Championship coach aren’t going to be, “Hey Harbaugh, what the hell happened to your face?”

I decided that a more appropriate “Hello” might be in order, but my ability to speak was suddenly impaired. So “Hello” turned into “Hammumandh”. This got a strange look out of Harbaugh, and I can’t say I blame him.

That was the end of our first encounter as Harbaugh walked into a heavily secured room where I was not allowed. Seeing as I was going to have to wait to get another picture of him, I thought another quiche was in order.

After two or seven, I managed to talk my way into the room where Harbaugh was sitting. My entrance went pretty much unnoticed, because Principal Mark Corti and athletic director Dave Kravitz were talking to Harbaugh about Grizzly athletics. I was able to sit in the corner, and take some photos of the coach talking to our principal. This was when I noticed the gashes on Harbaugh’s face for the second time. Fortunately for me, Corti asked the question that was on my mind.

“Rough night coach?” said Corti, as he gestured to his face. Harbaugh went on to explain that he had the flu bug, and the night before he was getting up to go get some water when he just passed out cold and hit his head on something in his house.

Corti, Kravitz, and Harbaugh began to joke about how he needed a better story than that, and that’s when it hit me

I thought to myself “Jim Schwartz must have beat him up.” For those of you that don’t know what I’m referring to, you can find it [here](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itZXr4MmRys).

This was probably the only shot I’d ever have to show Harbaugh how funny I am!

I started to get a little sweaty, and nervous. How would he respond? Will he find it funny, or is this a sensitive subject with him? What if my voice cracks as I say something? My palms were clamming up, but I decided I was going to go for it. I was going to tell the joke.

I found my perfect joke-telling window after Corti and Kravitz were done telling their much less funny story ideas. I threw caution into the wind, and went for it.

“Coach, you should tell people that Jim Schwartz came after you,” I choked out. If I do say so myself, it was delivered beautifully. Now I just had to wait for his response, and this wait felt like an eternity. I expected him to be a little upset, and respond something like this: (http://www.thebiglead.com/index.php/2013/02/03/jim-harbaugh-super-bowl-freakout-gif/).

To my disbelief, Harbaugh actually laughed. This made me crack a pretty wide smile, because this was the greatest thing I may have ever done, or ever will do. I made a man who was just in the Super Bowl laugh, and a little part of me believes that my joke helped to lift his spirits after that tough loss. At least that’s what I’ll tell my grandchildren.

It was safe to say that the rest of the night was a blur, the mixture of a wild adrenaline rush and quiche induced sickness caused me to not accomplish much else.

After about another hour of taking photos, and people telling jokes that came nowhere near the level of my comedic genius, I went home. Laying in bed, with a feeling of great success, I fell asleep and couldn’t wait to tell my peers about my massive accomplishment.

This was the story of my 15 minutes of fame.

Oh yeah, and Cal High made lots of money or whatever.