In the interest of Gronk's rise to the top of the NFL, I've decided to share my own personal memory of the Pats' tight end. Enjoy.
Alright, so let me explain that title real quick here. I'm not actually going to come out and say I would have "beat up" Gronk, but stranger things have happened, so for story purposes lets say the outcome would have been debatable. Here is a story about my strange encounter with the NFL's best tight end a few summers ago.
I live in the South Side Slopes area of Pittsburgh - pretty much a stones throw away from what most would consider the busiest bar scene in the city. Which has made my house a popular destination for people from my hometown (about an hour away) to spend weekend nights going out and having a good time.
So, like most weekends, my roommates and I catch wind that some people from home are going to be coming down to visit us. Also, we know a girl that is celebrating her 21st birthday at a bar called Diesel (I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit this) and she asked to us to come down.
Okay, plans are lining up nicely. We'll head down to the club and consolidate our groups of friends for a good night with everyone.
The night is pretty much going as expected; we're hanging out with both groups of friends upstairs where there is a bar and a separate area for your party. This is when one of my friends tells me that he just saw Rob Gronkowski walking around with his brothers on the street. However, in my current state, I misunderstood him for saying that Bruce Gradkowski was in town.
I was a little confused as to why he would be telling me this because most people probably can't pick Gradkowski out of a lineup, but it made sense because he is from Pittsburgh, so on I go.
At some point, I eventually step outside of the bar to get some air when I see a familiar face walk by me, along with two other guys. I look for a second, process what I'm seeing, and recognize him as All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Immediately the light bulb goes off, I put two and two together from my friend's comment earlier and realize that he was actually telling me that Gronk was in Pittsburgh. Since I'm a big fan of Deadspin and Barstool, I was pretty aware of Gronkowski's partying reputation so I knew anything could happen when he is around.
I go back in the bar and back to the area that my friends are occupying when I see an old friend from home (happens to be a female, happens to be attractive) that I hadn't talked to in a while. She is walking toward me to greet me and at the same time I look to the left and notice that Gronk is now in the bar and he and his brothers are trying to get the attention of the girl – she doesn't notice and continues toward me. *Maybe I smirked at Gronk, maybe I didn't.*
She comes over and we each sit down in the area designated to our party and we start to talk. All of the while, I can see over her shoulder and Gronk and his boys are trying to get her attention. I let her know – because girls love athletes, particularly famous ones – but she isn't really interested in him at this point.
While we're talking I started to notice Gronk getting agitated because she wasn't responding to him but he ended up becoming pre-occupied with another group of girls anyway, so I stopped noticing him.
All of the sudden, I am sitting there and out of the corner of my eye I see an entire drink glass fly past my head and land just beyond me and shatter. I don't remember what I was thinking in that exact moment but I definitely know I wasn't assuming that anyone had been bad intentions with the glass. That's when I looked up toward Gronk's crew and watched them all turn to face me, Gronk in the middle, and begin laughing while he pointing directly at me and the girl and gestured that it was indeed him that decided to toss the entire drink, glass included, at my head.
I was so confused and trying to process what had just happened that it took me a second to get my bearings and realize that the best tight end/most dynamic player in football last year, the guy whose health last year's Super Bowl was hinging on, is now provoking a fight with me. Of course I'm not an idiot and anyone that knows me is aware that I'm also the least confrontational person you will every meet, so I just kind of laughed it off, as did Gronk.
But about an hour later he threw another glass at me and I just couldn't take it anymore. So I got up, ripped off my shirt and charged at the Gronk trio. At that point in time all of Diesel was eyeing up Gronk and me. Even the DJ started playing "Eye of the Tiger" which gave it the ultimate Balboa-Drago Rocky IV feel.
Gronk and I were eye-to-eye when Julian Edleman stepped in and held Gronk back. He screamed, "ROB, DON'T DO IT! FOXBORO NEEDS YOU!" Gronk let out a Stegasaraus like roar and just sprinted out of Diesel to the applause of the entire bar. That night, I ran Pittsburgh.
OK – so everything after "...so I just kind of lauged it off, as did Gronk" was a lie. Edleman wasn't there, my shirt stayed on, and Gronk didn't scream like a prehistoric creature. But still, I think it's kind of cool that the NFL's biggest mismatch launched a glass at my dome.