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Face to Face with Singletary
and a Gal in a Sequined Gown

by Tommy Coleman (5/29/01)

It was 1992, the night before the Steelers would play the Bears at Soldier Field. The Steelers came to Chicago with an impressive record of 0-10 against the Bears in the Windy City. The Steeler Nation was represented by Mike Terry, the Gandley Boys (Mike Gandley and the group chaperone, Young Master Jesse Gandley, then 11 years old) and of course, your soon to be humbled author, Tommy Coleman.

As we were headed out for the evening, we ran into Chicago Bears LB Mike Singletary in the Hilton's Foyer. Looking back now, that might have been one "Mike" too many. Mr. Singletary was to play his final game in Chicago the following day, and I told him, "it was an honor to meet him and to get to see him play his last game at Soldier Field." He was very cordial, but I could detect a underlying suspicion due to the fact that we were in the Black 'N' Gold mode and wearing it proud! This was where I made my big mistake. I added, "But unfortunately, your last home game will be a loss to the Steelers." Singletary looked me straight in the eyes and said, very calmly and cooly, "Okay." I got a bad feeling... can you say 0-11? Talk about negative waves. Whoa!

The night was still young and out we went. The highlight of that night out consisted of four sub-human dredges from St. Louis, who if memory serves, came to see the Blues and Blackhawks. Anyway, one of these creeps decided to go into the restaurant mens' room and dump all over the floor and, as if that wasn't enough, he then smeared it all over the walls, floors, etc.Yeah, Jerome Bettis must of loved gett'N out of Missouri! Upon our return to the hotel, we noticed a large party going on in the main ball room. Well, needless to say, in we went.

Now, you have to understand, this was a Christmas party for a large electronics firm and the folks inside were dressed to the 9's. We got drinks and lots of people were coming up and saying hello and there were quite a few Steelers Fans as well. At this point, Mike Gandley went upstairs to get his camera from the room and Mike Terry went off to check out the rest of the room. Jesse and I sat down at a table and one of the corporation managers came over and asked us about ourselves and invited us to stay for a drink but she (I'll call her Gail) politely made it clear, we were to not stay all night.

After about Ten minutes or so, a very old man (I like to refer to him now as Smedley) --- and I mean, this guy was probably working there when Capone was running the town --- came up to Jesse and I and started shaking visibly and shouting "YOU LIED TO ME! YOU'RE OUT OF HERE! YOU LIED!" Well, I looked at Jesse and we both just sat in silence as this went on for a couple of minutes, then I tried to ask him what the hell he was ranting about. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he was running the show and that I was "not going to pull anything over on his watch." At this point, it dawned on me that Mike Terry had disappeared and that this guy thought I was Mike! I tried for what seemed like 10 minutes to get him to understand that Jesse and I had never spoken to him at all. At some point, I think he realized his mistake, but to save face, he proceeded to repeat what Mike Terry had said to him (insert dream sequence vapors here) .

Mike's story was as follows: "I spilled some food on my Tux and Gail said I could change into my street clothes until the hotel could do an emergency dry-clean on them." Well, of course Smedley checked Mike's story out, and much to his chagrin, found out that there was no Mick Torrey working in accounting or any other department at the Nokia or what ever corp. it was! I explained that we, Jesse and I, had no part in this and had no idea who or what he was talking about! He seemed to accept this at some point and since we were very calm and polite he said, "Finish your drinks and go," and with that he turned and started to leave. At this inopportune time, a woman at a near-by table laughed out loud and although it had nothing to do with us or him, he snapped! He came at us as fast as his old legs could carry him shaking, yelling and frothing at the mouth. Jesse and I decided this would be a good time to split.We calmly but quickly moved towards the door, and the bartender I had tipped 5 dollars waved and said, "Go Steelers." Out the doors we went.

Jessie's Dad was still upstairs getting the camera and I couldn't find Mike Terry anywhere. Looking back into the ballroom as the two huge oaken doors were swinging shut I saw Smedley still tracking us and man he looked PISSED! As the doors closed, I estimated he would be at them in about 5 seconds at his rate of speed, so I instructed Jesse to put a hand on one door and I did the same to the other. 4...3...2...a light but satisfying thump. Now let me interject here; I believe that honesty is the way to go but, we were after all, wrongly accused despite being party crashers and if you're thinking that this was a bad influence on Jesse, remember, he was the group chaperone!

Just as the doors swung open, two hotel security guards came up to see what the commotion was about and after discerning that we were hotel guests, one of them discreetly said to me, "Smedley is a nut job... please don't say anything." Jesse and I stood there as Smed explained that he had the bar tab in his book (a 4x8 leather check book... for 1500-2000 people? Yeah, right) and "our drinks were not on it, in it, or anywhere," which implied that Jesse was drinking, too. I assure you patient reader, that NEVER was the case. He then uttered the classic of classic lines: "I want these DOGS out of here, got me! Heads on the side, walk both of 'em!!!" He was shaking so bad I thought he was going to fall apart. I was going to point out to Smedley that we were in fact Steeler fans and not Browns fans, but out of respect for the security guys, I didn't. Just at this moment, Jesse's dad, Mike Gandley, shows up with the camera and freaks out when he hears Smedley's directive aimed at his son. Now the whole thing starts over and as the security guys look at me in vain.
I told Jesse, "Let's get out of here." I took the camera from Jesse's Dad and as I turned to take a photo of the party (see picture), I looked up and there, up on one of the ballroom balcony's, was Mike Terry in his Steelers Tee-shirt and jeans, talking to a beautiful woman in a $2000 sequined gown! We made eye-contact and he raised his glass of beer and saluted me. A truly fine moment in the Mike Terry Biography (similar to the photo of Glen Fulghum ("Living the Dream"Fleetwood 'n' Julio's Clubhouse --- no offense intended Glen. I love that picture... it really sums it up!) We all had a good laugh later, and the rest is history.

Game Day:
Well, we all know the rest of the story... 0-11 in Chicago all-time. Mike Singletary kicked our collective asses all over Soldier Field! The highlight of the game for us was Hardy Nickerson getting dragged for 11 yards and a Bears first down and then jumping up and doing his classic "Iron Man Pose." Thanks, Hardy.

Well, Steeler fans, don't be discouraged by the end of this story. We returned 3 years later and saw one of the best games this Black 'N' Gold freak has ever witnessed (the 37-34 overtime win). 1-11 in Chicago and I'm proud to say that I saw the "1" and the "11." Whew Whoo... but that story is for another time Brothers and Sisters.

Tommy Coleman say'N thank you for reading this!
Hope it inspires Y'all, and GO STEELERS !

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Fan Comments & Responses
The following articles are listed in the order they were received (with the most recent entries at the top). This isn't a "guestbook" format... I read and manually insert every message, so you may not see your submission show up immediately. Thanks a million for your comments, people!
Submitted by Mike Terry
Tim, how's it goin', bro? Hope all is well with 'da fam.

I was walkin' thru your site like I do on a daily basis... it is my only inspiration. Like some raggity bolemic bitch used to say, "You light up my life." One thing that was left out about our little excusion to the home of Singletary was that when I did decide to go find my friends who couldn't stay at the ballroom party, I was walking out the doors when I saw that old bastard and gave him a slight wink. He started to come unglued again (Tommy was right... the dude would actually shake). I split fast, but I think he really started to realize what the deal was.

Mike Terry

Submitted by McMillen & Wife
Tommy, you are indeed a superfreak. What a great story! Listen, you've gotta send me the story of an inhebriated Mike Terry getting kicked out of the Hall of Fame for harrassing the high school majorettes, etc. I've got the video, of course, but I'd kinda like to hear the full details in your inimitable style of prose.

Tim McMillen
Webmaster, McMillen & Wife

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