Two weeks ago, my buddy, former high school wrestling teammate and role model (or so he has been telling me for years) Alejandro "Alex" Verdaguer (pictured above with me circa 1985) got married, wedding his lovely new bride Meghan (formerly) O'Brien in a wonderful ceremony I had to good fortune to attend back in Massachusetts.
At the reception that followed, Alex's older brother Gabriel "Gabe" Verdaguer--another friend and former wrestling captain--had the responsibility of giving the traditional best man's toast. Recalling Gabe's many inspirational pre-match speeches that left us in manly tears, I had high hopes that he more than lived up to in an inimitable style.
As a belated wedding gift to Alex and Meghan as well as tribute to Gabe's oratory prowess, here, in it's entirety, is the transcript to perhaps the greatest best man toast in history.
When Ale asked me to be his best man I felt really touched. He’s such a classy guy that I was truly honored. But then he quickly followed the invitation with what he said was a very important condition. And I remember he had this conflicted look on his face like as if he wished he didn’t have to say what he was about to say, but he said it anyway and he told me that the condition was that he had to write the best man toast.
Most of you are probably puzzled and are thinking what’s up with that. But I knew exactly what he was referring to. You see, when I was in college, with my whole family in attendance, I gave a bust of an acceptance speech at a scholarship dinner and he’s never let me live it down.
So I knew well, that implicit in his conditional invitation to be his best man was a serious warning that said basically, “Don’t you dare make an ass yourself again at MY wedding.”
So, I did what every loving older brother would do, I looked past the mixed feelings of honor, excitement, AND shame that he had made me feel and I heeded his warning.
And so, as awkward as this may sound, for the first time in my lifetime, and probably yours too, I will now read to you the best man toast written by the groom himself… it reads:
Dear Ale, or as I like to call you when I look at you in the mirror every morning, dear Mr. Perfect (kiss to the bicep):
Today is your day. Tonight is your night. And can I just say this publicly: there are no words good enough to express how good you look right now, but I will try anyhow: you, hot stuff, look outstanding. All that money and effort that you put into getting your tuxedo tailored to fit your perfectly chiseled and muscular physique was well worth it! On most days, Tom Brady’s got nothing on you handsome, and tonight he’s not even close.
To my beautiful new bride Meghan: tell me, my sexy little soda bread, how does it feel to be the chosen one, the luckiest girl in the world who gets to keep this guy by your side for the rest of your life?
I mean, who would of thought that the simple act of taking my shirt off after rugby practice at Framingham State would have resulted in all of this? Well, frankly, I would have. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to resist me. If it were socially acceptable to marry oneself, I would have said “yes” to me too.
Anyhow, today is truly inspired by love, friendship and commitment…and my burning desire to populate the human race with the most beautiful and talented offspring this world has ever seen. Of course, they will all be little Crossfitters who will grow up to teach their cousins how to do burpees with perfect technique and why the Paleo Diet is good for them even if they are not even 10 years old.
Speaking of Paleo, it’s really a shame that the cup cakes are not caveman-approved. To my family and friends, please don’t be offended if I look at you with disdain as you chow down on them later. As for me, I plan on mashing a couple of them together into a kettle bell, freezing it, and doing swings with it a year from now on our wedding anniversary. With CrossFit, it’s all about doing what you can with what’s around you. Like the time we were at the lake house with the O’Brien family and I woke up wicked early to do squats with sandbags and push jerks with a kayak. My goal for this August: to LIFT the entire lake house with the whole O’Brien clan in it.
Well, I’m digressing and I think it’s time to bring this toast to a close, so I would like to end with a few words for Meghan from one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. Dear Meghan, for the rest of your life, “I guarantee you BEYOND a shadow of a doubt, I will give you a show like you HAVE never… ever seen before…Why?…Because I can.”
PS - Lady’s and gentlemen, the Heartbreak Kid, Alex Verdaguer, has left the building.
On a serious note, I have a lot of fond memories of my times with Ale, and especially those few occasions where we managed to show one another that we really cared about each other. I want to share with you one of those examples. I was in college and I had a big weekend track competition that included some travel, so I had packed my bag the night before. Friday morning, after class, I went back home to pick up my bag and I found a note sitting on top of it. I pick it up, I see it’s from Ale, and it read something like, “Good luck this weekend. I’ll be thinking of you.” I kept the note for a while after that because it meant a lot, especially because it came at a time in our lives when we were both so busy that we barely did much together.
So, I share this story with you also to remind you of the value of doing little things like that to let each other know that you love each other.