How many of you know Dimitria Sullivan? Well if you don't, she is either on a committee - like the school committee - or runs one that you've heard of. She is pretty much the closest thing to the de facto Mayor of Dedham. So when my cell phone rang back over the summer and I saw it was her, I knew I was in trouble.
Now, don't get me wrong. Dim is the sweetest person you could ever meet and know. But when she asks you to take part in something, its damn near impossible to say no to her. At least I can't, I know that. Maybe others are stronger or tougher than me?
She asked me if I would be a contestant for the third annual 'Dancing With The Dedham Stars' at Moseley's On The Charles and I'm sure she knew the answer even before she dialed me up. Of course, I would do it. No matter how embarrassing the night would be for me, it was Dimitria asking. As sure as the sun is coming up in the morning, I was going to be there on December 4.
Ugh, December 4 … that's tonight, right?
So tonight, there are six contestants vying for the title of … you know what? I don't think there's even a title. There are two winners though. There's the technical winner and the popular winner. The technical winner is voted upon by a panel of four judges and the popular winner is the contestant who gets the most money donated in his or her name to the Dedham Educational Partnership.
The winners in all this are the kids who go to the Dedham schools. Everyone's goal is to win but it's also to raise a boatload of money for the Dedham kids and I think that the 2010 version of DWTDS is going to make more money than any other fundraiser in this town in a long time, maybe ever. We've all raised the bar for everyone else after us to chase. Good luck to them.
Usually my alarm goes off at 2:55 a.m., but this morning I got to sleep in until about 7:30. I had to get up because, for the first time in my life, I had to get my hair done. Thirty-seven years on this earth and I've gotten my hair cut plenty of times - but I've never had it 'done'.
But these are the things that I'm now so willing to do to make some money for the DEP. Whether it's getting dressed up in purple tights (OK, they weren't tights, we just had a pair of pants that were way too small for me) and doing my best Olivia Newton-John impersonation, I know that I don't mind looking like a fool for a good cause.
There are plenty of people that think I often look like a fool when there's nothing on the line, so why stop now?
I ran out of the hair dressers' at about 10:30 a.m. (yep, I literally ran), and came home to screams of laughter from my family.
Other than my wife, no one has been privy to anything about my routine, my song, my dance, nothing. This secret has been guarded very closely. Why? I don't know … it just seemed to be the right thing to do, I guess?
I had to take my two youngest boys to their first basketball practice of the season at the Dedham Middle School at 11:30 and had to wear a pullover cap indoors to hide what I've done to myself. Many asked, but I didn't give in. I listened to jokes and thought to myself, 'wow, there's nothing I can really say or do to anyone. I might need them to vote for me tonight.'
So I took my mental notes and laughed with everyone else.
Today is a long day but nothing like the last 10 weeks. That's about when the contestants started to get going with their partners and their own little stories of dancing woes and / or glories.
For me, I was lucky enough to get paired with a talented young lady named Rachel who dances out of the Fred Astaire Studio in Norwood. Not only is she talented but she also seemed to understand my humor, which can sometimes be off-color. The important thing is that we got along great (aside from the times she yelled at me) and I actually learned how to dance a little bit along the way too.
I'm only a few hours away from heading over to Moseley's. I have a bunch of calls and e-mails that I need to return and I need to finish packing for tonight. I am bringing three changes of clothes. They've turned me into such a diva.
With the help of so many friends and my family, we've already raised a bunch of money for the DEP. Most of this was due to the work of Alexandra Shumway, who started the Facebook page "Get Miked! Support Mike Nosky as He Dances for the Dedham Stars" and did her best Martin Scorcese imitation while making four hilarious videos.
I've either played or coached sports my entire life. As a player, and now as a coach, I'm very confident. I know when my team is ready to play and when we aren't. So I don't know what to expect from tonight.
As of right now, while I'm typing this, I don't feel nervous at all. Stepping out in front of more than 800 people tonight to do something that I never thought I'd ever do, might change all that.
But I have so much support from the people coming to see me tonight and so many more who weren't lucky enough to get tickets that I already feel like a winner. I've made so many new friends in our town over the last three months.
I'm dancing tonight for them as much as I am for me. And being as competitive as I am, I'm here to win this thing. But just knowing that I've gotten to this point … how can I not feel like I've already accomplished so much more than I thought I would when this all started?
Thank you so much to everyone who donated in my name to the Dedham Educational Partnerhip and thank you to everyone who watches tonight and appreciates just how much work goes in to putting on a show like this.
Thank you to my wife Lisa and my four kids (Katie, Michael, Shawn and Scott), Alex Shumway, Dan Maher, John Bethoney and Rachel Palmieri. Without you guys, I'd just be a part of the crowd tonight.