As tradition requires, we kick off the Third Annual Tremendous Stubble Charity Drive with…
THE TREMENDOUS STUBBLE STORY
Gather round, dorks, and let me spin you a yarn from yesteryear, of a stupid Internet meme created by a stupid Internet participant that turned into something decidedly not-stupid.
It was the May 2010. The Southeastern Conference wasn’t on the radar as a possible home for Mizzou. Five paintings worth 100 million Euros had been stolen from a French art museum, according to Wikipedia. Noted Golden Girls hottie Rue McClanahan was still alive. And a little website in a little corner of the World Wide Web was killing time and pixels with something called the Rock M Nation Roundtable.
The Rock M Nation Roundtable was a staple of RMN back then, as authors and contributors – folks like our leader Bill, our leader’s lil’ buddy RPT, Internet muscle The Beef, rich guy author Michael Atchison, YouTube sensation ZouDave, some Kansan named Doug, and yours truly – would gather to talk about Missouri sports happenings. I’m just kidding: we’d basically yell at each other over e-mail for an entire day, and then Bill would post it, dust off his hands and say, "Another quality Rock M Nation post!"
Anyway, in this particular Roundtable – May 26, 2010, to be exact – Bill posed a question: "Name the person from your school (current or former player/coach/whatever) that you wish was on Twitter more than anybody else, just for the potential day-to-day entertainment prospects?"
Now, how would you answer in that situation? If you’re a Mizzou grad, maybe you’d pick someone like Norm Stewart or Gary Link (remember when he told Quin Snyder that he was fired, and that was a big deal?) or Don Faurot for Tweets from beyond the Split-T Formation grave. These would all be good responses, and you deserve kudos for thinking of them. You are a smart person.
I did not pick one of them. Instead, I picked a guy whom I’d only heard about a couple of times in a passing manner: Mizzou softball coach Ehren Earleywine.
I’d never seen Ehren Earleywine (or, if I had, I hadn’t committed his face to memory). All I knew about him was that he had a tendency to give entertaining quotes to journalists. So, like all journalists, I Googled him. Here’s what I saw:
Oh man, I’m sorry, I should’ve warned you to brace your mind, for now it is blown. Just gaze into the infinite splendor that is Ehren Earleywine’s facial hair. I’ve seen that photo about a thousand times since then, and it still inspires me to enter some sort of competition that involves bending steel beams. That’s the kind of stubble that you can trust to pick up your newspaper when you’re out of the country.
So, I expressed that in a comment that has gone down as the relative "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech of Rock M Nation:
"Hey. I'm Ehren Earleywine. Yeah, my name's spelled a little funky, but what I lack in normal namehood I make up in tremendous stubble."
[A quick aside: The relationship between Rock M Nation and Ehren Earleywine is a bromance. We admire coach Earleywine’s proficiency in both softball management and facial hair management. We’re not into him like that. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Whatever. You know what we mean.]
So, we began a concerted effort to become Best Internet Bros with coach Earleywine. A lot happened really quickly. We turned "tremendous stubble" into #TremendousStubble. We made a playoff beard pact for Mizzou’s run in the Women’s College World Series. And then, three days after the initial comment was made, coach Earleywine begrudgingly recognized our existence on live radio, and we pretty much lost it.
We had a lot of fun with it, but we didn’t want our bromance to end there, nor did we want it to remain just between us. The next year – 2011 – we parlayed the success of the #TremendousStubble movement into something even bigger: the inaugural RMN Tremendous Stubble Pledge Drive.
You see – and can we bring down the music just a bit so we can get a little serious? Thanks. – Tremendous Stubble isn’t just about Ehren Earleywine’s prodigious facial hair. It’s become a bit of a rallying cry for the Mizzou softball team. I told former-current Columbia Tribune writer Dave Matter a couple years ago that it gives people an easy road to latch on to one of Mizzou’s best, most fun sports teams. And with the Tremendous Stubble Pledge Drive, we’ve been able to turn fans’ new-and-deserved interest in the softball team into something doubly positive.
That first year, not including separate post-deadline donations, the Rock M Nation community donated $3,707.77 to the MU Children’s Hospital, a cause that is near-and-dear to the softball program (they spend time volunteering there every year). Last year, at the Second Annual RMN Stubble Drive, we raised $6,177.08 for the Children’s Hospital.
So, to recap:
-I say something very silly.
-Mizzou softball coach Ehren Earleywine acknowledges that I said something very silly.
-RMN decides to turn that something very silly into something beneficial for sick kids.
-RMN raises $9,884.85 over two years for the MU Children’s Hospital.
Just like we drew it up.
And now, the third time’s the charm. Today, Rock M Nation proudly launches…
THE THIRD ANNUAL ROCK M NATION TREMENDOUS STUBBLE CHARITY DRIVE
For the third straight year, we’re proud to be raising money for the MU Children’s Hospital. You see, there are people that are smaller than you – we call them kids. There is a high likelihood that you were once one. And sometimes, those kids get sick. When they get sick, if they live in Columbia, they go to the MU Children’s Hospital, where they’re taken care of by some of the best darn doctors in the whole darn world.
As I mentioned before, this is a cause near-and-dear to coach Earleywine and the MU softball team.
Basically, there are sick kids, and you can help them. If that’s not your thing, by all means, click out of your browser now. What’s that? Literally nobody clicked out of their browser? Super.
WHAT WE’RE ASKING OF YOU
It’s simple: you pledge a certain amount for every game that the Mizzou softball team wins in the Women’s College World Series. The selection show for the WCWS is on Sunday, and Mizzou could begin play as early as Thursday, May 16.
A quick note to prevent you from going bankrupt in the name of charity: if Mizzou were to win the national championship, they would have to win no fewer than ten (10) games and no more than twelve (12) games. So, factor that into your donation amount.
When we started the Tremendous Stubble Charity Drive, one of the coolest things that came out of it – totally organically – was prop bets. People were donating $1 for each strikeout, or $5 for each home run, or $10 for each grand slam, or $50 for each time Ehren Earleywine got ejected and snuck back into the dugout with a fake mustache (don’t laugh: that was an actual prop bet from last year). It’s awesome, and it allows the creativity of the community to take over. So, by all means: go nuts with your prop bets. Rock M Nation unequivocally endorses charitable wagering.
As always, we ask that you announce your pledge in the comments of this story. Not only will that give me a way to track an estimate of the money raised as we go along (my Excel skills are so trill), but it’s a nice way of showing solidarity as a community. Perhaps you’re reading this, and you’ve never joined Rock M Nation. Let me tell you: there is no hero’s welcome on RMN quite like that for people who use their first-ever comment to pledge money. C’mon. C’moooooooooooon.
With that, it’s my distinct pleasure to be the first pledge in the 2013 Rock M Nation Tremendous Stubble Charity Drive:
I, ghtd36, pledge $5 for every Mizzou victory in the Women’s College World Series and an additional $1 for every Chelsea Thomas strikeout.
As always, it doesn’t matter how much you pledge; it’s that you pledge. Perhaps you’re like me, and your wife doesn’t give you that much of an allowance (I’M SORRY HONEY IT’S JUST A JOKE LOVE YOU SO MUCH); or perhaps you’re like RPT, who’s bringing in that FAT public relations money. Either way, give what you can, whether it’s 10 cents or $10,000.
(Though it’d be pretty sick if you pledged 10 grand.)
HOW TO DONATE
Don’t worry about this for now. When Mizzou finishes up in the Women’s College World Series and coach Earleywine lifts that trophy above his head and doves fly out of his stubble only to explode into fireworks, we’ll get into that. Suffice to say that we’ll be donating directly to the MU Children’s Hospital, and I’ll have plenty of information on that at a later date.
So, last year, we raised $6,000. It was pretty great. And as a result – and this is kind of breaking news, so sound the alert – we entered into talks with the MU Children’s Hospital about having a lactation room named after Rock M Nation. It might already exist. That’s right: coming soon (or already), the Rock M Nation Lactation Room. I’m sure you will all handle this with the utmost maturity.
This year, I think a reasonable goal should be $7,000. It would be a huge boost for the MU Children’s Hospital, it might get us another room named after us, and it would be another step toward our dream of raising enough money so that they have to rename the entire hospital the Rock M Nation Pig Brown Memorial Children’s Hospital.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook. Instead of sharing those clever e-cards (HAHA IT DESCRIBES ME SO WELL BECAUSE I DRINK WINE TOO), share this story. Get powerful people on Twitter – especially those with Mizzou ties, like maybe Pat Forde or John Anderson or Jon Hamm or Sheryl Crow or your mom – to share it, too. And, of course, use the hashtag #TremendousStubble, because duh.
And root for Mizzou, and shame your friends into rooting for Mizzou. "What? You’re rooting against Mizzou? Oh, I didn’t realize that you hate sick kids." That’ll show ‘em.
So here we are, three years after one comment on the Internet sparked a wildfire that caused Mizzou softball coach Ehren Earleywine to, against his will, accept us as a small part of his otherwise normal life. Now, we’re in our third year of raising money for sick kids. I just love you so much, Internet.
Think about it: you’re rooting for Mizzou (good), supporting our ongoing bromance with Ehren Earleywine (good) and helping out kids who really need it (really good).
And now, a photo from MU Children’s Hospital that will guilt you into donating:
Go Mizzou softball. Go sick kids. Go #TremendousStubble.
(And, as always, we’re really sorry, coach Earleywine.)