Alaska Robotics

Wedding Speech

Sunday, November 30th 2008 by Pat

Yesterday my cousin Will married his longtime girlfriend Sara. It was a beautiful wedding and I had the honor (and blinding terror) of giving tribute to the bride and groom.

I also discovered that public speaking is no less nerve wracking when surrounded by friends and family.

I want to start with a story.

Will and I grew up in Juneau and I have a lot of good memories from those times. Going to Hoot n Holler, coaching soccer teams, big family dinners and hanging out at grandma max’s house after school.

Half the fifth grade soccer team actually made it to the wedding which speaks volumes about the quality and strength in that circle of friends. I also threw in something off the cuff about my little cousin Katie watching Barney the Dinosaur, she later thanked me for throwing her under the bus.

When Will was probably about six or seven we had a conversation that stuck in my head and I feel like it somehow says more about who he is than any other memory I have.

We were just sitting there one day and I asked Willy “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

There are a lot of answers to a question like that and I think it can be incredibly insightful to hear a person’s dreams, wishes, and aspirations all packed into the impossibly small bundle of a single profession.

Will turned to me with the kind of casual confidence you can only have if you already know the future and he said, “A Firetruck.”

“Ohhh, you mean a fireman?” I asked, “The guys who fight fires?”

“No. A Firetruck.”

It’s funny what memories stick with us but they’re all there for a reason and it’s been beautiful to have heard so many good stories this week. Not just about Will and Sara but about everyone here… and so many people who we’ve brought here in spirit.

I know my dad and mom regret not being here today, they both send their love. Big Mike says hugs for everyone.

I never figured out how to make this transition work so I just shuffled my papers for a second and turned my focus on Sara.

Sara the shark hunter.

Sara, we’ve had some good adventures together. Fishing the bottom of the ocean, climbing to the top of mountains, and even marauding the Arizona suburbs dressed as pirates. It feels like you’ve been family from the start.

If you’ll permit me a brief sidestep, I need to talk about Transformers.

Sterling (one of Will’s friends and a groomsman) was wearing a Transformers shirt a few days back and it prompted a nostalgic discussion. For those unfamiliar with the toys, the Transformers were robots that could change into vehicles and dinosaurs and whatever clever thing the store thought they could move off the shelves. There were a lot of cool transformers, bumblebee, optimus prime, soundwave, grimlock. There were even some transformers that you could collect to form sets, groups of five or six that could fit together to create a giant toy robot that was always more incredible, more epic, more full of wonder than any individual toy could be.

I think, in a round about way this relates to marriage and more broadly to family because together, we become something more than we could ever be as individuals.

Will is the most thoughtful, calm, funny, natural, honest, steady, and upstanding young man I know.

Sara is the most hardworking, superhuman, razor sharp, adventurous and absolutely stunning young woman I know.

Together, they are something more. But this isn’t just about Will and Sara, this is about all of us. We’re all family now, everyone here, linked together through Will and Sara, and our role in this relationship is as support for their love and this union.

Love is an emotion. Love is simple. It washes over us as easily as fear, doubt, or laughter.

It’s easy to love, it’s human relationships that are more difficult and even the best of relationships can be tough at times.

Will and Sara, I don’t see too many rocks in your river but if there’s ever anything you need, please remember that all of these people are here today because they love you and they want to see you have a long, happy and healthy relationship.

Pam and Jerry, Carol and Dayne, thank you for giving us Will and Sara.

Will and Sara, thank you for bringing us together and transforming us into a family, something just as powerful and destructive and wonderful as a giant robot.

… and, Will, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be a firetruck when you grow up.

6 Responses to “Wedding Speech”

  1. Gage says:

    That is so awesome that you managed to work Transformers into your best man speech. A+ my friend.

  2. Daedalus says:

    That’s such a great metaphor. My favorite part was “something just as powerful and destructive and wonderful as a giant robot”.
    It reminds me of xkcd’s “Katamari” .

    Best wishes to the bride and groom 😀

  3. Pat says:

    @Daedalus – XKCD is one of my favorites, and a constant underlying influence. Thanks!

  4. LilSis says:

    Great Speech! Wish I could have been there!

  5. Katie White says:

    Good stuff, Pat Race.