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Dear Sherry McConkey. Sorry I Stole Your Chair.

Dear Sherry McConkey. Sorry I Stole Your Chair.

[ October 6, 2009 - 6:52pm ]
Shane in MSP movie
Dek: 
At the MSP show in Squaw Valley over the weekend, it started to snow. A gift from Shane? Perhaps. Wes Berkshire makes a blunder at the screening, but quickly realizes his mistake.

The snow finally came to Tahoe. After enduring news of inches in Colorado and feet in Utah in previous weeks we residents of the big blue pill (also known as Lake Tahoe) finally got our first white.

Standing in line around 8 p.m. outside the Olympic Village Inn on Saturday night, waiting for the premiere of the latest Matchstick offering In Deep, which includes a tribute to the godfather (or at least revered jester) of Squaw, Shane McConkey, flakes started falling. I’m not one to believe in the supernatural or old men living in the clouds, but you couldn’t ignore the coincidence. As the snow stacked up we filed inside to an ass-to-nuts standing-room only experience; rightfully so in the shadow of the legendary Squaw Valley.

My friend (who shall remain nameless to protect the horribly guilty) spotted some of the only open chairs in the room, on a raised platform off to the side. The only problem was they had that neat yellow police tape around them. Now I’m not sure if a homicide had just gone down or if these were reserved for some form of “better than you and me” VIPs. Well, since I didn’t really see any blood and I’ve learned a healthy distrust of those who claim to be better than everyone else living here in Tahoe, we pulled up a couple of those chairs at the front, calmly pushed the tape over our heads so as to make them seem available and sat down to enjoy the movie.

As the pre-movie hype got underway a few more people showed up and sat down behind us. It didn’t take them long to realize that my friend and I probably had no connection, and hence no business in the seats we were in. Furthermore, neither of us being what you or I might refer to as “short” so we were most likely going to block some people’s view of the movie. We weren’t overly concerned; I think we’d both been to movies in the past and felt the death stare from some poor shorter individual stuck sitting behind us.

But then we turned around and realized just whose view it was we were blocking. Sitting calmly behind us and not causing nearly the shit-storm she had every right to was Sherry McConkey, Shane’s wife. Oops. Needless to say that despite Sherry’s insistence that it was okay that we stay, we got up, apologized and moved to stand at the back. We both had a healthy love and respect for Sherry’s husband and were not going to screw that up on this night. So the lights went down, the Matchstick burned.

The tribute to Shane came at the end of the movie and I’m fairly certain that even the toughest guys in the room were crying. It was moving, it was touching, it was a righteous homage to a man whose influence and life has made skiing what it is today. So thank you, Shane, and we’re so incredibly sorry, Sherry, we swear it’ll never happen again.  —Wes Berkshire

Wes Berkshire is a writer based in Lake Tahoe, California. He occasionally does asinine things, like ski in a hot dog costume.

Shane in MSP movie

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