Rob Gronkowski's summer has been so action-packed that it's easy to forget everything he's been involved in since the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Giants. The Pro Bowl tight end has been active, to say the least.
In addition to commercials, TV appearances, ESPN The Magazine shoots and charity events — all of which fall under the "Summer of Gronk" umbrella — the third-year pro also does special appearances, one of which was detailed in Chris Ballard's recent Sports Illustrated article.
In the awesome article, Ballard reports on a day in the life of Gronkowski while also discussing his family upbringing. There's plenty of interesting stories, funny Gronk-like anecdotes and random little tidbits that fly under the radar (such as Gronkowski attending Kurt Angle's wedding), but the point hammered home is that Gronkowski is simply living the dream. He's 23 years old, and he just wants to be a regular guy who lives life to the fullest while not dominating on the gridiron — essentially, pretty much everything you'd expect and hope for in Gronk.
Ballard had the privilege of following Gronkowski around for a day as part of his assignment, and it happened to be a day in which Gronkowski was scheduled to appear at a 21st birthday party. It was something he reportedly got paid "five figures" to do, but Gronkowski is always looking for a good time when it comes to such appearances, even if he starts the day off hungover, as he did in this instance.
According to Ballard, Gronkowski showed up to the party, took pictures, greeted everyone and stood around awkwardly before taking charge. "Shotgun contest," he reportedly bellowed, leading to an hour and a half of partying, which included shotgunning beers and playing beer pong and flip cup.
Here's Ballard's account of Gronkowski getting the party going:
"For the moment everything Gronkowski represents to football — the future of the Patriots; the most potent tight end in NFL history — was irrelevant. All that mattered was who could shotgun a beer the fastest. So while the 21-year-olds fiddled with their cans, trying to puncture the casing with car keys only to create embarrassing miniature geysers of froth, Gronk calmly pressed into the bottom of his can with an enormous thumb. In doing so he created a perfect rectangle from which to inhale the Bud. It was the move of a master. Then Gronk looked up, assessing the competition. 'That's it?' he said. 'Oh, I gotta win this one.'"
Gronkowski even left the shindig with a plate of food while praising the birthday girl's mother's pasta salad, because, well, who doesn't love some good pasta salad?
Ballard then describes the scene later on back at Gronkowski's place, when the tight end planned to hang in and work out on a Saturday night. Ballard writes that Gronkowski sensed some disappointment in the writer, though, leading to some more awesome, Gronk-like comments.
"I was hoping it would have been just an all-out college party," Gronkowski told Ballard of the afternoon festivities. "It would have been worth it. I would have been there all night, I would have gotten hammered."
Other interesting factoids presented in Ballard's article include Gronkowski's love for energy drinks, his post-Super Bowl partying being the result of not wanting to turn down Patriots fans who were buying him shots and the Gronkowski workout motto growing up being, "Do it to get chicks!"
So sure, the "Summer of Gronk" has come to an end now that the Patriots are set to kick off their season in Tennessee on Sunday, and news of the tight end partying and pursuing other off-the-field endeavors might not come as rapidly as it has over the past seven months. But don't expect Gronkowski to sit around idly when he's not working out and honing his game.
"People say, 'He's doing way too many things,' but [I do them] because I got nothing to do," Gronkowski told Ballard. "That's why I hit up every charity event, why I hit up every party I'm invited to. If I'm just sitting at home, that's not productive. That's boring.
"I like going out, meeting new people, having a good time," he continued. "I guess that's why I'm all over the papers. I don't have any girlfriends, no kids. Basically I work out two hours every single day, and then I have 12 hours to do whatever I want."
No shame in that, Gronk. Keep doing what you're doing.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Sometimes I even fooled myself. I'd be like, 'Hey, that's not 5-Hour Energy!'
–Rob Gronkowski, talking about when he would chug a bottle of 5-Hour Energy and then fill it with vodka or tequila to take out on the town in college
@nesn wonder why Welker wasn't nominated.Would have been a strong gesture from the players about his future signing.
— Michael Lamoureux (@mlamoure) September 7, 2012
Nice pitch and catch.