It’s with a heavy heart this week that we have to discuss another passing in the Empire Supporters Club family. They all hurt. This one is no different. Just the man involved was different. So very different. Glenn Stamp has left us.
Just to start at the top, Stamp was not Glenn’s last name. He told it to me once in a conversation, in my truant recollection it was something along the lines of Stampaglia. But he never went by it because, as he said, Americans never pronounced it right. The only ones that got it right first time were Italians. So, Glenn Stamp it was.
As people have tried to eulogize Glenn since his passing, the phrases that they’ve used speak volumes about the man. “They broke the mold when they made him”, “one of a kind”, and the like. And those are absolutely accurate, and not just a kind way to remember the departed. You’ve never met a man like Glenn and you never will again, but if you did meet him, you were not likely to forget it any time soon.
Glenn lived life loud. He loved soccer and hockey and metal, the louder the better. From behind sunglasses and a cigar and a cup of sangria, there was never a doubt if Glenn was there. You knew. And if you didn’t know, he’d let you know. But at the same time he could be a man of gentleness and politeness. He would always go over to my future in-laws and say hello and call them Mr. and Mrs., before bouncing off and going to the next circle of people and shaking hands or hooking his arm around your neck and calling you a string of profanities.
Glenn had no filter. There wasn’t even a speed bump between brain and mouth to slow things down, let alone stop them. This made Glenn, well, somewhat difficult to be around at times, because you never knew what he’d say, only that once it was out we were all going to have to deal with the consequences.
An example: one night a few of us were out in New Brunswick, NJ for a friend’s birthday. After some drinks, we ended the night at the famous Rutgers grease trucks where they sell “fat sandwiches”, basically big hoagie rolls stuffed with cheeseburger, mozzarella sticks, French fries, you name it.
While we were waiting for our orders, Glenn, completely unprovoked (this, like “broke the mold”, is another phrase that has been used to describe Glenn repeatedly since we got the news: “completely unprovoked.” Speaks volumes.) looked at two college-aged couples also in line and said “Get your s*** and get out!” Well, this very nearly led to a drunken brawl. I tried to hold Glenn back, but ended up sliding across the parking lot on crushed French fries. No blows thrown, but a fine example of Say Anything Anywhere Glenn.
But if it sounds like I’m describing some unsophisticated wild man, nothing could be further from the truth. Aside from his previously mentioned hobbies, he could also hold a conversation with just about anyone about travel, or classical music, or classic films, or the politics of union labor in America.
Glenn was a proud union man, IBEW Local 456, and even now in my head I can hear him announcing his presence, or reannouncing it, or just being loud for the sake of being loud and getting someone’s attention across the bar, chanting “Union Labor! Union Labor! Oi oi oi!” He would get to talking about his work, most lately installing solar panels, and would dizzy you with technicalities about it that would make you pause and think “Am I talking to the same guy?”
In the outpouring of love and memories since we got word, another thing that has cropped up repeatedly has been, time after time, people mentioning that Glenn was the first person to stick a paw out and shake hands with someone in the parking lot. “Glenn was the first guy in ESC I met” has been a familiar refrain. Maybe he saw that doe-eyed look of apprehension we all had when we first started coming around, maybe he was just finishing his lap of saying hello to everyone else in the parking lot.
And once you were in with Glenn, you were in. He’d share his cigars with you in the parking lot or pull up a chair next to you in the bar. He’d remember minor things about conversations six months ago and ask you for updates on your job or school or anything else. Glenn would find some minor fault within you – even if that fault happened to be your shocking ethnicity – and he’d josh you for it, and then he’d mock himself to let you know that he was in on the joke too.
He was nice enough to have a bunch of us over for New Year’s a few years ago, and was up the next morning making breakfast for us all. He was the goalkeeper for the ESC New Jersey team when we played a mini-game at halftime of an indoor soccer game, and he leaves us tied for first all-time with a Prudential Center record 0.00 goals against average. If you heard your name being screamed or sang in the middle of section 101 in a gravelly voice, or felt someone shoulder-check you, you could be fairly certain it would be Glenn.
I can’t tell you how he passed. Doesn’t matter anyway. I can’t tell you how old he was. For the decade-plus I knew him, right up until his facial hair went gray, he always looked a timeless weathered non-age somewhere between 30 and 50. Hell, I can’t even tell you his full name with any degree of certainty.
What I can tell you is that there will never be another Glenn Stamp, and that is a damned shame, because he was a larger than life character, loyal and generous to his friends, multi-faceted with a great depth. If you tried to make a movie adaptation of our club, you’d have to split Glenn into two or three different characters because nobody would believe all this could be one guy.
He was unfettered, unflinching, untethered, unpredictable, unmistakable and unforgettable.
Rest easy, Glenn. You are loved and you will be missed.
Tim Hall’s View From 101