Why you must go the SQL Rally

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Career, SQLServerPedia Syndication

Why should you go to SQL Rally, SQLSaturday, SQLConnections, 24 hours of SQL PASS or any other SQL event? Here is why I go and will continue to go…

I have been trying to get my arms around the whole idea of what SQL Family means to me. If you search around you will see a number of posts about this topic, and it may sound a bit mushy, a little bit of reaching out and trying to understand your sensitive side. Since the whole topic of #SQL Family has started I have been walking around looking for specific examples of why I am so connected here. Now that we are coming up on the SQL Rally, I can clearly see a path for anyone to get involved with the SQL Family. You have seen these lists before, but I hope this is the first one like this:

  • There is the technical aspect. The core for all of us being part of the community. If I have a question on how SQL Server works, there are so many places I can go where the #SQL Family will help me out.
  • The community instructors are top notch. If there is something you don’t understand, email a speaker, and email a family member.

Now I am sure that you have seen many notes about the pre-mentioned points. But really there is only one way that I feel I can express what the #SQLFamily means.

  • A couple years ago, I meet a young man who collected licenses plates. He is a great kid and I thought maybe someone on twitter related to SQL Server would bring me a plate from a different state for him. I sent one tweet that is all. All I asked for is if someone had an extra licenses plate. I have now collected more than 50 plates from people who were kind enough to bring them to me. I have plates from so many places that I am lost on what we still need. I cannot tell you how touched I am or how touched this young man is. This is my #SQLFamily.
  • Just a month or so ago I was at an event, where someone had flown into town from outside the country. One night as a group he was walking back after some long hours of studying (ok maybe that is not the complete truth, but it doesn’t matter). Someone lifted his wallet out of his back, Credit Cards, Cash, ID’s all gone and I want to say he was close to 10k miles from home. If it were me I would have just messed my pants. But, his friends came together without him having to even ask. His room bill was paid, he had cash for the flight home, and people covered his meals. Granted he paid it all back when he got home, but this event did not ruin the event. He kept going strong.
  • At the same event where a friend’s wallet was stolen, I found myself at a local watering hole. It was after a dinner type of a deal. I was standing there with a new friend of mine from Sweden, and his wife. We were just stopping by to kick back a drink and then we were headed back to the hotels. I am not sure what the heck happened, but we are listening to the SQL Karaoke. And a queen song came on. A couple guys that I am not sure who I remember were singing, and before you know it the whole place erupted with everyone singing so loud to the point where the floor was shaking. I am not sure I have seen much like that before. It was an awesome group of friends, having one hell of a time.

I could tell you a story of a dear friend who watched over my brother while his wife had brain surgery and he was alone. I could tell you all about how all of my writing has improved because a member of the community cared enough to take time to help edit my entries before I post them, I could tell you about a class I was teaching one day in Tucson when I looked up and one of my mentors came out of nowhere and was sitting in the back row. There are so many stories that I could tell you. I have not even scratched the surface, I have even more stories of how people have helped me technically over the last 15 years. It all comes down to this.

When I go to events like SQL Rally or the PASS Summit even the SQL Saturdays that I can attend, I am not seeing old friends. I am not meeting new friends. I am going to a #SQLFamilyReunion. Each time I meet new cousins, brothers and sisters. But these are the best kind, we learn from each other, we share with each other and we have a great time doing it. So while you evaluate if you want to go to the next event and maybe you are a little worried about meeting all these new people. I urge you to go. You will learn how others overcome obstacles, you will learn the new features, and you will take so many new family members home with you that the next time you are challenged with a something that you just cannot figure out. Technical or not technical, you can rely on your family.


I swear that as I site and write this post. I got this email. This is exactly why I consider this heading to an event or attending an online event to be critical. This is the best community around bar-none.

“Every so often I take a moment and just thank people that I look up to in the industry. People like you; Brent Ozar, Steve Jones, Kevin Kline, John Sterret, etc. have made my job so interesting and fun. I enjoy learning from you guys and just wanted to make sure I always show my appreciation to you all. A lot of hours go into what you all do and at times I know it can be taken for granted. I know you in particular have a lot of speaking engagements and whatnot. What you are doing has helped people like me further my career. Have a good one man!”


  1. Glenn Thompson (SQLGlenn) says:

    Hey Chris, Good read, I’d like to go to SQLPass and SQL Rally, but my work place is … shall I say cheap. I’m lucky I can make it to the SQL Saturdays in the Springs and Denver why I always meet great people and get good training.

    • Glenn Thompson (SQLGlenn) says:

      That should have been where, not why. Hit 65 today, guess the mind is going. LOL

    • Chris Shaw says:

      Hi Glenn,

      Thanks for reading and thanks much for the notes.

      You know one thing that really helps is speaking, I have not seen an event that does’t cover the fee if you do. In addition many of them are willing to cover if you work a bit during the event.

      Thanks again, great to see you at SQL Sat #104, I was so busy I did not have a chance to visit as much as I wanted to.


  2. If you need a plate from Texas then your family from the lone star state has you covered. Let me know if you need it and I’ll bring you one to Rally.

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