17 April 2007

Brushes With Greatness

Radio Free Newport has a nice post about getting to meet Jackie Robinson and it made me think back to my own brushes with greatness. I came up with two:

One time I was picking up friends at the airport. It was the weekend before the ATP Tennis Championship (now called the Cincinnati Masters Series). As I waited at the baggage claim, Jim Courier came out and stood right next to me. I was caught off guard and had no idea what to say so I said nothing. I just stood next to him while he waited for his bag, which came around in a couple of minutes. It was a fat bag of tennis rackets.

Looking back, I should have asked him to join in a game with my ultimate frisbee team. His fitness was legendary and we could have used the help since we had only 1 extra player (nevertheless, my team won the summer league championship).

A few years later, I was alone at my parents' home one afternoon making a sandwich. I wasn't supposed to be there but I left work early to run some errands and then I decided to raid their fridge. I noticed a man walking around the backyard. "Can I help you?" I asked.

"Oh, I'm just here to meet Barry Larkin. I talked to your mother yesterday."

"What?!! Barry Larkin? Are you talking about Barry Larkin? You mean Barry Larkin, right?"


I called my fanatically sports-minded cousin (EastCoaster) and told him Barry Larkin was on the way and he needed to get here ASAP. He came over, then Barry came over with his wife and cute baby girl.

My parents had recently put in a pool, and it had a line of black tiles mixed in with the usual white tiles. I had never even noticed it. Larkin was putting in his own pool and he wanted to see what the black tiles looked like. I'm serious... that's the only reason he came over. I think it's funny. It's like going over to someone's house to see how it looks if you plant flowers around the mailbox.

Anyway, he took a look and agreed to sign our stuff and pose for a picture with us. He was super cool and it was a big thrill for us.

Later that evening I had a fun exchange with mom:

"Did you talk with the pool guy about someone coming over to see the pool?"


"Was his name Barry Larkin?"


"Do you know who Barry Larkin is?"


So I explained why this was a big deal, and, since I realized that it was a total coincidence for me to even be there in the afternoon in the first place, I had to ask, "Mom, has anyone else ever been here to see anything?"



TravisG said...

I waited through a layover at the Atlanta airport just a few feet away from Little Richard. He was covered in makeup and surrounded by bodyguards, who went and bought a half-dozen large pizzas. After they'd eaten theirs, the bodyguards distributed leftovers to other people in the terminal, and I kept trying to get their attention so I could grab a slice and, thus, change the narrative of my anecdote from "I saw Little Richard at the airport" to "Little Richard gave me pizza."

Then I noticed the bodyguards were only giving pizza to black people, and despite my sly begging, they threw out some half-eaten pizzas before they shared any with my honky ass. Still, though; Little Richard.

Radio Free Newport said...

I love the Barry Larkin story, that's great.

nkylib said...

My brush with greatness occured in louisville at the derby. I was in the tulip garden and the crowd to my left started to applaud and the Duke appeared before me with a big grin on his face i stuck out my hand and he shook it.