Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be famous?
Just the other day, I was working at my coffee house job. I looked up and was startled to see the man who had just placed an order was Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel.
Had to say hello. This is a man revered in the state of Ohio. A quiet man who leads his team with class and dignity, I knew that he would not want to create a scene. My first instinct was to leave him alone, but my heart overruled my head on that one.
I said, “Hello, coach! Welcome to Ashland!” I complimented him on his big win over Michigan recently in an incredible game that is already considered a classic.
He simply raised his eyebrows and said, “Thank you.”
I inquired what brought him through our little town, and he said he was on his way to Cleveland to do some recruiting. I finished preparing the drink he had ordered, and wished him well.
Why didn’t you tell us? After he left, quietly, the news of his visit went buzzing around the building. Two men who work in the building have continued to give me a rough time on a daily basis.
“Why didn’t you come get us? Why did you keep him all to yourself? If that ever happens again, I’ll never speak to you again!”
Those of you who have read this column for a number of years know that we have enjoyed a good friendship with Sean Casey, a great young baseball player who started out with the Cleveland Indians’ farm team in Akron, then was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, and most recently has been traded to his hometown team in Pittsburgh.
Life of an athlete. While visiting with Sean, we all saw just a taste of how disrupting it can be to be well-known. We have always felt that our time with Sean is precious and so limited because he is such a busy man.
So, going out to eat with him was a tremendous treat for all of us. We have witnessed first-hand just how annoying fame can really be.
Fun conversations were interrupted by those wishing to ask for an autograph, time after time after time.
Sean just looked at us and said, “Do you believe this? I’m just a guy who likes to play baseball!”
Gained insight. Because of our experience with the annoying side of fame, I have been much more enlightened than I otherwise would have been. The flip side of this always leads me to wonder what has brought society to this point – the point in which, quite often, it is the rich and powerful who are revered.
Donald Trump, in an interview, said he hasn’t had to pay for a meal in an incredibly long time.
“They recognize me, and the meal is on the house. I don’t even carry cash with me anymore,” he said.
Crazy world. How does this make any sense? The bottom line, I have come to realize, is that we live in a strange world, one that we all have helped to create. It goes without saying that spotting someone of any level of fame is sure to make our hearts beat a little faster.
Shaking hands with Coach Tressel was a thrill beyond measure, no doubt about that. But, I let him come and go without creating a scene, and in spite of the ribbing that I am taking for having done so, I would handle it that way again.
Won’t live it down. I also know that I am never going to hear the end of it!
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