It really is a small world. For the last week of December I was in Shreveport, Louisiana as a manager with the Boston College football team practicing and prepping for the AdvoCare V100 bowl against the Wildcats of Arizona. That week was pretty cool: if you’ve never experienced the atmosphere around a college bowl game (even a minor one) you should really give it a chance. There is a lot of frivolity and excitement that goes into such a storied college spectacle.
But the coolest part of the trip came on game day, New Year’s Eve (no, unfortunately us Eagles didn’t win). Roughly around 9 am I was walking out to the field to set up before the team arrived, and as I turned right to look at the field I saw Ken Griffey Jr., The Kid, standing there like he was just another guy. Even before I approached him my first thought was: “dammit he is wearing his visor forward. So un-Kid like”. That thought quickly passed and I approached him as casually as possible.
When Griffey saw me coming over with a big ol’ grin on my face he seemed cheerful enough, though I am sure he isn’t too keen on being constantly hounded by people.
I said to him “Mr. Griffey, I work for the Mariners [I was a tour guide last summer] and just wanted to let you know I am a big fan of yours.”
“Hey that’s a fun gig,” he said back as he reached forward and shook my hand.
Then I politely asked him what he might be doing in Shreveport, Louisiana and that is when his charm really started to show. He told me about his son Tre, who is a freshman and plays wide receiver for Arizona. He also told me his son played high school ball with a freshman at BC. After that we talked a bit about me working at the Mariners.
The conversation didn’t last more than 30 seconds and ended with the picture posted above (yep, that’s me if you were curious). It was pretty sweet getting to meet him and see him being so cool about talking to adoring fans. He even apparently did an on-air interview during the game.
I just wanted to share the story with everyone here because there really is something special about seeing and meeting your favorite players. Don’t be afraid to approach them, but do it reverently. They know they are recognizable and I am fairly certain it does not shock them that people yell “Go M’s” or ask for their autograph. But being courteous and friendly sure goes a long way.
Go M’s and keep your keen eye out for the boys in blue! Fanfest is fast approaching and if you are close enough to make the trek to Safeco you really should. The Mariners really are a fan friendly team.