Okay, so I have to share this quick story because…well, because I have basketball on the brain, with the ACC Tournament coming up this week, and March Madness right after that. Plus, it’s one of those great Chapel Hill things, which I am sort of in need of these days.
On Saturday, Sasha and I went to Whole Foods in the morning to pick up a few items, as we were having people over that night for the big UNC-Duke game. (Note: We won. Not that I’m gloating, or anything, Okay, maybe a little. Moving on!) Anyway, so we’re at the deli section, waiting on some coleslaw, and I look over to the food bar and see this guy bending down, getting some eggs, who looks kind of familiar. Can’t place him at first, until he stands up and is VERY tall. Then it hits me: it’s Tyler Hansborough. (For those of you who are NOT basketball fans, he is the STAR of our team, an amazing player, pretty much unstoppable.) See?
Anyway, so I’m totally staring, which I feel bad enough about until I see EVERYONE in the room is pretty much staring, even as he quietly goes about getting more breakfast on his plate. Then he starts over in our direction—I think he was getting cottage cheese, or fruit or something—and I just freeze. Sasha is in her stroller, chilling, looking around, and then he’s RIGHT BESIDE US, with his back to us. She’s looking up at him, the happy way she looks at all people, and I swear it was all I could do not to ask him for a picture with her. I mean, how cool would that be? But I could tell by the way he was very studiously avoiding eye contact with everyone—although thanking people as they wished him luck that night—that he really just wanted to eat his eggs in peace. So I just stood there, silently very excited, and then he walked away. When he was gone, I leaned down to Sasha and whispered, “You were just in the presence of greatness!”
I think she got it. She smiled, at any rate. But then, she smiles at the dog all the time, so maybe not.
Anyway. This whole thing just reminded me of when I was a kid, and how exciting it always was to see UNC players out and about in the community. Michael Jordan handed out Halloween candy in our neighborhood one year. Phil Ford walked by while we were all waiting to go into the symphony in grade school and almost caused a riot. And I had a class with George Lynch, a player I loved in college, and pretty much stared at him nonstop for an entire semester. I know it’s seriously dorky, but I was so, so happy Sasha’s first UNC player experience was with Tyler. I mean, I can’t think of a better way to start.
(I know some of you Dookies would disagree. If you’re even still reading, which most likely, you are not. Sorry!)