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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brushes With Fame

This past weekend I had the pleasure to help clean up George Washington High School in Denver as part of a community clean up day (organized by my wife). Cleaning up this historic public high school came with the obvious benefits and satisfaction, but, to me, the greatest thrill I received wasn't in helping to re-paint the counselor's offices, speaking to the students or in seeing all 18 bathrooms get a complete make-over.

Nope. Instead my personal highlight was peering into the gym where Chauncey Billups used to play high school hoops, seeing his back-to-back state championship trophies and gazing upon his retired jersey dangling from the trophy case between the state championship trophies.

Coming from a smaller high school in Ohio, the rundown of notable alumni on my former high school's Wikipedia page boasts a proud list of the richest man in Ohio, the 1972 Miss America pageant winner, a current actor in a popular television sitcom and a TV weatherman broadcasting out of Honolulu ("It will be a high of 82 with a slight chance of rain". Repeat.).

To the best of my knowledge the biggest athletic accomplishment from an alumnus of my alma mater was Brent Johnson who suited up for the hometown Ohio State Buckeyes in the early 90's. We never had an NBA, MLB or NFL player, much less a former NBA Finals MVP, wear Royal Blue and white with Lions embroidered across the front.

I have also never played in an organized game, that I know of, with a future or past professional athlete. Sure in college I would watch the basketball team take over the rec center floor during their offseason, and a few of those guys are now getting paid to play, but I haven't ever been in an actual league with someone like that.

The closest I have ever gotten to seeing an NBA player well before their prime was when the neighboring high school came into our gym when I was in 10th grade and were guided by future NBA player Samaki Walker. It wasn't a fun game to watch from our perspective, but had I not had a rooting interest in one of the two teams I would have been able to comprehend the talent I was witnessing.

So that is it in terms of my brushes with future NBA players: a blow out suffered by my high school and a 10-year old jersey hanging in a trophy case.

Have you ever had a brush with a future professional athlete? If so, post a comment below.

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Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you enjoy community service...maybe next year we can get Chauncey to come help you paint the counseling office.

adidasi said...

nice to read you

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