Monday, June 22, 2009

My Brush With Greatness

Everyone's had one...some event or occasion or incident during which you've seen or interacted with a celebrity. I've had a few, including one blissful moment in rush hour traffic on Mopac in Austin, TX. Slowly making my way home from a HORRIBLE job, I was bawling about my miserable life, when I happened to look over at the Mercedes in the next lane with the open windows and sunroof, and there was Robert Redford, driving and laughing with a male friend. And suddenly I just didn't care about that stupid job anymore.

So that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. The pinball-esque nature of the human condition dictates that we will eventually bounce off a better-known steel ball or two. And as wonderful as my pinball clank off Mr. Still-Dishy Redford was, I had another that thrilled me even more.

The year was 1977, the city, Seattle. Summer, 10pm or so, and I was standing in line, waiting to get in to see Star Wars for the very first time. That's the FIRST Star Wars movie released, for you kids, and yes, that DOES make me a tad creaky around the edges, AND on the leading edge of Nrrd Grrls, too. Star Wars was the first film I'd ever seen a trailer for on television and I believe the first to use toy merchandise as a tie in, both of which served to up the amperage on the excit-o-meter.

So anyway, I was all young and cute and jumping around in my excitement as I stood in line, and then with one bounce I suddenly hit the human wall behind me.

And I turned.

And I looked up.

And up.

And looking down at me with a sweet smile was Bill Russell, all magnificent 6 feet 10 inches. The Celtics basketball legend and then head coach of the Seattle Sonics was looming large right behind me, waiting in the same around-the-block line to see Star Wars. You see, I cut my teeth on watching the Boston Celtics and 76ers (and later the Lakers) battle it out, year after year, and learned to truly love Russell when he became the Celt's coach. And then, thrill of thrills, he moved into the head coach position with the Seattle Super Sonics, creating a team that Lenny Wilkins led to the National Championship two years after Russell left. And there he was, my hero, living and breathing within inches of me! I swooned with pleasure on the spot, and probably would have gushed all over him, but just then the line began to move forward.

So now I like to say that Bill Russell and I saw Star Wars together. What? It's TRUE!

How about you? What're some of your tales of brushes with greatness?

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