Brush With Greatness

Last Sunday morning, I had a great experience . . . at Speedway nonetheless.

As I was headed out to the little church in New Richmond I stopped at the gas station for my morning Diet Coke. While I'm usually a UDF guy, Speedway wins my summer loyalty with their slashed fountain drink prices. Plus, they have the Speedy Rewards Card which you can scan and get points to get free stuff. Never redeemed the points, but they're there if I need them.

So as I'm paying and putting change in my wallet, I hear someone stand in the door and ask if they can use their Speedy Rewards even if they're paying at the pump. The cashier told him that he could leave his card and she could scan it inside. I'm out the door and decide to hold open the door for the guy and then notice he's substantially taller than I am. Then I look at his face and realize that I'm in the presence of [arguably] the greatest basketball player who ever lived:

Oscar Robertson.

Here's some info if you're unfamiliar with him. The Big O played college ball at Cincinnati* and played in the NBA for the Cincinnati Royals [now the Sacramento Kings]. Professionally he AVERAGED a triple-double.

Back to my story: as I realized who it was, he exited the Speedway and said thanks to me for holding open the door. I replied, "Have a good morning, Mr Robertson" making sure to pronounce it properly and not "Robinson."

I took two thoughts away from my encounter:

1. I keep running into local celebrities while holding open doors at gas stations. During my ministry in Madeira, I held open the door for Marge Schott. She went in bought a pack of cigs and two lottery tickets. I remember asking the cashier if she came in much and he replied, "Everyday. And she always buys a pack of Marlboro's and a couple lotto tickets." I found it strange that a woman living in an Indian Hill mansion was still trying to strike it rich.

2. Can you imagine Michael Jordan pulling into a gas station and going inside to use his Speedy Rewards card? I wonder if Jordan has even pumped his own gas in decades. It just goes to show that guys like the Big O paved the way so that today's athletes could live large and the younger generations couldn't care less. Some have said that Oscar is bitter because he didn't make the big bucks that today's players make. Honestly, I'd be bitter too. But he is still an incredible guy. Later, on that day when I saw him, he was in Indianapolis to receive a reward for his benevolence work. It's that humanness in old pros like Robertson that makes me proud to have the opportunity to hold open a door for him.

In a somewhat related note, I'm heading over the Deveroes League tomorrow night [Tuesday] to watch the local college players if anyone's interested.

*Although the Big O was by far the most dominant college player of his time, UC didn't win their back-to-back national championships until Oscar left school.