A varied and sometimes erratic record of what I'm learning inside and outside of the classroom

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Encounter With Jimmer

You know this guy, the one pictured on the right? That one, with the big #32 on his jersey: the one who scored 47 points against the Utes last night in Salt Lake, and who was featured today on the front page of BYU's newspaper, The Daily Universe. The guy named as one of the top point guards in the nation--All-American, and Mountain West Conference Player of the Week eleven times. Yeah--THAT guy.

I stood next to him in line today at the Cougareat.

No, I didn't say hi, or congratulate him on the team STOMPING Utah last night (a defeat from which, my roommate smugly insists, they will never fully recover). Before you immediately label me a coward, let me explain my reasons for failing to pipe up to this guy who can really "throw it down" on the basketball court--literally. 47 points in one game is nothing to sneeze at.

First of all, yes, perhaps some of it was me being a chicken. Honestly, I was kind of afraid I would geek out on him, something along the lines of "OHmyGOODNESSYOU'REJIMMERFREDETTEandI'mACTUALLYSTANDINGNEXTTOYOU!!!" I generally try to avoid embarrassing myself in such a manner. I did, however, allow myself a private smile or two, basking a little in the glory of the superstar standing next to me.

Interestingly enough, he seemed to be by himself; he didn't talk to anyone as he stood in line. "Well," I thought to myself, "he probably gets people coming up to him all the time and gushing all over about what a phenomenal player he is--maybe he just wants to be left alone for a change." I mean, how would that be? People staring at you all the time in public and constantly being approached by perfect strangers, who, adoring though they may be, are perfect strangers nonetheless. All anxious to be acquainted with Jimmer Fredette, BYU basketball superstar well on his way to becoming a legend, just so they can say to their friends that they said hi to him one day in the Cougareat or in their History of Creativity class. But what about Jimmer Fredette, person? Does he ever get tired of only being recognized for his athletic ability?

One of my younger brothers is one of the most gifted athletes I know, and we have been told by several people of expertise that he is one of the top-tier soccer players his age in the nation. But he gets so tired of people just saying to him, "Wow--you are SO GOOD at soccer." Yeah, so what? It is a major part of who he is, but that's just it--it's a part. He has thoughts and feelings and ideas and characteristics not all associated with soccer. Maybe Jimmer would like to have a conversation that didn't mention basketball at all for a change. Maybe he actually cares about something other than turnovers and shooting averages, if anyone took the time to ask. Athletes are people too.

Well, Jimmer, I don't know what it's like to be in the limelight like you do. I'll probably never experience anything remotely close to the feeling of leading a nationally ranked team to victory in front of thousands of screaming fans. I do admire your tremendous talent, of course, and offer my congratulations on all your athletic accomplishments in addition to everyone else's. However, if I were to be again in circumstances similar to those earlier today, and did actually have the courage to open my mouth to release a coherent utterance, there is something I would want to tell you:

I sincerely hope you have a nice day. From one person, one college student, one human being, to another.

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