Thursday, January 13, 2011

No, I Am NOT a Stalker

Upon our return to the hotel after our post-bowl game seafood feast, I noticed a big football player-looking fella in the lobby chatting with Illinois fans. Because I'm curious nosey, I began walking a big slower so I could figure out if this was a familiar player. Imagine my surprise when the man turned around and I saw a Baylor logo on his jacket.

Now more curious than ever as to why he was visiting with folks from the opposing team, I finally figured out who I thought it was but - you know how it is - I didn't want to say something and be wrong. The issue, though, was that if it was who I thought it was then my time was running out because he's a senior.

Which is what gave me confidence - while looking like a drowned rat - to blurt out, "Excuse me but are you Phil Taylor?"

FYI - Phil Taylor aka "Big Phil" is a defensive lineman who transferred to Baylor from Penn State. He is one of my all-time favorite players because after he sacks the QB, he high steps. And I do mean HIGH STEPS. It makes me so happy I almost can't contain myself, y'all. Perhaps it's my Louisiana roots and growing up watching the Southern and Grambling bands?

Also, Phil went on a mission trip to Kenya with a number of other athletes over the summer and he has indicated that it completely changed his life. He's been quoted as saying he's a different football player, student, friend and family member after the experience. Which I totally admire, y'all.

Back to the point of the story...

Turns out it WAS Phil Taylor. It also turns out that my "super fan" mode was triggered immediately and I excitedly asked if I could take a picture with him and he agreed. So I asked Tay if she would like to be in the pic expecting her to say "no" because that's what she always says...but this time was different and she happily agreed.

Then I handed my camera to my mom and asked her to take the picture. She replied, "You know I'm not really good at taking pictures."

My mouth fell open.

A young guy who was with Phil offered to snap the pic. Hallelujah!

We got in place and my mom - who can't take pictures but is apparently good at styling them - asked Phil to remove his hat because "we just need to see your face - it's important."

And the picture was taken.

Then I got chatty. 

I know - SHOCKER!

But I felt the need to acknowledge that Phil had completed his assignment - to stuff the middle - throughout the night. He had done it beautifully. That wasn't the issue. We just couldn't figure out how to score.

His reply?

"Did you say 'stuff the middle'?"

Why, yes, I did.

His reply?

"Wow - that's awesome."

I then bid him adieu but not before letting him know that we would be watching him in the NFL because he's projected as one of the top recruits as his position.

He thanked me and we were off.

With this in hand...

My man called while we were in the elevator and I excitedly described all of this to him. Unbeknownst to me, there was another player in the elevator (I'm sorry, y'all, but I don't know who it was exactly. I do contend they should somehow wear their numbers at all public appearances, though, so this sort of thing doesn't happen.) 

As he was listening to me gush about my encounter, he actually had to turn to the corner because he was LAUGHING so hard his shoulders were shaking. His parents' were as well.

But I'm good with that because I have a picture. And a memory. And my daughter thinks I'm nuts. Quite frankly, I'm a bit surprised (and proud) it took her 11 years to figure that one out.

 To answer the obvious question, no, I am NOT a stalker. Just a woman who knows a bit about football (thanks to my man), who overreacts to any call against her team, who firmly believes some of the rules just aren't right and common sense should be taken into consideration before they're applied, and clearly isn't afraid to humiliate herself in order to show gratitude for a nice season.