The Breakdown: Thanks for the memories
April 3, 2009
Thursday’s trade of Jay Cutler to Chicago got me thinking. It wasn’t so much about how the Broncos traded a former No. 1 pick and one heck of a prospect, or how my favorite team ” “Da Bears” ” somehow orchestrated a deal to get a true top-tier NFL QB for the first time since the 1940s.
No, the trade got me thinking about the impact that an athlete has on the people that he or she meets outside of their sport.
An example ” the time that I got to spend with the young, disheveled, rocket-armed and, now, former-Broncos’ signal caller last summer.
He was a celebrity guest at the Summit Foundation golf tournament, and I had a prescheduled interview with him before he teed off.
To attempt to make a long story short: Cutler showed up nearly half an hour late, and kept putting off talking with me and disappeared somewhere in the club house. Then, finally, I found his now famous, er notorious, agent Bus Cook who had no clue where his client had gone to. (Note: From this encounter, I actually believed every thing Cook said this past week about not getting a hold of Cutler. After all, he couldn’t find him when he was at the same place.) When his agent finally did find him, I was led into a back corner of the club house bar, where Cutler and a friend were sitting and talking. The interview went about as well as Cutler’s talks with Denver coach Josh McDaniels. He obviously didn’t want to do the interview, he gave short answers, and, for the first 20 minutes or so, he never made eye-contact with me. Apart from a brief stretch where he opened up about recently being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes ” which, to his credit, he was genuinely thoughtful and sincere about ” the whole thing was pretty much a wash.
My point isn’t to sit here and bash him for our encounter. Most athletes don’t enjoy giving interviews, talking to the media or pretty much doing anything that they don’t want to. Though it’s part of their job, I don’t blame them. I don’t want to make Cutler out to be a jerk or to make sure he’s added to the extremely long list of immature and inconsiderate athletes.
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The real reason I bring this up is because it’s a great example of how people only get one chance to make a first impression on the people they meet.
I remember Michael Jordan once said that he never goes anywhere in public without looking the best he could. Though it may seem a little vain, he said that he knew that some people would only have one chance to ever meet him, and he didn’t want to disappoint them.
I had the chance to meet Wayne Gretzky when I was 5 years old. He was my hero growing up, and meeting him was, hands down, one of the highlights of my childhood. But that’s because of how he treated me; he talked to me for what must have been 20 minutes and acted as if I was the only fan that he’d ever meet. Did he have to act that way? Not at all, but he could tell how much the moment meant to me.
I really hope that many young Broncos fans have had their “Gretzky experience” with Cutler. Sadly, my time with him, makes me doubt that.
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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