Twenty years ago I met Dick Vitale ( @DickieV ) as a teenager, and he pretty much blew me off both times. Or I thought he did. It forever changed the way I saw him. Twenty years later, I understand celebs like Dick Vitale are pulled in 50,000 directions by everybody, and there is no way for people in his position to accomodate everybody.
Last week, Vitale was attending an event at the Stockyards in Fort Worth to promote the Allstate March Mayhem Bracket challenge - he led Joel the Steer in picking NCAA games - and to spread the word about his foundation that raises money for pediatric cancer research.
(Want to thank Nathan Wood - @itsnatewood - of 105.3 The Fan for taking this wretched picture of me with Mr. Vitale.)
I introduced myself, told him we met when I was a teenager; I now understand my expectations for his time 20 years ago were absurd. I wrote this column that said just that - don't expect so much of these celeb types you come across in a chance meeting, and to take them for their best. In Vitale's case, he's great at what he does, and he offers some solid messages.
To my great surprise, Vitale read this column. How do I know this?
Vitale mailed me a copy of one of his books to my mailbox at the paper, as well as some other material concerning his foundation. I nearly threw it all away before my boss said - "Maybe he signed it."
He did. Vitale wrote, "Mac You Are Awesome Baby. Dick Vitale HOF 08"
A very nice, thoughtful gesture. I nearly threw away the rest of the material before it dawned on me, after looking at the handwriting from the envelope, Vitale personally put this package together.
In this envelope inluded a personal letter:
"Mac: Great talking with you. So sorry about years ago as trust me it was not done intentionally. I try to be cordial to everyone & I do love meeting the fans.
Had fun battling Joel (ha! ha!) - Thanks & God Bless
This is an absolute first in my long and storied career.
Vitale certainly did not need to do this, as any butt-hurt feelings were long ago replaced by realizing he's busy, and that everybody wants his time.
That said, the gesture is appreciated.
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