It’s been awhile since I did a birthday shoutout to a player on here. That one was for my favorite player, Matt Murton. This one is a shoutout to ME! Yes, I turned 40 yesterday. And I ranted about the Tigers’ 15-1 loss on Saturday and said I would NOT watch the game Sunday for fear of a loss (and what a loss – 10-1 this time!), and had some scathing words for some of the players, including #9.
Well you’ll never guess what happened to me today. I had agreed to meet a friend of mine for coffee in Sannomiya (downtown Kobe) after work, since I get off early on Mondays. I asked him if we could go to Starbucks, simply because I had a craving. So he got there a little earlier than me, chose the location he thought would have the most open seats (the Starbuckses in Sannomiya seem to always be full), and texted me to let me know the location.
I got there around 4pm, got in line, ordered my drink, turned around and saw… who else but Matt Murton himself, standing in line for his own beverage! My buddy was seated kind of behind where Matt was standing, and pointed in a less-than-subtle way to make sure I didn’t miss the tall, muscular redhead with 3-or-so days of stubble standing in line in a green t-shirt and military-print shorts. Nope, not gonna miss that!
T: “Enjoying your day off?”
T: “Or is it a day off? No practice today?”
MM: "No, we got the full day off."
T: “Nice. Guess the whole team could use a breather after the rough weekend…”
T: “Well, take it easy.”
He gets to the counter, places his order, takes two coffees out of the store, and walks down the road, presumably to a car with a wife in it?
And I went back to my seat, kind of shaking, kind of sweating, but definitely grinning. I *knew* I would meet him this year, I just knew it! But who would have thought it would be at a Starbucks on a Monday afternoon while we both waited in line for coffee?
The more I thought about it, the more I second-guessed every moment of the encounter. Should I have introduced myself by name? Should I have told him about the blog? Asked for an autograph? A picture? Should I have told him it was my birthday? Or that his birthday is the same day as my son’s? Should I have been a little more enthusiastic about the whole thing? Did I really have to remind him about the bad weekend the team had? (Not to mention he was benched for 2 days – at least I didn’t remind him of THAT.)
The whole thing was surreal… and as I said to another friend of mine via LINE a few minutes later: “I’m kinda choked that I didn’t ‘get’ anything but the experience, the thrill and the memory. No signature, no proof of the encounter.”
But does it matter? Would my life be better if I had snapped a picture with my phone? If I had his signature on a napkin (or my Tigers’ membership card, which was in my wallet)? Not really, right? In fact, in some ways this is better because it’s just between me, my buddy and Matt Murton. A brief, “private” moment in the middle of the world’s most popular coffee chain, in the middle of the closest big city to Koshien Stadium. A memory. And that’s good enough for me. Happy birthday, Matt Murton fan!
(Thank God for the timing, being in the right Starbucks, and for him also having a craving for coffee at the same time as I did!)