Today was my last day off before going back to my 355 day/year job, and my husband & I celebrated it with a late breakfast at one of our favorite South Jersey restaurants. While we sat sipping our coffee, Sean Courturier, recently acquired by the Philadelphia Flyers, walked in with a lovely young lady and sat two tables behind us. This was a terrible mistake on Sean’s part; he was directly in my husband’s line of sight.
For the next 38 minutes Bobby snuck peeks in an effort to determine if the poor guy really was Courturier, while the following conversation took place:
“I think that’s Sean Courturier.”
“How do you know?”
“It looks like him.”
“Did he walk like a hockey player?” (they have a gliding-type walk, like they’re still on the ice)
“…Yeah.” I look over my shoulder. “Don’t look over there – you’re being too obvious!” he whispers. He shakes his head confusedly. “I don’t understand why he’s being so casual about it.”
“Casual about what?”
“He’s got a big game this afternoon. You’d think he’d be nervous or more… not casual.”
“Well, he is a professional, you know. He plays hockey all the time for a living.” I sip my coffee. “If I made as much money as he does, I’d be pretty relaxed about everything, too.”
“He doesn’t make that much money.”
I stared at him. “You’re kidding, right? How much does he make?”
“Well, probably a couple hundred… thousand,” he said, smiling sheepishly.
“Uh, yeah, right. I’d like to be making such a paltry salary… besides, the Winter Classic doesn’t begin until 3 o’clock. He’s got plenty of time to enjoy his breakfast until then.”
Halfway thru our goat cheese & scrambled egg crepes, I suggested a nice little fun thing we could do for Mr. Probably Sean.
“Well if it is Courturier, we should pick up his check secretly - just like we did for that little old lady at the diner that time.”
“What? You’re kidding, right? With the money he makes, he should pick up our check!”
“He only makes a couple hundred… thousand. And it would be a nice gesture, like a welcome-wagon type gesture. And he wouldn’t know it was us. Completely anonymous.”
“Anonymous is hard to pull off when you’re the only other people in the restaurant, sweetie. Anyway, he may not be Courturier.”
“All the more reason to do it, then. It would suck to look like a famous sports guy and not have the cash.”
While we go back and forth about this idea of mine, the memories of every sports-guy close encounter we’ve ever had was running thru my mind…
- Kerry Fraser (with his immaculate hair) in the Berlin Home Depot in the hardware aisle – hockey referee greatness.
- Don Brashear in the Berlin Walmart underwear aisle (he wears the same size as my husband, and his fists are as big as hams).
- Ron Hextall at the Berlin post office.
- Donovan McNabb at our oil-change place.
- Antero Niittymaki at the Marlton Barnes & Noble.
- Mike Schmidt at my dentist.
- Kerry Fraser again at the Waterford post office.
- Jeremy Roenick in a Marlton bodywork studio.
- Jeremiah Trotter at my old job in Hainesport.
- Vince Papale, Ron Jaworski, and Bill Barber all the time, all over the place.
Truth is, you bump into these guys constantly because they all live in South Jersey. They have their kids in the local schools, their orthopedic specialists are here, and it’s nicer here than in Philly. So, it’s really not a shocker when you see them; just have enough respect to not disturb their meals, draw unneccesary attention in public, or ask them to autograph parts of your body.
I had none of those intentions in mind. I simply wanted to have some fun, and give a hockey player young enough to be my son a little something to smile about while he kicked some Ranger ass. Sadly, that scenario did not happen. Bobby’s whispered protests won out, and I did not pay for Probably Sean’s breakfast. Probably Sean was confirmed to be Definitely Sean upon leaving the restaurant, teasing his lady by locking her out of the car for a minute, and driving away in jeep-type car with Quebec plates.
The long-reaching implications of my inaction was immediately apparent by the third period of the Winter Classic. Like the fellow that strayed from the path and crushed the butterfly beneath his foot, my decision to not be a secret samaritan impacted not only poor Definitely Sean Courturier, but the playing quality and morale of the entire Philadelphia Flyers hockey club. By listening to my husband, I have cost my favorite sports team a win against their arch rivals, two points in the league standings, and probably contributed to Jaromir Jagr’s leg strain injury. I’m sure Danny Briere blew the penalty shot because of my thoughtlessness. This may even impact their run for the Stanley Cup. I feel like I should personally apologize to Bob Clarke and Ed Snider in prostrate humility.
If you’re reading this, Mr. Clarke and Mr. Snider… I am truly sorry, but I wasn’t completely responsible for all the destruction! My husband is truly the one to blame (watch as I deflect all responsibility like Bernie Parent with a puck). His debonaire good looks and persuasive manner wore me down. His mellifluous, dulcet tones were so convincing that I would be bothering poor Sean by being a supportive fan. I know my inaction is inexcuseable, but please forgive me for being a true anomaly in the universe – a wife who actually listens to her husband.