The Soapbox: Enjoying the Game

Brandi Chambless

This story begins with two dreadful words. Blind Date. So here was I, a young college student working my way through school, when my friend Penny made the suggestion of a now extinct human act formerly known in pre-internet days as the blind date.

Alls I knew is I was supposed to be going out with a man named Trey. A rookie policeman. Now what did I, a student, know to ask a policeman on a date? The only other policeman I knew was my father.

By Wednesday of the big week we had dialed our rotary phones and connected on our landlines. The date was scheduled for the upcoming Saturday.

Come Thursday, I was happily running my errands when I was pulled over for speeding.

To my surprise as well as the officer’s, the blind date happened right there on the side of the road when I introduced myself to the hottie in blue. It was my guy Trey. Surprise!

I didn’t get a ticket, but I did invite him to share coffee in an impromptu visit before the upcoming date which was no longer blind.

We held a two-hour conversation that I perceived as very pleasant. He told me goodbye and see you later.

I never heard from Officer Trey again.

What was it? I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. Was it something I said? Was I too fat? Too ugly? Not smart enough? I in the very least have a nice personality.

Fast forward twenty-five years, when I returned to my college town. Obsessed with Friday night lights and the pageantry of the community’s youth on display, I froze the first time someone mentioned they work with a policeman named Trey. 

Oh, and the standout halfback…was his son. Of course. Those old insecurities were so fresh that I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone the story of the blind date that never occurred.

I saw the uniformed officer working security detail. Still handsome at mid-life, but it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that I hadn’t forgotten those feelings of rejection.

From the first game of the freshman season, I avoided running into him in the event he may recognize me and I might accidentally ask something like… “Hey I know we met twenty-five years ago, but can you tell me why you never called me back?”

I decided that if the right time ever came, that I would have a chance to ask that question.

Last week, I couldn’t avoid it any longer when that moment came.

There he was, watching the game right next to me.

This took more courage than I thought.

“Do you remember me?” I smiled.

The man looked at me like a deer in the headlights.

“Remember? We almost had that blind date twenty-five years ago and you pulled me over for speeding? You didn’t give me a ticket, but I invited you to coffee and we talked for a couple of hours about everything under the sun.”

“Remember, our mutual friend Penny set us up and we were going to go out?”

This time, when he looked dumbfounded I was inwardly indignant. This guy needs an academy award for the performance of pretending he can’t recall any of this as I remember every detail!

Folks were pushing all around us as the game was going on so these dialogues continued to occur in and out for about thirty minutes.

After a while, I asked him about his son.

When I called him by name, the lady next to us said, “Honey, this is Jordan Lemont. Who are you talking about?”

I had the complete wrong person.

For two years, my insecurities had caused me to avoid someone who was simply a victim of mistaken identity.

He was extremely gracious in allowing me to keep my dignity intact, and appeared to be enjoying the game nonetheless.

I’d say that sometimes the things in our minds that control our behaviors are way bigger than what we think they are.

Mark Twain said best when he said the fear of death follows from the fear of life, a man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Since our thoughts are responsible for so much of who we become, when those thoughts are based in fear we forsake the life we were meant to live.

Today I find my embarrassing story comical when I recognize that somewhere out there is an aging policeman who was once a hottie that almost took me on a blind date. Whether I ever know what happened, Ms. Nice Personality is going to relax and enjoy the game, free of all fear.

Brandi Chambless
Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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