I’m watching a documentary on Don Shula.
Don Shula was the coach of the Miami Dolphins for decades and he had a perfect season. Won every game and then won the Super Bowl
The only team to ever do it.
I met him.
Steve Largent, a wide receiver for Seattle, introduced me to Don Shula at a charity function.
There had been a signing earlier so there were people bringing in footballs to get signed by some big legendary football people.
When I met Shula, I was basically at Steve Largent’s side when he went to say hello.
Under the table next to us, an empty table, was a football in a box. The kind of people had been bringing in to get signed. But there was nobody around.
Somebody just left the football.
So I picked it up and asked Don Shula if he would mind signing it.
He signed it.
So I went home that day with legendary coach Don Shula’s autograph on a football. The football alone probably cost $30. But Don Shula signed it and I got it – and I kept it in the closet for a long time.
I figured, this guy is a legendary coach and he autographed this football and I met him and he autographed a football for me.
It was like a prized possession.
Don Shula doesn’t sign a lot of stuff.
After I had it for a year or two, I would pull it out every once a while and look at it. I realized that it was really a great thing to have. A piece of history.
Our next-door neighbor did a little favor for us. He runs a nursery and he was able to get us some trees for our backyard. Little ones. That he got us at cost. Then he put them in for us.
We all live in Tampa but he was a Miami fan.
So after he does that favor, it got close to Christmas.
I gave him the ball.
His wife came over for something and I said you know what, I have something I think your husband would really like. I’d like to give it to him as a thank you present and a Christmas present. I got the ball Shula signed, and her eyes about popped out of her head. And to hear her talk about it later, her husband’s eyes about popped out of his head when she gave it to him on my behalf.
It was worth several hundred dollars.
But I didn’t pay anything for it, and as much as I enjoyed having that piece of history, it seems like a shame for it to sit in the closet. Meanwhile, a few doors down, lived somebody who would love and cherish that thing and look at it every day with pride…
It needed to be his. So I gave it to him.
And every time I think about Don Shula or watch a show like this, I think about how I met a legend and he signed a football for me and then as much as I loved having that, I was able to give it away.
My first thought is always, hey, I have an autographed football by him. Then I remember, no I don’t.