Steigerwald: Two lessons on handling fame
By John Steigerwald, FOR THE VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Sunday, May 2, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 79172.html
I'm not going to mention his name.
I know that you are as tired of hearing about a certain Steelers quarterback as I am of writing about him, but I couldn't help thinking about Whatshisname when I came across two stories about professional athletes who could teach him a thing or two about how to handle fame.
The first one comes from Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.
I'm guessing that you're aware that the Washington Capitals lost a pretty big game Thursday night.
That's why the Montreal Canadiens are in town this weekend.
Brooks Laich scored the Capitals only goal in that loss, but he had every right to be in a foul mood after the game.
Picture Whatshisname doing this:
Steinberg writes: "So the Wangemann's (Mary Ann and her 14 year-old daughter Lorraine, who had been at the game.) were driving home to Auburn and they got on the Roosevelt Bridge, trying to remain optimistic about the future of the team. Then they hit a pothole and got a flat tire. Perfect ending to the night.
Mary Ann pulled over to the side of the bridge and called AAA. They said they had a heavy volume of calls and that they weren't sure how long it would take to send help. Mary Ann and Lorraine, still wearing their Caps gear, got out of the car and watched the traffic whiz by.
Finally, an SUV slowed down and pulled over. And then Brooks Laich got out and asked them if he could help."
Steinberg goes on to write that Mary Ann (who recognized Laich right away) said she would appreciate it if he would just stay with them until AAA arrived, and that there was no need for him to change the tire.
Laich asked if they had a jack and he changed their tire.
How many people, who hadn't lost the biggest game of their lives an hour earlier, passed the two women by and never considered pulling over to help them?
Laich, still wearing his post game suit, took about 40 minutes to change the tire. He told Mary Ann to drive slowly on the way home and to listen for any rattling sounds. When Mary Ann said she didn't know how she could possibly thank him, Laich said, "I'm sure you'll do something nice for somebody in the future."
Then he hugged them and drove off.
- A former Pittsburgher, Pat Bruce, now living in South Carolina, posted this story on my website.
"This past year, a daughter of a friend of mine (from Philadelphia) broke her back and couldn't play for her high school's girls hockey team. Her father wanted to lift her spirits and asked me if I knew anyone at the Penguins who could get him an autographed picture of Sidney Crosby.
I called your brother, Paul, and he said he could get her in to watch the practice, but that's all he could promise.
On the day after Christmas, they went to a Penguins practice. After the practice, Crosby skated over to where the girl was standing and said, 'Hi. I'm Sidney Crosby, what's your name? Then Crosby smiled and said, 'I would like to take a picture with you. Would you mind?'
The father was quick to point out that Sidney didn't say, 'Would you like your picture taken with ME -— he said I would like my picture taken with YOU.'
Later that night my friend, who is a major executive at a Fortune 100 company) called and said, 'Pat, I want you and Paul to know that I have been all over the world, have met all kinds of people and never in my life have I been more impressed with a young man. Not only did he make my daughter forget her broken back, he made her feel like HE was meeting her and not the other way around'.
Keep in mind he was talking about the greatest hockey player on the planet, who took the time to brighten a 14 year-old girl's life. No media. No press release. No written statements, just a young guy doing the right thing at the right time."
So there you have it.
Two stories about professional athletes interacting with women and you don't feel like you need to take a shower.
You shouldn't be surprised that the stories involve hockey players. Ask anybody who covers sports in a town with teams in at least three of the four major leagues and they will tell you that hockey players are the nicest, most down to Earth athletes to deal with.
Is there something about hockey that keeps players grounded?
I don't know. Maybe it's all those guys with small town values.
Crosby is from Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia and Laich is from Medicine Hat, Alberta.
I'll bet if you asked either of their parents, they would tell you that the stories don't surprise them. I'd also be willing to bet that, in Medicine Hat, Alberta, they would wonder why anybody would be surprised at what Brooks Laich did.
Out there, it's EXPECTED of him.