I was sitting in the broadcast booth, diligently preparing my pre-game notes and scorebook for that night's game. It was just 3:00 pm, and I had plenty of work to do on this simmering-hot, summer day.
"Hey Rick," my broadcast partner Bill Rogan called, as he entered the booth. "There are some people I'd like you to meet today. A young boy, Tommy, is coming by today to shadow you for a school project. He's a really big fan of yours. He'd like to know what it takes to become a sportscaster, and he has a lot of questions. He's going to be looking for you around 4:00. He is really looking forward to meeting you. Is that ok?"
I felt honored. Sure I'd share some of my time, especially if I can help make a difference for a young, aspiring broadcaster! If he was coming especially to pick my brain, I was ready to give him all the information he'd want.
About an hour later, as I sit working alone in the booth, a young boy and his mother approached my window.
"Oh, you must be Tommy," I said as I bounded out of the booth wearing a big, eager smile. "I'm Rick Schultz, great to meet you! Come on in, let me show you around the park while we talk."
For the next hour I gave young Tommy the lowdown on the baseball broadcasting business. I went through my pre-game duties, explaining each step to him in detail. He looked on with mild interest.
Since he was there to see me specifically, I spent a lot of time detailing my background, my experience and how I'd become a professional broadcaster at the young age of 18. I was pumped to share my story, but both Tommy, and now his mother, seemed distracted and somewhat disinterested.
After a while, Tommy and his mother politely thanked me and said they had to run. With that, they backed away and quickly left the park.
As gametime approached, Bill returned and we continued preparations for that night's game. Just then our boss from the radio station popped in.
"Hey guys, how's it going?" he asked. "How did it go with that young student today? He was really looking forward to meeting you Bill."
I whipped my head around and asked, incredulously, "Did you say he was here to see BILL?"
"Of course," the boss said. "We set it up in advance, he's a big fan of Bill's."
At that moment it hit me. I had introduced myself to a boy and his mother and told them all about myself and my career. I had detailed what I do and how I do it. I had offered my best advice and guidance to this young boy and his mother. And, as it turns out, they weren't even there to see me! While I thought they were my fans, in reality they probably didn't have any idea at all who I was!
To steal a quote from "A Few Good Men"......don't I feel like a big, self-centered jerk.
(Don't worry about me too much, I did get Bill back a time or two. Ask him about the ice in his hotel room bed. That's minor league baseball.)
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