Just sitting here waiting for Jo and Kate to arrive as we are going out for dinner. It is funny what pops into your mind sometimes, distant memories that you thought were long forgotten, some that you wish would stay forgotten.
I am reminded of a time I was on a business trip to Sydney, waiting for a plane to my next destination Melbourne. This was quite a long time ago, it must be at least 15 years. It was the night of an awards presentation in Melbourne for AFL footballers, and some of the elite players of the time from the Sydney Swans were about to board the same plane. I remember there was Tony Lockett, Paul Kelly, Wayne Schwass, and one of my son Blake’s heroes Michael O’Loughlin.
Michael was a player of Aboriginal extraction, a very good player with a large following, and I felt I owed it to Blake to get his autograph. Wouldn’t that make me a great Dad, at least for the moment.
Anyway we boarded the plane and as luck would have it Michael O’Loughlin was sitting within arm’s length so I summoned my courage and asked him for an autograph. I suppose the players must get sick of this but I could not let the opportunity pass. I explained the autograph was for my son, Michael smiled and took the pad and pen I offered and signed his autograph. I was mortified, and very embarrassed, when he gave me back the autograph signed by Adam Goodes, another Aboriginal player with the Sydney Swans.
Adam could hardly contain his mirth, he took my mistake with good grace and smiled broadly as he got off the plane before me. Fortunately for me he had gone by the time I slinked out of the plane, if only the floor could have opened up and swallowed me. I hope it made for a funny story with his football mates later that night.
I wonder whether Adam Goodes still remembers the idiot that mistook him for Michael O’Loughlin. If my memory serves me correctly he went on to win AFL Rookie of the Year at the award ceremony.
Fortunately for me Blake was just as happy with Adam’s autograph as he would have been with Michaels. I got my brownie points at the expense of my dignity.