It was just over two years ago. We had secured four very nice seats in Miller Park for a Brewers game (I can’t even remember who they were playing) and had headed over with two friends. Now, I enjoy a good baseball game. But sometimes, even the most ardent fans have to admit, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as to whether a baseball game is good or not.
This one seemed to drag. The feature attractions for me, not necessarily in this order, were the racing sausages, the seventh inning stretch, watching Bernie Brewer jump on that big yellow slide to celebrate a home run, and Ryan Braun. Now this was before Braun ran into a few issues with performance-enhancing drugs. He was the darling of the Milwaukee Brewers if not a lot of baseball fans. I had heard rumors that he and Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers had opened or were about to open together a restaurant in Milwaukee.
So there we were watching what I would call only a semi-interesting game of baseball and there suddenly rippled through our section of the stadium some whispers and some people were turning around to take a quick look and then turned back again. Finally, my husband leaned over and said, “Aaron Rodgers is here” and he directed me to look behind.
It took a few moments, but it became clear to me that it was true. It was a good group of people who were filling a suite just six or eight rows behind us. Taking up seats in front of the suite and in full view of anyone who turned around were, among others, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate the contributions that Nelson was making to the team, but I surely do now. But Rodgers was already a legend and growing more so. The conclusion of those around us was that this was Ryan Braun’s suite and the folks populating it were guests of the Brewers’ standout.
I was silently lamenting that I did not bring a camera with me. And then, for the first time since I bought it, I realized the smartphone I was carrying had a camera in it (or on it, I’m not sure of the terminology). But then I knew I didn’t want to make a scene by standing up, turning around, and waiting to get just the right picture. What was I to do? I couldn’t let the opportunity pass.
I studied the phone a bit and realized what all young people already know and that is the built-in ability of the camera to take a selfie. Now, selfies were just getting attention and I wasn’t really interested in taking a photo of myself, but I realized that I could stay looking straight ahead as if I were paying attention to the baseball game, prop the camera in my hand with the lens reversed and directed upward toward Rodgers and his party. Well, admittedly, I just wanted a picture of Rodgers, but cropping would always work.
So, using the armrest for support, I lined up the camera in wait. And while I say that both Nelson and Rodgers were in full view of anyone who turned around to look, the problem was that Rodgers obviously was not looking for attention for himself and he had slunk down into his chair and leaned back so that all I could see were his denim-clad legs and the Brewers baseball cap atop his head. His face was blocked by a guardrail.
“Well, sooner or later, he’s going to have to stand up,” I thought to myself. So I waited. I took a lot of pictures, just in case, and they were all blurry, but I had not come up with a picture that would conclusively prove that I had laid eyes on Aaron Rodgers.
There I sat as the game continued, pretending to pay attention, yet never doing so, even when Braun was up to bat. I couldn’t tell you if he hit a home run or even got on base that night.
But something odd began to happen. I started getting pelted with peanuts. My friend next to me got hit by a few too. And then I realized that the peanuts were coming from the very precise throwing arm of Aaron Rodgers. He even hit the smartphone with one (and that may have been his target). I must say, he had really good aim. Once I could see in the camera his arm come up just high enough to throw the peanut in the shell and then the arm disappeared. Apparently he could see me even if I couldn’t really see him.
Celebrities must get tired of fans who stalk them, at least celebrities like Aaron Rodgers who I have come to admire for more than his playing prowess. He has a great interest in helping children with challenges, showing up unexpectedly to meet them or take them on outings. I’d like to work on some of those projects even if I never laid eyes on the guy. It would be extremely gratifying to be part of helping someone the way he does.
Any cooperative agreement between Rodgers and Braun seemed to disappear when Braun was suspended for his drug use. The restaurant group bearing his name along with one or two bearing both Braun and Rodgers dropped Braun from their line-up. And while Braun has served his suspension and is back playing really fine baseball, I haven’t seen any connection between the two athletes since I once saw a report of Rodgers saying he was disappointed that his friend lied to him. It would seem that Rodgers has some pretty solid standards in terms of right and wrong.
I never did get a clear picture of Rodgers that night. I collected some of the peanuts he threw including one that landed on the hood of my friend’s jacket (she said she was going to eat it), and I saved them. After all, there’s a glimmer of a chance they have Rodgers’ DNA on them (although what I would do with that is beyond me). It’s a nice story to tell. Perhaps the DNA could serve as proof that I really did see him.
There are regular folks like me who have captured terrific photos of the quarterback and those would put mine to shame. But I have his peanuts.
And I have a lot of admiration for him as a person, not just a quarterback.
“Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.” – Titus 2:7-8Share here: