I work a day job waiting tables. Most days are fairly predictable. If you consistently do anything for an extended time, you kind of know what the day will bring.
You can tell which days will be slow/busy/moderate. I work the same exact section Monday-Friday. You sort of know what you have in front of you based upon the day, the weather, the proximity of the year. Patterns don’t change, at least not very much.
But, every once in a while, you get a surprise. It can be negative, it can be positive. Today was positive.
I have been a huge baseball fan since 1979, in particular a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. I have seen the ’79 World Championship, I have seen 100+ loss seasons and the very dark Pittsburgh drug trial period, where even the team’s mascot was involved.
In 1986, The Pirates hired “Jim Who?” Jim Leyland, a little known minor league catcher and coach. Not much was expected.
But, in short order, he turned the downtrodden Pirates into Perennial contenders, winning the Eastern Division in 1990, 91, & 92.
This man was a huge influence on me in terms of his tenacity, his unwillingness to give up, his philosophy of showing up each and everyday, his compassion and empathy for his team, his family.
About an hour or so into my shift today, upon returning from the kitchen, from about 50 yards away, there he was. I saw him. Jim Leyland at table 62.
Most wouldn’t notice, but I couldn’t mistake him. I have probably watched tens of thousands of hours of baseball in my 47 years, and my heart skipped a beat.
“Holy Shit” that’s Leyland, I thought. For a second, I second-guessed, my eyes are not what they were even 2-3 years ago. I approached the table, with a wine sample in hand, asked if they would like to try an ounce of Moscato, and my impression was confirmed by the deep, gruff, voice. It was Leyland. “Give her one.” LOL
I shook his hand, and without a thought said “You are my favorite manager.”
We talked about Latrobe, his wife being a native, we talked a little about baseball, I didn’t want to bother them, so I checked on them probably less than I normally would, but we exchanged pleasantries and they went on their way.
Each day we live is a gift. You never know what will happen. Sometimes when life is tough, where you feel like you are struggling, can’t seem to get on track, or possibly worse, simply going through the motions, something profound, something very personalized drops into your direct sphere of attention.
Was this a coincidence?
I’m not so sure.