Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jenny who...?

Being an admittedly poor alumni I can still feel sheepish about not knowing who Jenny is; especially when everyone else in the world does.
In 2008, I was at another card show in Houston. I was there to get Cal Ripkin Jr’s and Paul Moliter’s autographs. Both were Hall of Famers and would be great additions to my collection.
I got to the show early and while hanging out I saw that Jenny Finch was signing also. To put it bluntly, I never heard of her. There was some buzz around the convention floor about her being there and I found out she went to the UofA. Since I had some extra time I figured I would pick up her autograph too.  I was going to get a couple of extra balls signed thinking it would be a Christmas present for some fellow alumni. At the time I doubted they would know who she was so I would have to send a note to explain the how’s and why’s I sent them a softball.
I was standing in line and in she came. The crowd was applauding.  Question marks went up over my head but maybe she was a hometown hero or something.  Since I’m tall I could see over most of the crowd all I saw was a very beautiful tall blond come in.  I figured the blond was the handler as softball players are usually shorter and heftier and not nearly so stunning.  No, I was wrong, that was Jenny.  
Wow, I was really off my game and feeling embarrassed for not knowing her.  So while waiting in line, I was trying to pick up on something that the people near me were saying that I could use when I got to the front of the line. Nothing that anyone was saying was intriguing enough to use. Not only was I unprepared -I DIDN’T even wear a UofA shirt.
This is a disclaimer – my wife would say I wanted something to say because I wanted to flirt with her. Jenny is SO not in my league. I just wanted something to say to create a nice ambiance because I’m a polite guy and I don’t want her to think I’m just a rude jerk that was going to sell the autographs on eBay later that day. I just wanted to show some politeness and people skills.
The people around me talked about gold and silver medals from the Olympics. While I knew we had an Olympic team I didn’t know we won. So besides being a bad alumni, I’m a bad American too.
When I got to the front of the line I did the typical: Thanks for coming here today. It’s a no brainer but polite. Then I asked before I even thought – How many people have sang the UofA fight song for you?   She stopped and laughed. She told me no one.  I told I went to the U also. Still smiling, she then told me to sing it for her. Well, I don’t sing but it’s very hard to turn down a beautiful woman when they ask you to do something. I go out the first 2 lines and quit. She laughed and I was happy I had my 15 seconds of fame with Jenny.
The next work day I‘m telling an old boss about this encounter.  She got very excited and started telling me about Jenny’s career and how her daughter worships her. They had to paint the daughter’s bedroom in blue and red (UofA colors) and the daughter had a huge poster of Jenny on her wall.  Well, that made it easy to know where one of the extra balls I got signed was going.
When I brought the ball to the old boss, she held like it was the Holy Grail.  I really laughed out loud.
I emailed one of my baseball card collecting buddies about my adventure. We grew up together in Jersey and he later moved to Seattle.  I figured there was no reason he would know about her. He didn’t go to the U and he loves baseball and not softball.  His reply email came quickly telling me I’m an idiot for not knowing Jenny. He knew all about her. When I asked why, he was quick to point out 2 Olympic medals. Plus a card collecting magazine had done a cover story on her recently. Then he told me I should read the magazine once in a while. 
The emails from my old college friends were also full of surprise that I was so clueless. They told me how she was PAC 10 player of the year and that her number was retired at the UofA and then they rolled on endlessly about her accomplishments. Of course they had to ask how pretty she really was.
Even my wife and sister knew her - from The Apprentice no less. And yes, they too had to ask if she was as pretty in person as on TV.
It became a joke that I was the only guy in America who didn’t know her.  I would bring up getting her autograph in some random conversation and the other person would instantly know her and wonder how I tied my shoes in the morning because I was so clueless.
So Jenny, let me apologize for not knowing you.  I’m very glad I got the chance to get your signature and to sing to you.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm glad I read this post, because I confess that before I did, I didn't know who she was, either. So, you're not alone. But what a great story!