How’s this story about Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu, via Chuck Klosterman:
I have a friend named Ellen Shafer, and she knows nothing about football. A few months ago, she traveled to Pittsburgh to see a play; while she was there, Ellen went to a restaurant with a British woman who knows even less about football then she does. They found themselves seated directly next to a man and a woman who were polite and soft-spoken; the man was swarthy, handsome, and had very long hair.
Much to Ellen’s surprise, strangers constantly walked up to this unknown man and asked for his autograph. At first, Ellen assumed this person must be a rock star; he looked a little like Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. But after awhile, Ellen deduced this fellow must be a professional football player, because so many of his admirers mentioned admiration for his ability to hit people with extreme prejudice.
Eventually, Ellen introduced herself. “I have no idea who you are,” she said, “but your wife has amazing shoes.” This statement made the long-haired man very happy. He introduced himself: He said his name was Troy Polamalu.
For the next hour, these four people made casual conversation, never discussing sports or celebrity. Ellen found him to be amazingly friendly and relentlessly humble.
Eventually, the long-haired man (and his wife) exited the restaurant. Ellen and her friend chatted about how affable the pair had been, and how cool it was that Mr. Polamalu had seem so legitimately interested in their own boring lives.
Ellen and her friend signaled the waiter for the check, curious about how much money they owed. But when the waiter came over to their table, he told them everything was taken care of: The long-haired stranger had quietly paid the totality of their bill.
Congrats to Polamalu and the Steelers. Celebrate like a champ tonight Troy–you certainly earned it.
The Man of Troy [ESPN]