The Last Rules

Brennan Miller, Columnist

Friday is game day. And game day usually entails a meal at Panda Express. But a few weeks ago it was different. That game day meal was more special than the rest.

I’m waiting in line with some other Panda goers and lo and behold, in walks Steve Young!

Previously, I detailed my love of the 49ers so it should come as no surprise that I was very excited to see my boy Steve. I’d met him several times before (not that he remembered me) including a Halloween visit to his house about 10 years ago, and he had always been very nice to me, unlike some pros who brush people off. We made pleasant conversation about Paly football and pregame rituals and he reminisced about his high school career. But we got to the end of the line (we both had orange chicken, obviously) and he left.
But, it occurred to me that not all interactions between the public and celeb-letes are like this. So I decided to come up with some rules.

Rule No. 1: Don’t ask for autographs. Unless you’re under the age of 10, this is extremely tacky. These are real people! They don’t want to sign some scrap of paper you fished out of your soup stained jeans just so you can prove to your fantasy football obsessed friends that you actually met Him. Addendum: If you are at a sporting event, this is acceptable. Stadiums are a place to get autographs. Autograph signing sessions are a place to get autographs. Restaurants, malls, Fry’s Electronics: not places to get autographs.

Rule No. 2: Don’t say “I was there when you…” I see a lot of people rattling off this one, usually in one, incredibly annoying and gushing run-on sentence. “Tom, I was at that game when it was snowing and you were playing the Raiders, from Oakland, and it was really cold and you fumbled but they said you didn’t cause of your arm and then you guys won. That was really cool!” Tom knows. He was there. In fact, he was on the field! In that very game! Worse than talking about a particular play is talking about an injury. “Oh man Joe, remember in that game when you were playing quarterback and LT came around the left side and then you never played again? I was sitting on my green leather recliner sippin’ my fourth Schlitz on that play and man, was that nasty. I could hear that leg crack from right there in my living room!” Although I can’t guarantee this, if I were a betting man, I would bet that Joe Theisman doesn’t want to hear about your drunken experience of one of the worst days in his life. He remembers that play. Once again, he was there! In fact, he was on the field! In that very game!

Rule No. 3: Don’t tell them you drafted them on your fantasy team. I don’t have a fantasy team this year, but I have in the past and I needed an FOA: Fantasy Owners Anonymous. I was addicted heavily, doing research everyday, countless hours of preparation for the draft, reading blogs and listening to podcasts to give my team the edge. So it wouldn’t surprise my if I myself broke this rule. I would definitely tell Ladanian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson that they won me my league in eighth grade. But I can step back and appreciate that they don’t care about me whatsoever. And I’m sure that they care about my fantasy team less than they care about me. But I agree it’s hard. “Hi, my name is Brennan and I’m a Fantasy Owner.”

Rule No. 4: Don’t tell them about how good you are at sports. It’s logical that people who are more talented or more qualified for certain activities get paid to do those activities. There is a reason that professional athletes are professional athletes. They’re really good. Much better than you. If you were better than them, you would be them! You would be the one having to deal with some overarrogant yet completely average athlete rushing up to you and saying, “Ya know Jeremy, I really liked your effort trying to score from first on a ball to the right side, but I know I woulda beat Jeter’s throw. There’s no way I woulda been out.” You would’ve been out. In fact, probably, you wouldn’t have even been on base. Not that I would know, but I’m pretty sure it’s very difficult to a 95 mph Mike Mussina fastball. Professional athletes don’t want to here about how you would do better than them or about how you scored last weekend for you wiffle ball team, The Average Joes.

I certainly don’t know all the rules. I am open to adding, amending or otherwise changing them. I just think that celebrity athletes should be treated properly. Steve Young walked in with his daughters; he’s a family man. It wasn’t my place to embarrass him by asking him for an autograph or telling him about events he was apart of. We should just treat them like what they are: regular people.