Sitting in the pool on Sunday, as my teenaged daughter feverishly works the cell phone, texting with friends about nothing in particular, as per usual. Suddenly, she gets my attention with this exclamation:
"Oh my God! Willie Mays died!"
My heart sank a little. The Say Hey Kid has always been my favorite player of all time, even though I only got to watch the very end of his long career. The admiration for Willie was passed down from my father and older brothers, and dated back to when Mays patrolled center field at the Polo Grounds in the 50's.
Reflection set in. Hell, I thought, Mays was 78 years old, and lived a long, full life. I imagined the tributes that would be forthcoming from the likes of Bob Costas, et al., and was certain I'd DVR the majority of them.
Then a thought occurred to me. Why would a teenaged girl (the one who texted my kid) even A.) Know who Willie Mays was and B.) more importantly, care who Willie Mays was? I said this and was told that "her family is really into sports". Okay, a stretch I suppose, but when kids are basically texting anything that occurs it made sense that this would find its way into the conversation.
Minutes pass, when the familiar buzz of the cell phone siginified another text. I'm then asked if Willie Mays was "that Oxy Clean guy". Um, no, that's Billy Mays. Kind of a big difference.
Then it gets pieced together that The Say Hey Kid had presumably not died, but that Mr. "As Seen on TV" himself did. Sad? Sure, but it was nice to know that my favorite player had not shuffled off just yet.