After a ten-day respite to the great city of Charlotte, North Carolina, celebrating my mom and dad's 60th anniversary, I'm now back in Denver, ready to get back to pastoring my church in Centennial and, when time permits, write a few piddly words about my beloved Colorado Rapids.
After our four-hour plus flight from LaGuardia to DIA, we were exhausted. Baggage claim beckoned, and mercifully it spit out our bags in rather short order. Not only did baggage claim beckon, but so did our bellies. Before the 'hangries' set in, we scampered to the elevator to partake of what would be a mistake on my part: orange chicken from Panda Express, normally an airport Pavlovian staple. But this almost 45-year-old constitution couldn't and shouldn't consume such things at such an hour.
But I digress.
After we turned to the right and were about to turn to the corner, I looked to the left and saw a 6'3" or so individual that looked very, very familiar. He smiled, pointed at my hat, and gave me a thumbs up. I then, being Mr. Smooth, pointed back and said, "Jared Watts! Hey, man!" I answered with such familiarity because (1) he's part of the Burgundy family, and (2) he had such a genuine demeanor about him that he seemed like a friend, even though we'd never met.
And then we had a conversation. He was on his way to North Carolina while I was back from there. What a gracious, appreciative guy. Gracious in taking time to take a picture with my boys and me, and appreciative for the support of a fan.
Now, I'm a Jared Watts fan. Yes, because of his play, but more so because of his character. In all honesty, that's what makes writing for the Burgundy Wave a challenge. Every Rapids player I've met has been gracious and appreciative of the support and super accommodating for the fans.
Granted, I have a number of favorites on this team for various reasons. Marlon Hairston because he went to the University of Louisville (go Cards!); Mekeil Williams because he's from my home away from home, Trinidad & Tobago; Zac MacMath of late because he's been playing stellar between the sticks, especially with Tim Howard looming large.
Add Jared Watts to the list.
He made my boys smile.
And made me grateful.
All the best, Jared!