Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The People You Meet

(The man, the myth, the legend...Ronald McDonald, and some old dude)

Corporate sponsorship opportunities are sometimes like running past "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun."

Learned long ago (after thirty years of planning my running, jumping, lifting, kicking and concussions), if you want to stay fit into your second fifty years, don't think about exercising. Simply place an old t-shirt, favorite sweatshirt, ten-year-old shoes, fraying socks and loose fitting shorts (Underwear not required. Did I just say that?) near the front door.

When you find yourself walking between the TV and kitchen for the third time in ten minutes, turn off the TV. Without even thinking, slip the pile of raggedy exercise gear on your slower-than-molasses-on-a-late-Maine-winter-day body. Walk out the front portal of your domicile. Weather doesn't matter.

Start shuffling. Wave your arms around like a windmill on a Dutch tulip farm. Skip six or seven times, while making believe you and your fourth grade sweetheart are hand-in-hand. Stop. Bend over and touch your toes. Grab your ankle and pull it up behind you until it touches your butt. Start running.

If that pile of crappy clothing sits menacingly near the front door, you are bound to keep your fifty-something body in passable shape.

Been following the above advice for a few years now. It works.

Only minutes ago, I arrived home after such a jaunt. South on Kenny Road to Ackerman. Left onto Ackerman Road. Ackerman Road east to High Street. North on High Street.

Normally I would continue unburdened by anything but my own wheezing and screaming joints to North Broadway. Today I saw a sign.

I'm half-way from Ackerman to North Broadway. I'm passing the McDonalds on the west side of High Street just south of Longview. The sign reads...

"Come in and meet Ron at 5pm"

Ronald McDonald, the real deal, was only fifty feet from my struggling bones. I had to stop in. I had to get a picture with the giant red shoe wearing man who knows the Hamburglar better than anyone on planet earth.

I step inside the home of billions and billions served. Nice people all around. Kids talking to Ron. Moms taking pictures. An attractive young lady named Laurel is overseeing the red haired man's visit.

Laurel eyes me with amused suspicion. I'm clearly not seven-years-old.

"Hi. Was out for a run and saw the sign. Could I get my picture taken with Ron?"

"Uh, sure."

The world is a small place at times. If you float in and out of the soccer world, you quickly realize soccer's universe is a place where seven degrees of separation is two or three too many.

As I wait my turn with the great red-haired man, Laurel and I talk for close to twenty minutes. I'm happy to be in the warm McDonalds, instead of outside running in thirty-eight degree Clintonville, Ohio. Laurel played college soccer at Mt. Vernon Nazarene. Despite the age difference (it's significant) there are common soccer ties, the kind which rise to the surface anytime soccer people in the United States bump into each other.

After a great chat with the kind and wonderful Laurel, it's my turn to meet Ronald. We shake hands and he asks me...

"What's your name?"

"My name's David." I smile. This is great.

"Nice to meet you, David. I'm Ronald."

Pictures are snapped. Laurel is going to email them to me. I have to go back into the cold Columbus, now, night. But, I'm all warm inside. I got to meet Ronald McDonald.

Maybe the Columbus Crew SC and their new owner, Anthony Precourt, could get re-aquainted with Mr. McDonald. The Crew SC has beer, wings, pizza, subs, pacers, trotters and shaving cream locked down. How about some McDoubles and the expanding menu of healthy kid's fare being offered by Ronald and his nemesis, the Hamburglar?

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