"Let's go to this little Cuban restaurant I know just a couple miles down Kendall Drive," I announced.
"Cuban!" DeSear shrieked.
Anyhow, it was a dive but many of the area scouts frequent the locale for lunch. As usual, the place was packed. We couldn't even find a parking spot. I had to park across the street-- right next to another area scout from a different club who also happened to be getting out of his car. We exchanged our usual insincere pleasantries and discussed our latest signings on our way to the crosswalk. Carson pressed the button, the light turned green and we had the signal to walk. DeSear and the other scout (let's call him Albert), started into the street with Al on his left. Carson and I were bringing up the rear.
But within seconds, a car turning left from the opposite side sped through the intersection. I could hear the car accelerate over the thundering base of the rap music. It was a kid. Zero regard for life. I could see his eyes beneath the crooked Yankee's cap (I'm not picking on the pinstripes but it's just the truth). He was headed for Al and at the very last second he swerved to make a point. The kid wanted to make it seem like he was going to run us over. He yelled an "F" bomb and pointed out that the light was green as if to say we were the ones in the wrong.
What this kid didn't know, however, was that Al's brother happened to be killed in a traffic accident earlier this year. I'm sure it was incredibly traumatic for Al to be starring down a radiator grill so soon after his brother's tragic death. It would have been easy for Al to flip out and lose it. And quite frankly, I wouldn't have blamed him if he did. My instincts would have been to yank that kid out of the car and beat the living daylights out of him. Instead, Al threw out a single question. "Is that what you would say to the judge if you ran us over?" His lip didn't even quiver. And no, his adrenaline didn't take over. He was in complete control. He's always been that way. Even as a player. In fact, Al not only had the sixth tool during his playing days, he's now taken the sixth tool into real life.
I don't know if Al has children. But if he does, I'm sure he's a great father. An attitude like that is something I wish I had. I was always so quick to anger. So quick to rebuke on the first sign of disobedience. Always responding to their bad behavior with my first emotion (and it usually wasn't pretty). Lots of yelling and screaming. No patience whatsoever. If they weren't in time-out, they were getting a paddle. If they weren't getting a paddle, they were in time-out. It was constant oppression. No wonder my kids hate me. To think that I even look in my mail box for a father's day card is a complete joke. But for some reason, each and every year I still look.