Brush with Greatness: Gary Reasons
I went to the XML Conference in Atlanta in November. They have this little Expo thing during the conference (a product crap show) and I was just walking around looking for all the free crap I can pick up, like pens, frisbees and whatnot. But for some reason I allowed this one guy to engage me in conversation because he mentioned a phrase we use where I work. So we chatted for 3-4 minutes. We're wrapping it up and this big guy behind him barks, "Andrew!"
"You're from Rochester?"
"They got any Giant fans in Rochester?" (Clueless where this was going, but thankful for manly conversation at a geek convention)
Yeah, but it's mainly Bills territory.
(Sticks his hand out) "Gary Reasons, nice to meet you."
(Gary Reasons!) I played it hot. After a 'Wow, nice to meet you,' he sticks his fist up, "Here, look at this, there's a little bling for you," showing me his Super Bowl XXV ring. I immediately gushed about the play he made during the 1990 season.
Giants fans shouldn't have to ask "which play?" It was The play.
I said I didn't know who the opponent was, but it was the "Superman" play, and recounted it, where he met a ballcarrier going over the top by going over the top himself. The camera behind the offense really captured it well. I was just blabbering on about how I'm a Cowboys fan but that play was great and I always respected the Giants and yada yada yada.
He's just nodding, and then goes, "It was against Denver." He remembers! So I ask if I come back with a camera if I can get a picture with him. He says sure. I go tell the people I was with, who'd never heard of him. Then I go dump my crap haul in my room and go to the gift shop and buy an overpriced camera. I go back up and wait for a break in conversation and ask if we can get the shot.
I give the camera to the guy I was chatting up before, stand next to my good friend Gary, and he says, "Wait a second. I'll go you one better." Reaches into his pocket, and pulls out this little drawstring bag and dumps out two more rings. "Here, put this on. That one's from SuperBowl XXI." (The other ring was his college Hall of Fame ring). While the ring was huge, the size was not. I barely got it on, and my ring size is (I think) 11. Got the picture and thanked him.
The next day we saw him at night in the lobby of the hotel. The people I was with got his autograph and made small talk for a minute. I wanted to ask him something, but didn't know what. I finally came up with this: Tell me something about Bill Parcells that the public doesn't know.
He paused for just a second, repeated the question and said, "He's miserable," really punctuating it. "Football's his whole life. His brother just died. He's divorced. He's got no friends. All he does is coach football." We're all nodding, and he says, "I've gone down and visited him in Dallas and he's practically crying to me across his desk. It's sad."
Wow. Reasons didn't say it casually either. He said it sincerely and somewhat sadly himself.
When Parcells came to Dallas, it seemed like he publicly reconciled his life, admitting that being a football coach was "who he was." But I suppose knowing that and liking or enjoying it aren't the same thing.
And as a practical matter, it makes me think he's not long for the Cowboys.