When I was a child in a faraway city, I had avidly followed its major league team, which was regularly winning pennants and World Series. The team had a number of All Stars, but the unquestioned standout was Dan, who regularly batted near .400, was a valiant fielder, and was also reported to be a nice guy.
Of course I had to go see him. But I was apprehensive. Those had been the days of fuzzy black and white TV. In my imagination Dan was nearly 7 feet tall, with wide shoulders, freckles, and of course, a winning grin. He was so strong, so confident.
But now – it all seemed so long ago -- would he be a weak, ailing, aged man? I would hate to see him that way. But I went, and after long-winded speeches and ceremonies, finally came the presentation and Dan walked onto the stage. I held my breath.
And here was Dan – a healthy, vigorous 60, and looking, not heroic, but very ordinary. I was in the front row, one of the first to greet my hero and tell him of my childhood adoration. Yes, he had a grin as he held out his hand to me. And I astonished myself as I took his hand, pulled him in and kissed a freckled cheek.