So it wasn't long before I had my first run-in with a celebrity in New York City. On Monday I was checking things out at Chelsea Piers, Manhattan's sole ice rink where supply is woefully below demand. It was an interesting experience returning to the rink where I played my last collegiate hockey game almost six years earlier. Has that much time passed already?
Anyhow, there wasn't much going on that Monday morning, other than an open-hockey scrimmage on the West rink and amateur figure skaters pulling some nice triple axles on the East rink. After revisiting the site of my final college game (a hard 3-2 overtime loss to Michigan in the semifinals of the national tournament), I went to the West rink to watch some of the scrimmage over a slice of New York-style pizza.
There were about 15 skaters and one goalie of average skill level playing open hockey. I noticed that in one goal there was a "goalie shooter tutor" covering the net in lieu of a real goalie. Too bad, I thought, that I didn't have my equipment here so I could fill in. It might have been my only chance to play hockey for a while.
When the scrimmage was over, the players made their way through the lobby en route to the lockers. It was then when I looked up at a towering man in an all-black uniform making his way past me. With a quick glance his eyes briefly met mine and I immediately knew who it was: Tim Robbins. (Actually, a graying, soaked-in-sweat Tim Robbins.) Surprised that I'd unknowingly been watching a movie star on ice the whole time, I turned and watched as he headed toward the locker room at the other end of the facility.
I proceeded to check out things in the pro shop, and thought about the remote possibility of ending up in the same elevator with Robbins on my way out of the rink. What would I say? Nothing if I really wanted to play it cool. But what fun is that? It's not everyday when you get the chance to talk to the likes of hero Andy Dufresne or the creepy bad guy in Arlington Road. After all, I don't regret speaking to Johnny Knoxville earlier this year when he was chilling at Binion's in Las Vegas. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, I really liked you in The Ringer.
Johnny: Ah, thanks, man.
Me: Yeah. Any chance you'll do a sequel?
Johnny: Eh, I dunno.
So yes, I've been that guy. I'm not afraid. If I ran into Robbins during my exit, I thought it might be timely to say something about Bull Durham, since I'd just finally watched what most consider the best baseball movie ever, although I find it pretty hard to top Major League.
Me: Hey, so I just watched Bull Durham for the first time.
Me: Yeah. It was pretty good.
[LONG AWKWARD SILENCE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE ELEVATOR RIDE]
Well, maybe some exchanges are better not to have occurred. Especially considering that Robbins was kicked off his high school hockey team for fighting, according to IMDB. Says Robbins, "I'm 6'4½" and I have a temper."
Tim, I loved you in Bull Durham and think you're an excellent hockey player.