Great minds think alike. One fine sunny morning last year, perhaps while his three older kids were in school, David Beckham decided to have a date with his daughter and took little Harper to a charming indoor playground. Halfway across town, while my older two were in school, I too decided to have a date with Baby Boy at said indoor playground.
While a tomboy at heart who loves playing sports, I don’t follow any sports on television and know very few, if any, professional athletes by face. So after twenty minutes of standing almost shoulder-to-shoulder with Beckham, shoeless (but unfortunately, not shirtless), watching our kids parallel-play with each other, I began to wonder why in the world this unshaven, tatted up guy with the slicked back hair standing next to me looks so familiar. Where have we met before? What circles do we share? I dunno, I give up. Whatever.
Half an hour later, I’m sitting alone in the dining area that encircles the play area, checking emails and keeping one eye on Baby Boy at play. Suddenly, it dawns on me that maybe I haven’t met the strangely familiar man before. In fact…wait, is that…David Beckham? Is that what he looks like? It can’t be him. I ask the waitress, she smiles softly and nods to confirm.
Hmmm. David Beckham. I know he’s a soccer star, or actually, the soccer star. But isn’t he also some sort of sex symbol or underwear model that women all over the world fawn over?? (Ha! He is a People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” and I am totally oblivious.) I’m also not inclined to ask for autographs when I bump into celebrities. But this seems to be a whole ‘nother level of stardom lingering in such close proximity. So I very discreetly ask only my very closest 187 friends (on Facebook) what to do:
“Standing next to David Beckham as our toddlers are playing next to each other. Dare I ask for a photo together or should I not be the jerk who interrupts his time with his kid???”
The responses were immediate and unanimous:
- “ask ask and post pics”
- “Yes pic!!!”
- ” Duuude, it’s Becks. Gotta ask!”
- “Be a jerk for sure”
- “WHY isn’t there a pic posted yet?!”
- “I see Steve Nash & you see Beckham. Not fair! Lemme tell you! When we saw Nash, I didn’t say anything, just slyly took a pic of his back. 2 secs later everyone asked him & i totally wish i would have! And that was with Nash! Not Beckham!”
and similar such directives. Other favorites included:
- “ask for a play date damnit!”
- “Bend it”
Anyhow, since our two munchkins were still playing alongside each other, I had an easy inlet. I practically whisper, “I promise, I never do this. But could I get a picture with you?” Becks surprises me with a warm, “Sure.” I look around and there’s another mom not too far off so I ask her to take a quick picture. Next thing I know – we’re leaning in, his hand is on the small of my back, she takes one quick click and the phone’s back in my hand.
But before I can finish thanking Beckham, I see that my A-hole move has just emboldened the dozen other moms (who, until now, had respected his privacy and left him alone) to swarm him for a photo opp. Ugh, I’m such a jerkface. Here he was, enjoying a rare, intimate and unencumbered daddy-n-me date with Harper, and I go and set off a chain reaction of other A-hole fans. Mortified, I quickly shrink away from the crowd I just created, inviting Baby Boy to “chase Mommy” over to the other side of the indoor playground. I vow to myself to respect Becks’ privacy and stay out of his damn sexy hair from now on. Baby Boy and I begin to play a wild game of tag and chase. We’re having fun, sprinting, laughing, panting, and I have almost forgotten my guilt when, without warning, Harper comes darting through the short distance between Baby Boy and me as I’m chasing him. I just could not avoid her. I pummel into Harper, who goes flying backwards before falling down, hard, on her tushy. I was horrified. As if I couldn’t make it any worse already!!!
Becks comes running over as I pick his crying girl up off the floor. “I’m so sorry, I’m soooo sorry, I’m so, so sorry.” “No worries! It’s fine. She’s fine. We’re all super tough in our family. She’s fine, really.” “Are you sure? Gosh, I’m so sorry.” I smile pathetically. Darn it, where’s a good rock to crawl under and hide from David Beckham when you need it?!!
Not surprisingly, it is soon time for Becks and Harper to leave. Surprisingly, he smiles graciously at me on their way out. He must’ve sensed the guilt and remorse burning in my soul.
So if you’re out there somewhere, kind David, I’m so very sorry. I will never ask you for a photo op again (or, cross my fingers, run over your child). Unless, of course, you want to take a photo with me again, in which case…please take your shirt off next time. Thanks in advance. xoxo.