Over the years, there was Jimmy Connors, Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone (during Rocky days only), Michael Jackson (before surgeries), Michael Jordan, Dave Matthews and Robert Redford. Again.
There was also a young man named John Moseley. The year was 1973 and I was living in Columbia, Missouri. My dad was a coach at the University of Missouri. He looked like this:
Dick is on the second row, second from the left.
John Moseley was a defensive back, and walked on the team; no recruitment, no scholarship. He was a little guy, but played like a big guy. That year, he became an All American, mostly on the strength of his punt returns. (And his heart!) He had red hair and freckles and was literally the personification of good Midwestern boy.
And I thought he was the cat’s meow. I was nine years old and couldn’t get enough of him. I had his pictures on my wall, and can remember a calendar next to my bed with his face all over it. I cheered for him at the Missouri games and held my breath when he would touch the ball. I surely didn’t want him to get hurt!!
On my tenth birthday, my dad came home after I was in bed asleep. He woke me up and brought me out to a surprise in the living room. It was John Moseley there to wish me a Happy Birthday! Can you imagine? I don’t think I even had time to process the fact that I had just crawled out of bed, and no doubt looked like I had just crawled out of bed.
That season, the Tigers went to the Sun Bowl. Back in the day, the schools would take the coaches families with them on the trips. It was a treat to be involved in that group, and to be included in such a momentous time. But the best part? I got to sit next to John Moseley on the plane when we left El Paso. A DREAM come true. Granted, he slept most of the way back to Missouri, but still!!
These memories are still some of my favorites. How nice of my dad to make this all happen, and how nice of John Moseley to cooperate. As my birthday approaches, I’m reminded of one of my happiest.
UPDATE: My sister-in-law texted me the other night:
Just saw an old heartthrob of yours and mine.
As soon as I read this, I knew who it was. John Moseley, in the flesh. He still lives in Columbia, and ran into my brother and his family at Shakespeare’s Pizza. (Which, by the way, is one of the best pizza places ever) JM must be pushing sixty now. My SIL says he still looks good, still athletic looking.
He didn’t ask about me though. Sigh. Oh John Moseley.