ELV is neither a jock sniffer nor a star f*cker. Any obsession over what someone else is doing — be it winning a Super Bowl or American Idol — seems to us to be an enormous waste of time. However, in our youth, we were huge sports fans — Johnny Unitas, Arnold Palmer and The Great One were our heroes growing up — and we followed the Baltimore Colts and Pittsburgh Pirates religiously right up until the Colts snuck out of Baltimore in the dead of night, and Willie Stargell (our second favorite Pirate of all time) retired.
We held on to a certain passion for sports through the early eighties (deep into our thirties), mainly because one of our alma maters, the University of Louisville, had a kick ass basketball team — winning NCAA Championships in 1980 and 1986. But shortly thereafter, it seemed only natural to put childish ways behind.
Our divorce from the silliness of sports seemed a foregone conclusion until a long-limbed, long-striding receiver from Mississippi Valley State came along who made us sit up and take notice. Almost from the first moment you saw him on the field (as with Unitas and Clemente), you knew you were witnessing greatness. He looked, acted, and played just better than everyone else — better hands, better routes, better elusiveness, more explosion off the ball — it was as if god had decided this will be forever and always the perfect pass receiver and touchdown machine. For if football is about scoring touchdowns — and it is — no one has ever played it better. Watching Rice was so beautiful and such a treat, we stayed a sports fan for eighteen years longer than we had any reason to be.*
So you’ll excuse ELV if he acted like a little kid when he saw JR sitting across the dining room at STK on Friday night. Not one to interfere with anyone’s meal, we didn’t want to force an introduction on the bloke as he sat there with his missus, so we connived with STK Executive Chef Stephen Hopcraft to create a photo op as Hopcraft was serving him a steak (on a football-shaped platter no less).
Rice turned out to be as friendly and accommodating as he was at shredding defensive backfields…and shared with us his favorite restaurant in Northern California is Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino.
Just thought you’d like to know.
* These days, when ELV wants to give his brain a rest, he listens to sports talk radio.