In February of 2008, after a remarkable play-off run and an epic victory over the undefeated New England Patriots, the Giants ended their sensational season with a post game party in a beautiful hotel in scenic Arizona. The ecstatic joy in the room was so palpable it was impossible not to get high on life just from breathing in the air. The reason I can describe the atmosphere in such detail is because I was there. My sister, who was a Giants employee at the time, graciously invited me as her guest.
What made the thrill of being there, of being able to go up to Dave Tyree and say, “Nice catch!!” even better was standing next to people who were relishing this exhilarating moment as much as I was. One of these people was my brother in law, Joe Mays.
Just days before the big game, we alerted Joe that one ticket to the game became available. Somehow he got himself from New Jersey to Arizona, found a place to stay in an overbooked city, attended countless pre-game festivities and even ended up on the David Letterman show. Watching him take every opportunity to make this experience as fun as possible created a contagious energy, in turn making it more fun for the rest of us.
Fast-forward to this past August, the scene now being Kansas City Chiefs training camp. My sister, her children, my daughters and I were there to visit her husband who works for the organization. Being a football fanatic, I was like a kid in a candy store, enjoying the experience even more than my daughters who were gleefully jumping in the always entertaining bounce house.
After practice, the players made their way off the field, some stopping to sign autographs or say hello to family members and friends. One player I was hoping to see was number 53, a newly recruited linebacker whose name is familiar to me – Joe Mays.
When I spotted him he was actively engaged in a conversation with two people. After hesitating, unsure if he would welcome an interruption, I decided to approach him.
What happened next can only be described as the most fun ‘Fan Meets Football Player’ experience EVER. Joe was endearing and gracious and absolutely wonderful. When I explained that I had a brother in law and a nephew who shared his name, he emphatically stated, “We need a picture!” He even made sure to turn around and proudly display his name.
Turns out these men share more than a name; they share the ability to take a fun moment and make it more fun for the people around them. If you are someone who could use more fun in your life, find a Joe Mays. You’ll discover what I did: Life is more fun with a Joe Mays.