So I got to zero degrees of separation between myself and Kevin Bacon on Friday night. Let me explain. Heidi and I traveled to Houston, Texas last weekend for a benefit gala. My dad's best friend is an actor, G.W. Bailey, who is currently on a TNT show that plays in the summer, called The Closer. G.W. is also the Executive Director of an organization called Sunshine Kids which provides trips for kids with cancer. This year is the 25th anniversary of the organization and my dad is on the board, so he invited Heidi and me (and my sister Amy and her husband Paul) to join him for the event. G.W. invited the entire cast of The Closer, the star of which is Kyra Sedgwick, who happens to be married to Kevin Bacon. So Friday evening at the pre-party picnic, when I met Kevin, I noticed that he had picked up the nametag provided for him and everyone. So I commented that I really appreciated that he was wearing his...like people would be unclear who he is. And he said he didn't want to assume. And he then said that people sometimes come up to him and say: You're Kevin...Costner. Or you're Kevin...Spacey. So when I got my picture taken, I told him to make sure the nametag was in the shot, so he made sure.
My next brush with greatness came with future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. Craig played 20 seasons in MLB, all with the Houston Astros. And he's been assisting the Sunshine Kids for much of that time, raising roughly $2.5 million over the years. He came to the Friday event, and planned on attending Saturday's gala, but instead had to be in Denver to receive the Roberto Clemente award from Commissioner Bud Selig. This was a disappointment, but it also meant that the Sunshine Kids would be getting $30,000 from Chevrolet, plus a new Suburban! As G.W. said Saturday night: We miss you, Craig and Patty, but we're glad you're in Denver! In terms of the picture at left, I was standing still while G.W. was about to introduce Craig, when none other than Craig himself sidles up next to me. So here we are (along with Sunshine Kids founder Rhoda Tomasco). Just a couple old friends hanging out. You know.
But to be honest, the real privilege of the weekend was meeting a guy named Ray Ragsdale. He and his wife (pictured next to me at left) were sitting at our table Saturday night. Ray had cancer in his leg as a child and had his right leg amputated when he was 8. He went on a Sunshine Kids trip when he was 10, and said it was very life-changing for him. He says he does some motivational speaking, and I can see why. He talked about how having a positive attitude was the best thing for him. He ended up playing football and baseball in high school (he played nose tackle in football, no prosthesis) and was on the 1996 Paralympic Volleyball team in Atlanta. If there was one thing in life that could make you bitter, it would be getting cancer as a kid. Ray has chosen to look at the positives and to enjoy his life. He now has two kids, and he told us that his five year old son told him the other day: Dad, when I grow up, I'm gonna have one leg, just like you. Thanks, Ray, for being an incredible example.