They say “don’t meet your heroes”. Things can go wrong. Dreams will be shattered, innocence will be lost, and all that money spent on authentic jersey purchases will feel like a bigger waste than your last pyramid scheme adventure. While expressing a possible outcome, “they” are taking too pessimistic a view on hero worship. A more accurate aphorism would be “don’t meet your heroes, unless you’re under 16 and it’s an event specifically coordinated to garner good publicity”.
Such was the case for a lucky bunch of young rascals who recently got the chance to meet Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla at a charity dinner for Football Beyond Borders — maybe Soccer Without Borders, but that detail doesn’t matter. Either way, arbitrary political lines on a map were stricken down via high-class chicken dinners and merriment about Champions League highlights.
As you’d expect, their reactions to seeing the underrated magician of the Gunner’s midfield were of Premier League quality.
Kid #1 is outstanding. He had no worries about trying to play it cool in front of a star. This young man has yet to be crushed by the true darkness and futility of the human existence. The light still shines within him. He may not have teeth at the moment, but who needs teeth with you’re in the presence of Cazorla? Struggling to gum your way through that charity dinner? Cazorla is there with an assist, cutting up asparagus into bite-sized pieces for everyone. He’s good like that.
Kid #2 was left breathless. He looks like he wanted to exclaim “Oh, my heavens!”, fan himself and then faint, but he knew there were cameras on him and everyone back at school would make fun of him.
Kid #3 (far right) is a champion. All Cazorla got out of him was an head-nod of acknowledgement. He reacted to meeting a professional soccer player as if he were the celebrity and Cazorla was some random straggler who crossed to velvet rope to disturb his time in the VIP lounge. This child definitely supports Liverpool. When Cazorla was gone, he turned to the kid on his left and said “I mean, he’s good…he’s not Raheem, tho”.
Maybe “They” shouldn’t be warning us away from meeting our heroes. It might be better advice to avoid thinking that you are a hero, lest you run into Kid #3 and find out quickly that there’s always someone that doesn’t give a hot damn who you are.