Before I was allowed to go on liberty while abroad in the Navy, I was always fully aware that I was not only representing the U.S. Navy, but the United States as well.
I understood this was a responsibility, and my behavior—good or bad, was not only a reflection on myself, but also on that of my country and branch of military service.
Oftentimes it came down to good decision-making while ashore. Many of us had curfews for when we needed to return to our ships or bases. Most of us on deployment in the Navy were imbibing in adult beverages for the first time in many weeks or months, and our tolerance for these libations was diminished; this alone had the potential to greatly impair our judgment while out having fun.
Being committed to always putting our best foot forward, whether it’s going out on a job interview, doing your actual job or just being out and about downtown somewhere, can have lasting, positive influences on you as an individual, and all those you come in contact with while doing so.
While out dining downtown Louisville recently and enjoying our dinner and spirits, my sweetie and I noticed a bit of a buzz concerning a young man and his dinner party, sitting at the table next to ours.
There was not anything loud or rambunctious going on; just a steady stream of folks that began approaching the young man at the table. Rhonda recognized him as someone on the University of Louisville men’s basketball team.
“Ah! That would explain it,” I thought.
We realized it was Junior Forward Luke Hancock, or, Rhonda did.
I’m still getting acclimated to just how hugely important Louisville basketball, and basketball in general (UK anyone?) is to Kentucky.
I’ve long since stopped trying to follow the Denver Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies and Avalanche professional sports teams I left behind in Denver.
Even though it’s a smaller world via all the technology available, it still takes a concerted effort to follow sports teams once you leave a town. It happened when I left New York. I soon adopted Denver teams as it took too much effort to keep up with my Yankees, Knicks and Giants.
One thing that someone who enjoys anonymity like myself notices, is how someone who is not able to just blend in to the scenery while out dining, behaves while in the public eye.
People were coming up to the young Mr. Hancock and asking him for his autograph. Again, I initially found it odd as he’s on a college team and not a pro one. But, I’m finally starting to get it now that I’ve been here going on five months and we are entering March Madness time (I suspect I will follow the tournament more than I ever have before this year, too). I’ve even had the distinct privilege of being able to enjoy a few basketball games at the Yum! Center, too—both women and men’s basketball team games.
Hancock fielded each request for both autographs and photographs with grace, flair and alacrity. He is obviously aware that he is representing more than himself while he’s in public, but I suspect the young man gets the big picture and has the good sense to behave well because it is seen as just the right thing to do.
Before we left, we walked up to Luke (it’s the end of this post and he’s on a first name basis, now, yes ;-)), congratulated him on a good game and wished him good luck the rest of the way.
If you haven’t realized by now, I was largely impressed at how he carried himself while out having a meal with what was probably his family and/or friends—and never getting rude or disrespectful at the fairly constant stream of people in the restaurant who wanted some of his time.