Part of the fun in Detroit Lions fandom — and really in any sports fandom — is getting to know the players as individuals. Most Lions players aren’t familiar with the Metro Detroit area and are forced to explore their surroundings. This gives fans the unique opportunity to run into athletes outside of the spectrum of sports. We get to know the players as people, not athletes. This doesn’t always turn out to be the best of experiences, but sometimes it enriches our love for the player and the team. So, today’s Question of the Day is...
Do you have any neat stories about running into a Lions player, past or present?
My answer: I’ve never personally ran into a Lions player in public... except on one occasion. At around age 13 or so, I found myself strolling around in a department store inside Somerset Mall in Troy, MI. I immediately stopped in my tracks when Barry Sanders walked right in front of me. We locked eyes for a second, Sanders had an expression saying, “So... are you going to say something?” While I was wearing a visual stammer on my face. Whether it was a lack of courage or paralyzation from shock, I never ended up approaching him.
I eventually told my dad and pointed Sanders out, just as he was leaving. My dad ran over to him just in time to catch Sanders making out with his girlfriend outside the doors of the mall. My dad awkwardly interrupted the couple to confirm that, yes, this was Barry Sanders. Then Sanders left. I never got to meet him.
Please, share any stories you have.