It was about three weeks ago that Rowdy Roddy Piper died. Roddy was one of my childhood sports (entertainment?) heroes, who became a friend. I eulogized the Rowdy One in my piece for Tru School Sports at Remembering Rowdy Roddy Piper.
I won't repeat what I wrote there. Instead, I want to use this as a lesson to all of us.
I had the rare opportunity to interview Roddy for an article and for a literacy ad series. That was the beginning of a friendship, but I could have left it there and been happy. Instead, when I heard that he was appearing at a huge wrestling convention in Tampa, FL, I decided to go and meet my idol-turned-friend for the first time.
This was back in the day when these conventions were not common. Roddy did not make many (any?) appearances back then. I did not want to miss what could have been my one chance at meeting Roddy.
I have written about that magical weekend many times. I met a lot of wrestlers, but meeting Roddy was definitely the highlight. We had a few opportunities to talk privately. I couldn't believe that he thanked me for including him in that literacy series.
My point is that I took the chance to meet Roddy. Had I passed, I would never have had such great memories. As it turns out, I probably would have met him at one of the many conventions where he has appeared since then, but I didn't know that at the time and none would have given me the one-on-one time like that one did. Since then, I have never missed Roddy when he has appeared anywhere near me.
Conventions are pretty common these days. Celebrities from all times and fields are appearing everywhere. If you know one of your favorites is appearing near you, don't miss the chance to see that person. Life is incredibly short. Memories last forever.
Roddy gave me many great memories over the years. He became a special friend. I am so glad I took every chance to see him. I will never see him again, but I will always have those memories. Thank you Roddy.
Roddy Piper, Cuzz Gekas and me in Novi, MI-May 2015.