By Thursday, May 22, 2014 6 No tags Permalink

Well, 20 can mean a lot of things to a lot of people but it means one thing and one thing only to me.

20 dollars? 20 minutes until landing? 20 people ahead of me for stand by?

Nope. 20 is B-Dawg. Or, more formally, Mr. Brian Dawkins. The best safety ever. The leader of the defense. I have his jersey. I know his monster-like strut out of the helmet on game day. I’ve seen the Pro-bowler singlehandedly turn the game around.

And low and behold on the 6:45 p.m. PHL to DEN he is in 4C and I’m in 4F. Any savvy traveler sees the problem: 4D.

Turns out that 4D and I have gone from hate to love on this flight. (We return to hate by the end.) At first, we had this little tiff about the space underneath the seat in front of us (he took too much of it), but he capitulated and helped me put my bag overhead. And he taught me how to save battery power on my iPhone. And then he did the most wonderful thing! About half way through the flight, he spilled his drink all over me! Call buttons were pressed, I made a little scene. Oh, dear, my outfit is all wet. What will do? I knew where this was going.

And sure enough, seatmate says, “Should we switch seats?” YES!!!!

It took about 2 minutes for Mr. Dawkins to ask me if I was okay (“All dry now?”) That basically opened the door and allowed me to cover the most pressing of topics:

  1. Feelings about Chip Kelly (he likes him.)
  2. DeSean (he saw it coming and confirmed it was Chip’s decision. Also said Chip believes if the system is right, any decent player can play wide receiver.)
  3. Michael Sam (he didn’t seem to be a fan although concurred when I said I thought he showed courage.)

He was very soft spoken so I ended up nodding a lot, but who cares. All my female corporate travel crap was out the window and I was a schoolgirl in awe. He even took his shoes off and you know what….I didn’t mind! (Very cool socks incidentally.)

Meanwhile, seatmate didn’t even know who he was. That was fine except as we were disembarking I heard seatmate say something to him like, “Oh, does that bother you when people recognize you and talk to you like that?” Thanks, seatmate – back to the “hate” part of our relationship!

And you know what B-Dawg said? How’s this for class: “It could go the other way, Bro. I could not be recognized. I’ll take being recognized. It’s a blessing.”

Write and tell me if you’ve met your favorite NFL player and if you did, did he look you in the eye and say, “It was nice talking to you, too?”


  • Brian Dempsey
    May 22, 2014

    Number 20 is and will always be Michael Jack Schmidt. And, I have been fortunate enough to meet HIM on a few occasions. Each time he was exceedingly nice. However, he did not tell me what he thought about DeSean or Michael Sam. Weren’t you all about Lito just a few months ago??

    • Zoe Vogel
      May 22, 2014

      How fun to meet Mike Schmidt and “on a few occasions” at that! It is nice when famous people are nice and appreciative (not the case when I met Joe Jackson (the singer, not the baseball player.) You are correct, I was all about Lito and Buckhalter when I met them at the Eagles game in Nov. But no one holds a candle to 20.

  • Karen Smyth
    May 22, 2014

    Of all the people for you to end up next to, this is the perfect match for you! So happy to hear that meeting him and the ensuing conversation was positive – not disappointing. Brian Dawkins always came across as authentic and earnest whether on or off the field and represented our team and our city very well. Awesome story!

    • Zoe Vogel
      May 22, 2014

      I look forward to telling you even more of the details of the convo – particularly around the 3-4, a topic I know you love! Zoe

  • minor character
    May 23, 2014

    what is this NFL of which you speak? American Football? Not Flamin’ Likely …

    • Zoe Vogel
      May 23, 2014


      You make an excellent point – and feel free to write about any footballers you have had the chance to meet. Although I would imagine you’ve likely run across more highbrow theatrical types what with your near constant loitering in the National Theater lobby! Z

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