Is That Really Him?

Angelina Ruiz

I’m a high school senior. I arrive at the first basketball game I’ve ever watched at my school. An alumni game. I think I spotted a guy who I’ve recognized from being on television.

“I think that’s the baseball player that went to school here!” I tell my friend Meghan.

“That looks like Jeff McNeil!” I yelled.

I looked at him again from a far distance on the opposite side of the gym.

“Oh my gosh, that’s him!” I shouted.

I still could not process it through my mind.

The players’ names were being announced down the list.

“Ryan McNeil” the whole gym heard.

I thought I heard that last name, I must’ve just heard the announcer wrong. I couldn’t take the time to know that this was actually happening in real life.

Ryan’s family and friends climb up near the top of the bleachers towards the back right corner to the right of us.

I’m freaking out. My legs are springing fast up and down. I was biting my nails as if I was watching a scary movie in a dark movie theater.

“I really want to take a picture of him to see if it’s really him but then what if one of the people he is sitting with looks over here and then wonders why I’m taking a picture of them,” I tell Meghan.

“Just pretend you’re taking a picture of me and get them in the background.”

“Why would I be taking a picture of you by yourself sitting on the bleachers is what other people would think?” I respond.

After a while of bravery to take the picture, I finally did it. So I zoomed in on it and it has to be him. He has his beard and everything.

I go on Instagram to go on his profile to look at a picture to show Meghan since she doesn’t know of him.  “See look, isn’t that him?”

She looks back at him in person. “Yes, that’s him!”

I texted my mom about it and she wanted me to get the picture with him now. I didn’t want to be rude and just go up to them while they’re just sitting there watching the game.

After a very long two hours, I finally went up to Jeff when the game was done.

“You are Jeff McNeil, right?”

“Yeah!”

“May I please get a picture with you?”

“Of course!” McNeil replies back with a smile on his face.

“Thank you so much!”

I felt so relieved and glad that my mom basically forced me to get a picture with him because if I didn’t, I’d regret it forever.

I walked away and said, “My gosh, I can’t believe I’m in the same building as him!”

I really wish I knew he was coming, I would’ve brought a baseball and a sharpie for him to sign it like others did.

My hands were shaking like a fallen leaf from a tree I was still so nervous.

That was an awesome day for me and a dream come true. I’ve always wanted him to come back to our school while I was still a student there and that I’d get to see him and it happened. Even better than that, I met him. I appreciated how he was dressed like how any usual sporty guy would with gym shorts and a t-shirt. I was appreciative that he knows where he came from and he was ordinary. Jeff didn’t try for attention, and I liked that because I feel like a lot of celebrities nowadays think they’re all that.