When I was 13, Rich Karlis–the then-famous barefoot kicker of the Denver Broncos–kissed me in front of my entire middle school. Rich was visiting the school to speak at an assembly, and I had walked in late to the gym, and…voila, he spied me sneaking in (‘cuz it’s hard to sneak on crutches, which I was using at the time), and planted a big kiss on my cheek.
We’d been friends for about a year. He often came to the Denver Children’s Hospital to visit us cancer patients, to cheer us up. Sometimes he even brought his buddies–guys like John Elway–to visit, too. He got us tickets to Broncos games, brought us Broncos T-shirts, etc.
Of course all of us teen girls were completely smitten with the handsome and famous football player. We especially appreciated his hugs and kisses. What a great feeling to get attention from a hunky athlete!
During the time when I was kissing Rich I was an avid football fan. Though I never bother with such things now. But when I do hear that the Broncos are having a good season, I get a warm fuzzy feeling. And, the last time they won the Super Bowl I watched the game and cried. Rich was long-gone from the Broncos, but my tears were still ones of joy. And of gratitude for the famous guy who gave so much hope and love to us kids from the 4th floor.