So I was asked to preach on disciplining children by Simon Peter Pre-School. I asked, why they thought anyone would come to hear me. Apparently they’d thought about that already, so they had arranged for arguably the most famous South African sportsman, Shaun Pollock, to share his testimony that night. For our American, readers, Shaun Pollock is the captain of the South African cricket team, and is world famous for being a stinking good bowler (like a pitcher) and batsman. Wikipedia points out that he “was named joint 10th in the all time best ever bowler ratings in the LG ICC Ratings. [whatever that means] He has taken over 400 wickets and is one of only six players to have scored 3000 runs and taken 300 wickets in Test matches.”
The invitation to the event (I kid you not) read: “An Evening with Shaun and Clint.” I am sure the most common RSVP was “Clint who?” Nevertheless the place was packed, and needless to say, it wasn’t because of me. I tried to shoot the elephant in the room with jokes like “I’m glad Shaun is here tonight, because usually I feel kinda awkward being the only one signing autographs after I preach.” [insert laugh track.]
The irony is that I am notoriously ignorant of cricket news, much to my congregation’s dismay. To illustrate how clueless I am, and to humble me, God orchestrated a providential meeting with Shaun Pollock the next week. I was pushing Noah’s stroller in an expensive clothing shop in Hillcrest, wondering who would spend that kind of money on clothes, when I made eye contact with one of the customers. It was the kind of moment when your memory tells you enough that you pay attention, but not enough that you know who you are looking at. A face from the past maybe? His face looked almost exactly like this…
By this time he was smiling at me, and greeted me. At which point it hit me like fast-bowler’s ball: the famous guy from the Simon Peter evening. And I actually said “Oh, that’s where I know you from! Shaun, right?” While I struggled to remember his surname, I was assisted by the store clerk’s loud commentary into his cell phone: “I promise, darling, Shaun Pollock is in the shop right now, I’m looking right at him!”
It’s official, I am the only person in South Africa to be on a first name basis with Shaun Pollock due to forgetting his last name.