As many of you know, I love participatory journalism. So in talking to the Harlem Globetrotters about a story a couple weeks ago, they offered me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play against them as a member of the Washington Generals.
But it wasn't just any game. It was in Madison Square Garden. It front of some 12,000 people--including Dan Rather, his son and his grandson in the first row--who were there for the Globetrotters and the retirement of Curly Neal's No. 22 jersey. I've stepped onto many fields, but this was the absolute best.
When I arrived, I was greeted by John Ferrari, vice president of operations and general manager for the Generals. He gave me my No. 00 Generals jersey and asked if I could play.
"I'm alright," I said, somehow worrying about expectations despite the fact that, as a General, I was of course expected to lose. The Globetrotters opponents haven't won a game since 1971 when Generals founder Red Klotz, then 50, hit a shot with the clock winding down to beat the Trotters. To my great surprise, Klotz was on hand at the Garden to shake my hand before the game.