Thursday, July 29, 2010

Troy Smith made my day

July 28, 2010

By Jill Donahue

Today I want to talk about minimalism in a different way -- in the context of how little it can take to make someone's day.

Yesterday, we went out to the Baltimore Ravens' training camp in Westminster, Maryland. I'd never been before, but I live with three sub four-foot football fans -- one of whom is a die-hard Ravens-backer. It was a lovely day, the first below 90 degrees in recent memory, with the sun shining and a light breeze. We had fun watching the rookies and quarterbacks run through their various drills -- and spotted a surprising number of veterans, including Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed (yes, I know, but my boys still love him), Mark Clayton, and Jarrett Johnson.

It wasn't crowded, owing in large part to the fact that most of the veterans are not at camp yet and because autographs are given only after the morning practice. Or so we thought. At the end of the afternoon practice, 2006 Heisman Trophy winner and backup quarterback Troy Smith unexpectedly jogged over to the sidelines and began to sign autographs. It probably only took a quarter of an hour, if that, for him to work his way down the line of autograph seekers. It's not as if Smith had to go far out of his way -- he probably hit the showers about the same time as the rest of the Ravens. Maybe Smith did it because he suspects his days in Baltimore are numbered. Who knows? Who cares? His mere attention for those few minutes suggested a generosity of spirit that made a number of little kids' -- and thus their parents' -- day.

What's the (minimalist) point? That even the smallest kindness -- try a smile -- can make a big difference. Maybe not for a lifetime, but for one day, one hour, one moment. Yesterday, Troy Smith made my day.

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