Close Encounter with Pete Sampras
Location: Macy's - South Coast Plaza, California
Hosted by: Movado
Date: November 15, 2002
I have talked before about my tennis playing grandson, Jacob, 10 yrs. old. It was his home I was visiting. My daughter wasn't feeling well, and after making calls to Macy's she didn't show much enthusiasm. She said, "Mom there will only be 200 allowed to see him for an autograph. I think I'll warn Jake." I ask her to just go and we will see what happens, and she agreed.
We picked Jacob up early from school, we were off. Jacob with a big tennis ball, for an autograph, and wearing his "KING OF SWING" T-shirt. We arrived and were handed a paper with do's and don'ts. NO PERSONAL PROPERTY TO BE AUTOGRAPH. I get in line #49 & 50 I think.
Jacob, his Mom and BIG TENNIS BALL head to car for a drop off. They return and mosey around while I waited in line. We were there early, it didn't seem long I was anxious. Pete's staging area was out of my view. My daughter comes around the corner and tells the group how good Pete looks. She also told me while she was meandering she had met The President of Movado Watch Co...
Jacob wandering around with his King of Swing shirt got some attention. Cameras are flashing and Jacob is loving it. Cynthia, my daughter,ask if she could take a picture of Jake when he got up to Pete. John the president said he would see that she got a picture.
Pete was sitting at a table, so as Jacob walked up to Pete, Pete saw the shirt, and said "You're a fan?" Jacob said, "Yes. Will you sign my shirt?" Pete did!!
Then the picture of Pete was signed to Jake. Cameras are rolling flashes going off, as Jacob leaves Pete. Then I walk to the table and said to Pete, "You look rested", and he said, "I got a good nights sleep last night," and I told him, "Enjoy it while you can."
The President came over to us and ask if after the signing would we like to come to the party. I looked at Cynthia, and she asked where it was going to be. He told her and we went. Cynthia told me later she thought there would be hundreds of people and we wouldn't even get close to him.
We arrived and told the hostess we had been invited, but she wasn't sure and ask us to wait, Cynthia said, "Sure I'll wait till I recognize someone." At that moment John and his group were walking up, and Jacob said, "Like him," pointing to John. And John said, "They're with us," and enter we did. Small room, few people, and in walks Pete and gesturing to his brother. Pete said, "This is my brother."
This was such a great night, met Jeannie one from our group, also a very nice lady high up in the Gullikson's Foundation. I was able to tell her as I pointed to the shirt that we were able to give $4,000 dollars to the foundation, which was more than we gave last year.
This must end -- the end is to say, Jacob had his picture taken with Pete, Gram had her picture taken with Pete, John brought over to me a very nice hard covered book with the history of the Movado Company, with Pete's autograph in the front, and then John leaves the table, comes back and hands Jacob a new Wilson tennis racket in the bag and John takes it out and shows Jacob the handle and sure enough Pete had signed it.
We get back to the car, with the big tennis ball and Jacob in the back seat, and as I turned to look at him, he said, "This is the happiest day of my life." He has Pete's picture, his King of Swing shirt, the Wilson Tennis racket all signed by Pete Sampras the greatest tennis player in history, also his VIP tag for his neck, with Pete's picture.
I'm not sure but John (Movado) told my daughter if they decided to use some of Jacob's pictures they would call for her approval. So don't be surprised if you should see the "KING OF SWING" t-shirt.
(Originally posted on the board on Nov 18, 2002)