In my life I have only been truly asked for my autograph one time. I am still asked for autographs today, but now it's from creditors asking for my autograph at the bottom of a check so they can deduct money from my bank account.
In 1990, I was a member of the Junior Varsity Basketball squad at Lock Haven High School. I was never very good, as one time in practice I recall tripping over my own feet while attempting a lay-up to which Coach Litchfield proclaimed "Ladies and Gentlemen, Dan Barrile the Gerald Ford of Lock Haven."
Needless to say, I didn't get much playing time. I still had a great time being part of the team, though. I have great memories of our spaghetti dinners at the Sons of Italy and bus trips to places like South Williamsport, Jersey Shore and Renovo.
After one of our home games that I didn't even see the court, I was headed to the concession stand to get something to eat. A young boy about 6 or 7 years old approached me very excited to see an actual person from the team.
"Hey, did you guys win?" he asked
"Um...No," I replied.
"How many points did you score?"
"Will you sign my program?" the boy asked.
Before I entertained this question I paused for a second and wordered if this was some sort of a practical joke being played on me by my teammates. I decided to go along with it anyway.
"Sure... what's your name?"
"Robbie... Robbie Gould."
He handed me a pen and I wrote, "To Robbie Gould...Best Wishes... Dan Barrile #15"
In signing Robbie's program, I added an extra flourish to the "D" and "B" in my name. A few months before that I had met Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters where he had signed his name in a manner that would have made John Hancock proud and he had written the exact sentiment of "best wishes" to me.
I had also met Deion Sanders that summer, and he also gave me his autograph in which he signed the "S" in Sanders with a dollar sign. I had wished there was an "S" in my name that I could have signed with a dollar sign.
Robbie seemed to be very excited to have my signature, and it made my day to give it to him.
Many years later, I found out that he was a star football player for Joe Paterno at Penn State, was briefly in training camp with my favorite team the New England Patriots and then went on to play for the Chicago Bears.
I doubt Robbie still has my autograph, but if I ever see him again, I'll be sure to ask him for his.
Dan Barrile is a long time Patriots fan and accomplished author. A short story writer and novelist, Dan often pens a thought or two in his Myspace Blog. You can reach Dan via his MySpace page here: or