Last night I had fun writing about the similarity in physical appearance that some people feel Russell Wilson and I share. I know very well that the similarities only go so far and that if he and I stood next to each other it probably would be night and day. However, a decade ago I stood next to my true double after we both found ourselves in the same small town in Washington.
The year was 2004 and I was a junior at Mead High School. During the spring I competed in track and field. Each year we would travel to Richland, Washington, to compete in a season opening meet that drew schools from all over the eastern part of the state. If not for the experience I had during this particular year I would always remember that meet for its annual horrendous weather and consistent knack of always falling behind schedule.
Because the meet lasted all day and because our coaches would never think about sending athletes home before the very last kid finished competing at 8 p.m., we had a lot of downtime. Most years my competition schedule ended by 1 p.m. At this particular venue the track and all the pits were located inside the football stadium. There was a lot of space for teams to separate and isolate themselves from the competition.
My school would usually set up shop on a grassy hill in the corner of the stadium, away from the bleachers. On this day I sat with a few of my teammates on the hill when a couple of our distance runners came by on their cool down to alert me that they had thought they entered the Twilight Zone by seeing myself dressed in the warm ups of a different high school. When they saw me in my Mead uniform with my Mead teammates and when they looked across the stadium to where this impostor still stood they concluded that they had discovered my long lost twin.
By their pure hysteria I knew I had to go investigate. With the teammates who were sitting next to me along for the ride we started to navigate through the meet and to the other side of the stadium. As we made our way across a couple more people associated with my high school alerted me of the eerie similarity. As my supposed look-alike came into view my teammates started to freak out. They couldn’t believe how similar we looked. To be honest, I didn’t really see that much of a striking resemblance but everyone else did. As we got closer we didn’t have the guts to just go right up to him so we camped out inside the track by the discus area. Surrounded by three or four girls, the guy stood behind the track, about midway up another hill.
As we kept sneaking glances back at the guy while my teammates laughed something became obvious. We weren’t the only ones creeping. He and his female posse had definitely noticed me as well and they were taking turns looking in our direction. Finally our eyes met and on cue we started walking in their direction and they started walking in our direction until we met just right off the track. We shook hands, not really even mentioning why we were doing so. Up close some of our distinguishing features came a little more pronounced. For starters, I think he was of Hispanic descent. He also had brown eyes compared to my hazel eyes. But our same mop of curly hair with identical body build and similar mannerisms proved too perfect for our teammates and friends to ignore.
By this time a small crowd had gathered around us, including a person with a camera. For whatever reason the yearbook class sent a student on the three hour bus ride to cover the most boring meet of the season. I imagine the most entertainment he got all day was the opportunity to take that picture of the double and I. Even though our yearbook seemed like it was over a 1,000 pages, that shot never made the final cut. I never saw a copy of the photo either.
Too bad that I don’t have that photo at my disposal. Talk about a great piece to share on social media ten years later! The cliché goes that everyone has a double. Even though I don’t have a keepsake of that unique moment I feel fortunate that I got to meet mine! Don’t Blink.