I met Clarence Clemons earlier this year at Sun Life Stadium, hours prior to the first game of the Florida Marlins’ season. Beforehand, I remember asking my father about the legendary saxophone player and watching his eyes widen immediately; he’d been a Clemons fan since the Bruce Springsteen days.

Later that day, I finally had my chance to see the legend himself. With the Big Man seated in front of me, I was understandably pretty nervous — that is, until Mr. Clemons greeted me with a handshake and a smile, as if he’d known me for years. I asked about his football days, and he immediately smiled again; he had been a talented athlete as well as a musician, and he loved talking about it. Mr. Clemons explained to me that he believed in a strong work ethic and that anything was possible.

Even during our short time together, I found his presence inspirational. It was my honor to help him onto the field while he played the national anthem and hold his hat on the sidelines. He not only answered all of my questions on camera, he also sat down next to me on the field right before he went on to play the national anthem. While we sat together, Mr. Clemons explained to me that he enjoyed playing charity events. At least 15 people came up to him in a short 20-minute time period just to tell him that they loved his music.

Thanks, Big Man, for giving me a memory I won’t soon forget.

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