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Impressed by R.C. Owens
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
A few months ago, I was at the San Joaquin County Recorder’s office in Stockton, doing some work on the public computers.  One of the ladies who works for the Recorder’s was talking to a man at the counter and I overheard her say “Oohh, look at those rings!  You must be someone important”.  To which he replied, “No, not important.”  She asked him what they were for and he said, “These are Super Bowl rings.”  Being a sports fan, my ears perked up to hear what he had to say next.  He then told her that he had once played for the 49ers.  Being a huge 49er fan, I had to go over to him to find out who he was.  

I asked him if I had heard right, that he had played for the 49ers, and the man smiled a very genuine smile, stuck out his hand to shake mine and said, “My name is R. C. Owens.”  He said it like he didn’t expect anyone to know who he was.  I shook his hand, introduced myself, and said, “You’re ‘Alley Oop’ Owens?  It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir!”  When he heard the name “Alley Oop”, his smile got even bigger and I got to chat for a while with the man.  He was more genuine and generous with his time than any athlete I have ever met.  

Over the course of the next hour, there must have been at least three dozen people who came up and shook his hand and said hi.  The amazing thing about this story, Mr. Owens went to the Recorder’s office to do something that would have taken probably 5 minutes to complete and he would have been out the door like most people.  Instead, he stayed for over an hour and spoke to everyone as if they were his own children and grandchildren huddled around him, signed several autographs, and made many peoples’ day that afternoon.  Can you think of any other athlete of fame that would take that kind of time, to be that generous and gracious?  In my opinion, the induction of R.C. ‘Alley Oop’ Owens into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame has been a long time coming and very deserving.  I was honored to meet him and grateful to have spent that time with him that day.
 Eric Tolman
Sept. 30, 2009