Even Bill Anderson admits he is a little excited about this afternoon.
The retired T.F. South baseball coach wil be in attendance when the school retires the No. 14 of one of his former players -- Curtis Granderson.
The New York Yankees superstar deserves to have his jersey retired and Anderson just has one regret.
"I wish they could have done it when they retired my number, but of course, Curtis was a little busy," Anderson said. "He is a great ambassador for baseball, for our school and communities (Lansing and Lynwood)."
When Anderson was honored before a game with District 215 rival T.F. North, it was in the middle of the baseball season.
Ken Reynolds, an assistant under Anderson and later was the Rebels head coach, will also be there. Current South baseball coach Matt Tiffy said every South student should be excited about Granderson's return.
"It is an honor for our program, for me to coach in this program and it is something special for Thornton Fractional High School," Tiffy said. "This is truly a special day and Curtis deserves this recognition.
"He is not only one the best players in the game, but a great person."
Anderson will attest to that.
"When the Yankees came to Wrigley Field, I was sitting in the grandstands and some lady from Chicago came up to me and asked, 'Were you his high school coach?' and I said I was," Anderson said. "She asked me if he was as great of a person as she heard he was and I replied: 'He is even a better person than what you heard.'"
Granderson is not just back for his jersey. He will also have dinner with a lucky winner in a Lansing Babe Ruth fundraiser. This is a big deal for the organization and I am sure the raffle tickets helped bring in some extra money.
But that is the kind of person Granderson is. He could go in and out of town and shake a few hands, but instead he is giving back. Whoever won the dinner with him must be thrilled. You know Curtis will make them feel as if he has known them his whole life. Maybe he has, but this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
By having a ceremony at halftime of the Reavis-T.F. South boys basketball game, I hope they pack the place and I am sure Granderson would like to see it. Don't forget, he also played basketball for the Rebels.
"You know, he does a lot for the inner-city kids in New York and he did the same in Detroit," Anderson said. "He does a lot of stuff to help our community, but he doesn't want the credit. He is a great guy.
"He wrote a children's book and all of my eight grandkids have it. He talks about working hard and staying in school."
That was the case with Granderson when Detroit drafted him after his junior year.
"Curtis wanted to get his degree and he stayed at UIC," Anderson said. "I don't know what he will talk about to the kids, but I think he will stress school and hard work. I also credit his parents, they are great people."
And the kids can look up and see someone who went to their high school and worked hard to get to the top of his profession.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.