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Nancy Smith

Confessions of a David Beckham Fanatic

March 25, 2014 - 7:00pm

What does a closet David Beckham groupie do when she THINKS she has a selfie -- a sort-of selfie, anyway -- then discovers she erased it before she could brag to the world and put it under her pillow?

Well, the old fool cries a lot, is what she does.

Such is the happenstance for yours truly, a Becks fanatic, just as I was in many years past for George Best, another English football legend who also played, pre-tattoos, for Manchester United. Then it was more appropriate, though just as improbable. George and I were both in our 20s, I lived in England and adored "the beautiful game."

Call this a confession.

I spent much of Tuesday not following important committee sessions but looking for David Beckham. At first I thought he was testifying in some meeting, so I spent the morning zipping around to a slew of committee meetings, opening and closing doors.

At one point, Sen. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee asked me, "Can I help you?" I said enthusiastically, "I'm looking for David Beckham." Hegave me an old-fashioned, you-silly-woman look.

When I finally did catch up with him it was late in the day, he was surrounded -- and not only by women. The governor, the speaker, they all got in on the act. What was impressive most of all was his demeanor. Few athletes I've ever known are quite as well-mannered and patient with fans as David Beckham is. He talked and sounded like a businessman as competent and glad to be in Florida as any CEO of a start-up company I've ever seen.

Before he got to other reporters in lobbyist Brian Ballard's office, I found him and got my chance. I leaned up against his perfect shoulder and perfect silk suit. Another onlooker used my phone to snap the picture and just like that, I had my very own selfie.

I was over the moon. This was going straight to Twitter and Facebook. My children would envy me, my grandchildren would ask for my autograph.

But, oh, no! Calamity!

In my wavering, technically inept hands and haste to send it to a cast of thousands, the photo ... disappeared. Gone. Before I knew it, so was Becks.

I had an appointment to go to, so there would be no do-over. I was -- am -- schoolgirl-distraught.

Its been a really good day," Beckham told reporters. "Everyones welcomed us with open arms."

Beckham, only player to win a soccer title in four different countries, was using his celebrity and charisma to get what he wants. I want to say, who cares? I want to say, more power to him. Give him the keys to the state. What he wants is exactly what a state like Florida should be looking for. I've written about this before and said it all. See here and here.

Lawmakers this session are debating an incentive package that could open the door for planned Major League Soccer franchises in two cities, Orlando and Miami, to qualify for $2 million in subsidies annually to help build their stadiums.

The truth is, I'm way, way too biased to write another critical word about Beckham's proposed Miami team and stadium. However many millions he wants, I just want a Beckham selfie before they cart me off to the boneyard.

Reach Nancy Smith at or 228-282-2423.

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