Being Russell Wilson

We’ve all been here.january 2015 333

Looking forward to the nice dinner and a movie with a good friend.

She calls at the time you were going to meet. “Sorry…..Forgot….Lost track of the time…I’ll be home…an hour…maybe more….”

You’re hungry. Tired. Disappointed. Mad.

Your nice evening turned upside down.

What do you do?

Drive home and pout?

Find the key, sit in her dark apartment and entertain the cats?

It’s a quick free-fall from here to despair.

But then…

I remember.

january 2015 334That cute little pizza place around the corner with the upside down sign. That’s what I need.  A slice to soothe my sorrow.

I drive down a few blocks along the south end of the lake.   Walk into this lively little place. Wood floors, bright yellow walls. Buzzing with conversation. And an empty seat at the end of the counter.

“I’d like pizza. How long will it take? 10 minutes?”

“No. 90 seconds. Tops.”

“90 seconds? Really?”


This is no ordinary pizza parlor.

I pull out my journal and write, “I am MAD. I am SO SO SO SO MAD. I january 2015 292was looking forward to this nice dinner and a movie. I am so MAD.”My literary skills deteriorating into underlines and LARGE CAPITAL LETTERS, “IMPATIENT!”

90 seconds later, the pizza arrives.  It’s gorgeous.  A work of art. Truly, these little white cheese bubbles, a sparkling of bright green basil leaves and what looks like the softest of lightly browned crust.

I take a bite.

Delicious. I mean, really delicious. This is no ordinary pizza.

I pick up my pen to continue my litany of woe.

And then I notice a man standing next to me at the end of the counter.

“What are you writing about, the pizza?”

Here I am. It’s my moment. My Russell Wilson moment.

Will I respond, “No, actually….” and turn back to scribbling my sorrows…


120910-wilson-480Remember? Two weeks ago.  The NFC Championship. Those first 55 ugly minutes. The Seahawks sinking fast. Almost out of time. And then quarterback Russell Wilson turns it around. Gets back in the game. The team that was sinking is now soaring. On to victory. On to the Super Bowl.

I remember. Respond, with a smile, “Well yes, actually, I am writing january 2015 296about the pizza.”

And at that moment, I become Russell Wilson. The story begins to turn.

Become not the forgotten friend but a foodie.  Bon Appetite.

I pick up my pen. And suddenly I am hearing something besides my internal warble of woe. Something about pizza.

january 2015 294I introduce myself to the man at my side who happens to be Vince Mottola, the owner of Pizzeria Pulcinella. His wife, Carla. David, the waiter.

Learn that Seattle has more certified Neapolitan Pizza Parlors than anywhere in the world outside of Naples.



This is no ordinary pizza. This is the real deal.

I learn about tomatoes and flour, cheese and dough. The 900 degree wood fired oven.

Furiously taking notes.  No longer furious.january 2015 325

Vince asks, “What do you do?”

“Well, actually, I’m a minister.”


“Yes, really. And I really do write a blog each week about my various adventures finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. This week I’m writing about pizza…..and Russell Wilson.  ”

Our conversation makes me remember this other guy who turned things upside down. Water into wine. Bread into himself. Impossible into possible.  Hmm….there is a story here.

january 2015 290I take some more pictures. The cooks. The cool art on the wall. Exchange email addresses so I can send a copy of my blog.

Later that night – yes, 2 hours after we were supposed to meet – I meet my friend.  And instead of being in a bad mood, I’m now in a great mood.  Tell her how my evening of dejection became an evening of connection…how I went to THE BEST pizza place, met these GREAT people, including, Russell Wilson.

The next morning.

Leftover cold pizza for breakfast.

And the lingering memory, the hope-filled possibility that today, I might become Russell Wilson again, and turn the story, one more time, upside down.


6 thoughts on “Being Russell Wilson”

  1. Peter, I have a friend who lives up the hill from that pizza place! I have never been there, but relatively speaking, it’s not too far from home! What a great blog and a Big Lesson for me. Thanks, as always!


  2. How grand is it to know Peter? And to see oneself in his foibles just because he’s willing to share them. Thanks yet again, Peter.


  3. Thanks, Peter! Loved your story and love that pizza. REALLY LOVED THAT YOU MET MY NEPHEW DAVID THE WAITER!! Wait until he hears he’s mentioned in your blog! And Russell Wilson was in there too, whom David and I watched together as Russell Wilson turned the game around against the Packers! You are amazing, Peter. Love your thoughts and insights and sharing. Thank you so much!


  4. Yes, thanks, Peter. I like your story, the way you were present and aware, and decided to change the way you viewed your situation, and the whole unfolding. Great job telling the story.
    It’s interesting to me that I was having dinner with David and his wife, tonight, and telling them about Marcus Borg.


  5. Peter and all five responders are so great! Peter the foodie. What will you cook up next? This morning in church I was feeling very touched by how much you, Peter, and Catherine share in your blogs. You both create a desire in me to share my story more. Of course, I am not sure what my story is. But, I notice in this church people delight in knowing each other better. And it keeps getting easier to do so.


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