If serendipity had a human form, it had to be Mickey Pfleger.
You may not remember Pfleger's name, but you may well remember his story. A series of events that led the ace freelance sports photographer to dub himself 'the luckiest person in the world' began just over 10 years ago on Nov. 12, 2000 at Candlestick Park. Pfleger's lucky break came when the Kansas City Chiefs' tight end Tony Gonzalez -- 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, fast as a wide receiver, and wearing armor that essentially transformed him into a human tank -- ran, full-speed, into him.
Pfleger died on Friday at age 61. But you're reading this obituary now and not a decade ago because of that horrific impact with Tony Gonzalez. In a twist even the most treacly of filmmakers would have considered too rich, the CT scan Pfleger received at General Hospital revealed a large brain tumor. Of course that tumor would never have been detected if not for a chance encounter with an NFL football player. In short, being flattened by Gonzalez saved Pfleger's life.
"One night, about 5 nights after surgery, while lying in my hospital bed, I had an incredible feeling, which is very hard to put into words. I knew, at that time, that my mind was working fine and that everything was very clear," wrote Pfleger shortly after his ordeal. "I was also getting many creative ideas. I don't remember a time in my life where my thoughts were so clear and precise. I was also given some really exciting visions into the future that I will be very excited to see if they come true. I really believe that they will."