By Al Lowe
The biggest surprise for a South Side couple that got a chance to spend some time with the NFL's all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith is that he did not talk about football.
William Schmidt, a South Side policeman, won a trip February 20-22 to Frisco, Texas in a random drawing at Dave & Buster's on the Waterfront, where he often plays video games.
“All my friends call me the Ski Ball King of Pittsburgh,” Schmidt said.
He took girlfriend Lisa Orr along on the trip and to the “Brunch with Emmitt” scheduled on February 22.
Smith, a former Dallas Cowboy, won renown through his participation in Super Bowls. He also broke Walter Payton's all-time NFL rushing record while playing for the Arizona Cardinals.
Schmidt and Orr spent time prior to their encounter with Smith visiting the Southfork ranch, where the exteriors of the “Dallas” TV show was filmed. They also shopped.
There were 32 winners, with guests, from Dave & Buster's all over the country. The group partook of the Sunday brunch – scrambled eggs, bacon and ham – and played video games at a Frisco Dave & Buster's.
Then in walked Emmitt.
He was about the same height as Schmidt – five feet, nine inches and was constantly laughing. No one talked football with him at all, Orr remembered.
Each couple had a chance to pose for a photo with Smith and to take their own photos with him.
The group found Smith to be enormously competitive.
Schmidt, wearing a Pittsburgh Police shirt, beat Smith in every game he played with him, including ski ball, Orr said.
“he was a really nice guy, so pleasant,” she said.
Schmidt was impressed. “I was real excited. He is one of the greatest football players ever.”
Besides photos, the couple has another memento they show friends, a NFL football signed by Emmitt Smith.