I love this story! Keith Miller will be the bass soloist at the Metropolitan Opera's summer recital concerts in New York parks, Aug. 7 and 14, but he has an unusual back story. He played fullback for the University of Colorado, playing in the Fiesta Bowl in 1994 and the Cotton Bowl in 1995. A few weeks after that game he went to see "The Phantom of the Opera" and was blown away by what he now calls "this goofy show." He started watching DVDs, at first of Brodway shows, and singing along, then"The Three Tenors," where Pavarottis's "Nessun Dorma" gave him the same chill. While he was playing football in Finland and then in the Arena league, he was learning opera, memorizing arias even though he couldn't read music yet, and he tried out for an opera at Moorhead College in Minnesota, got the part and one thing led to another.
My impression (and my experience) is that most people who end up loving opera fall in love with it at an early age. Keith Miller took a different path. Good for him. I'm going to look for the Met production of "Eugen Onegin" on CD, on which he sings, and give it a listen.