Well, the lockout certainly has a lot of people down. Owners, players, fans, employees of the stadiums and concession companies, and a lot of other people I’m forgetting to mention. Today I got the opportunity to meet two of our Boston Bruins. Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in line to get a few things signed by these great players. For those who follow my blogs with any regularity, you know Marchand is my favorite player. I went so far to get a BALL OF HATE jersey with his number.
I got my jersey signed first. Marchand was a nice guy. He signed my jersey, asked how I was and he shook my hand. He also had the decency to look me in the eye. That’s sort of a gold standard for an introduction. A decent handshake and a look in the eye. I then moved over to Campbell’s table where I gave him my away 2011 Stanley Cup Championship hat to sign. Mr. Campbell was nice enough to strike up a conversation. “How ya doin, buddy?” he asked as he signed the hat. (I hadn’t slept the night before. We had a little mishap at the job and I’ve got first and second degree burns on about fifteen percent of my body. They wanted to keep me overnight, but I wasn’t going to miss this chance to get my stuff signed. Depending on which friend you talked to, I was either a real fan or a total idiot. I’ll flip ya for that. Two out of three.)
I was unprepared for dialogue so I blurted out my staple line. “Living the dream.” I said. “Me too.” said Campbell chuckling slightly. He handed me my hat back. I shrugged. (Oh brother, did that hurt.) “I’d say you’re dream is a little more awesome than mine.” I was smiling, I was really expecting just a handshake and not actual conversation. He looked me back in the eye, sighed and said “Not really.”
(Oh hell! Did I just bum out a Bruin?!)
The Merlot Men are my favorite hit squad in hockey. I really wanted to meet Boychuk, but I was psyched to see Campbell. I sort of put off a bill another week to get the thirty bucks together so he could sign my hat. He shook my hand and smiled again. I had this little five second speech in my head that I had gone over in my mind at least twenty times. It was pretty good. I wanted to thank them for the Cup, and how I know that this whole mess wasn’t their fault and I wanted to see them back on the ice. Between the burns, the lack of sleep, and the dreaded feeling I just sucked some of the fun out of an amazing player just took that out of me.
I thanked them both again, snapped a picture and just quietly left the room. I had forgotten to grab my free ticket to the Bruins game. ( I wouldn’t have been able to go, I had an add on party, and I told them I’d be back at work anyways.)
As much as I love hockey, I can’t call these gentlemen heroes or role models. They are however, professional athletes who didn’t have to give up some free time (Campbell is still a newleywed.) to come down to Providence and sign a bunch of photos, pucks, and jeresys. If one of them or their fans get to read this, I am very grateful for them to make the effort, and offer my sincerest apologies to Soupy if I had in fact bummed him out.