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Brooks Laich, Matchmaker December 27, 2008

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

I opted to take in the Caps’ practice this morning, something I haven’t been able to do yet this season. It was a full house: most of the bleachers were occupied, so it was a bit tricky finding an open place to sit down. I found a spot, settled in, and watched practice. I don’t see enough of those to write with any authority on what transpired there. The real adventure wasn’t practice itself–it was what happened afterwords.

I moved out in front of the players’ exit, and caught Brent Johnson after about a 20-minute wait. I had nothing to sign–just offered belated holiday wishes, best of luck in ’09, and a get well soon.

Nobody else came out after that, and a lot of the players’ cars were being valeted away, so I reasoned my chances of seeing anyone else weren’t that good. And man, was my stomach grumbling…oh, heck, I’ll do this some other time when the crowd is less.

I headed down to one of the local eateries, and grabbed a spot at the bar. Diet Coke, sandwich…wait…is that BROOKS LAICH who just walked in?! It was. He took a seat at the bar not too far from where I was sitting. I was a little too nervous to say anything at first. I finally decided to speak up when I noticed Brooks was reading the Sports section of the Post. “Business section?” I quipped. Brooks said it wasn’t, and I joked, “For you, it is, I’m sure.”

“It’s for fun, too,” he replied, and I left him to ordering his lunch. 2 more players walked in shortly thereafter: one whom I could not recognize beneath a winter hat, and the other whom I assume by the hair was Milan Jurcina. Mike Green came in shortly after that, and I offered some belated Christmas greetings to all four. Those were well-received, and I opted to leave the players to their respective lunches at that point. I had pretty much finished my sandwich, and was about to ask for the check, when the ice somehow broke, and we ended up talking shop for a bit. Laich and Green were both quite engaging, while Jurcina kept mostly to himself, and the fourth member of the party kept such a low profile that I never even found out who he was.

The conversation was not for attribution, so I’ll refrain from offering specifics of what the players said. I will say that I told them that I wasn’t trying to be the best fan in the building–I just wanted to be the best fan that I knew how to be. I was asked if I’d like to see others duplicating my attire, and I said no: I’d rather encourage other fans to be the best fans that they know how to be.

The longer answer to that–which I didn’t say there, but will give here–is that every piece of my outfit means something specific and significant to me personally. I’d rather encourage other fans to find their own symbols, their own meanings, to their own outfits, and dress accordingly. I’d rather see 18,276 fellow Caps fans done up in their own version of “hardcore Caps fan,” than see even a hundred other cloaks which mean nothing beyond looks to their wearers. And while I do offer links where other fans could purchase what I wear, those really don’t get a lot of clicks. But, you know something? That’s great. I take that as a sign that others are being themselves, and not merely trying to duplicate me. Anyway, back to what happened…

We were trading respectful shop talk, when all of a sudden, in walked this incredibly beautiful woman, who started talking to the players. I respectfully kept out of the conversation, and waited for her to leave before picking up the conversation with Laich, Green, and Jurcina. Meanwhile, the radio overhead was playing song after song of a “boy-meets-girl” nature, and all three of the players were kidding that it was a sign, and hey, don’t you believe in those?

I said that I did, but that the pretty ones were always taken. Brooks said he knew for a fact that she wasn’t. To which I countered that she may very well be available, but she was probably about two call-ups out of my league.

I swear Mike Green about choked on his lunch he was laughing so hard.

Finally, a fifth consecutive boy-meets-girl song comes on the radio, and Brooks Laich gets out of his chair and tells me he’s going over to make introductions, with or without me. Gee, Brooks, why not grab my hood and drag me over there kicking and screaming, while you’re at it….

Brooks Laich did indeed make an introduction, as promised, and I sat down and started talking, trying to avoid making a complete fool of myself. It turned out this was a long-distance Caps fan from Boston, who occasionally comes down to DC to catch Caps games at the Phone Booth. We must have spent a good hour in conversation, and I was later getting home than I had initially planned. But it was worth it.

Jennifer, if you’re reading this, thank you for a wonderful conversation, and I hope to see you at a future Caps game. Just don’t take offense if I blank on your name, OK? (Oh, and you’re a better tarot reader than you think.)

Brooks, if you’re reading this, thanks for the set-up. For all of you, thanks for allowing me to share part of our afternoon. It was a privilege. Good luck against the Leafs tomorrow, guys.




1. jf1 - December 28, 2008

I love every bit of this story! Im so glad you went, found, and enjoyed. See good things happen to those who wish good for others.
(I admit im super “green” with envy, but all in a good way.

2. CapitalSpirit - December 28, 2008

jf1, thanks. I wasn’t looking for that to happen–it’s not like I walked past, saw the guys at the bar, and sat down. They all came in after I did, and it just kind of went from there. It’s not something I’d ever consciously try to set up: I’m just a fan in the nosebleeds, and they’re the stars of the show. While I do intend the best, and wish them all well, I wouldn’t try to impose, especially over lunch. I was pleasantly shocked that it ended up turning out that way.–CS

3. jf1 - December 29, 2008

Why it happened, you were being cool, and happy for them. People are people and you were full of respect. Hey I too am the best fan I can be, screaming with my cowbell from 432, I nosebleed with fandom, and I am happy for you. I see it as a good sign. I do not know enough to tell you what card to liken this event to. But if you go back to the start of the month, your predictions, I promise you saw this event coming. (Its awsome, GO CAPS, see you on News Years day night, Ill be several sections away, but ready to cheer, in the new year!!!!)

4. jennifer - March 2, 2009

Hi Travis!

I just read the blog about us meeting! That was a fun day for all of us and I greatly appreciate your kind words. I will see you again at the Verizon Center for sure!

P.S. Hoping your prediction comes true! LOL!


CapitalSpirit - March 2, 2009

I’m blushing like mad. If I had my cloak on right now, my face would match it.

You’re too kind, Jennifer, and I still think you’re WAY out of my league. But I’ll see you at the Phone Booth, I’m sure. Maybe one day I won’t feel like I’m totally in over my head when that smile of yours lights up the whole building.–CS

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