Caps vs. Bolts – Game 1

30 Apr

In which I totally miss my chance to meet Steven Stamkos.

Friday morning I hatch a master plan.  Gator is going to marry Steven Stamkos, move back to Florida and live near the Yuengling brewery in TB.  WUYS Remote HQ.  She takes one look at his presh face and agrees.

After lunch, I pass a bunch of fans in Lightning gear standing outside the hotel next to my office.  Okay, I guess the team is staying there.  Gator informs me that all the visiting teams stay there.  RIGHT.  [Files away for October.]

At the game, warm-up skate is packed but we weave right behind the bench/along the tunnel to the locker room.  Prime viewing.  Mike Green is indeed on the ice [dance of joy] without his helmet [fans self].  Neuvy shows off his splits, everyone is very serious and Gator is on her tiptoes looking the wrong way trying to see Stammer.  We are already hysterically laughing.

Our seats are one row from the top.  It is the loudest place I’ve ever been – louder than an *N Sync concert, louder than a shuttle launch.  We have to scream to each other and there’s so much red it’s dizzying.  The Bolts score immediately but you can’t even hear the siren.  Sasha Fierce delivers 2 min later I think the building will actually collapse.

Back with chicken tenders and beer for the 2nd,  Eric Fehr scores.  Amidst flying french fries, we name Ketchup the Official Condiment of the Capitals.  It rocks the red.  Feel free to yell it when they score.  Ten minutes of intense hockey follow.  Gator gets distracted and says “Steven!” every once in a while.  I’ve created a monster, but it’s hard not to watch him skate.

Then things start to fall apart.  The Caps movement gets heavy and every time they approach the blue line, the puckhandler cuts right and puts the wingers off-sides.  Three, four times in a row.  The Bolts get a goal and then history repeats itself.  I missed Mike Green once because I was in the bathroom.  Well Gator goes and Stamkos promptly scores her a goal.

The third period… is awful.  The Caps can barely get out of the neutral zone and not once is there a body in front of the net.  Power plays waste.  Pucks bounce out of the zone.  Total and absolute silence like an enormous library.  The Lightning win, deservedly, because the Caps were horrible for 20 min.  We do a secret squirrel victory dance when Stamkos is named First Star.

And then we go to the hotel bar.  Just to see if the Lightning come in.  There’s a huge event going on, everyone’s dressed like it’s Fashion Week and here we are: jeans, Caps shirts, I’ve been up since 4:30 AM and haven’t brushed my hair.  One drink later we give up… and run into Guy Boucher in the lobby.  OKAY.  But outside, there’s no one else and we’re tired.  Cross the street to the valet.

Our office building is open underneath with a parking garage.  We give the valet our tickets, and see the bottom half of a bus as it pulls up next to the hotel.  “I bet that’s their bus,” Gator says.  So I take off.  Sure enough – it’s full of guys in suit and who’s sitting in the window? STAMKOS.

What I did NOT do.

“Gator, I am not kidding!” I yell to her but the valet is also panicking. “Where’s your friend going?” I can hear him asking.  This is a one-way side street, maybe 30 feet across.  Steven gets off the bus, disappears behind it, and walks out alone along the sidewalk.  And I’m standing opposite, in my Caps shirt, frozen.  Total deer in the headlights.  I don’t have a camera or anything for him to sign and my brain goes all applesauce – I can’t think of anything to say.  So I stay where I am.

There’s a restaurant next to me, maybe two people outside.  Steven looks around, sees them, sees me and does a little double take.  I kind of laugh (at myself), he kind of laughs (at my shirt)… and then goes inside.  Maybe he even slows down a step but I JUST STAND THERE.  That’s it.  The failure is so epic it takes a moment to soak in.  I should clearly run into the hotel and say:

“You’re amazing and not so blond as I thought and your beard is surprisingly full and quite manly can I hug you?”

Or  “Sweet goal.  Thanks for killing the Pens too.  I’ll just lay in front of the bus you can run me over.”

Or maybe just, “Hi.  Nice game.”Ideally, I’d have said, “Can we buy you a drink?” and then watched Stevie and Gator fall in love over a $12 Bud Light.  Squishy would have been there, we’d have been invited to tomorrow’s game.  And when they come back for game 5, Steven would have brought bagels to the office with fresh Florida orange juice.

But no.  He went inside and I called Chuck and Dawn immediately to share my foolishness.  Then I took a wrong turn and ended up halfway to Baltimore.  All because Steven Stamkos made me do the fangirl freeze.

Now all we need is a Game 5, right Gator? It’s a Thursday, we’ll be at work.  We’re going to get a mulligan or I’m getting a TARDIS and going back to Friday night.  Then the Caps can win and advance and we’ll go back to keeping our eyes peeled for while Lamborghinis.

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5 Responses to “Caps vs. Bolts – Game 1”

  1. Shi April 30, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    !!!!!!!

    The fangirl freeze is a silent killer of all happily-ever-after dreams! Take a xanex and be ready for game 5!

    This is pretty fitting because I got a text this morning from my TB fan friend that says, “Apparently last night I wouldn’t shut up about about Steven Stamkos and I kept telling everyone that we were 5 years older than him but he is more successful! Finally my man friend told me to be quiet about it and I said, “You’re just jealous that I lust over 20 year old hockey players.”

    Shortly after, another text:

    “And then Crosby was on ESPN and I tried to convince everyone that he was in 98 degrees”

    Great way to start the morning!

    • Pants April 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      LOVE! Last year in the playoffs, I told everyone Crosby looked like Nick Lachey with his sad little beard-thing going on. I was right!!

  2. Cassy April 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    The fan girl freeze IS a killer. Even hits us thirtysomethings. Remember I told you about the Professor incident Pants? Not having the power of speech? Only taking me 6 months till they came to Belfast to finally manage to say thanks?! Yep. Killer. No such problem with coaches tho. Nope 😀

  3. dawncherrie April 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Waited 20 years to meet my dream person and I’ll I could do was cry at him. But it got me a hug. But I had him cornered in a room. If I had had to actually approached him, it would NEVER have happened. 🙂

  4. Brittany May 1, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    Greatest. Story. Ever.

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