McKayla Maroney Is Impressed By Her New Capitals Hat

McKayla Maroney and President Barack Obama not impressed with meeting each other.

Photo by Kayvon Sari (@TheAbsolomb)

Despite a prolonged lockout, there are still Washington Capitals fans out there doing brand evangelism. These people still rep their Caps fandom, no matter how much the absence of NHL hockey bums us out. Kayvon Sari is such a man.

A few days before every blog on the internet posted that photo of Barack Obama and McKayla Maroney meeting at The White House, the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions rolled into town. The tour– including the gold medal-winning Fab Five of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber– features gymnasts pairing their talents with performance art. Following on the heels of the London Summer Olympics, the tour has sold out venues across the country.

17-year-old Kayvon Sari, a native of Bethesda and a former gymnast himself, had tickets for the show at the Verizon Center on November 12. A huge fan of Maroney, Kayvon was well aware that the smirking gymnast would be visiting Washington DC for the first time. He wanted to give her a souvenir to commemorate the visit.

The previous Christmas, Sari, who has been to five hockey games, was given a fitted Capitals hat from one of his dad’s co-workers. Not much of a hat person, Kavyon allowed the hat to collect dust in his room. As the Caps are still DC’s most winningest team, Kayvon decided to re-gift the hat.  “Hockey is so fun to watch on TV or in-person, much like gymnastics,” Kayvon told me. “Though in gymnastics no one brawls.”

Kayvon packed the Caps hat with his gear and took off for the Verizon Center. When he arrived, he bought a program and took his seat. The show was predictably great (anything Nastia Liukin does is tremendous), but what happened next was even better.

Some fans were allowed to participate in a post-show meet and greet. Kayvon trudged downstairs to the locker-room area and waited. When he made it to Maroney, he handed her his program and she signed it. Then, after gathering his courage, he gave her the present.

“Her eyes opened up a bit and asked me, ‘Really?’” Kayvon said. “I insisted she keep it.” McKayla, shocked by the gesture, proudly put the Caps hat on. Kayvon then asked if he could take a picture. McKayla obliged.

“The whole experience was surreal,” Kayvon divulged. “I’m never gonna forget it.”

When Kayvon got home, he tweeted the photo to McKayla, asking her how she liked her new cap. “LOVE IT!!” Maroney responded, re-tweeting the image out to her 485,000-plus followers.

Gymnastics and hockey have little to do with each other (except when Braden Holtby does a split), but on this night the two sports collided. With that gesture, Kayvon made his favorite athlete’s night. No matter how much bickering goes on between players and owners about a new CBA, hockey is still bringing people together. Even if it is just a silly Caps hat.

Kayvon’s signed program.

Special thanks to Jordan Tenenbaum, who first told us about the photo.

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  • Sage Confucius

    That is awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikhail.pakhorukov Mikhail Pakhorukov

    Caps fans are the best. I would play my heart out for them, if i played for the Red.

  • Yo8

    Ugh! I hate American gymnasts fans.

    Calling the Russians bitches for crying and making Maroney’s bad attitude in to a joke.

    That definitely makes sense.

  • I <3 RMNB

    I wouldn’t call it a bad attitude, I’d say her judgment was blurred. Maroney did a good job of holding the tears in, especially after her unfortunate dissapointment. She was also very sweet and nice when I met her at the Tour promo. But I agree that most gym “fans” in the U.S. don’t even know the sport or anyone who isn’t the Fierce Five. Just a bunch of butthurt nationalists.

  • Yo8

    See, that’s the problem. I don’t understand why holding the tears is such a good thing and letting them out is such a bad thing.

    Anyways, I called it bad attitude because she was clearly piss and it is understandable, but letting your anger and disappointment insult others it is not. Of course, it is not a big deal because she is just a gymnasts and everyone makes mistakes, but my problem is the bias from those “fans” and how differently they took her reaction compare to the Russians crying.

  • supercontinental

    People were very upset with Mckayla too though, she apologized on twitter and since then has talked about what happened. She wasn’t disappointed at the silver, she was disappointed about her performance. Sandra Izbasa said McKayla was fine afterwards, we just don’t see everything that goes on behind the scenes.

    I’d say Paseka has a bad attitude too, she’s been mean on VK honestly. I get that she’s disappointed with bronze but what did she expect, Mckayla’s Amanar trumps hers a million times over.

  • breaklance

    Its called nationalism. I somehow doubt Vlad Russo was making fun of his own country’s crying little girls and applauding that sassy McKayla.

    But clearly you don’t understand the perception of athletes. The only emotions they are supposed to have is intensity! No crying cause you lost, or being pissed cause a ref made a bad call . Media coverage blows the tiniest things into full blown scandals and the respective leagues and associations crack down hard on “behavior unbecoming” which is why athletes have to sit back and smile and shake hands and make overly bland and sterile statements.

    Ovechkin on the bench during play gets mad and for half a second losses judgement and gets caught on camera. Blown into a full scandal that lasted weeks. Now he has the perception of being a head strong disrespectful coach killer and doesn’t follow systems (even though he completely did under Hunter). Crosby makes a comment about the reffing (which is always questionable) and does his captain’s job of talking to them in game and is billed as a cry baby across the league and by fans. We gave out pacifiers in the playoffs for him!

    Its not like athletes can apologize or control the way people view these tiny microcosms cause the internet just don’t give a shit. The media looks for these things cause they sell ads, the fans eat it up cause athletes don’t give us much else to add to our fantasy rivalries.

  • Yo8

    So athletes are not allow to act human? One thing is crying and being angry in a corner where you are not bothering anyone like the Russians girls did, but another is act like a brat towards other people like Crosby always does or what Ovi say that day and what Maroney did that day.

    Anyways, my problem is that some athletes are allow and others are not allow to show those emotions! I’m talking about gymnastics and the bias towards the Russian or any other girls from other countries compare to the Americans girls. You see an American girl crying and you will hear “poor girl she is disappointed” or “It is understandable” or “she was cheated.” The Russians “crybabies” or from the fans “bitches.”

    Look how people made Maroney’s behavior into a joke. If she would have been a Russian girl everyone would have crown her the biggest bitch in the world.

    So yeah, I would say that you are right. Athletes can afford to act human because the media and the internet doesn’t forgive anyone with the exception of some American athletes.

  • Kayvon Sari

    I still love reading this article. Still in a slight trance from last week when I gave her the hat too. It didn’t really take that much courage to be honest, as I was SURPRISINGLY calm when I met her. She was super sweet and always greeted fans with a bright smile. Seriously though, she’s a better role model than any person living in California that I can think of off the top of my head. Yes, what she did during the medal ceremony was questionable, but you can’t calculate her mental toughness. She takes her sport seriously to the point where she shows little emotion. I actually look at the Russians as taking immense pride in their sport. When they cried, they felt like they failed their country and their team. When McKayla stood there on that podium, she stood there knowing she failed herself. It really doesn’t matter what way you look at it, I have immense respect for these young girls and men for taking part in the most subjective and difficult sports. And of course, glad that McKayla has a little piece of D.C.!