ovechkin-nickp2

Photo: Nick P.

I thought it was a slam dunk. On Thursday night when I published an article promoting Alex Ovechkin’s appearance at an Alexandria, Virginia Verizon Wireless store, I thought our readers would send us back a bunch of happy stories about meeting The Great Eight.

The signed postcard everyone received.

The signed postcard everyone received.

And while we got some of those, unfortunately the responses we got back Friday night were mostly negative. I think for good reason too.

Many Caps fans battled rush hour traffic on the beltway (some even drove a couple of hours), to make one of Ovechkin’s rare public appearances. Fans brought jerseys, sticks, and photos to get signed. They were excited.

When they got there though, they were told “no photos” and that Ovechkin would sign only a small postcard which basically equated to a Verizon Wireless ad. In some ways, the rules were understandable: a lot of people showed up (reportedly a few hundred) and Verizon wanted to get them all through the line. I get that. But the lack of communication ahead of time by Verizon, destroyed a lot of people’s expectations upon arriving.

For one fan, the most biting moment was when after he was told no photos, he watched as Ovechkin posed inside with all of the Verizon Wireless employees.

Though, because you guys are you, you made the most of it anyways. Some of you even broke the rules. So punk rock.

Your Stories

Via Nick P.:

ovechkin-nickp

I work as a Graphic Designer for the Fastsigns about a block from the Verizon Store Ovi was at so this was very convenient for me. The “Meet and Greet” or whatever they called it was lame. You got to wait in a long, cold line and they didn’t even allow personal items to be autographed. I had an Ovechkin Mr. Potato Head and a painting I did awhile ago in college I wanted him to sign. Also, they didn’t even allow people to get nice photos taken with him. They were moving the lines along as quickly as they possibly could and all you got was a postcard advertisement for Verizon with Ovi’s picture on it. I broke the rules though and asked him if I could get a quick picture. He looked around confused for a second as if he were going to ask for permission because of course he doesn’t run the show. So I then broke out the phone, reversed the camera, he said “Do it”, and I took a blurry selfie with the mighty Captain of the Washington Capitals. Yup, I broke the rules.

Via Justin C.:

ovechkin-justinc

Thought I’d share my story of meeting Ovi with you guys. I’m from Harrisonburg, VA and was going to be heading up to Baltimore today anyway to watch JMU in the CAA basketball tournament so I thought it seemed like a great opportunity and one that is regret passing up when I saw your tweet last night about Ovi at this Verizon in Alexandria. We ended up getting ready to leave later than we meant to(well my mom did) and were kind of getting to the point of wondering if there was even any point in trying to meet him since we assumed it would be a crazy amount of people there, but I figured worst case is missing part of the 8/9 game and best case is getting to meet Alex Ovechkin so we decided to go for it. Once we got there we were really surprised to see that the line wasn’t very bad at all. I took a picture through the window not realizing I was only going to have to wait a couple minutes until I was face to face with him. Once we got to him the one disappointing part of it was that they weren’t letting people take pictures and were really moving people along quickly, but I still got a picture off to the side with him in the background and my mom and I got a few words in with him. We thanked him and told him we love him and that it was awesome meeting him and I told him I’m glad his dad is ok and he smiled and thanked us and told us it was nice meeting us too. Overall awesome experience, never would’ve imagined a few days ago I’d get to meet Ovi today! I appreciate you guys tweeting/posting about him being there today, I probably wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. Go Caps!!!

Via Laura F.:

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It was great! Ovi was SO nice. I could tell that he was surprised by my Russian greetings and manners. I practiced how to say “hello, pleased to meet you, thank you, and good luck” in Russian! He didn’t say much, but he gladly signed my jersey, and a puck, AND even posed for a pic with me!!!! All this, despite the fact that the Verizon staff insisted this was not going to be allowed. There was a Verizon promo pic that they had for him to sign for everyone. But they ushered us through there so fast that he was almost done meeting everyone 1/2 hour before the designated end time. I knew that was my chance to get my stuff autographed and the pic taken, so I quickly got in the back of the end of the line. It certainly paid off and I was amused that he knew what I had done because he said “back again” and smiled. He continued to sign and pose for pics with others who asked – even holding babies on his lap…maybe he’s ready to be a dad! Speaking of dad’s, he said his father is doing much better. Thank you RMNB for alerting me to this event. Like most of us die-hards, I’ve tried many times to get Ovi to stop and sign an autograph at Kettler with absolutely no luck. So, this was a triumphantly successful and exciting day for this Caps gal!!!

Via Jonathan A.:

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He was only signing pre printed cards and staff were strict about pictures and stuff but here’s Ovi!

I told him he was the best and he said thank you in the awesome broken English ever!

Also, I snuck a picture anyways because… because… hockey!

From Alyce M. (this is really adorable):

ovechkin-alyce

You might have seen me refer to my son, Tyler, in the comments section. He is a huge Steve O fan. Hockey/The Caps are his entire world. (That’s a long story I’ll save for the end of the season when you really will need a feel good story.)

Anyway, as you’ve probably heard by now, yesterday, Ovi was only signing little cards given out by the store. But, Tyler has been wanting to have his Ovi doll signed for for over a year now. Short of letting him skip school to catch Ovi on a quiet day (which I did to get his jersey signed because #Capslove), I didn’t know how to make this happen.

Until yesterday…. I hid the doll in my purse as my heart sank watching person after person get turned down as they asked for their stuff to get autographed. When it was our turn, Tyler handed him the doll and asked very sweetly. I gave Ovi a look that said, “ohfortheloveofgodpleasedoit!!!!”. He gave one of his awesome Ovi smiles and said, “Of course”. He was very nice about it. Tyler screamed with excitement and Ovi started to giggle. I mumbled something cheesy about how sweet he was and thanked him profusely.

It was such a great experience. Ovi really is #thebest!

And finally from Katie B. (who wins the award for most creative):

ovi-raptor

Did you guys know there was a real dinosaur called the Oviraptor? It means “egg thief”, and that’s exactly what it did. It found other dinosaurs’ nests and stole eggs from them. He broke open the eggs with his big beak and ate them. They even look alike!

I made this miraculous discovery in a coloring book while I was babysitting last year and since then I’ve wanted to share it with the world, and perhaps make a buck or two while i’m at it. T shirts? Yes.

Anyways when my friend and I heard about the event at the Verizon store, we knew what had to be done. Turns out he hadn’t heard of this dinosaur either, but was definitely amused and a good sport about it. I had to be extra sneaky and fast to get him to sign it since I had a very narrow window of opportunity but I seized it and am so glad I did. If only I could have had the time to explain the picture further to him. Make him see the light… this is a real dinosaur and you ARE the Oviraptor! Reincarnation anyone?

You guys rule.

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  • Smiley456

    Smiley loves OV. Smiley grrrrs at Verizon.

  • Hockey mom

    They are opening a Verizon Wireless store in my neighborhood soon, I wonder if they will do this kind of event for the grand opening?

  • William

    yeah. I hate when companies try to implement their marketing into things like this. It makes me not want to buy their products.

  • VeggieTart

    I can understand no photos for someone this popular. But not being able to have your own thing signed is ridiculous. Give a limit of one item. Sheesh.

  • OlietheGoalie

    I love Ovi. If he is aware of the “No photography” rule, and I’m sure he is since he’s the face of the franchise/the Verizon Center, he certainly gives no f*cks about it and will happily take pictures with anyone and everyone.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Such is Capitalism!

  • William

    Their Capitalism skills suck.

  • Chip

    While I think it’s pretty obvious that this wasn’t due to Ovi himself, every time I’ve met or tried to meet him he’s been a jerk. The last time I tried to meet him he refused to sign for a little kid.

  • Yo8

    He seems like he was willing to sign those stuffs and take pictures with all those people if weren’t for Verizon. Why he wasn’t a Jerk to that kid and signed his doll? The problem is that people who complaint don’t get that some will get that opportunity while others will miss it.

  • Myan

    Are the chances of him wearing sweatpants under that table greater than 99%?

  • Batman

    I’ve been snubbed by him on 3 different occasions. Kinda lost respect for him after 3 tries. All I wanted was a photo or an autograph. Other guys have been super nice each time. So I don’t understand it. Have to mention that if you’re a pretty girl you will not have a problem getting an autograph or picture.

  • Owen Johnson

    I turned around when I saw the line. Glad I did. However I did dorta end up meeting him today. I went to Kettler with my nephews and brother. We waited outside to maybe meet some players. Ovi came out, didn’t sign autographs, but smiled and said hello to everybody and gave a few people high fives.
    Also I am a huge Caps fan and dino- nerd. How did I not make the connection between Oviraptor and Ovi-raptor?

  • Yo8

    And the boy with the signed doll is a pretty girl? He is cute but definitely not a girl! The Caps mom blogger’s son (I believe) got his jersey signed like a bunch of times. Like I said some will get it and others will miss it. Some people get their autographs on the first try while others will struggle. If you really want it, then you should try until you get it instead of whining and calling him a jerk over something he is not really forced to do. If you don’t want it anymore that’s fine, but let me enjoy these people’s stories about how he was a jerk and didn’t sign their things and didn’t took pictures with them during this stupid Verizon event sort of thing.

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lv53659wg51qgpp96.gif

  • Batman

    I never called him a jerk and I’m allowed to have an opinion. If you traveled from another country to meet him each time and he snubbed you each time yet signed autos and took photos with half naked girls beside you I think you’d be pretty disappointed too.

  • Laura F.

    Actually, he was wearing a pair of very light colored jeans (see attached pic). I was surprised he wasn’t wearing any Caps gear.

  • Laura F.

    Thanks for reposting my story RMNB!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Thanks for sharing, Laura! :D

  • Myan

    Dressed up Ovi!

  • James Desautels

    Ive met him a few times and hes actually been pretty nice. You have to consider that most of the other Caps (with the exception of maybe Greenie, Nicky, and Carly-now that he was an olympian) can walk around in their daily life rather normally without photos being taken everywhere and fans asking for autographs every time they spot you. He cant even go to a grocery store without a crowd, so comparing him to other guys who arent worldwide faces of hockey and Nike isnt fair. Id like to think if I were a sports icon id sign things every time a fan asked, but then i remember how annoying it is sometimes to get home with groceries and realize i forgot milk, so you run back out and waste another 30 min round trip. Now imagine if that takes 3 hours because you dont want to turn a fan down. You have to draw the line somewhere unfortunately. He is a human being when hes not the russian machine 3 or 4 nights per week.

  • Yo8

    “he’s been a jerk…”
    Well, if you would have said he acted like a jerk, then you would be right about that. To begin not doing what you want isn’t exactly the definition of a jerk or being a jerk or acting like a jerk. Again, he is not forced to give you a free autograph.

    “I’m allowed to have an opinion.”
    You do but the smiling kid with his signed doll is more interesting then your sob story. Just my opinion.

    “he snubbed you each time yet signed autos and took photos with half naked girls beside you I think you’d be pretty disappointed too.”

    First, I don’t dress half naked. Second, I’m not stupid to travel from one country to another just to get an autograph so I don’t know how that feels and I’m not likely to feel it in the future.

  • Batman

    Are you even reading what I wrote? I never called him a jerk and I never said you dress half naked. Learn how to read and answer a post properly.

  • Batman

    Stop putting words in my mouth. Calling me stupid because I’m a caps fan from another country and travel to see my favorite team and players play and wanting a picture or autograph? Real mature. Glad Caps fans are so nice.

  • Yo8

    Again, you said he was being a jerk and is up there and by saying that I suppose you meant he was being a jerk for not doing something that he is not forced to do. I don’t think I said you said I dress half naked. I just stated the fact that I don’t dress like that and I have no idea about how that works. Also, I would like to add that there are more pictures of fully dressed young, old, skinny and curvy women by Ovechkin’s side than half naked girls so I don’t know where you get that is easier that way. I’m sure if I ever ask him to sign or take a picture with me I won’t be half naked since that doesn’t seem to be necessary.

  • Yo8

    But I didn’t say you were stupid. I said “I’m not stupid to travel from one country to another just for an autograph…” That’s different than saying “you are stupid” ;)

    Also, I didn’t say anything about traveling to watch your favorite team and players is stupid so I don’t know what are you talking about Bahaha!

  • Batman

    Again I never said he was being a jerk read the username properly. It wasn’t me who wrote that. There’s a difference between the username Chip and the username Batman. Goodnight Gotham.

  • Yo8

    Oops! No, I think I need glasses since my license renewal was revoked. Sorry about that but I still stand for the rest. Half naked, really? No, I don’t think so. You didn’t call him a jerk but I don’t think the half naked comment is fair for Ovi. Looking at the ridiculous responses to his “snubs” makes me glad you people got nothing from him. He is a person unless you people actually think he is a machine and again he is not forced to give anyone anything even if you came from the other side of the world.

  • Patricia Dunlap Maryniak

    Love hearing the stories. We met Ovi a few years ago. He went out of his way to sign my son’s Ovechkin shirt. That was one of the greatest moments of my life.