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.
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.
— Deb Herzfeld (@sharfwoman) March 7, 2014
Though, because you guys are you, you made the most of it anyways. Some of you even broke the rules. So punk rock.
Via Nick P.:
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.:
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.:
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.:
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):
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):
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.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) March 7, 2014
— Stacie Harwood (@Sweetone85) March 7, 2014
— Mary Carpenter (@Softbl15) March 7, 2014
— aaron_baum (@aaron_baum) March 7, 2014
— Deb Herzfeld (@sharfwoman) March 7, 2014