OBE and Ovi at the Capitals Convention

In the spirit of the start of hockey season today, I thought that I would briefly evaluate on an experience I had this weekend. I had the privilege to attend the Capitals convention, held by Washington Capitals NHL hockey team. 

Many people would know that I am a huge mark for Washington DC sports. As far as Washington professional hockey is concerned, my appreciation for it is no exception. I do admit that I haven't followed this team as long as many of the die-hards our there, but I have followed them a lot longer than most of the bandwagon fans that has recently followed this team during the past couple of years when the team just started getting good. I have followed this team during their perennial playoff runs, as well as their first Stanley Cup run in the late 1990s, and have been interested with them ever since. From the acquisition by Ted Leonsis, to the signing of Jaromir Jagr (ugh), to drafting of all the young stars, and the eventual rebuild to prominence, I have been followed this team for more than a decade.

Since this team has captured a part of my heart, I figured I'd show some support and attend this event. I wanted to see what it was like. I wasn't able to attend the previous year's convention, and I heard the experience was pretty good. From the revealing of the 2011 Winter Classic Jersey, to the return of Olie the Goalie to the Capitals organization, there were definitely a lot of things to look forward to in this convention. There were also lots of opportunities to take pictures with players, autograph sessions, panel discussions, and even lots of things for the kids (such as games, street hockey, etc). There were also plenty of opportunities for local vendors to showcase their wares.

To get to my experience, I wanted to absorb the atmosphere, do as much as I can, and meet as many players and alumni as I can. In reality, it was a bit impossible to do all that... so I had to narrow it down to a few main objectives to try to accomplish. Meet Alex Ovechkin, shake hands with Ted Leonsis, get some Winter Classic Gear, and hopefully get something for free that my nephew might like. I was able to do 3 out of those 4 things.

After the Winter Classic gear was revealed, I thought I would get some kind of WC paraphernalia. Therefore, I decided to get a John Carlson #74 Winter Classic shirt. This convention was the only absolute place to get gear like this. I also bought a big magnet of the W eagle logo to stick on my car (which along with the Nationals' "DC" logo, is one of my favorite logos in sports).

As far as possibly getting something for my nephew, I was able to snatch a huge Alex Ovechkin poster for him when the cheerleaders were throwing free stuff out. I was about to get him a Slapshot (the Caps' mascot) bobblehead, but some inconsiderate middle-aged man snatched it from my hand when the cheerleader threw it to my direction. I was honestly pretty upset when that happened and was about ready to curse out and fight the old man, since I was going to give it to my nephew and the old man had 3 posters already. However, my pacifistic side got the better of me. Instead of the bobblehead, I was able to get the poster. I did almost hurt myself getting it though, because if grown men are desperate to snatch prizes away from others, then I had to be more aggressive. So, I had to dive to get a prize. I don't know if Joey can appreciate this yet, since he's not the sports fan like I am, but as he grows up and gets more interested in sports, I'm sure he will.

But speaking of Ovechkin, as good as having a poster of him was, I am glad to say that I have had the pleasure of meeting him. I had "meeting an MVP" in my bucket list, so it was important for me to meet him. Therefore, I signed up for a picture opportunity with him. I had to shell out a few extra bucks to do so, but I felt it was worth it. The picture turned out nice. Take a look...

Meeting him ended up being the highlight of my day. And although I slightly upset his reps by doing so (since I apparently held up the line for two very long seconds *sarcasm*), I got to give him that copy of "You Are Awesome". He's already accomplished a lot, so he doesn't need to read it to be reminded of being awesome... but it couldn't hurt. I also did give a copy of the book to one of his lesser known teammates, Mathieu Perreault during the autograph session. Perreault has been re-assigned to AHL's Hershey Bears, so I'm sure it can impact him more if he reads it.

But, as you may guess, the one thing that I didn't get to accomplish was to meet the Caps' owner Ted Leonsis. If you have read this blog previously, you would know how much respect I have for the guy, and I even have meeting him in my bucket list. I wanted to personally thank him for the impact he had in my life, and in philosophies, and I was hoping that I would have gotten him to sign my copy of his book "The Business of Happiness". To me, meeting him would be like meeting Donald Trump for most people. The bright side is, since I do plan on being plugged in to this area and attending a few Caps and Wizards games/events, I'm sure I'll eventually get a chance to meet him.

But, overall, the convention was definitely a great experience. Sure it wasn't perfect, as there were long and confusing lines, crowded areas, rude people and staff members, but it was still a great event that I would recommend that fans of not only the Washington Capitals, but fans of hockey can enjoy. Whatever mistakes they made, will eventually be corrected the following years, knowing the organization that's running it. And as someone who has been around his share of events, and appreciate event management and community engagement, I really found this event worthwhile. It can also be a great event to take the kids (so long as they can appreciate it). There's something for everyone.

But, I figured I'd it's appropriate to talk about this experience, not only because the NHL season started today and I'm pumped about it... but also to again remind all my readers that it is important to do what you like, invest in your interests, meet your heroes, and have as much fun as you can. And in some points, if the situation isn't the best, you still have to make the best of it. Out-of-the-box empowerment? You're damn right it is.

OBE and Ovi? You bet! No 6 degrees of separation needed here. :-)


PS: Let's go Caps!

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