November 14, 2013

One Fan and Three Players

On Sunday November 7, the Los Angeles Kings fanned out to six different ice rinks to sign autographs and conduct on-ice hockey clinics for kids.

At first, I was pissed disappointed at the players who had been assigned to the Valencia Ice Station--Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan, Jake Muzzin, and Dwight King. They aren't the most popular players on the team. I went back and forth all morning about whether I wanted to go or not. I've never gone to a signing event and my jersey had no signatures.

My husband, who shall heretofore be known as Mr. Sir and younger son, Vibrato, convinced me to go. After work at around 11:30, Vibrato cruised by the ice rink to scope out the line. There were only about 20 people. Not bad! I could deal with that. If it had been a zoo, I wouldn't have bothered. But 20 was manageable. After I put on a little makeup--damned if I'm going to meet some hockey players and not look halfway decent--Mr. Sir and I got into the car. On my lap I had three vital things: my laptop, so I could continue plugging away on IN THE ZONE Book #2, my Dustin Brown jersey, and my LA Kings advent calendar.

We got there and there were only about 30 people in line. It was fun. I wrote about 200 words, talked with other fans, watched some wannabe figure skaters and a couple of guys in Blackhawk jerseys. (Boooo!) We also heard that Clifford would not be coming because he'd been injured in the game the previous night.

The players were very nice and they looked so young and fresh and much smaller without all their gear on. We were only allowed one item per fan, so I carried the advent calendar and my husband took the Dustin Brown jersey. The staff member managing the line loved my calendar and offered to take our picture with the players in the background. Poor choice on her part, the photo was horribly backlit.

By the time we were done with posing, they were ready for us. I had planned to thank them for coming out to the Santa Clarita Valley when clearly everyone else didn't want to. I had meant to congratulate King and Nolan on a fantastic game just the night before or even to ask how Nolan's hand was, since he'd injured it in a fight.

But no.

I basically said, "Hi," handed each player the calendar to sign, then muttered "Thanks" before moving to the next player.  Obviously, I'm a great conversationalist.

Mr. Sir was slightly more poised than I was. He apologized to each guy, "Sorry it says Brown" "Sorry it says Brown." When we got to the final player, Jake Muzzin, he ad libbed a little, "Sorry it says Brown. I couldn't find one that said Muzzin."

Muzzin who looked so so very young in person in just a T-shirt, jeans and a hat, paused thoughtfully and responded, "I don't think they even make a Muzzin one."

I thought that was hilarious. He wasn't upset at all; he was just stating a fact. It just reinforced my impression that hockey players are incredibly humble. The nature of the game is so team oriented that they can't take themselves too seriously. Every man does his part to the best of his ability, always thinking of the team and his teammates before himself.

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