(photo by Toni Sandys)
Did I ever tell you about the time I took a three-foot-tall cutout of Barack Obama to a Washington Capitals playoff game? It turns out this isn’t something that happens every day and therefore, when someone does participate in such shenanigans, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Specifically, this type of tomfoolery garners attention from the Washington Post (and also here, here and here), Puck Daddy, Pro Hockey Talk, Washington Times, ESPN’s Grantland, Toronto Sun, London Free Press, FOX Sports, Russian Machine Never Breaks, Clydeorama, We Love DC and countless others. Not only that, but I’m confident Barack Obama and I posed with at least 30 or so different Caps fans throughout the evening as well.
All of this came about because Boston goalie Tim Thomas refused to visit the White House with his teammates back in January. I mean, clearly it was his loss right? Thomas can’t imagine spending a few hours with the president of the United States, so I figured the least I could do was let him know what he was missing.
Next you thing you know, I’m at the Verizon Center with what has to be the largest Obama head known to man. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.
Here’s a shot of the president, Chad Dukes and I pausing for a photo op before jumping on 106.7 The Fan to talk Caps with Dukes and my arch nemesis, LaVar Arrington. It’s always enjoyable joining them for some local sports talk — and best of all, LaVar was too distracted by my giant Obama head to bring up Tim Tebow. Yes we can!
Once the segment ended, it was time to head down to watch warm-ups. As you can see, we were able to secure a spot fairly close to the action. And wouldn’t you know it, the Bruins players definitely noticed us. Thomas even greeted us by firing a puck at the glass in front of us as soon as he took to the ice.
And he wasn’t alone. I’d guess at least 20 or so shots were blasted at the president’s head during the course of warm-ups. If I’m being honest, the only time I got nervous was when defenseman Zdeno Chara rifled a slapshot at us. I turned to my buddy Goat and made him promise to protect us if the big man shattered the glass.
By the way, the above photo comes courtesy of Puck Daddy from their “Caps troll Tim Thomas” collection on Flickr. I guess that’s one way to look at it.
Um … yeah, I got nothing. Apparently the in-house music was playing metal or something. Don’t judge me.
During a stoppage in play, Obama and I do our best to ensure Thomas feels welcome in our nation’s capital.
But this photo, taken by the wonderful Cheryl Nichols, was absolutely the highlight of the night. As the president and I were headed to meet up with some pals during the first intermission we ran into Sen. John Kerry. Yes, that John Kerry.
Or more accurately, he noticed a grown man with a cutout of Barack Obama’s head walking nearby, chuckled and then pointed us out to his friends. At this point, I was pretty much required to do something. I mean, how often does a gentleman who once ran for president run into a moron with a larger-than-life cutout of the current president?
So I walked over, shook his hand and was about to go stand in line for another beer when Cheryl kicked me and suggested I get a photo taken with Kerry. So we did … although it was apparently past Kerry’s bedtime because he clearly had trouble keeping his eyes open.
But it doesn’t even matter. The guy was clearly a good sport and was more than happy to pose for the photo, and for that, I’d like to say thank you.
In fact, I’d like to thank everyone for playing along this evening. Nearly everyone I encountered at the Caps game was in on the joke and thought it was an amusing/harmless way to antagonize an opposing player. Thankfully, only one or two douchebags actually tried to pull a Thomas and bring politics into it.
All in all, a good time was had by all — even on a night when the Capitals fell to the Bruins 4-3.