YOU GUYS LOOK AT THIS.
That’s MY name. On the FRONT ROW of the WHITE HOUSE event with the PENGUINS and the CUP and POTUS. Yesterday was amazing!
First, we got to the White House, where I apparently did not set off any security alerts. Good thing they don’t read this blog. After having our IDs checked, bags x-rayed and bodies metal detected by extremely friendly Secret Service agents, we were sniffed by a bomb dog who I didn’t even get to see! I bet he was cute. I got over that when we entered the fancy State Floor antechamber and spent 45 minutes pretending not to edge ever closer to the main door. Mario walked by. I acted cool. No sense in getting tossed out before the show.
When doors opened, there was the Cup, shining like a diamond on the stage. We walked past seats reserved to Members of Congress, and there was my name on practically the closest seat in the entire event to the Cup. Don’t ask how I got it – my Fairy Godsister made it happen and now I owe her. I don’t know what could repay this. Organ donation? And not an organ that humans have two of and can spare one.
We marveled at this fact for a good long while, taking pictures of/with Stan (that’s what I call him now that we’re friends who’ve spent time together.) Several active duty servicemen were on hand to ensure that
we people didn’t hug touch the cup, since it was just sitting on a table like it wanted to validate your parking ticket.
After the band played “Fields of Gold” by Sting 26 times, the team was announced. The audience stood and they guys streamed in, dark-suited and not a one of them looking like they could punch your lights out. Every woman in the room moved her wedding ring to the opposite hand. On either side of me, friends asked, “Who’s the one with the hair?” only they meant different guys – Hagelin and Letang. No Sid yet.
When the applause and brief “Let’s Go Pens” chant died out, we all stood awkwardly in silence. For a long time. It was like a Catholic wedding full of non-Catholics who are unsure when it’s okay to sit back down. Then the band finished the only other song they know and the President, Bettman, Burkle, Mario and Sid were announced.
Obama went to the podium. Mario and Burkle took his left, and Bettman and Sid took the right. Right by the Cup. RIGHT BY ME. The Queen of England’s didn’t have this good a seat at Will & Kate’s wedding.
Obama’s speech was great. Of course he has the best speechwriters in the world, but they hit the nail on the head with the hockey jokes and Pens’ inside references, and POTUS delivered it like he spent last season watching ROOT Sports and reading WUYS. We could not have written it better ourselves! And every time he looked toward the Cup or Sid, he was looking right at us.
After the speech, the Pens did the jersey presentation, then brought the Cup back to the group for a photo. Which meant I got to see this in more scope and detail than an IMAX 3D movie:
When time machines are invented, you know where to find me.
The President shook some politicians’ hands, waved to us as if we’d catch up at happy hour, and headed out… leaving us all standing awkwardly again, waiting for permission to leave. Or confirmation that no one would be tackled for moving. I kept my seat for fear that Secret Service had, during the event, Googled the people in the front row. The team was eventually released to exit, walking past us and the Cup one by one like the eveningwear portion of the Miss America pageant. And then, briefly before we left, it was just us at the Cup again, like old times.
Here’s the full video:
This was quite the kickoff to the 2016-2017 season. I blindly insist my team will win the Cup every season, but this year, I say it with confidence. With hope. And because I would really like to attend this event in October 2017, and watch Hilary stand in front of Letang, Crosby and Co., look right into the camera, and ask Bill if she should hire any interns.
PS: If you read this before 2:03PM, I made some edits. Remember on Sex and the City, when Carrie knew she really liked the guy because she couldn’t remember what he looked like? Well I was that excited.