Every so often you have one of those nights that's going to stick with you. Tonight was that night for my oldest son, Brendan, and in turn for me.
On Tuesday this week I told Brendan I'd take him to the Blue Jackets game tonight if he wanted to go, and he did. He laid his jersey out on the chair this morning, and when I got home at 5:15 he was asking when we'd leave. I ask who his favorite player was, knowing the response was going to be a rather loud "RICKY NASH!"
So, off to the Jackets game we go, ready to watch them whip up on the Blues. The game had very little whipping, and it was a one goal game for the most part. Blues up one, Zherdev ties it. Blues up again, Vyborny ties it. Blues up one more time, Hrdina ties it with about 13 minutes to go. As soon as it was tied, Brendan says, "I'm ready to see a shootout, dad!" I told him he had to get through overtime, which required the Jackets to kill about 1:40 of penalty time at the end to get to the shootout, they did.
In the shootout, Denis stops the first shooter then Balastik misses for the Jackets. Denis stops the second guy from the Blues, and out onto the ice steps #61 along with cheers beside me of, "LET'S GO RICKY NASH!!!!" Nash, being Nash, scores an absolute amazing goal by crashing the crease and one handing the puck around the goalie and into the net. The place erupts, as it should after seeing that. Denis stops the last puck, and the game is over, Jackets win 4-3 in a shootout.
Now's when the fun starts... :)
We're pretty good friends with Dan Singleton, the video coordinator with the Jackets, and his wife, Karin, emailed me earlier in the week to see if we'd be interested in meeting Dan downstairs following the game. Since Brendan was going along, I took her up on the invite, but didn't tell him about it. When we met up near the staris, his face lit up at the possibility of meeting "a hockey player."
We got downstairs and stood behind the barrier and saw hockey players going past, Brendan asking who each one was and dad doing his best to figure them out without numbers. (Dad did alright, too, even recognized a couple of the St. Louis guys.) While we were standing there, one of the managers from the Blues walked up and gave him an official Blues game puck. That was pretty cool to a six year old, didn't matter that it said Blues on it, either.
Of course, we're waiting on one specific guy to come out, and it's getting late. "Where's Ricky Nash, dad?" was asked a few times. Finally, he stepped around the corner, and Brendan went silent. Other kids are getting cards and stuff signed by anybody that will walk out, so he notices he has a puck in his hand. A few of the players wives were standing there, so Adam Foote's wife scrapes up a silver puck signing pen, gives it to Brendan, and he's all set. He strides up to Nash, coming allllll the way up to mid-thigh on Rick, and holds the puck and pen out. Rick obliges, smiles, and hands it back...and thoroughly made a six year olds day, week, possibly year. Nash didn't say a word, just bent down, signed it, and handed it back. The look on Brendan's face was priceless.
Of course, that's where the silence portion ends. He was so excited and proud of his newly signed puck that I heard it recounted a number of times on the way home. Before the garage door had shut he was upstairs telling his mom. I have no doubt that all the grandparents will know about this before they have their morning coffee.
Oh, and stupid dad owns a camera phone, and has uttered the words, "I have NO use for a camera in my phone," a few hunnert times. And, I didn't use it for this either...forgot all about it.
But, that's how Brendan went from just going to see the game with dad to getting quite possibly the only Rick Nash autographed St. Louis Blues puck in existance.