My Brief Meeting With Brendan
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My Meetings With Brendan

The date was December 30th, 1999. I had been waiting for this day for a long time. For months I had been trying to work out a date to go to a Devils practice with my dad to see Brendan and get his autograph. I knew I had to go quickly. Rumors of Brendan getting traded were all over the news, you couldn't avoid it. I never got a chance to meet Brian Rolston, which I could kick myself for never going to a practice all those years he was on the team. I wasn't about to let that happen again.

So, anyway, it was December 30th. I woke up my dad when he told me to, and then he told me to chill out because there were still 4 hours till the practice started. I knew my dad. We were going to be late.

We got out of the house at around 1:30 or so. The practice was starting, and we still had to pick up my cousin. We practically sped to the arena after picking up my cousin. When we got there I, along with my cousin and my brother (who is a Ranger fan =() had to shove our way to the front of the line. (Well, to the front of the rope, for those of you who know what I am talking about.) I took my binoculars out, looking for Brendan of course, and spotted him on the other side of the ice. One by one the players started coming off. I got autographs from Scott Gomez, Jay Pandolfo, Krzysztof Oliwa, and Brendan!! At that time Scotty Gomez had just scored the hat trick in NY and I managed to get out "Congrautlations on your hat trick." Anyway....I just basically asked all of them for autographs, nothing more.

That was it for inside. The players went inside a little meeting room for a press conference. It wasn't very short, it took like an hour, while a dozen fans (including myself) were outside freezing. A half an hour before the meeting let out, a Corvette sped away and I mean SPED away. Later we learned from Robbie Ftorek that it was Petr Sykora. (GOD, that car can go fast.) Randy McKay came out 15 minutes later. I thought this was so sad because this girl looked to be no more than 10 was wearing a McKay jersey and she really loved him. He comes out in his car and goes "Sorry guys, can't sign autographs. Gotta get to my wife." The girl was really upset. =(

Following those two speed demons were a whole bunch of guys, which were Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias, Scott Niedermayer, Sheldon Souray, Lyle Odelein, Martin Brodeur, Claude Lemieux, Brendan Morrison, Sergei Brylin, Bobby Holik, and Scott Stevens. I thought all the guys were extremely nice, especially Sheldon Souray. I was very surpised though on the behavior of Scott Stevens and Bobby Holik. They were driving together and people were trying to get their autographs but they just sped away, didn't even care. Claude Lemiuex, after hearing him talk to fans, he seems to have a bit of bitterness about him that isn't too attractive. But nobody's perfect.

I got all of those guys' autographs, (except for Claude Lemieux). But the real reason why I wrote tell how I felt when I met Brendan.

He was talking to some fan in his car and of course, being the maniac that I am, spotted him right away. Then I walked up to him after getting the brilliant idea to get a picture taken with him. Timidly I asked "Brendan, can I take a picture with you?" He said sure so like all of the sudden out of the blue my dad says "Please don't say no. I'll never live it down." I was pretty mad because it kind of ruined the moment but oh well. My dad took the picture and I now have it developed and it's displayed proudly on my mirror. I dunno, Brendan seems like such a sweetheart. Him and Sheldon Souray. But that was my day. Pretty SWEET.

*Sorry, this was pretty boring, huh? But I enjoyed writing it, and that's all that counts.*

Version 2.0
March 6, 2010 was a somewhat cold day in Arlington, VA and the Capitals game day skate had ended several hours ago. Myself and my two friends were among a crowd of eager fans waiting for autographs, but as time passed the herd thinned down to just the three of us. The parking deck was quiet and we were listening to anything that sounded like feet going down stairs. Brendan was the last player still inside, everyone else had left hours ago. We were huddling together for warmth when we heard something in the doorway, and then the door swung open. Brendan Morrison was right in front of me. Like, 10 feet away. My hero from the time I was 13 years old, in my presence. I had sent him something in the mail a couple of weeks prior which basically stated everything I had wanted to say but probably wouldn't be able to get out in front of him. So, he knew who I was. He greeted me with a warm smile, and upon noticing my Linkopings jersey a conversation sparked. He seemed impressed/weirded out when I told him I owned every single jersey he ever wore. It was then when I presented him with my Capitals Morrison jersey that he personalized with To Melissa, #1 fan, Brendan Morrison. As one could expect, my thoughts were whizzing around my head and as a result I was talking a mile a minute. I managed to ask him a couple of questions which he so graciously answered: 1) For the record, Brendan Shanahan never did apologize to Brendan after knocking his teeth out, cutting his cheek open and cutting his gums. No biggie, right? Or, if you're as outraged as I am, he can be contacted at @nhlshanny on twitter. Give him a piece of your mind, I did. 2) He believes he has a couple more years left in him. 3) When the "r" word does happen, he doesn't know if he'll end up cheering for friends or for a whole team, but if he were to cheer for a team it would most likely be the Canucks. (Ok, so that wasn't ground breaking material, but they had been weighing on my mind for years.) Usually when you hear interviews from hockey players you can tell some of the answers are the 'what you want to hear' answers, so I was honored at how honest and open he was with me. I told him about this website, to which he responded 'Oh yeah, I've seen it'. Embarrassing, I hardly touch this any more! He was more than understanding about how outdated it was. And even though the day I met him was the first day all season where he didn't have his partial in (again, thanks Brendan Shanahan, class act), he was more than willing to take a picture with me. I had waited ten years for this moment, so it took a couple of tries to get it right and all the while he could not have been more patient. After a bit more small talk and me praising him up and down about his game and him as a person, I ran out of steam and he politely bowed out. As he was leaving I asked him for a hug, and he obliged. Just an all-around class act. I had gone to KCI that day hoping for a 2 minute conversation (which is long compared to what you get from most of the other guys), and what I got was a one-on-one 10 minute session with my hero. I'll never forget that day.
.....but it gets better!
The picture of him and I came out nicely, so I used the CVS in the Ballston Mall to print it out. This was two days later, mind you. I went to the practice in hopes that I could get him to sign it. Sometimes before practice starts you can yell to the players before they take the ice and they'll come over and sign. I saw him that morning and yelled, 'Brendan!' (original, right?) and he came right over. I thanked him for coming over and handed him the picture. He took it, and wrote on it, To Melissa, Thanks for your support! Brendan Morrison. He remembered my name!!!! From two days prior, and spelled it right!!! It's little things like that when I remember just how special he is. This is why I'll always admire him, people like him don't come around very often.
So thank you if you're reading this Brendan Morrison. It may have been just a couple minutes for you, but it's a story I can tell for the rest of my life. A classier guy in the NHL does not exist.