The last thing I heard as I was leaving my girlfriend’s apartment today was: “You owe me big time, tomorrow.” Why? Because I made Ashley go with me to attend Muscle Milk’s Mike Green Autograph Signing at a Giant Food Store in the dredges of Columbia, Maryland. Did everything go smoothly? SIGH. No. Does it ever when you’re dealing with professional athletes?? Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
“But it looked so pretty from the window”
At 9:45AM this morning, Ashley’s
futuristic horns of hell alarm went off and we slowly started the process of waking up. One of the first things we noticed was all of the light that was escaping out of her bedside window. What followed was cute. Ashley curiously got up out of bed, stumbled over, slowly pushed the curtain aside, and then gently pressed down on one of the blinds. After several seconds of what seemed like intense observation, she turned to me excitedly and exclaimed “Ian! It’s such a beautiful day outside!!”
I appreciated the enthusiasm. All week, I had been so excited about actually having a Capitals player up near Baltimore. Ever since the Capitals built their beautiful practice facility in Ballston, Virginia, I’ve rarely been able to find the time to go to player appearances or events held by the club. Commuting an hour and a half on weekdays in psycho Virginia traffic is not my vision of fun. And when there are actually weekend practices at Kettler, it’s a total madhouse. Thanks but no thanks, you know?
So when I heard that Muscle Milk was doing the unthinkable and bringing the NHL’s Best Defenseman, Mike Green, up to a Giant 10 minutes away from where I live, my attendance was totally mandatory.
As we both readied ourselves to leave, I quickly started checking my email on Ashley’s computer. While I did so, my tag-team-partner-of-love innocently asked me to check weather.com and tell her how warm it was outside. When the page loaded, I gulped in terror. “Honey, it says it’s 35 degrees outside.”
A lot Of People Like Mike Green
We arrived at the Giant around 11:15 AM, 45 minutes before the signing was supposed to start. There was a huge line already wrapping around the right side of the store. We even had to park behind the strip mall where there was only 10 or 15 spots left in the entire parking lot. It was nuts. Ashley and I got out of the car and quickly walked over. After considering where we were in line, I was happy. I was definitely going to meet Mike Green.
With a mandatory morning Caps practice at 10:30AM in Ballston, Virginia, realistically it made sense that Mike Green was going to show up a little bit late. Like maybe 12:30. 12:45 at the latest. But at 1pm, the 1,500+ Autograph Seekers started to grow restless. “Damn it, where is Mike Green?” Nobody knew. The Muscle Milk people weren’t telling us anything.
Finally, news broke in the form of a @GreenLife52 Status Update on Twitter, read aloud by an excited 14 year old girl with a super complicated looking phone I could never use.
GreenLife52: Going to be bit late traffic is crazy 20 mins
And then after 40 minutes, another update:
GreenLife52: There was an accident on route now 10 more mins
GreenLife52: Sorry Everyone & GreenLife52: I’ll be there til the last person comes…. I’ll meet everyone know woeries
Boredom and Hypothermia Kick In: Gabriel, Stones & How To Properly Rock A Mohawk
As Ashley cupped her frozen hands inside my knit hat and started to physically and emotionally shut down, I became so bored myself that I started observing how other people were coping with the situation. Maybe that would make the time pass quicker I thought. No. It didn’t. As I watched little kids in the hill adjacent to us barrellroll down a muddy hill, I started to die a little inside. Some other kids started playing hockey with a crushed aluminum can and a tipped over Shopping cart as the goal. That was clever. How about conversing with the people around me? Bingo.
I started talking with the wonderful family in front of us. They had a cute 3 year old named Gabriel. He was rocking an Extra-Small Alex Ovechkin Jersey that went down to his feet and a mohawk just like his idol. Oh man, too adorable. As I watched him happily drink apple juice and climb over the sewer bars giggling, I kicked over a rock to him, initiating the only enjoyable time I had in line.
Gabriel kicked back. I did a soccer passing drill with him for the next 15 minutes and time started to pass fast. Ashley’s heart warmed. The family in front of us laughed. Everyone was feeling good. And then:
Mike Green Finally Freakin’ Shows Up
Greener showed up in his Pimped-Out ride and parked in front of the building. Then the Muscle Milk Crew herded him into their ridiculously decorated Humvee and drove him around the entire building. At that point, the line stretched around the entire mini-mall. And everyone’s spirits were immediately lifted.
At 2PM, Mike Green Signs Autographs & Poses For Pictures
After a 45 minuter wait, Ashley and myself made it up to Mike Green’s booth. He was incredibly nice, posed for a picture with Ashley, and when he signed my jersey, he graciously agreed to add his monicker “Game Over.” Oh man, so cool. Here are a few more pictures.
Finally, What Exactly Is Muscle Milk?
Even after leaving today and seeing multiple people drink the product, I still wasn’t completely sure. But the Muscle Milk Promoters certainly tried to help me understand. Here’s what the 50 cent off coupon they gave me said:
Muscle Milk is a delicious, functional drink packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals your body needs for a healthy, active lifestyle. Protein provides a sustained source of energy. It also promotes the development of lean muscle, which – along with a regular workout routine – increases endurance, fat-burning, and strength. So whether you’re training for a triathlon, your wedding dress, or the cover of Quads Weekly [Ed Note: Loving the humor there], drinking Muscle Milk will help you get results.
Anyways, Green joins an All-Star Muscle Milk roster that includes pro athletes like Adrian Peterson, Shaquille O’Neil, Ryan Braun and Brandon Roy. For real?? I had no idea.
I wanted to extend a public thanks to Mike Green for spending his afternoon in Columbia with his fans after a grueling morning practice. I’m sure he got handsomely paid for the appearance, but the way he conducts himself in public – where he’s so down to earth and humble – makes it easy for me to say that I’m going to root for him even harder the rest of the year. Sorry journalistic integrity, maybe next year.
Finally, what did my day with Mike Green earn me? Missing the Capitals game tomorrow to spend time with Ashley’s Family in Gaithersburg. That my friends is called compromise.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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