We first learned of Washington Capitals superfan Eric Brooks several years ago during a Colorado Avalanche game. Molding his hair follicles into the shape of an eight, Brooks became a viral sensation for his gr8 beard and was nicknamed the Ovechkin Beard Guy.
But last week, Brooks managed to find a way to go even more next level with his fandom and got an ultra-realistic tattoo of Alex Ovechkin holding up the Stanley Cup on his leg.
The Rockville, Maryland transplant gave us the full story behind the tattoo.
After the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, I wanted to do something to commemorate the team’s championship which would last forever. I decided to get a tattoo.
I currently live in Boise, Idaho where there are almost 20-plus tattoo shops in the valley so I took my time searching for an artist, developing an idea, and figuring out which tattoo style would work best for me. After seeing some of the Capitals Stanley Cup tattoos that were posted online after the team’s win, I knew I had to get something bold and eye-catching.
On Google, I found imagery of Capitals teammates passing the Stanley Cup around, Ovi lifting it up over his head, and logos of the Weagle and the Stanley Cup combined with the date inscribed underneath. Those were cool, for sure, but none of them grabbed me.
Then I found it. I found the perfect picture of Ovechkin, seconds after hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time, screaming in relief, happiness, and elation. It was 100 percent RAW emotion and I knew that this was the one for me.
After looking at each tattoo artist’s portfolio, I finally found the person I was looking for in Tyler Andrews. His attention to detail, his spot-on realism, and his vibrant colors were absolutely amazing to me. His pieces were like oil paintings on peoples’ skin. I emailed him at the end of the ‘Summer of Stanley’ hoping he had an opening soon. He responded a couple of days later. Nearly a year later it finally worked out.
I saw online that there was a tattoo convention being held at the Century Link Arena on May 17th. Andrews was scheduled to be at that convention that day. We agreed to get it done then.
The Century Link Arena is the home of the Idaho Steelheads hockey team so I figured it was the perfect venue to get my hockey-themed tattoo. I counted the months, days, minutes, hours, and seconds until the day finally arrived. When I got to the convention, it was just like going to a hockey game. I walked up to the ticket booth, grabbed my ticket, the usher scanned it, and I entered the arena.
I looked down the rows of seats into the bottom bowl where, instead of ice, there were hundreds of tattoo artists set up in booths, ready to tattoo. Since I already had an appointment, I went down there and got set up with Tyler. Then we got to work.
I laid there on the tattoo table, Capitals jersey on, music in my earphones staring up into the rafters, the arena lights, and at the jumbotron, taking it all in. It was so surreal. I felt as if I was laying in the middle of the ice, imagining what the Caps felt in Vegas as they saw those last seconds tick off in Game Five.
Day One was excruciating. I was laying there from 2 pm to 10:40 pm getting tattooed. We finally reached an agreement that we both were tired and that we should finish up the next day. For some reason, the adrenaline kicked in then and I wasn’t in too much pain. I wanted this so bad. I’ve had to wait and save money for almost a year. Nothing was going to stop me, even if it meant getting needled for 10 hours between two straight days.
During the second day, we had many visitors to our booth who were checking out his progress. Most peoples’ jaws dropped as they were watching what he was putting on my leg. We ended up being there from 12 noon to 5pm the second day which was another long day too.
At that point, my leg was pretty numb but when he told me “We’re done” my heart filled with glee. I finally looked at what was on my leg, and started to cry. Big old bearded man tears. It had exceeded my expectations. It was a work of art. It was the best thing I had ever seen in my life.
I grabbed Tyler and gave him the biggest bear hug and thanked him immensely. We did it. It was over. I was overcome with so much happiness and I wanted to show off his work to everyone. Many artists came by and congratulated him and me for toughing it out for two straight days. We all felt like champions that day.
This will be one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. I will never forget that moment. Thank you so much to Tyler Andrews of A Mind’s Eye Tattoo who is soon to be at “Have and Hold Tattoo Company”.
Photos: Eric Brooks
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