The first thing I noticed after about noon was how light the crowds were, even for a week day. I didn't get a chance to venture much out of the area (I did talk to some of the National Capital Region Mustang owners, but that was about it), so I don't know if the light crowds were due to the area we were in, but what a difference from last year. The other thing I noticed, and this was immediately, was that as soon as the doors were open to the public (10AM), there were people gathing in line to see some WWE wrestler (I looked it up later -- his name is Randy Orton). The wrestler wasn't due to be on stage until 6PM.
Well, the wrestling crowd that was gathering for this game was unfortunately of the stereotypical wrestling fan type -- very white trash. They were also completely ignorant of the chains that Ian and Carrie set up around the autocross cars, and I found myself constantly telling them to not push past the chains or move the chain holders. At one point, I had Mike Collins, the floor manager over to help move the chains back in position, hoping that his "officialdom" would make an impression. I should have known that if my suit and name badge didn't convey authority, neither would his.
I was very disappointed, because Ian had told me on Sunday, when I dropped the car off, that the Capitals would be signing at the stage that was about 100-150 feet from my car. Nick Backstrom, Mike Green and Bruce Boudreau were due for signings, but they turned out to be upstairs by the Ford exhibit. I asked Mike was the chances were that he could get one of them to come and pose by my WRX before they left, and he said he'd see what he could do.
Brooks Laich was also present, though he was there for Potomac Garage Solutions, who'd done a garage makeover for him. He wasn't very far away from our area, and in fact, Carrie went over to get his autograph on two hats (we all know they are both yours, Carrie!), and then since the wrestling crowd was dying down and we had enough coverage of our area to keep the rabble in check, I caved in and got my hat signed. I told him I figured I'd get his autograph on it, since I'd pledged to throw it the other week when it looked like he might get a hat trick. He laughed and said that he'd try to get one against the Panthers on Friday night, to which I said, "But now I don't want to throw this one! I'll have to get another to throw."
I felt like a moron for being up there in my suit and with my exhibitor's badge, so I didn't get a picture or anything. Carrie was needling me about that when Mike came back over to see if things were still okay. I asked him about the other players, and he said that they actually left early, so he didn't get a chance. I told him that Laich was still there, and so he went over there and told me that the "handler" said once the line died down, he'd call Mike on the radio.
Well, it was approaching 9PM, which was the close of the show, and the line was pretty much gone. But suddenly, there was some drama going on with the wrestler's fans, and Mike was called away to deal with that fallout. So, I asked Carrie to come with me (for moral support, of course), and we went back over to where Laich was. I waited until the rest of the autograph seekers were done, then asked the "handler" about if I could get a picture of Laich with my car. He acted unsure, and deferred to a younger guy behind him, who introduced himself as "Brooks' cousin." I asked him about getting the picture, and he asked where my car was again, what kind and color the car was, and then said, "I'll make sure he walks that way on the way out." I thanked him, and then Carrie and I went back to the SCCA area, realizing how many Subarus there were right there and I was very thankful he'd asked about the color!
I wasn't completely convinced that it would still happen, but a minute later, Carrie says, "Oh my god, they're coming!" and sure enough, Brooks, his cousin and the manager walked over the the car. Brooks noticed the weagle magnet on the car right away, then asked where he should stand. I hadn't even thought that far ahead, and so said, "Just anywhere." His cousin was telling him to smile for the camera, "No, really smile, Brooks!" and then after Carrie had taken one picture, he told her to "take another, keep shooting!" I couldn't stop laughing.
We thanked them for taking the time to come over, and they headed out. But how cool was that? :)
So tonight is an attempt to prolong the winning streak, taking it to what would no longer be a tie for the second-longest streak in franchise history. The Florida Panthers are coming to town, and Brooks Laich said he was going to get a hat-trick, while Tomas Fleischmann said he needed to get started on scoring 45 goals for the season ASAP. It's a good time to be a Caps fan is all I can say.