I was not planning on having a hockey Saturday. I knew I needed to work on a couple things for the blog, but nothing pressing. Instead, I was taking my parents shopping at the Rip Curl Outlet. I had to go with them so they could use my corporate discount to get some clothes before they headed off on their anniversary vacation to North Carolina. Those crazy kids have been married 31 years on August 2nd and have put up with me for 28 of those years, it's the least I could do. (Happy almost/belated Anniversary Mom & Dad)
Driving up to the outlet, we saw a line outside of RC's neighbor, Monkey Sports. As I started looking at the people, I saw a bunch holding hockey sticks, and one guy in a Ducks 3rd jersey. At that point, I was determined to figure out what was going on. Then I saw the sign, "MEET ANAHEIM DUCK BOBBY RYAN." Say whaaa? At first I waved it off because I've got nothing to sign and I need to buy new flip-flops.
We went into Rip Curl, and the first thing out of the Assistant Manager's mouth was, "JEN! Bobby Ryan is over there signing stuff." He's a wise man. My desk at the corporate office is covered in Ducks stuff. I laughed, introduced my parents, and started my look for shoes. The other manager came over to me and said that someone had brought GOATS (yes, live animals) for Bobby to sign and the goats were pooping all over the parking lot. At that point, I decided I had to go over there and see what was going on for myself.
The line wasn't terribly long with around 20-25 people outside the building. It was a lot like Disneyland. The kid at the door was asking how many people were with you and letting people in as the inside line got shorter. Oh, at this point, it should be noted that I started Tweeting about my experience. Why I didn't take pictures, I don't know. I was in a hurry and I didn't want to seem like
Robby (I kid) a crazy fan. He's a normal guy to me and I would like to this site to be respected for its coverage at a fan's perspective, but not going as far as to exhibit overzealous fandom of those we cover. (I did see the goats, though. I tried to take a picture of them with my iPhone, but I was too far away.) It was at this point too that I went and read Bobby's twitter page to see that he had promoted this signing. Our dear Bobby has blocked Anaheim Calling on Twitter and myself (for reasons undetermined) so we can't follow him to see updates such as this. Frustrating, yes, but I'm not going to call him on it. (If anyone can get us unblocked, I will give you prize - a good one - like tickets to a game or a hug.)
Anyway, back to the line. One conspicuous absence? Puck bunnies! They're like Twilight vampires, they glitter in the light, you can't miss them. Perhaps they showed up earlier in the day on their way home from whomever's house they spent the night at? Otherwise, everyone else in line seemed like genuine fans. They talked about the season and how they couldn't wait until camp in September. When I'm in groups like this, I tend to people watch more than I interact. Everyone had jerseys or pictures for Bobby to autograph. The store was selling Bobby Ryan approved Sher-wood sticks for $9. I didn't buy one. It dawned on me at that point that I had nothing for him to sign and that was going to be awkward. I started digging in The Black Hole, also known as my purse, for something. Luckily I had my day planner on me that still had stuff from Arthur and I's adventure at the NHL Awards. I have a couple things signed by Bobby already, so this would be a cool prize (see picture) for a contest on the website. Once I think of that contest, I'll let everyone know.
It took about 40 minutes for me to get in the door and another 10 minutes to get up to Bobby. He was beyond friendly with every single person. This is what endears me to Bobby Ryan, he is such a likeable guy. He introduced himself to each fan and shook their hands. How funny is that, by the way? They're coming to see him and he's saying, "Hi, I'm Bobby" to each one. He was sitting down while signing and each person that wanted a picture he stood up for and wrapped his arm around their shoulder. He signed piles of stuff, not just one thing (or animal). He engaged in conversation with each fan and didn't have a handler pushing people along the line.
As I inched my way to the front of the line, I started joking with the Monkey Sports sales associate that was here to see him - not Bobby. (It should be noted that I went to get my hair cut and colored earlier. I was rocking the best hair of my life which in turns makes me think I am a supermodel.) It was finally my time to chat with Mr. Ryan and it went like this:
Bobby: Hey, how's it going? I'm Bobby. (Shakes hand)
Jen: Hi, Bobby. I'm Jen. Here's what I've got to sign.
BR: Let's see here. What do we have here? Wait. What is this?
JN: Oh. It's my agenda from the NHL Awards. I was credentialed media. I write about the Ducks.
BR: That's cool. Do you write for an online newspaper?
JN: Sorta. It's a blog on SB Nation called Anaheim Calling. This is a giveaway for one of my readers.
BR: Awesome. You cover us?
JN: Yep. Hoping to get credentialed next season.
BR: (Signs paper). Well good luck, Miss Jen.
JN: Ha ha. Thanks. Oh by the way, if you go over to Rip Curl after this they'll give you my discount. I work at the corporate office.
BR: Sick. Thanks, Jen. Have a great day.
JN: You too, Bob. (Yes, I called him Bob)
Couldn't have been nicer. When I said the website's name, I didn't see a glimmer of recognition on his face of our twitter encounter. After my moment with Bobby, I hung around because they were going to raffle off four personalized signed posters from Bobby's photoshoot the night before with Sher-wood. The signing was to end at 2:00pm, but Bobby being a good guy let all the people waiting in line get their time with him. It was 2:45 by the time the last person finished and the drawing was supposed to take place at 1:55pm. As they unveiled the posters (which would make Robby drool), Bobby joked that they're all photo-shopped to make him look good, and he was proud because he did his own hair. At this point, my parents had been finished at Rip Curl for 20 minutes and were waiting outside in the car. I wanted to stick around on the off chance that I'd win the raffle. Yeah, I didn't. As the masses flooded out, my dad's car was parked next to a gorgeous black Bentley. I resisted every urge to write my name and "GO DUCKS" in the dust on the car.
Ugh. Is it October yet?