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Experiences meeting pro athletes


IronChefShark

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I assume most of us are sports fans and have even got the opportunity to meet some players from our favorite teams, whether it be at a team function, at a game, or if you just happen to bump into them in public

anyone want to share experiences good and bad?

NeedleMan.GIF

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I met Joe Newendyk ( i know i mis-spelled his name...) in 1999 after he won the Cup with the Stars at iroqios Park in Whitby. Incredibly nice guy, he was presented with a bunch of awards and had an ice pad named after him.

Also met Pat Quinn and Ken Dryden at MLG the season it closed down. ( Was htere two weeks after seeing les habitants beat the leafs in a pre-season game. Go Habs!) Ken is a nice guy, aparently he knew my dad from somewhere (they talked for about 10 minutes, kinda cool) and Quinn is a big guy in person. he gave me a dirty look cause i was in a Habs jersey in Toronto.

Had a real bad one tho at an Oldtimers game a coupla years ago. Guy Lafluer was signing a few autographs, so i jumped into the crowd, wearing my vintage Habs sweater (wool knit, very cool) and had a puck to sign. Unfortuatly, he went to the guy besides me, a LEAFS fan, and signed a photo for him, before walking off. Somedays Habs fans just can't win...

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Best athlete i ever met was Phil McConky. I was about 5 and he was so so nice and cool, so friendly.. it was right after they won the Super Bowl and they had a bunch of them signing... Carl Banks and Mark Bavaro were there too....

i dunno if i've had a bad experiance..... maybe when i didn't recognize Joe Nieuwendyk when he came out to meet the fans after they had won the cup.. he walkedright up to me and my friend Erin and we both looked at eachoter and were like "who's this bum..." for some reason it just didn't click in my head.. then when he passes i was like "Oh dang that was Joey N!!!!!" but it was ok.. Ken Daneyko shook my hand..... so i was set...

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I've met Len Dawson and Deron Cherry. Len looked like he'd rather be elsewere, i couldn't blame him. Deron on the other hand was very nice, he auto'd a chiefs sign i had then he also had some cards he auto'd then gave me one. I know he's not the most famous Chief ever, but he's always been one of my favs.

I'm good friends with a Minor League goalie for the Tulsa Oilers..... I know it's not the Big 4 but it's still the pros. He's a good guy and i never think of him being a pro athlete when i hang out with him.

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I went to Shea Stadium in 2002 and met Keith Hernandez, Len Dykstra on the day tckets went on sale.

Dyskstra just signed didnt really say much, McGraw was smiling for pictures and putting a smiley face with his auotgraph.

However, the best part was Hernandez who signed a picture of himself in the 1987 yearbook and he was reading the caption, and said oh tahts the game we kicked Boston's ass refering to Game 3 of the 1986 World Series.

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If you want to count the old Roller Hockey International as "pro," then I met quite a number of the St. Louis Vipers.  Frank Cirone and Jeff Blum were outstanding guys, and even chatted me up before a game in Minneapolis (before I moved here; I was living in Iowa).  I got most of the '95 team to sign my jersey over the course of the season, including team president/general manager (and Blues legend and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee) Bernie Federko.
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Ive met a handful of sharks players. mike ricci is about as funny a personality as you could get. brad stuart, patrick marleau, vincent damphousse, all good guys. owen nolan isnt much of a people person, but he isnt what you would call surly torwards fans. jeff friesen though is about as good a guy as you could get. while all the other players were in a hurry to get to the airport for thier flight to phoenix, jeff friesen took the time to sign every autograph waiting for him. for this reason he would be welcome back on the sharks any day

I got to meet some giants players at an on field photo day a couple of years ago. dusty baker is a great guy, as are rich aurilia, jt snow, robb nen, and ellis burks. barry bonds I really didnt try to get a handshake from, as I let the kids there vie for his attention. jeff kent I could tell wasnt thrilled with the whole ordeal, oh well hes gone now. good riddance.

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I got to meet all of Team USA at the World Junior Championships here in Sydney back in December.  Keep in mind, none of them are actual Superstars, per se, and most were drafted this year, including Ryan Suter, Eric Nystrom (saw his father in the crowd at the games but couldn't talk to him), Zach Parise and Patrick O'Sullivan.  I never actually got a chance to talk much to them, other than a hello or hi, but I would habitually touch fists with them on their way to and from the ice.  (And yet, the team everybody rooted hardest for at the tournament was Belarus, which was the team I was in charge of, even though I can't remember any of the players or even if any of them made the NHL.)

Oddly enough, I never realized until back in June, the week before the NHL draft, that I've been living three minutes down the road from Marc-Andre Fleury (his billet residence, mind you) and never realized it.  Now I doubt if he'll be back.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

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I'm good friends with a Minor League goalie for the Tulsa Oilers..... I know it's not the Big 4 but it's still the pros. He's a good guy and i never think of him being a pro athlete when i hang out with him.

I got to know a number of the Oklahoma City Blazers back when the CHL re-started in 1992-93.  They were all really nice, humble guys and very much surprised by the celebrity status they were given by the community.  I met Garry Unger when he was coach of the Tulsa Oilers and when I told him that he was my idol growing up, he looked at me (I was 23 at the time) and said laughingly "I guess I don't want to know how old you are because that will remind me how old I am."  

I once walked into the St. Louis Arena with Brendan Shanahan.  This was back in the day when ticketholders could go into the rink reeeeeaaally early for the first pre-game skate.  We exchanged pleasantries before he went inside.  I've met Tony Twist on a couple of occasions and he was always very cordial.  I met Brett Hull in the lounge of a Mexican restaurant once and he was polite.  A couple of kids approached him afterwards and he was very cool to them so I was happy to see that.  I was on a fundraising board with Steve Dubinsky just last year.  He was really nice and laughed when I told him that it was nice not to have to hate him anymore (since he was a Blackhawk for so many years).

I've met Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Smith on a number of occasions mainly because we used to shop at the same supermarket.  Nice guy.  I ran into Aeneas Williams on Michigan Avenue in Chicago last summer.  He was surprised that anyone would notice him up there but was really nice too.

My best experience however was when I got to work with Buck Buchanan on his acceptance speech for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He was a friend of my supervisor when I was doing a summer internship at the Missouri State Treasurer's Office and was looking for her help with the speech.  She hooked him up with me instead since I was doing speechwriting and was also a football fan.  We never did meet - only communicated by phone and fax.  It was a very rewarding experience.  And even though he knew at the time that he was dying of lung cancer, he never told any of us nor did he want that mentioned at all in the speech.  After he died, ESPN showed clips from the speech, which was the last major public function at which he spoke, and they used the closing lines that I had written.  That made me very proud.

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When I was 5, 6 or 7 I played hockey over at South Mountin the Devil Practice facilty. I would stay after and watch them practice, sometimes I would miss school. If they broke a stick they would throw them over the boards, I would go get it. After practice they would sign them for me and talk to me. I was the only one there because it was a "Closed Practice". I meet a few Daneyko, and Richer are the only one I remember good. It was 10-11 years ago during the Herb Brooks year.
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I went to the Pirates game on Saturday and before the game me and a bunch of my friends got to hang out with Kris Benson and he has to be one of the nicest athletes you'll ever meet.  He signed a total of like 15 to 17 autographs and talked with us for about 40 to 50 minutes.  Another Pirate I got to know is Abraham Nunez who give me his batting gloves when I was like 6 or 7 when he was playing single A ball.
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Yeah, I've met several pro atheletes.  Well, actually, I've "worked" with them.  A good friend of mine used to organize sports card and memorabilia shows as fund raisers for a local school.  On occasion, he was able to get retired athletes who live locally as autograph guests.  I often volunteered at the shows, and after a couple years, I eventually worked my way up to being an assistant at the autograph table.

I was able to work with guys like Dave Wilcox (former 49er and NFL HOFer), Rick Wise (former MLB pitcher), Larry Steele (NBA champ), and Mel Counts (NBA champ and Olympic gold medalist).  By far, Mel was the coolest guy.  He brought with him his Celtics championship ring and and his gold medal to display at the show -- and not under glass, either.  They were right there on the table with us as he was signing autographs.  Too cool for words...

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Working for a Major League Baseball team I have met the majority of players in the American League, most of them are great guys, some aren't the same in person as you see on t.v., a certain White Sox player comes to mind, but all-in-all they're good guys.
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ive met a bunch of oldtimers in hockey. ive met nystrom about 4 times, one time in rhode island at a hockey toruney that eric was playing in.

i also met the beezer b/c his son played on a team in my league (wo also play at the islanders practice rink)..he was mad cool. he even had the dye in his hair from the isles..lol. (also his son wore VAN on the back of his jersey so that it didnt get bugged from kids)

i met artie irbe the other day bc he was practing with the junior team for my team. hes cool and signed a lotta autgraphs. (he signed my old blocker which i luckily had!!!)

also my brother played in a charity game about 2 wweeks ago with a bunch of old timers. bud harrelson was there and my bro said he was a dick...

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I saw Bobby Orr a couple year back when my towns junior team was playing in Scarborough.  It was nice to see a great like that at a junior hockey game.

Adrian Smith or the Toronto Argonauts came and talked to my Football team at the beginning of our season he does alot of stuff in the community considering a year before that he talked at my school about bullying.

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I saw Bobby Orr a couple year back when my towns junior team was playing in Scarborough.  It was nice to see a great like that at a junior hockey game.

Adrian Smith or the Toronto Argonauts came and talked to my Football team at the beginning of our season he does alot of stuff in the community considering a year before that he talked at my school about bullying.

Pinball Clemons is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, if you ever get the opportunity to I suggest you do it, you won't forget it.

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I've seen a few athletes out and about, but have never approached any of them because I figure it's their time and it's not really right to approach them. At the stadium, yeah, sure that's part of what they're there for, but outside, I stay away...

My experiences include: sharing a suite at the Kingdome for a Seahawks game with Harold Reynolds and his family, picking up a ball that got away from Alvin Davis during warmups and tossing it back to him (got a nice smile and a "thanks" for that one), and sitting at a table in a restaurant across from Scotty Gomez. But the best one was this last Memorial Day Weekend in Denver, after catching a Giants-Rockies game at Coors, and then going out for dinner, my family and I stopped in our hotel lounge for a late-night cocktail. I saw a bunch of players around the bar and instantly recognized Marquis Grissom, Benito Santiago, and about 5 or 6 other Giants. I made some snide comment to my stepdad, "I bet Bonds doesn't show up" and sure enough 2 minutes later Barry walks up to the bar and orders a drink. I went back to my drink and my conversation, and next to the lounge in the hotel restaurant was a wedding reception. Well, one guy came out, saw Bonds, and pretty soon everybody started coming out and pointing and staring at him. One lady had the waiter go over and ask Bonds to pose for a picture with her, and Bonds, very politely, said "No, it's nothing personal, but I don't do that". She started screaming at him about being some bigshot and it was personal to her. All through the night, the guy's just trying to have some drinks with friends and he's getting treated like some sideshow attraction. I'm felt sorry for the guy and I have a lot more sympathy towards players who appear to be "unfriendly" towards fans and media...

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Wow, what great stories.

I'd have to say I have had both good and bad experiences.

Mostly good though - Fred Patek (5'-6" tall) of the Royals came and did a one day baseball clinic at the Summer Camp I worked at.  Tony Chevarini (Boxer) also held a clinic the same day.  I knew Fred Patek for several years and even exchanged x-mas cards ( I was 14 - 18 years old at the time)

I met Phil Ford (No.Carolina Tarheel/KC Kings guard) at the airport - signed autographs for any who asked - took his time to visit.  Doody Woods (NJ Devils Role player for two seasons) who played for the KC Blades too; he came to our school a couple of times to present on Hockey for our P.E. classes - he was cool and really cared about the kids and the time he was in our school.

Tony Gonzales, TE-Chiefs, spoke to our  school on "Sportsmanship " a couple of years back.  He was cool - really took the time to visit with anyone who approached him.  I video taped the presentation he gave and I still use it in my P.E. classes.

I have met many of the Royals players through out the year and all were very nice and talked with us.  Made you feel like you were important.  Paul Splittorf, Jeff Montgomery, John Wathan and Kevin Seitzer were the best!

I haven't met Len Dawson (KC Chiefs), but a couple of friends have and they say he wouldn't give you the time of day - ignores people who approach him.  He's not a jerk to them, just goes about his business.

Those are my main experiences.

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