December 28th, 2010, 02:32 PM #1
Admiration and Appreciation.
This was my experience at HP Pavillion last night. To begin, I need to go back a bit and explain. Some of you know that in my current job, I am a liaison for wounded, ill, and injured Marines up in the bay area. A couple of weeks ago, one of my Marines, a 19 year old who was injured in Afghanistan mentioned that he wanted to go to the Kings game when they came up to San Jose because one of the Kings cousins was his Corpsman when he was in Bethesda. I asked him who and he said that it was Drewiske. So my first thought was to go to the one place where I might at least be pointed in the right direction to see if we could get something set up for this Marine: rinkrat.
I brought this to his attention and man, did he EVER deliver. I didn't really think much, if anything could be done since it would be an away game for the Kings, but when rinkrat reached out to his contacts, what followed completely overwhelmed me.
They had two tickets and two visiting team guest passes for him waiting at will call. As it turned out, my wife had already purchased tickets to the game for her, my daughter, and me as a Christmas present. Fotunately the other Marine that I work with was more than happy to take him to the game and accompany him after the game even though he's not a hockey fan.
It was actually turning into an "interesting" evening, because I had planned to leave early for the game as traffic on the 101 in San Jose can rival traffic in just about any city. I wanted to leave at 5:30, but we didn't get out the door until 6:30 because my daughter was eating and my wife was watching re-runs of Glee on the computer. Needless to say I was getting a little... anxious. Then we get down the road a piece and of course we left the tickets at the apartment. Luckily we weren't far from the apartment and unbeknownst to me, HP Pavillion isn't that far a drive at all. We actually got there in about 15 minutes. So, after another near miss tragedy with parking we finally get in.
I got in touch with the other Marines to make sure they were good, which they were. So I get the family to the seats with plenty of time before the game. There was a pair of teenagers/early-twentyish kids who came and sat right next to me, and one of them said "Kings are p***ies". I laughed and looked over to have a fun, light hearted, trash talking moment and the kid gets this surprised look on his face and asked if we were Kings fans, pointing at me and my family. I said "Of course" to which he informed me that they would be making fun of us all night. I said that it was cool, but asked him to keep the swearing down and pointed at my daughter and it wasn't a problem the entire game. Other than that, we were pretty much surrounded with polite Sharks fans with the occasional Kings fan here and there.
They had the crowd sing the national anthem which I thought was awesome. I mean, you had the people who just had to scream during the anthem, but that happens no matter WHO is singing or performing.
Then the game begun, and while I really don't have to tell you about that, I will tell you that it was SO much fun to be in that crowd listening to the frustration with their team for the first two periods. It was insane to watch and we were on the side where the Kings shot twice, which was extra fun. There was one point where the crowd seemed to think that a wide shot had actually gone in and it was surreal to experience that large of a group be disappointed at the same time as they realized that it had not.
I was a giggling fool for most of the game.
About half way through the second period, I got a text from the other Marine that I work with up here asking if I wanted to take this Marine downstairs after the game and I replied that I would (of course) be happy to. So with about three and a half minutes left in the third I made my way over to meet up with them, so I actually missed Brown's second goal. I get down stairs with Daniel, the wounded Marine, and they have us behind a barrier waiting for players to come out of the locker room to get some autographs, and I had hooked Daniel up with a jersey before the game. Daniel was so excited just to be going to the game, let alone being able to meet some of the players and get some autographs. The first person to come out was Jim Fox and he came right over to Daniel and talked with us for about 5 minutes BEFORE Bob Miller came over to us, and they both stayed for another couple of minutes. Then, in no particular order he met Doughty, Stoll, Quick, Brown, Simmonds, Williams, and then Drewiske came out and spoke with him for a few minutes. So, while we were waiting to meet some more players, the gentleman who had set this up came out, opened the barrier and led us in to meet with Lombardi and the coaching staff. Greene was walking out as we were walking in, so we just told him good game and went in.
The respect that they showed to Daniel was amazing and they all had some questions for him. I'll leave the details of that out, but I will say that they could not have treated him better and it made me appreciate and admire not only the players, but the staff as well. Daniel has thanked ME at least twenty times now and he's got a Kings jersey hanging up in his hospital room with some autographs and a game puck that was given to him as well. I wanted to first point that thanks in the right direction in publicly stating my appreciation for what rinkrat did as well as the organization. It means more to me than I can describe that Daniel was taken care of like he was. And I also wanted to let you guys know that wins and losses are one thing, but the respect they showed this Marine is another entirely.
Well done Kings. On and off the ice.
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” ― Stephen King
December 28th, 2010, 02:44 PM #2
Awesome story man, it's nice to hear that the players took the time to talk to your friend after a game.
December 28th, 2010, 02:46 PM #3
What an amazing story PITA. That's is one of the coolest things I've read here on LGK - ever. And major props to RR for helping make it happen. This is the sort of thing that makes my throat tighten and eyes water up b/c it's just so cool and moving. Very, very cool.
December 28th, 2010, 02:51 PM #4
To say that's awesome would be an understatement....Good story. Thanks for sharing. Thanks to the Marines, thanks to you and thanks to Rinkrat! Oh and thanks to the Kings organization!
December 28th, 2010, 02:52 PM #5
THANKS PITA for what you do!!!
December 28th, 2010, 02:58 PM #6
Wow this is one of the best things I've seen on here w/out a doubt. RR you're the man! Thanks for the story PITA and it seems like both our wives have this "thing" for Glee...
December 28th, 2010, 03:00 PM #7
Awesome Story, I have to admit that the kings Organization is alway 1st class they are so down to earth regardless of their $$ or possition, i happen to be down getting Autographs from players in the morning and same scenario Kings players are so friendly... well im glad we have another Marine back home hopefully soon at more Hockey Games Im up here in San jose and the HP arena can be intimidated but we still RULE jajaja cheers.
December 28th, 2010, 03:01 PM #8
That's an awesome story. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us! Props to rinkrat for being a G and to the team and management for being awesome to you guys.
December 28th, 2010, 03:09 PM #9
Thanks for sharing that PITA. It's good to know that we are rooting for a first class organization with a heart and a good sense of priorities.
December 28th, 2010, 03:14 PM #10
That honestly got me a little choked up. The (proper) respect that he was given in that situation is awesome. And there he is looking up to a bunch of pro atheletes when HE is the hero! Stories like this make me think that there is still some hope for humanity. AWESOME job by everyone involved.
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