In hockey, as in life, you will encounter souls so insufferable, it's easy to wonder how they have survived. More often than not, these individuals have spent a few years of their life residing along a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue in and around Boston, Massachusetts.
It's been about a week since I've had my most recent run in with one of these miscreants. His name: Brooks Orpik. His goal: pissin' me off.
So, it all began innocently enough when Mumbai and I wanted to do something special for our 25th birthdays, which are exactly a week apart. We decided, totally rationally, that a trip to Pittsburgh to take in Pens-Flyers was a must. The game was an experience in itself; but, I'm not going to waste my energies on that. Alas, I'd like to focus solely on the Orprik.
After some quality autograph signing by some upstanding Penguins, out strolled Brooksy. I don't think it was coincidence that he was one of the last players to leave. You know he looooooooooves the attention. So, as I'm politely standing around for #44 to work his way down the line, Mumbai joked about how Orpik went to BC and how I, on principle, shouldn't get his autograph. However, my jersey was getting up there with the signatures, and I could use him, even if he was an Eagle. At the time though, Orpik was more than an ear shot away and could have in NO way heard our childish rumblings.
This is where it gets interesting... So, several minutes pass and Orpik finally made his way to me. I gracefully handed out my jersey for him to sign.. and.. he passed right over! He signed for the guy next to me on the left, and then came back and signed for some kid on my right. Then he signed my jersey? NO! Instead, he passed me again and signed for some chick down the line. Awkwardly, the middle aged man next to me (whom, by the way, knew way more about Sidney Crosby's whereabouts than any middle aged man should) asked if Orpik had signed for me. I, even more awkwardly, chuckled out an 'um.. no.' Orpik, now, begrudgingly scooped up my jersey.
To make the situation lighter, I joked. 'Is it because you know I'm a Terrier. ::pause:: 'Cuz, ya know, BC sucks!' At this point, Orpik puts Sharpie to jersey and scribes a 'B'. Then. He pauses. Stops dead in his tracks. The pause felt like an eternity. What was he going to do?! My mind, it raced. My palms! They sweated! Was it going to scribble over my jersey, ruining all my creeping?!? Was he going to, Eruzione forbid, write 'BU SUCKS!'.
However, the professional in him reigned supreme and he graciously signed his name before scowling and eerily chirping out 'Yea, ha ha, BC sucks'.
I felt awful and violated and will never look at Orpik the same way. Yes, I was honored that he spent the time to sign autographs. Others didn't even do that (Malkin.. I mean you!). But, honestly, he could have made light of the situation and joked with me. Hell, BC is the reigning NCAA champion, it's not like he didn't have material.
What Mumbai and I didn't know at the time of this encounter was that Orpik's little brother, Andrew, is a member of the current BC squad. The same squad that had, earlier that weekend, been booted from the NCAA tournament courtesy of my Boston University Terriers. Big old 'OOPS' on our part.
But. Yes. The event, as a whole, was unique and something I'd much not want to endure again. If only Orpik could spend a little time with Scott Hartnell. It's just a game.
You can never forget that.