Caps Urinal Cakes and Caps Fan Celebrities
So after the Caps lost to the Pens in that shootout Monday night, I caught up with a group of local sports celebrities in the Verizon concourse. The group included Caps superfan Goat, Goat's sister Elenora, La Barra Brava's Duffman (the leader of the Caps' yet-to-be-named-but-still-very-much-alive European-style supporters group), fellow Barra member Banshee Jay, and Caps season ticket holder Peggy.
(Note to prospective bloggers: the good thing about covering fans instead of athletes is fans are more likely to read your blog and send your blog to their co-workers and post comments on your blog than athletes, Nick Rimando excluded. I'm hoping by the end of the day we get comments from all five of the local sports celebrities mentioned above. Or at least people claiming to be them.)
(Another note: if I hadn't met up with these local celebrities in the concourse, I never would have been there when some of them went into a men's room and screamed in delight at the little glossy photos of Sid Crosby in each urinal, resting gently atop the urinal cakes, accompanied by this text: "I'm thirsty."
"Ok, that's funny," Jay said.
"We might have to steal that one," Duff said.
So Landon Donovan's face might be coming to an RFK urinal near you.)
(Another note: I also learned that Goat refuses to watch shootouts. He leaves the arena and walks around the concourse during shootouts. One lap usually takes care of it. He glances at the monitors so he knows whether the exiting fans will be happy or angry.
"You can print this anywhere you want: Shootouts Are For Sucks," he said.
"Hey, you're talking to soccer fans, we understand," said Duff, who lived through the MLS's early abominations.
"It's like in the XFL, when they had to run up to the 50-yard line and grab the ball," Goat said.)
Anyhow, as always happens to Goat, he stands around in the concourse and random people came up to him to thank him for what he does, what he does being stomp and bellow and generally incite noise from his spot in section 105 row O seats 11-12.
(Note: I feel bad that I came across as anti-Caps-fans in my Barra Brava post on Monday. That was my bad. Duffman never wanted this to be billed as an "invasion," and he doesn't want to alienate Caps fans, and he doesn't want to imply that existing Caps fans are somehow deficient or need the Barra's help. And the only thing that's worth noting is the lack of Caps fans at the VC, not the lack of enthusiasm among those who are there. It's just the enmity towards the newcomers I saw from some Caps fans at that game sorta depressed me. Will this work? Dunno. But Duffman has boundless energy, and the vibe on all the message boards seems friendly, and I'll try to stay out of this and let everyone be friends. And anyhow, if Horn Guy and Goat are any indication, you can say this for Caps fans: they have characters.)
So anyhow, Goat.
"Excuse me, sir, great enthusiasm," said Pens fan Chuck Davis, who came up to Goat after the game. (See, Goat even gets respect from his blood enemies.)
"I wish more people would join in," Goat said. "I appreciate the props."
"His enthusiasm for the game and the Caps was just unbelievable," Chuck told me. "Just great, great enthusiasm. Oh man, he got the crowd up and going."
A few moments later two Caps fans approached our little group, also intent on paying homage to Goat.
"He's awesome, I love him, you'd think that he works for Verizon Center," Pat Norton said.
"He's got, like, the loudest voice I've ever heard," Joel Borchardt agreed.
"It's like a foghorn, man," Norton said. "He's the greatest."
And, as I might have mentioned earlier, at last Friday's game a bunch of Canadians approached Goat and said that if he lived in Canada, NHL franchises would pay him to come to their games.
"This guy's got the loudest voice I've ever heard in my life," Troy Hazzard said at the time, which seems to be nearing a consensus opinion.
So I wanted to write something about Goat, and I wanted to interview him, but it was late and the arena was emptying and the security people were herding us out. Luckily, just then we ran into Tim McDermott, the Caps senior vice president and chief marketing officer, talking quietly with senior VP and chief sales officer Mike Humes. I introduced them to Goat.
"Oh yeah, I hear you every game," Tim said.
"I appreciate it, I do my best," Goat said.
"Are those the shoes you wear?" Tim asked, gesturing at Goat's sneakers. "I was sure you wore steel toes."
"I tried to wear boots but they actually limit [the noise]," Goat explained.
"Do you do voice exercises?" Tim asked.
"Water," Goat explained. "Lots and lots of water. That's basically the key."
Goat also told us that he used to date a speech pathologist, who gave him some screaming advice, including:
1) Never attempt to go out of your range, and
2) Find one agreeable frequency and stick with it.
And since we now were protected by the aura of two Caps senior vice presidents, security left us alone, and I got to hear The Story of Goat.
To be continued, in the interest of my not getting a parking ticket....
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