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In Search of the Chesapeake Tide

I had a lot of fun Wednesday evening waiting for two Redskins to show up an hour late for an autograph session at the Washington Auto Show. But I didn't really want to meet the Redskins. I really wanted to meet the Chesapeake Tide.

Careful readers of this Bog will remember that the Chesapeake Tide is a brand new professional indoor football team that will play in Upper Marlboro this spring as part of the Continental Indoor Football League, formerly the Great Lakes Indoor Football League. And, as far as I'm concerned, the Auto Show is the team's coming-out party, what with the nine scheduled player appearances, the three scheduled Tidal Wave Dance team appearances, the three scheduled general manager appearances, plus appearances from owner Marty Johnson and owner Mark Johnson. The Tide dominates the official list of Auto Show sports celebrities, making them far more appealing to me than the 'Skins.

(Although it turns out that there's just one owner. His name is Marty, and he's appearing twice. Not sure who Mark Johnson is.)

Anyhow, Comcast SportsNet producer-type and Local Poll Voter Adam Littlefield and I showed up around 3:30, excited about the 4 o'clock appearance from Tide players Brian Soler and Lawrence Hill. We asked a security person where we could find the Chesapeake Tide.

"Is that a person?" she asked us.

"What is the Chesapeake Tide?" the next security guard asked.

One person with a walkie talkie said the Tide wouldn't be at the Show until 7; he recommended we go to booth 711, which he thought was over by the Dodge display. No football players there, although we did see a giant dancing and talking robot named Rock-It.

"Dude, that's one of the weirdest things I've ever seen," Littles said. "And I've seen some weird things."

When we got to the VW display, we gave up. I called information. They had no number for the Tide. I called my editor and got him to give me the Tide's number. The only person in the Tide office was a Web administrator, who wasn't sure whether there were any Auto Show appearances today. He gave me the cell number for a Tide sales person. She told us to go to the Urban Restylin Salon and turn left.

The Tide were between the Camelback Chamois booth (The "World's Most Absorbent Fabric") and the Maryland Anti-Car Theft Committee booth. Kim Somerville, a business development associate for the franchise, was there holding t-shirt raffles. Kids got t-shirts for free.

"You're not going to have to sign up for a credit card," she was promising a kid when we arrived.

"When do the players come?" asked Alex Lohman, a middle schooler. It was 3:59. The player (singular) was supposed to arrive at 4; Lawrence Hill couldn't make it, but Brian Soler would be here soon.

"I should stay here," Alex said, trying to make sure he didn't miss the autographs. I was surprised. I didn't realize there was such a demand for Tide autographs, since I had never heard of the team before yesterday. Alex had never heard of the team before today, but he wanted the autographs anyhow.

"People at my school, if you get a players' autograph, you get valued for it," he explained to me. "They're just like that at my school."

Kevin Smith from Gaithersburg wandered by the booth.

"What do y'all do?" he asked.

"Professional indoor football," Kim told him.

"Women's team or men?" Smith asked.

"Men, baby, men; full contact," Kim said. "I'm just the eye candy."

Sergio Palacios wanted a t-shirt, but he wasn't a kid and he didn't win the raffle.

"I'm a kid at heart," he said, but he walked off with samples of the world's most absorbent fabric but no Tide t-shirts.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 26, 2007; 5:41 PM ET
Categories:  Minor League Football  
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