So I was put in a weird situation yesterday in that I met not one but 2 of my hockey heroes. First I met Jamie Dwyer, a rare opportunity in the UK and then to follow up I met Richard Mantell. Now they both could not have been nicer, or more humble but I felt like an idiot.
We will start with Jamie, when I first arrived I had a wonder through the shops taking some snaps for my Instagram story, and I came across to the JDH booth where a nice woman was hanging up the new sticks that had come over on the plane with the big man himself the night before, and i got to talking with her (as I took a stick she had just hung up off the rack to have a look at) and it turns out she is the person who runs the JDHockeyUK Instagram account who i have had some interaction with in the past, so I said who i was and we had a little chat I took a picture of her with the new stick in front of a Blake Govers poster, and she told me Jamie was going to be arriving in about an hour, then I made my way to my seat to watch the first game. After the first game finished (If you haven't seen it go watch the 3rd China goal it is a beauty) I wandered back into the shop and met Jamie Dwyer, got him to sign my program (he is a pro and had his own marker pen to do it) but I didn't hang around too much as i think he had just got there and there was a bit of a queue, but being the socially awkward person that I am i did continue to hang around in the shop for a few minutes after to have a look at the sticks again. And listening to him talk to all the people who came up to him he was so friendly and engaging with everyone, asking questions, explaining the stick technology, etc. So I go off to get a bit of lunch before the 2nd game starts.
So after the second game is where I met Richard Mantell, so I have been talking with Adidas for a while about reviewing one of their new sticks (review to come ) and so I had a semi-formal interview with one of their higher ups named Will, lovely bloke had a nice walk and talk with him about the BossFHockey account, how it got started, my life in hockey (what level do i play, do i coach, etc), the requirements of me doing the review, which pretty much boiled down to don't sell the stick (like i was going to anyway) and then he said "Let me introduce you to Rich Mantell he will be able to explain the new tech in the stick far better then I can". So we walk back over to the tent with the shop in and Richard Mantell is stood in the shop, talking to people explaining the new stick designs, advising parents on what is the most suitable for the child, signing autographs. So I get taken over once he is free and I think the first thing I said is along the lines of 'hi, I'm a big fan of yours in both ways, i am a big fan of your hockey career and I am a big person', If he had just walked off at that point I don't really think I would blame him, but instead being the nice guy that he is he just chuckles a little and replies 'Yes you are quite tall'. Then he goes on to explains to me the new technology in the Adidas Carbon range, the CarbonPlate (TM? probably TM), the new head shape and the new sweet spot (will cover it all in the review). Now in my head while he's talking I'm being really engaging and responsive to his explanation, in actuality I'm just saying 'OK', 'yeah', 'alright' and 'cool' every time he pauses for breath (which is a horrible habit I have from working in a call centre for 3 years in technical support, you have to give these verbal nods over the phone so people know your still listening). Now mid way through his explanation, which somehow escalated into a demonstration, not complaining, a guy comes over with he leg in a brace and says something about Rich Mantell's dribbling around, again this person could already know Rich, he could have just met him this morning, he could be one of those strange people with such social confidence they have no problem walking to up to a GB legend and introduce themselves by making a joke at their expense, I have no idea what I do know is that Rich handled it so well laughing off the joke, adding some stereotype British self deprecating humor, and then questioning the mans injury, what stage of recovery he was at and how long the recovery time was going to be. After the man had walked off he apologies to me and carried on with the explanation. At the end of his explanation I wish I had some really insightful question about the new range in comparison to the old range, but sadly i was too busy awkwardly falling over myself trying to explain the concept of my subscription box service to him after he asked my about the logo on my hat (what a guy, I was wearing it backwards like the cool 90's kid I am as well, so I'm not sure when he even saw it) that I didn't have anything to ask, I also forgot to ask him for an autograph.
So I rush back to my seat for the 3rd game England vs Malaysia, great game England really turned it on in the second half which is great as they were attacking the goal right under my nose so I got to see it all. After the game had finished I went back into the shop as I wanted to speak to Jamie Dwyer again to ask him about my subscription box and if he would mind me featuring him (Available at www.bossfhockeybox.co.uk) hopefully it was going to be a bit quieter now. So I go back in and I run into the woman who runs the UK side of things, who then introduce me to Jamie Dwyer as 'Boss of Hockey', now this is a common thing that people think the account name is, i never correct people as I think its kind of cool to be called the Boss of Hockey, but being called the Boss of Hockey in front of Jamie Dwyer made me fell like I should tell him the account password and walk of into the sunset. To make matters even stranger, he then apologies to me like he had done something wrong. Now the number of people who know who I am behind the BossFHockey accounts is pretty small, mostly close friends, so I don't know why he thinks its something he needed to apologies for. I told him its fine the account if faceless so moved on. I asked him, again in my head sound really cool and professional, I think I'm more likely to have sounded like a teenage boy going through puberty with my voice breaking ever few words, for a moment of his time, I explained the concept of the box, probably slightly better then I did to Rich Mantell as I at least had some time to prep myself for this explanation. At the end of it I asked if I could use him as the feature of one of the boxes, and I showed him a picture I made of him (to feature in a future BossFHockey Box), to which he replied that it was "awesome" and said it was fine, I made a joke about that being a verbal contract, he made a joke i could only use it if I bought a stick (I hope it was a joke, I didn't buy a stick...). He then said he needed to go and meet someone and I wanted to get back to watch the Scotland game so we parted ways, but not before I told him what a huge fan of his career and sticks i was and he told me that he thought my account was awesome. It's very odd to me as a somewhat social awkward person to receive compliments at the best of times, but to receive a compliment to someone I have looked up to since I was about 10 years old, it was a very surreal experience.
So in summary 100% meet you heroes, especial hockey one as they are so down to earth and friendly, but leant from my story and try and not make yourself look like an idiot.