My story with Jake Virtanen hasn't been the greatest fan-player "relationship" thing.
It has been a struggle, let me just tell you. But to make it short, here I go…
January 2016 - I decided to @ Jake Virtanen on Twitter to ask him to Sadie's. Obviously, it did NOT work out and he didn't even acknowledge it even though my friends made it their mission to "blow it up."
April 2016 – The Vancouver Canucks are in town to face off against my favorite team. I am set to see Jake Virtanen after I begged my mom for tickets. Poster ready and everything. Well, guess what? He got suspended the game before for an open-ice hit and was sent home instead of completing the road trip. Now I'm a sad fan with swollen cheeks because I had just had surgery on my wisdom teeth.
October 2016 – The Canucks are BACK in town and I am going once again. This time I dragged my mom, who got us stuck in traffic and was not dressed appropriately for her first hockey game. I made a new poster and made sure I showed up early to warmups. After waiting and waiting, he gave the trainer a puck to give to me. This was my first interaction with Jake. And I'm pretty sure I squealed and everyone around me cheered. When I went to tell him thank you as he was heading back into the locker rooms, he wished me a happy birthday. Not bad for a first encounter.
February 2018 – I went over a year without seeing Jake. Crazy, huh? And another thing that makes it crazy is that I'm no longer in California but in Arizona. So, you know the usual, poster and showing up to warmups. Oh, and I got a Jake Virtanen shirt this time around! He threw me another puck and I think this is the only puck I have ever caught in my life, but now we're 2/2.
Now, we're here. October 2018. Once again, I would be seeing the Canucks for my birthday.
But this time it was going to be different.
I was determined on meeting Jake. I didn't care what it would take.
So, I did whatever it took.
I skipped all of my classes. Showed up at the team's hotel at 10 a.m. Waited outside for morning skate.
And no Jake.
Then right when I was about to give up, he walked out of the hotel to head into the arena for the game.
Let me be honest with all of you, I was shaking.
I have @ed him with every meme and saying imaginable. I annoy my family and friends with "Jake this" and "Jake that."
And now he was in front of me.
Now, all of my hockey friends are making a big deal out of it, but I think it's a good sign when players take out their Air Pods to listen and talk to you. Well, Jake did that, and he heard me speak in my little star struck voice about how he's my favorite player.
Then my boyfriend asked him, "Is there any way we can get a hockey stick for the birthday girl?"
Well, Jake said, "Yeah, just find me after the game."
Once he walked away, I just kind of let it out.
I know, how much of a loser am I to cry after meeting my favorite player. But I did!
The time between then and warmups had me on Cloud 9, and I am still not off of it so leave me alone.
Warmups kind of sucked. Jake broke our streak. I was there with my poster and didn't get a puck. Now, we're 2/3, which is not my favorite thing in the world.
Then the game didn't go so well either. The Canucks lost. And bad.
The worst part of the loss was the fact that the players were heading into the locker-room mad and Jake completely ignored me as I asked about the stick.
I swear, my heart was breaking. I know that it's stupid to be so hurt over a hockey stick, but I seriously got my hopes up!
And just as I was about to get kicked out for waiting too long, his mom came down the stairs.
So, in order to waste some time and make sure that I did NOT get kicked out, I went to talk to her about her son.
Just a quick note to everyone, she is the sweetest lady I have EVER met.
She listened to me rant and talk and cry and didn't even question it.
Then when Jake came out to meet her, she made sure he took more pictures with us and talked to us.
Not only that, but she kept telling Jake to go to get me a hockey stick and other stuff then even texted the equipment manager for the Canucks to get some stuff ready for me.
However, all of her hard work didn't work out too much. The buses were packed, and they were ready to leave Arizona.
Then when I thought my heart was going to break a bit more, she turned and told me, "Next time they're back here, I will make sure that you get that hockey stick. Even if I have to give it to you myself."
I think I probably cried the whole way to my car and home after she told me that.
So, while it was a bittersweet experience, more sweet than bitter, I still wouldn't change a thing. Just another thing to add to this crazy story.
So yes, I am still shook about it. No, I will not get over it. And Jake, I still want the hockey stick (Your mom said so).