The 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks visited the White House for the second time during President Obama’s administration. Since you probably don’t come to BYT to read about sports or who the President is greeting on a Monday afternoon, here’s why I’m writing this: because it’s the Blackhawks. Because we got credentialed. Because life is Wayne’s World 3.
Brightest Young Things was credentialed to cover the Chicago Blackhawks White House appearance late Friday afternoon. If you’re not a regular reader of BYT, I’d like to point out that we do not regularly cover politics or sports. Our area of expertise is photos of concerts and parties, behind the scenes looks at very awesome restaurants, snarky show reviews and pieces that scare parents. We cover pop culture and DC culture and NYC culture that doesn’t revolve around politics. So I didn’t tell anyone that I got credentials for the Chicago Blackhawks White House appearance (I will keep writing this out. I understand I don’t have to write out Chicago Blackhawks White House appearance each and every time but I’m more than happy to write it out completely.). I was afraid it was a mistake. It was not a mistake.
BYT has excellent photos. I am not an excellent photographer. I don’t own a good camera, let alone one that would be good enough to shoot the Chicago Blackhawks White House appearance. Thankfully my good friend and photojournalism graduate student Armando Gallardo happened to be in DC, on break from school in Costa Rica, and willing to let me use his camera. After a half-hour tutorial, he felt confident enough in letting me hit the button on his fancy camera. He also told me to show up early. Armando has covered multiple White House events. He warned me of surpluses of photographers and writers at a moments notice. I showed up early. I’m glad I did.
After going through a quick screening through a metal detector, I found myself in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room waiting for Jay Carney’s daily press briefing. I did not need to be there. So I began taking some photos for Instagram.
The Chicago Blackhawks White House appearance would not be in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. But I didn’t know where to go so I took more photos.
The cameramen have their trinkets on a ledge nearest to the cameras. Trinkets include a baby shoe, a cassette tape and various bobbleheads.
And one cameraman really likes Pokemon.
Once I located the same Chicago TV sportscasters I watched as a 10-year-old, I followed them outside. And we waited some more. All I was thought, over and over, “What’s going on? This is weird.” Things got weirder upon entering the actual White House for the Chicago Blackhawks White House appearance when a small four-piece band was playing funk. Funk is good. Funk is great. Funk makes everyone feel weird in a good way.
Thanks to Armando’s camera, I was able to join the other photographers, muscling my way about 10 feet from the podium and 13 from the Cup.
“What’s going on? This is weird. I should have taken more cold medicine. I should have eaten more. Am I the only person in this room wearing a red and black plaid lumberjack style coat. Does no one else play hockey? Who are these people?”
Once I started seeing other Chicagoans in the Hawks gear, it was no longer weird or intimidating. Overweight dudes in hockey jerseys are scary to no one. They symbolize a comfortable lifestyle full of beer, sausage and classic rock. They’re the type of guys that watch guys wearing reasonably sized hockey jerseys make a lot of money for a few years before they end up as overweight dudes in hockey jerseys that drink beer. It’s the circle of hockey. It’s why it’s great.
After 30 minutes of the press making jokes about what sports team was accepting some sports award, the music died down, some dude from Canada that spoke French tried to muscle in without any luck because fuck you dude, my favorite team is here and I’m bigger than you, and the ceremony began.
When you have a nice camera, you can stand in front of people without much of a problem. It’s wonderful. Pros don’t need to stand in front of anyone. Pros bring step ladders. Thanks to the Washington Post photographer with a step ladder, I had a good view.
The President said some very cool things about being a Chicagoan and a Chicago team is in the White House and Brandon Wetherbee is from Chicago so everybody Chicago. Chicago.
Then President Barack Hussein Chicago Obama mentioned the same thing I mentioned in my Behind The Desk column, aptly titled, “My Favorite Sports Team Won Sports!,” from June. “We were originally going to let Corey Crawford say a few words…but we need to keep this event family friendly. You guys have been hanging out with Rahm Emanuel too much.” The President from Chicago mentioned the goalie of my favorite Chicago team saying fuck.
I was in the White House because my favorite team won at sports.