Thanks for the great response to our previous article on the best way to get player autographs and pictures. There have been lots of fans at Kettler walking away with great pictures! As much fun as it is chasing players there are a few things I have learned from watching people that we might want to avoid doing. As I mentioned in the 101 on Getting Player Autographs and Pictures article, the most important thing to remember is to respect the player and to respect their time.
If you live in Arlington or Fairfax County, the chances are pretty good that you will run into Caps players going about their lives, often with their families. Although most of them are good sports when fans ask for selfies, let’s not forget that they are “off the clock” and may not want to be bothered. Here are some simple don’ts I have learned from watching player’s reactions to eager fans.
- Don’t scream and run after them!
- Don’t stalk their cars in the parking lot. That is their getaway space and I think they view it as their safe space too. Go ahead and take pictures of their cars—they have some amazing cars—but leave them room to maneuver in and out of the parking lot.
Don’t chase them to their cars when they come out. I once saw a lady hold open Mike Green’s car door and block him until he signed. He looked terrified and that probably is one of the reasons he started parking on the lower levels and sneaking into practice.
- If they have parked on any level lower than the seventh floor of the garage, don’t chase them down. That is a sign that they don’t want to be bothered that day.
- Don’t cross the line if they have roped off the parking lot. This usually only happens when we get into the playoffs.
- Don’t take pictures of the wives or girlfriends, especially if they are there with their children. Occasionally, you can ask them to take a picture but we have found that most would prefer that you not take their picture. The parents don’t seem to mind as much, but again, I suggest you ask them first.
If a player looks like he is in a hurry and doesn’t want to stop, he probably won’t. Read their body language. Don’t think that they are rude. Remember, this is their workplace and just like us, they have good and bad days at work. In some cases they may have family in town and getting home to spend time with them is their priority. Most of these guys hail from places far away from DC and just like us, they value their family visits. This is especially true when the dads are in town.
- Don’t expect all of them to stop on game day, especially if they are leaving for an away game. They just don’t have the time.
- Don’t expect them to stop the day after a loss, especially if it was a bad loss. They probably just came out of a rough practice and workout that included some harsh words from the coach. They may not be in the best of moods and therefore not inclined to stop. This is when you have to read their faces and body language. This is especially true during the playoffs.
- Don’t be afraid to joke with them or ask them a question. They don’t mind engaging with you for a minute. Don’t push your luck though—a minute is about all you will get. Keep it positive!
- If they do stop to talk, be mindful that other fans are waiting for their chance with the player. Keep it short and give others an opportunity to meet the player too.
Have fun out there meeting the players. Most of them value the fan interaction, as long as we keep it positive and respectful. And remember—if you get a great picture to tag @nova_caps on Twitter, post them to our Facebook page Washington Capitals Fans of Northern Virginia, or tag us on Instagram @NOVA_Caps so we can share it with others. We will be posting more pictures on IG for you. Send us a message if you would like to use any of them and we will be happy to forward them to you. Have fun out there and keep Rocking The Red!!!
By Maggie Marcum and Brittney Marcum