COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It took me about three-tenths of a second (maybe less) to recognize how much John Davidson's arrival means to the Blue Jackets organization.
Imagine the minutes leading up to the big moment: me, miraculously dressed in a shirt-and-tie combo, fleeting through the halls of Nationwide Arena trying to get down to the loading dock before 1:15 p.m., awaiting the arrival of the Davidson family. I nearly fell once, dropped my water bottle down a flight of stairs and incorrectly assumed that stomping my foot would make the elevator arrive sooner.
Such is the glorious life of the digital media department: on a day filled with such excitement and anticipation, I was playing the awkward role of part-reporter and part-paparazzi armed with an iPhone and new slacks I didn't want to dirty.
That lasted all of five seconds. I knelt on the ground of the loading dock, earning a dusty swatch on my left pant leg mere moments before the white GMC Yukon courtesy car rolled on to the premises.
But man...it was all worth it.
The thoughts running through my head were pretty comical: do I have food on my face? Do I look like a fool snapping a Twitpic of JD and his family when they've been in Columbus for all of an hour? High likelihood placed on the former, but the latter was quickly squashed.
Davidson arrived with his best support team: wife, Diana, and daughters Lindsay and Ashley. They walked in-step, together, all bearing smiles indicative of the great pride shared among them for John's big day. His daughters are grown and one is an aspiring veterinarian in Canada, but there was no chance of missing such an important time in their dad's life.
I readied myself as they got closer to the 24-hour security doors and, just as I was in a prime spot to pull the photographic trigger, JD stopped.
Diana and the girls kept moving toward the door, but JD came straight over to me with a smile and extended right hand.
"Hey bud, John Davidson. Pleasure to meet you."
I managed to smile back, introduce myself and complete the handshake without a hiccup, but the moment was about so much more than that. It's about the character of John Davidson and the approachable, comfortable demeanor he brings to one of the highest positions of leadership in the organization.
It's about his vision and plan for the Blue Jackets, and how strongly believes in sticking to that plan. The passion for doing things "the right way" and building brick-by-brick emanates in his every word.
I was fortunate enough to see how "all-in" his family is. No sooner had JD and family entered the arena were his daughters doing their best impression of me (kidding): phones out, cameras locked and loaded, snapping pictures of everything in sight.
The big Blue Jackets primary logo that hangs over the hallway leading to the locker room, the Dispatch Media Center, the arena bowl and people skating during a public ice session
They were absolutely soaking it up and loving every minute of it, and said they weren't going to leave the building without stopping at the team store to "pick up some gear."
When the time came for JD's introductory press conference in the Founders Club, he absolutely owned it -- just as he always does. He answered every question directly and sincerely, regardless of the difficulty.
He speaks from the heart and not his hip pocket. The answers he gave today could motivate one to run through a brick wall for the sake of the team, and I for one was willing to do it.
Today was a great day and a fun day. But what's most exciting are the days ahead.
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