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To Russia With Love

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
It all started with a little email… Monday evening, April 2: I'm preparing to pick up my fiancée and head over to my friends' house for Passover. I'm not Jewish, but joining them for the Seder has become a greatly-anticipated annual tradition (and the fact that they're excellent cooks doesn't hurt).

As I'm about to leave, I notice a new email… from Caps' owner Ted Leonsis—ooookay, I think, this is unusual. I open it, read the email, then re-read it. Paraphrasing, Mr. Leonsis asks if anyone from OFB would be interested in going to Moscow to cover the IIHF World Championships next month on behalf of the Capitals, and that I should give him a call.

As in, leave our real jobs for a two-week fantasy assignment. Neo from The Matrix said it best: "Whoa."

I read the email twice more. Is this a day-late April Fool's joke? No, it seems genuine. My heartrate skyrockets… "Why yes," I imagine myself saying much more calmly than would be possible at this point, "yes we would be interested, how kind of you to ask…"

It's 6:00 p.m. I call pucksandbooks; no answer. Next, I dial Gustafsson:

Gustafsson: "Hello?"

Me: "Holy [expletive] holy [expletive] holy [expletive]!"

Gus: "Okay, what did you break on the site?"
(Note: that is a reasonable assumption on Gustafsson's part. I'm fairly tech-savvy, but he is undoubtedly the OFB Techie Guru.)

Me: "No, nothing is broken. Let me read you this email I just received from Ted…" I read Gus the email.

Gus: (dead silence)

Gus: "Wow! Um… wow!"

Me: "Exactly! He asked me to call, but I'm already running late for dinner… arrgh! Okay, tell Empty & Pucks about the offer, ask who might be available, and I'll reply to Ted as soon as I return."

I drive off to meet my fiancée. She patiently endures my babbling enthusiasm about the email on the way to dinner, and despite my excitement we enjoy a civil and non-hockey-obsessed evening.

After dinner I catch up with the rest of OFB. The four of us soon realize that only two, pucksandbooks and I, have any chance of getting two weeks off work on such short notice, much to Empty Maybe's and Gustafsson's chagrin.

That night and Tuesday morning, Ted and I exchange a few emails. Later that day he calls me at work to discuss his vision for the trip, and requests a proposal for our coverage of the event. He's certain we'd be up to the task — an incredibly flattering conclusion.

Putting all that business school & PMP studying to good use, I draft a proposal based on my and pucks' availability, offering two alternatives to accommodate Ted's coverage ideas.

A few hours later, an email reply regarding my proposal arrives from Ted: "Perfect."

Perfect indeed. Thus ends the first chapter, but much more planning and frantic activity would be needed before this fantasy became a reality.

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