Every girl dreams of meeting her celebrity crush or hanging out with a professional athlete from her favorite team, but how many girls get to live that life for a week?
I did, and this is my story of a small town girl who came to the city of Detroit, MI. So you may ask what is in Detroit that led me to go there? well, Detroit has been known “Hockey Town” for many years with one of the best NHL teams known as the Red Wings. I had been a huge fan and never have been able to get the opportunity to watch a game there.
I met this player on Facebook, which was a funny situation because he actually accepted my friends request. With excitement and adrenaline I figured I should grow some balls and message this kid. Come to find out, he was actually very humble and genuine who continued to respond to me as I asked him all about the team and how I had been wanting to attend one of their games so badly. I knew that it would only be in my dreams that one day I would miraculously end up in Detroit because of him.
I got to know him more and more over a period of time with constant text exchanges, Skyping sessions, and snap chats. I could not believe he was actually taking the time getting to know me. What really got to me was that he was Slovakian and I am from Ukraine. this being said, it was something really neat to talk about and have in common; a similar culture and language.I decided to plan a spontaneous trip to go see him and his games and take my best friend Kayla with me. We were both so excited to finally meet one another that you could have sworn we were going to get married the second we met.
Finally, arriving on March 5th we went to meet him at his hotel. Everything inside was absolutely breath taking and we knew we were about to have a trip of our life. The ice and snow lying over the beautiful river was truly an awe. You could even see all of Canada as if you could just reach out and grab the entire country with your hand.
As we went downstairs to the lobby, there he was sitting on the couch dressed like a million dollars and smelled of expensive cologne.
When we got in his car, I was so cold that he let me put on a pair of his mittens that he actually wore at the Olympics. He took us out to a steakhouse and paid for all of our meals. After seeing the way he was taking care of us and the amount of money he had we were so embarrassed to even tell him the cheap $80 motel we had to split that we were staying at right across from the rich part of the downtown center.
After dinner, we proceeded to go to one of the hotels near called the Motor City where there was a ton of gambling. It was a casino inside of course, and he played $200 like it was a quarter put in a gum ball machine. The money didn’t phase him, he just enjoyed playing. After the casino, we headed back to his hotel and ordered a load of room service. He asked us what we all wanted and if we even wanted desert. As I laid down next to him, my friend could not get over all of the nice clothes he owned and was practically swimming in it. As much as we wanted to stay longer we had to let him get rest for his big game the next day.
He took me out to lunch at his hotel the next afternoon to one of the most beautiful restaurants I had ever imagined. We ended up swapping meals because he didn’t like his and splitting desert to finish off our date. He took me out to the park outside where you could see Canada but being a southern girl, I couldn’t handle the cold for more than 5 minutes. When we walked back in we had to go our separate ways so he could get some sleep. He leaned in and gave me a kiss at the lobby as I almost melted to the ground. That night we got ready for the game wearing my red heels and my red wings hat.
Every stranger on the streets either glared at us or laughed because you could tell we did not fit in and were different. Picking up our tickets made me feel so special with my name on it and left by his number. I got drunk off of Canadian beer for the first time and it was absolutely ridiculous for the cost of 10 dollars per 19 ounces. Everyone gave us stares because they could sense we weren’t just two fans coming to watch a Red Wings game, but we were two ladies coming to watch someone on the team. The list downstairs had my name on it allowing me to go to the back where fans and other team members hung out waiting for the wings to come out.
I couldn’t help but feel so important as a bunch of fans ran up to me asking me who I was waiting for and the security guard telling them to leave me alone and go home. They even got to know me and remembered me the next night too! People all around began to recognize me and realize I wasn’t just a typical fan. The crowd next to us would casually ask who we were with on the team without even asking if we knew someone on the team. That night when we waited for him downstairs once again, we hopped into his car driving off while all of the fans outside cheered and yelled for him. It was unbelievable seeing all of those people wanting his autograph and being able to see me in his front seat.
Of course, we ended up staying way longer than planned because a part of our heart had been stolen by this so called ghost town. I never wanted to go back home to be honest. At that point, we were so broke that he even offered to pay our last night at the hotel. The best part was going out with him and all of the other players. I don’t think I had ever seen more Grey Goose than I did that night with us going through those bottles like it was water. Closing down the bar wasn’t the end of our night… we ended up going to another players apartment and continuing the party.
I could not tell if it was because of all the liquor we had been drinking or that all of these people were actually just like me who like to have fun and a good time but nothing wrote “Im a professional athlete” on their foreheads and you wouldn’t even know unless you asked them. Me and him exchanged multiple kisses through out the night and I couldn’t get away from his side. Unfortunately, our entire night made a complete 360 when him and I began to argue sometimes wishing I had not drank so heavily to truly understand what had happened. All I can say is that the memory that stays with me is me and my friend walking out of his hotel room as he slammed the door behind. We stumbled to the lobby struggling to get a taxi and I had tears rolling down my face with confusion while Kayla was a mess carrying one of the other players ties. He did not want to date me, he did not want me to be his girlfriend, but he really liked me. Maybe I asked for too much, or maybe I didn’t appreciate the things he had done for me, but all I knew was that my feelings were crushed.
Leaving our hotel the next morning completely hung over and sick with the flu was a disaster. I had been so frustrated and angry that I ended up getting pulled over for speeding 100 miles per hour. The cop took me to his car and asked me detailed questions because you don’t see a Tennessee license plate all the way in Detroit too often. I had told him what all had happened and he could tell there was sadness in my voice because we were also trying to get back to work on time. He had asked the same questions to my friend because he would not believe my ridiculously absurd story and ended up returning all of my registration and telling me that I need to be more careful and not speed in stormy conditions and best of luck to our Red Wings boys.
Later on our ride back I had sent him one last text that I would consider a novel and the response was just a “drive safe, keep in touch ;)” So I had to say goodbye to my VIP, goodbye to his smile, goodbye to the disgustingly overpriced Canadian beer, and goodbye Detroit where a piece of my heart was thrown into the cold river.
When we finally made it back home we sat at the apartment eating noodles and thinking that we had just gone from prime steaks and valets to last row parking and left over meals. The toughest part now is still being a fan at heart for the team that I adore, but seeing him all over social media including the games. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and I hope that maybe I can run through his mind. But, for now, I can close this chapter in my book and become strangers again and say that I knew him and move on with a memory that I will never forget and cherish for the rest of my life that all started with a Facebook friend request.