Talk about random.
I was on my way to the TD Banknorth Garden with my Dad last night to watch our beloved Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Traffic was brutal, it was pouring rain, and all we really wanted to do was go to the Fours (America's No. 1 sports bar, according to SI) and have a few Sam Adams before the drop of the puck.
Like we do every game, we made our way to our seats in the upper balcony, Section 304, scoping out available seats on the ground level. About five minutes into the first period, we decided to make our move. Ten rows behind the Bruins bench was the best we were going to do. Another success!
We sat down for a few minutes when three gentlemen came and claimed their seats. No problem, we moved over and enjoyed the game, paying the situation no mind. Two minutes later, I looked to my right and sitting right there was former Patriots linebacker and Super Bowl champion Ted Johnson!
My father and I introduced ourselves and told him that we have had season tickets for 24 years, thanking him for all he had done for the franchise. A quick photo op later and I was going to leave him alone; I assumed, like any other pro athlete, he would want to enjoy the game and not be bothered.
Boy was I wrong.
Johnson was, without a doubt, the most gracious, humble, and personable pro athlete I have ever met in my life. We started talking about the Bruins for a bit and then moved on to football. As a Buckeye fan, I had to ask him about Andy Katzenmoyer, who left the NFL due to a neck injury. Johnson was not impressed with his skills in practice, much to my surprise.
He went on to say that he still talks to players on the team, mostly the linebackers, and that Mike Vrabel is one of the smartest players he has ever been around. After a skirmish in the hockey game, I asked him who gave him the most problems on the field, and, without hesitation, he answered Kevin Mawae. Let's just say my money would be on Ted.
We chatted for a bit longer, as the Bruins won the game, 5-2. When we went to leave, he shook both of our hands and was just super nice about the whole experience. I told him about Bleacher Report and how great of a resource it has been, and told him to check it out. So, Ted, if you're reading this, thanks for being the man and for all your service to the Patriots organization.
Easily the best pro sporting event I have been to in my life; you can tell this guy was a Patriot.