A funny thing happened today: A professional sports team visited the White House…and no one made a big stink about it. None of the players made “bold” pronouncements on social media about their momentous decision not to participate in the time-honored tradition of championship teams putting in an appearance at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And to my knowledge, no one of consequence protested their being there.
The St. Louis Blues — winners of the 2019 Stanley Cup and authors of the near-perfect hockey fairytale season — met with the President today in the Rose Garden. After the team made its way to the dais (accompanied by “Gloria,” of course) followed by Lord Stanley’s Cup…
President Trump made his entrance, accompanied by team owner Tom Stillman and team Captain, Alex Pietrangelo (or, per the announcer, “Perchanjello”). He started out off-script, riffing about Turkey/Syria, China, impeachment. But before too long, he got to the reason at hand. He recounted the Blues’ improbable journey from worst to first. Even shared the backstory of “Gloria” as the adopted victory song.
Throughout the ceremony, both the President and the team (players, coaches, and owners alike) appeared to be enjoying themselves. And, as a Blues fan, it was just plain fun to watch.
Missouri’s Congressional delegation was present and the President made sure to acknowledge them all, heaping generous praise on his “great friend,” Senator Roy Blunt and “our young, incredible Josh” (Senator Josh Hawley), who’s made news of his own today. (READ: Josh Hawley Has a Great Suggestion for Hong Kong Leader Angered by Him Calling It a Police State and Josh Hawley Re: LeBron James’ Hong Kong Comments: Garbage.)
The President called on the inimitable Billy Long (R-Mo.) to demonstrate his storied auctioneering skills to auction off the Stanley Cup.
He remarked on Alexander Steen’s smile: “Look at that mouth….You think he’s taken a few hits?! You think he’s tough? You think I could take him in a fight? I don’t know.”
He called up the effervescent Laila Anderson, the darling 11-year-old whose battle against HLH inspired the Blues throughout the season.
The President jawed with several other players, including rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington.
He congratulated Coach Craig Berube, who noted it was a great honor to be there.
And was awarded his very own Stanley Cup Championship sweater — Number 45, of course.
The President wrapped up his comments noting:
“And the St. Louis Blues’ amazing comeback reminds us to never give up, never lose faith, never ever quit; just keep forging ahead….When you work hard, support each other, believe in yourself, and give everything you’ve got, victory is always within reach.”
Brought a smile to this Blues fan’s face.
Watch the video of the full ceremony here:
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