The last month has been very busy for me: conferences, DCWeek, networking events, donations, projects, and the one that came unexpected…I was chosen as one of the ten finalists for Washington Post’s “D.C.’s Greatest Sports Fan Contest.”
I knew of the announcement the day before the Post publicly announced the ten finalists. I was going to announce it through my social media networks until someone beat me to it (forward to the 2:00 mark).
Yes, that was Tony Kornheiser giving me a shout out and support for this contest. If there ever was a bump in Washington Post traffic, it was Joe Paterno and me since I’m associated with Mr. Tony, which could help (or hinder, depending who you ask) me through this contest. I carried most of the publicity for this contest. There were three rounds in the contest.
The first round was to write an essay on one thing you want to change to one local team. I decided to not write about the Redskins or Nationals since most of the contestants will cover that, and the Capitals since it was tough to argue Ted Leonsis and their play at that time. It was down to the Wizards or D.C. United. There are many things I wanted to discuss about the Wizards, but neither of my arguments had substance, so I decided to do the D.C. United stadium situation because it was known that week that Major League Soccer (MLS) was thinking of locating D.C. United to Baltimore. I knew I had a topic to write about because it involved Baltimore; soccer as a rising sport not only in D.C., but in the states; and D.C. politics. The outside-the-box thinking help me get into the 2nd round, but barely.
This was going to be a hard challenge for two reasons. The first is my D.C. sports memorabilia isn’t all that impressive. I have an autograph jersey from Ted Leonsis, a Bruce Boudreau signed hockey puck, an Elijah Dukes signed jersey and a signed Chris Clark hockey stick. Those sound awesome, but the stories behind it were not impressive. It was down to two items: the Stephen Strasburg debut ticket stub or the August 28 Nats ticket stub. The Strasburg game was great and the best experience I ever had…but 41,000+ had the same experience. If it had an autograph from Strasburg, then my memorabilia would have been cooler, but it was not. I went with the August 28 ticket stub because it had a huge back story and I have told this before.
The second issue I had was I had no camera person since I already took a family trip to Williamsburg with my middle brother the week before and my oldest brother was on call. My other friends were busy that weekend, except Welvin, who was my classmate in college and accepted my offer to volunteer. We went around the D.C. Metro area for 5 hours shooting a 90-second spot. I had three minutes of material, but have to edit down to 90 seconds.
When the videos were posted, I knew it would be the “Veterans” versus the “Young Guns” and the videos showed experience matters. The “Young Guns” videos (including myself) were choppy and unpolished while the “Veterans” were slick and ready for the film festival. Also, the “Veterans” had an impressive sports memorabilia and great stories behind it, while ours was a spur of a moment, so to speak. It came down to the worst of the “Veterans,” which was John Pence and the best of the “Young Guns,” which was me. Although my video was not the best and my memorabilia isn’t all that impressive, I was relying on my back story to carry me to the top 3. If I had 3 minutes, I might had a shot, but in 90 seconds, it was too tough and frankly, the judges picked the right three to advance. I came in 4th, which wasn’t too shabby and I can call myself “D.C.’s Greatest Sports Fan under the age of 35.”
Of note: there was one comment saying that the Washington Post should have pick one of the “Young Guns” since our memorabilia were not impressive and didn’t have the experience. That’s nice, but truth be told, there are many D.C. sports fans, younger than me, who have memorabilia saved from their family or experience it, so the judging was fair. I just need better memorabilia. In hindsight, I could have done a video of One Helluva Ride signed by Liz Clarke to suck up to the Washington Post judges to surely put myself in the top 3. Oh well.
Although I did not pass round three, I tried out the written test without studying and scored a 28, which was very good and frustrating since I had in my head, “what if?” As for the top 3 contestants, the winner was John Mann, who scored a 32 out of 54.
I entered the contest for three reasons: 1) $1000 worth of free tickets to any sporting event, 2) publicity for myself and my business and 3) the cool title of “D.C.’s Greatest Sports Fan” to put on your resume. Number 1 failed and number 3 sorta failed, but I hope number 2 comes to fruition after the Thanksgiving break and hopefully they stay in March 2012 for the big announcement.
I personally want to thank Mr. Tony and the littles for their support, Welvin helping me shoot the video, my family, the contestants including the top 3 of Mann, Pence, and Michael Ortman, and @emmi1966 for putting me into the second round and almost to the final round.
This was a fun ride and although I didn’t win, I realize there are many D.C. sports fans out there (although there was one contestant who is a Baltimore Orioles fan and sneak in through the process. Hint: not the top 3.) and hopefully I’ll meet them soon at a sporting event or drinks. To the other 9 contestants…Cheers!
Also, I’m still looking for a woman who is Catholic and loves D.C. Sports