Not sure where to put this so feel free to move it wherever.
As some posters know, I had the privilege of attending the DC show as well as a pre-show reception at the arena. Unfortunately, I had to leave in the middle of the finale to catch my return train.
First, The Reception
I arrived a few minutes early, showed the hosts at the entrance the email confirmation I got, and they led me in. They were very friendly, explaining that they weren't quite set up and they'd be set to go in 20 minutes or so. I took the time to sit around, get some food, talk to a couple folks, etc. Some time later, after the room filled up with kids and other people, the host introduced us to the event, explained what the Capitol Fund was all about, and introduced some of the folks who made DC Worlds happen. (Sorry, exact names escape me at the moment.) An award (a plaque) was also presented to the organizer of the event. Then they announced the reception schedule- a skater would be here in about 10 minutes, and about a half hour after that, more would be coming up. They did not know which skaters would be able to come up (they were practicing for the show), so it led to some nice anticipation.
So, 10 min later, like clockwork, the speaker introduces Michael Weiss, who is from the DC area. He came to the center of the room and the kids immediately surrounded him (lol). I had my camera and was able to get a program after they were given out to the kids. I decided to wait a little and then see if I would have any luck getting my program signed. So I did go up...there were folks taking pictures with him so since I had my camera, I tried to look for someone willing to take a picture of me with him. I eventually found somebody, but many of the kids were more aggressive than I was in getting to him but he was very nice in making sure everybody had their stuff signed. I did make it to him and I told him I was at the Baltimore show last year. He asked if I enjoyed it and I said yes, it was a great show, good work. He said thanks and that he hopes I enjoy tonight's show as well. I said thanks, got a picture with him (!) and went back to where I was. He stayed for about 3-5 minutes and then headed back to prepare.
About 25 minutes later (it was probably a little less than an hour to show time at this point) the announcer comes on and says something to the effect of "ok guys. right now, there are more skaters on the way. The kids naturally got very excited and even I found my heart starting to beat a little faster. So about a minute after that, the host came back on to introduce four more skaters: Sasha Cohen, Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao, and John Zimmerman. They stayed in the back center of the room and the kids surrounded them too. Then, the host came on and introduced Todd Eldredge, who was also able to make it up to the reception. This is where things started to get a bit weird for me. I couldn't see the skaters at first, but then I got closer and saw Shen & Zhao and Cohen, and then Zimmerman. I wasn't expecting it but I must admit I actually got a little star-struck at this point, specifically after seeing Cohen (I've never met anyone "famous" before). She was the closest one to me but I decided to go over to S&Z first. They were nice as well- I don't think Zhao spoke much English, though, because one fan was trying to communicate with him, showing him pictures and everything and he simply nodded and said a few words back. After a few kids, someone asked me to take her picture with Shen and Zhao, and I asked if she could take my picture with them as well. I and also got each one to sign their section of my program.
Now, once again, Cohen was closer to me than Zimmerman was. Now things got really odd. I actually found myself having to suck up a little courage to approach her, since she didn't seem quite as receptive as the others were (not surprising in the least), but in the end I did. I found someone to take my picture with her, and I got my program signed. I ended up also telling her that I went to last year's Baltimore show. She asked if I enjoyed it and I said yes, it was fun. I think that was all, she may have said something else but I couldn't hear too well. Then I made my way over to Zimmerman- also a nice guy, got his signature and a pic with him. Then I walked around a bit, taking a couple more general photos of the event. Then I suddenly remembered...wasn't there another skater? Oh yeah, Todd Eldredge. He was on the other side, so that's probably why I missed him at first. He was there and Sasha was pretty close by. He was free, but I needed to find someone to take my picture with him. There was no one free except for Cohen- so after unsuccessfully trying to locate a nearby fan to take our pic, I ended up asking HER to take the picture of us. She's funny- she counted down and took our picture (and then I got Eldredge's autograph). I told her thanks but I don't think she said anything back. lol, but everyone else I asked did... Anyway, the skaters stuck around for a little longer before they had to return. At the very end I think there was a little contest between Cohen and Xue Shen to see who was taller. Quite funny, again. Then they had to go. I then thanked the coordinator for hosting this event and having us, and I also told her I was at last year's show among a couple other related things. She said hopefully they can do it again next year, and hopefully I'd be able to make it again.
Overall impressions: the guys were VERY cool and friendly folks. All four of them. Just cool, normal people. Same with S&Z. Sasha, now, was a little more distant than the others but she still signed and took pictures. That contributed to my slight nervousness in approaching her. She was the only one who did not smile in my set of skater pics. but it's all good- she was that way with most everyone else, it seems. I was expecting that from her having seen other fan pics.
So those encounters alone were worth my short visit to DC. I was actually hoping Jennifer Robinson would have been among those who could make it up here, but it was still totally worth it regardless. No disappointment or regret. This hour is one hour I'll remember for a long time, for sure. I then made my way to the show.
Then, The Show
Special note: I had to leave the show early- in the middle of the finale- in order to catch my returning train, which was the last one leaving that night until about 3 or 4 am (!) so I had better make sure I caught it. Anyway, it's alright- I'll be seeing the whole thing again in Philly a week from now, so it was OK.
Overall impressions: I actually preferred last year's show (maybe due to having Meissner, Belbin/Agosto and Lysacek there, I dunno), but it was still a night of good entertainment. Jeff Buttle was the guest skater and I thought he was just plain impressive. In one of his programs I think he did 4 triple jumps (could have been 5, the number's getting lost on me). The crowd responded really well to him, too. Weiss got the biggest reception, being the hometown favorite.
There was only one fall in the time I was there, and it came from Cohen in her Moonlight Sonata program. BTW, I think that program is better seen live. I was unimpressed with it on TV but I actually enjoyed seeing it there.
More of the goofy transitions that had the kids laughing...a few were funny, I thought, but it was clearly geared towards a family event.
No one performance in the first Half really stood out to me. Jeff Buttle's program in the second half, though, was my favorite of the night. His level of difficulty was just miles ahead of everyone else. and the long-timers might be surprised to hear this because they know I don't like men's skating. I could never watch it on TV. Yawn. But being there, close to the action, you just see the raw power, and it's that much more impressive, especially compared to what everyone else was doing.
I think that will be it for now. Maybe a little more a week from now when I see the whole thing in Philly.
I know many of you might be asking to see the pictures I was able to get with the skaters. Being the shy person that I am, I don't think I want to post a pic of myself on the forum- but I'll see if I can get a few general pics up.