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Autograph Adventures – Tyler Seguin

February 27, 2012
Boston, Massachusetts

I had never been to an autograph signing where women outnumbered the men. There’s a first time for everything.

A gaggle of college girls skipped out on afternoon classes to meet Bruins phenom and hockey hunk Tyler Seguin at the AT&T store in Downtown Crossing. They were joined in line by the usual suspects—I among them—hoping for a scribble to add to our collection (or, in some cases, our inventory).

Matt Raymond and Tyler Seguin

Matt Raymond and Tyler Seguin

An hour ago the appearance wasn’t even on my radar. My post-lunch procrastination led me to the Autograph University Facebook page where an AU reader (thanks Paula!) had posted the following compelling—yet vague—intel: “Tyler Seguin today in downtown for FREE!!!”

You now have my attention.

After coming up dry on Google I took to Twitter in an attempt to pinpoint the time and location of Seguin’s appearance. A follower replied to my tweet in minutes and referred me to an AT&T store in the Boston area. The Downtown Crossing site was the first I called and the rep confirmed the event.

“He just walked in the door,” he said. “There are at least 80 people here.”

Seguin was scheduled to sign for two hours, plenty of time to get through those in line and any others who beat me to the store. I had time but I didn’t hesitate—I grabbed my bag and fled the office, hoping to return in time for a meeting in less than an hour.

On the off chance outside items were permitted I didn’t have much. A Bruins team photo from the Stanley Cup win already signed by Cam Neely was in a folder of local athletes I keep in my bag. I traded five minutes to make a pit stop at a fan stand in South Station in search of a more premium item.

I asked a cute brunette behind the register if they had pucks.

“Yes, we have these over here,” she said, pointing to a row of plastic keychains dangling from a counter display.

No, real pucks.

“Oh, I’m not sure if we have those.”

I bent down and scanned the glass showcase. Bumper stickers. Bobble heads. Cigarette lighters. Watches. My own time piece ticks off another minute.

Here they are, right here. How much are these?

“Umm, I’m not sure,” she said, biting her lip. “I’m going to have to ask my boss. We don’t sell a lot of these.”

Over my shoulder and across the busy train station corridor her superior was manning another stand. She tried to get his attention with eye darts. Needless to say, it took a while. I sucked in a huge breath and blew air audibly and impatiently from my cheeks. I can be a real dickhead sometimes.

She finally got his attention. Six bucks a biscuit. I’ll take two.

The line at AT&T wrapped around the storefront but was moving quickly. Through the window pretty promo girls from a local sports radio station handed out swag as a DJ blasted music in a corner. I recognized a fellow collector who informed me no outside items will be signed. He had already been through the line and showed me a nice color 8×10 they were giving away. A few moments later the collector has talked the spacey young man in front of me into selling his copy of the photo.

Tyler Seguin autographed 8x10

Tyler Seguin autographed 8x10

“So, if he asks you your name, tell him to just sign it,” the collector said. “Got it?”

The young man nodded. “So, if he asks me my name, I’ll tell him but just say not to write it?”

The collector shook his head vigorously. Technically, the young man was correct but he was complicating the process unnecessarily. They went back and forth clarifying the instructions until there was some mutual level of understanding that the photo should not be personalized. I had no confidence this business deal was going to pan out.

Inside Seguin sat at a skirted table at the far end of the store, black Sharpie in hand. Next to him sits a stack of 8x10s and a middle-aged woman rumored to be from a local sports memorabilia dealership who owns Seguin’s rights. In other words, the “outside item police”. A steady stream of young women handed their iPhones off to an employee who was playing photographer, approached the table tentatively and threw their arms around Seguin. Smile! They hardly glanced at the 8x10s in the hands—several forgetting them at the table. They had new Facebook profile pictures to upload.

When I was on deck I watched the spacey young man follow the same route to Seguin.

“You want one of these?” Seguin asked, pointing to the stack of photos.

“Yeah,” said the young man. “Can you make it out to ‘Ryan’?”

Apparently he had a change of heart about selling the keepsake. But then something unexpected happened. The spacey young man asked Seguin for another signed picture—this time with no personalization—and the phenom handed it over. I glanced at the woman next to Seguin expecting her to protest but she said nothing. I couldn’t believe it.

I was up. Like the hundreds that preceded me, I was asked by Seguin if I wanted one of the 8x10s. Yes I did, and asked him to sign it “To Matt”.

“Hey, could I get another one like that guy did before me?”

Sure, Seguin said and handed me another. I thanked him and leaned in for the picture.

“Uh…all I’m seeing is a black screen,” the young woman holding my camera said.

I grabbed the silver box from her hand—dead battery. I fished my iPhone out in a panic, tapped the camera app, handed it back and said a prayer. Then I heard my name being shouted across the store.

“Matt! Matt! I got it.”

The reader who tipped me off about the event had seen the malfunction, jumped out of line and was hustling toward us, camera in hand. She knelt down and took the shot. I apologized to Seguin for holding up the line and booked it back to the office, walking in just as my meeting was set to begin.

This story wouldn’t exist without social media. I’ve written about how Twitter is a powerful tool to track celebrities but it also allows you to connect with other members of the autograph community. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook—you might get a tip that turns into your own autograph adventure.

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

4 comments… add one

  • Adam Tocci March 6, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Your writing’s developing very well, Cousin. Keep up the good work!

  • Matt Raymond March 6, 2012, 12:56 pm

    Thanks brother.

  • Sam January 20, 2013, 1:50 pm

    I always love the story’s. I did the bruins training camp last Sunday a got everybody minus chara and Horton.. Are they tough or not I only do the sox and celtics.

  • Matt Raymond January 20, 2013, 3:20 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Sam. Teh Bruins are definitely the nicest of the four major teams in Boston but have been more difficult since winning the Cup. Perhaps they are on their most fan-friendly behavior since coming back from the lockout. Nice job!

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