Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nastia Liukin 4/2011 Frisco, TX

A few weeks ago Nastia Liukin was signing at a local phone store.
She is someone I ‘knew’ about since I got Carly Patterson autograph’s after the 2004 Olympics.  Carly was signing at the WOGA gym in Plano and while waiting in line, someone mentioned the little blonde girl working out on the mats. They said she would be the next Gold Medalist.  I had no reason to believe or disbelieve but I took a long hard look and remembered the name Nastia. 
I had a coworker that also worked at WOGA but at the Dallas location and I would bug her all of the time about getting Nastia’s autograph. My coworker would politely laugh me off. She always though it was weird for a grown man to want some kid’s signature.
So after years of waiting and missed opportunities, I finally got my chance. Nastia Liukin was going to make an appearance at 10AM in Frisco just a few miles from my home.
So of course I set the alarm clock for 6AM and was out the door by 6:30AM.  The store was 2 minutes from the home and I stopped by 7-11 for a morning Big Gulp of Pepsi. I was ready.
I got there and the parking lot was empty.  Only a few squinty eyes drivers were stopping at the Starbucks next door.  Can you imagine the question mark flowing over my head?  This was an Olympic Gold Medalist. Nastia was (more or less) a home town hero.  Where was the line?  I’m NEVER first.  I rarely even get close to the front. This was odd.
I checked the address and even drove around the building to see if a line had formed at the back door. Hmm, did they cancel? Do I wake the wife and have her check the site?  Where are all of my autograph hound friends?  Nastia’s planned appearance had created some chatter on the messages boards.
Well, I didn’t wake the wife. I just sat in my car listening to the radio and drinking my Pepsi.
If it wasn’t so early and I wasn’t so tired, this would have been relaxing.  The weather was pleasant. It did threaten to rain but the cloud cover kept the temp to the mid 60’s.
I waited.
About 7AM, a car drives up and parked near mine.  He methodically popped the truck and got out and gathered up some crap.  He walked over to the front door and popped open he lawn chair and parked himself.
Now I felt better. I’m at the right place. I don’t know him but I know the signs of a fellow hunter.
About 7:30AM a car drives up and parked in front of the store. The car took 2 spaces. The driver got out and walked to the door and used his keys to enter. Ah, an employee. And an employee that took up two parking spaces.  Does that mean he doesn’t care about fellow parkers?  Or he knows the business is so slow no one comes to the store?
About 8AM another car drove up and also used two spaces to park.  That person, cigarette dangling from her lips, walked over to the door and entered. Ah, another employee. 
So, to recap, 2 employees and 4 parking spaces.  Of courses those are the best 4 parking spaces the store has to other. Maybe they are taught to park that way in retail school.
At 9AM several other employees showed up. They parked better but they did take the spots up close so any customers would have to walk further. 
Also, now that they have been at work for a while, a gaggle of them went on a smoke break near the front of the store.  As you can tell, I’m not amused by the customer service or image and the store hasn’t even opened yet.
At 9:30AM, a hunter I knew showed up with his wife.  So I finally got out of my car and we stood in line.  At the same time, the first guy who had been sitting in his chair was greeted by his wife and daughter. So instead of being second in line I was 4th.  No big deal.
At 10AM Nastia showed up. So someone started telling us how to act and what we could and could not do. It was crowd control stuff. It was funny as our crowd was maybe 20 people.
I was in the first group. Nastia was all smiles and chatted with the little one in front of me.   She does not take a bad photo.  I wish I had that ability.
I was in and out within 2 minutes.
I was allowed to go back a second time and I picked up another photo for my sister.  My sister is a huge gymnastic fan. Always has been.  So this is one of the little things I do to say sorry for being such a jerk as a kid.
It was maybe 10:15AM I was out of there.
Nastia is still big. I assume the light crowd was from a lack of proper promotion on the store’s part rather than tarnish on Nastia’s Gold.



  1. Still shocked at how easy this was, telling you that last one we tried to go, late though, at Macy's in Frisco was packed to the gills.

  2. I agree, we were very lucky with the light crowd. It was good seeing you there.