This piece was written by Justin Forsett and originally published on SportsBlog.com.
Let's just say that last Thursday night was no ordinary Thursday night. In fact, last Thursday night will forever go down as one of the best nights of my life. Why, you ask? Well, that's because I met the President…as in Barack Obama, the President of the United States. And now we're pretty much besties LOL!
It all happened because I challenged a friend of mine who seems to know everybody to introduce me to the President. I was mostly joking. But the next thing I know, he calls his friend (who works for the President) and my wife and I are invited to meet him at a private event. It was all super secretive, so we had to wait to find out the what, where, when. Of course my wife was freaking out about what to wear and needing to buy a new 'presidential dress.' We found out the day before, via a formal email invite, that we'd be meeting the President at a hotel in Baltimore (as part of his address to the House Democratic Caucus). Oh, and to top it off, apparently the President told my friend of a friend, 'Let Justin know that I'm excited to meet him!' I know he's probably a Bears fan, but it's still pretty cool that the President knew me. We were SO juiced.
After working out and rehabbing on Thursday, I hit the town looking for the perfect outfit. I didn't have "presidential slacks," so I drove to Zara in Annapolis to get me a pair of presidential slacks...which means three things: smooth, chic and a little bit regal. We got ready, took a couple pics to show off just how sharp we were looking and headed to Baltimore around 5 p.m. We figured it was going to take a long time to get through security, but we didn't know just how much! It was crazy!
We pull up to the first security checkpoint, and they check our IDs to confirm we're on the guest list. About 500 feet later, another checkpoint. This time there are K-9 dogs running around the car. We move about another 500 feet, and yup, a third checkpoint. We finally get out of the car and are greeted with a metal detector and some wanding. Phew, we made it into the lobby. At this point, somebody from the White House staff comes down to escort us into a special waiting area with a small group of people also waiting to meet the President.
We're getting very excited. My wife and I are discussing what we are going to say. And I'm trying to find out if I can take a picture with him. We're told there's a White House cameraman who takes your picture, so secret service asks you not to take out your camera phone. Man, this is likely the only time I'm going to meet the President and I can't take a selfie?! I was already thinking about how that was going to be my new profile pic. I tell my wife, 'I've got to get this selfie with the President of the United States!' I figure, if I pull out my phone, what's the worst that can happen to me (yikes, don't answer that)? She's afraid that the secret service are going to put the smack down on me, but I'm feeling determined. Plus, the people next to me are egging me on. So I convince myself that I can pull it off. I'm all pumped up and getting ready to rebel…all for the sake of the selfie!
A few minutes later, I hear his voice. I'm still at the point where I'm feeling confident and bold and ready for my big intro. A few minutes after that, I can now hear and see him. Once you get in the room with the President, there's security EVERYWHERE (maybe 12 secret service agents in this small room). We're on deck. My heart starts beating, my palms are getting a little clammy. Our names are called by an announcer, which strangely reminds me of pre-game intros or something. 'Mr. President, this is Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens.' At this moment, every plan that I have goes out the window. I was like a little schoolgirl. ZERO SWAG. I may have passed gas. Just kidding, I didn't pass gas, but it was that type of moment.
The first thing I tell the President is how starstruck I am, and of course introduce him to my wife Angie. He says that we look great, makes some small talk and asks what I'm up to this offseason. I explain that I broke my arm, but am trying to get better so I can get in on his White House pickup basketball game. So he says, 'No, I couldn't handle you on that court, man. You look like one of those explosive 5'10" guys who'll dunk on you. I don't want any part of that embarrassment!' He had the whole room laughing. My takeaway from the exchange?! The President just gave me two inches! I'm 5'8", but if the President says I'm 5'10", then I'm 5'10" from now on. I'm going to have to put that in my bio. I was given a presidential two inches. This might be the most important part of the whole story LOL.
When we left, we were given some presidential chocolates, all wrapped up like American flags, to give to my boys. I can't actually give it to them because my oldest Judah will try to eat it, and we can't have that. Hey, that's our souvenir from the big night! I was so excited, I did a Periscope right after.
I have one word to describe the President: swag. He was looking a little tired, but that man has swag! I was kicking myself a bit because I meant to tell him about the work a bunch of us NFL guys are doing in Flint. I guess I'll have to call him on his cellphone – since we're pretty much besties – and let him know all about it. Yeah right, I wish LOL!
I'm not normally a political guy, but I do respect President Obama tremendously as an African-American who has broken barriers and done a lot for our country. He will forever go down in history as the first African-American President. To know that we met and spoke to him, not to mention that he knew who I was, was unbelievable. It was a moment we will never forget and an experience that we will remember and talk about for a very long time.
The only President I ever met was Dick Cass, the president of the Ravens. No disrespect to Dick Cass. He's a great man, but meeting President Obama was definitely a highlight of our lives…and he gave me two presidential inches!