Dec 15, 2013, 1:15 PM EDT
On Friday night Adam LaRoche, Willie and Jep Robertson from Duck Dynasty and former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light hosted a group of Nats writers at the Occidental Grill in downtown D.C. to talk about their recent USO Holiday Tour.
I’ve already covered some baseball related items involving LaRoche, as well as an in-depth look at their experience overseas, but given we had nearly three hours to spend with the guys, there were a few other highlights I thought I would pass along.
Here they are in bullet form:
–LaRoche talked baseball with a lot of the soldiers on the tour, some of them were Nats fans and wanted to know what he thought about their offseason moves. Most of the troops, however, were fans of his former team and current rival.
“It was about 95 percent Braves fans. There were so many Braves fans there,” he said.
–LaRoche has a reputation as a bit of a prankster in the major leagues. He takes credit for combining Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore’s lockers at Nationals Park during the season, a trick no one would own up to at the time. Well, it was in fact LaRoche and he played a pretty funny prank on the Duck Dynasty guys during one of their events on stage.
LaRoche spoke to a crowd at one of the bases with Willie and Jep up next to follow with their act. When he was done with his commentary, LaRoche told the crowd to stay silent once the Duck Dynasty stars were introduced and walked out to see the crowd. So they did.
Willie and Jep came out to no applause and said they asked the crowd “Are there any fans of Duck Dynasty out there?” All they heard were about three people clapping and the rest was crickets. Willie then joked that “there are our three fans” and they gave in and cheered for the rest of the performance.
–The shows ended with a singing of ‘Hairy Christmas,’ one of the tunes off Duck Dynasty’s wildly popular Christmas album. They said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey joined them for the performance, and once even donned a fake Duck Dynasty beard and camoflauge headband while doing so. LaRoche also helped sing, believe it or not.
–Light told a pretty entertaining story about one night they were on base. I’ll let Light’s words speak for themselves:
Matt Light (keep in mind he was listed at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds during his career):
“We got there and they got these military dogs cruising around all over the base. They were a little bit intimidating. I was talking to one of the guys about their dogs and it’s got a funny name to it, a Malinois. They are pretty jacked up about these dogs, they talk about the training they do. I’m looking at this dog and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I hear what you’re saying, you all probably work them pretty good, but it’s a 40 pound or 50 pound dog.’ I’m looking at it thinking, ‘that’s probably not going to hold up against a 300 pound man.’
So I smarted off a few times and the following night they arranged to break out the suit, like Ralphie’s little brother in ‘The Christmas Story.’
[“It was like 11 o’clock at night,” LaRoche interjected. “The suit made him from 300 pounds to 400 pounds.”]
So I put the suit on and we’re literally, they had us stand in these DVQs, Designated Visitors Quarters where shipping containers were stacked on top of each other with a railing on each of them. There was basically room just to turn around and walk back and forth inside of it. That’s where you live if you’re in Afghanistan.
In front of it on the base, in the rain, and it’s very dark, there’s a guy holding a dog. Basically, they give you instructions. First of all, they say don’t let your arms come out of it and I’m two sizes too big for this. So it’s just barely snug up towards the end of my arm, you have to suck your hand [up in the sleeve].
They said ‘you need to go down there and agitate them and then turn and run, and don’t look back.’
[LaRoche: “People had come from everywhere because they heard that morning this was going to go on. The railing is packed and there are cameras.”]
They wanted me to run like 60 yards and I told them I hadn’t run like ten yards in a year and a half, so we cut that distance in half. I got about three quarters of the way down and I think he jumped and missed me a few times. I mean, I’m a small target.
But when he did latch on, he latched on consistently like right about here on my elbow. For whatever reason, my elbow was a good target. The first time I have to say I had the upper hand, obviously if I wasn’t in a suit I’d be in a world of trouble, I mean he got thrown around a little bit.
[LaRoche: “This dog had no chance.”]
I got the speech before from the woman, there was like some code word to use. Like if I yell ‘cinnamon’ this dog is going to get off of me. So afterwards she comes up to me and says ‘don’t do that again. You’re going to rip my dog’s teeth out. If he bites you, just stop and move a little bit to keep him going.’
So the second one I did fall to the ground, the dog did get me down. Then we proceeded to do it like four more times, they wouldn’t let me out of the suit. They got different dogs, multiple dogs.
That dog had some pretty good bite force, I mean he was chompin’… it was a great experience. I had a mini-heart attack.”
–Also, here is a picture I took with the guys from Duck Dynasty. It just so happens I haven’t shaven since the season ended. If it’s a little blurry, blame MASN’s Dan Kolko :).
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