Race vs. Teddy Roosevelt wins DC man his bride

Matt Jennie and Teddy Roosevelt - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography


Jennifer Kushlis loves Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, her love for the Washington Nationals’ racing president runs so deep that her boyfriend of six years, Matt Hendrickson, decided he would have to literally win her affections from Teddy before asking for her hand in marriage.

“I absolutely love the Presidents’ Race,” Kushlis said. “It’s the highlight of my summer, several times over.”

Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson" title="Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal - Matt challenges Teddy Roosevelt

Video: Emma Patti Photography

Washington Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceBut Matt was up for the challenge. After nine months of planning, it all came together Sunday at Nationals Park.

Kushlis, 27, an Account Director at a local PR firm, arrived at their Kalorama home to find a note announcing that a Town Car would be arriving shortly to pick her up.

The driver whisked her directly to Nationals Park, where a Nats employee met her and led her onto an empty field with a table set behind home plate.

That was the cue for the HD scoreboard to light up with a video in which Hendrickson explained his dilemma, and challenged Teddy to a race for her affections.

“I realize that you have strong feelings for another man,” he explained. “Teddy and I both know that it would be impossible to ask you to choose between us, so we’ve talked and decided that the only way to settle this once and for all is with a race.”

With that, Teddy appeared from the centerfield gate, followed closely by Hendrickson.

“[The video] was absolutely hilarious,” said Kushlis, “and the only thing that kept me from sobbing through the whole event.”

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceNationals Park Marriage Proposal - Teddy Roosevelt hands over the bride-to-beNationals Park Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushlis Matt Hendrickson

Matt and Jennie Engaged at Nationals Park - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography

Teddy put up a good fight, but Matt won the day, and when Jennie met him at the finish line, he got down on one knee and proposed.

The families of both DC natives had been hiding on the Nationals Park concourse, and when Kushlis accepted, the celebration began.

“It was, by far, the best day of my life,” said Kushlis. “Matt’s incredible. The proposal was truly the best ever.”

Hendrickson, who works for Washingtonian Magazine, began scheming up the proposal during last year’s baseball season. “As my jealousy over Jennie’s love for Teddy grew, the idea to race him for her heart emerged,” he said. “Having survived an earthquake and a hurricane the week of my big plan, I felt like it was meant to be.”

Hendrickson has nothing but praise for the Nationals and Director of Ballpark enterprises Maggie Gessner, who coordinated everything.

And what of the jilted Teddy? “He’s a great sport,” said Hendrickson. “Teddy was first class.”

No wedding date has been set, but as the planning begins, says Kushlis, “I wouldn’t put it past Matt to involve Teddy somehow.”

Meanwhile, she hasn’t lost her love for the hero of San Juan Hill, saying his huge smile is what separates him from the other presidents. “George and Tom are hard to tell apart at times, and Abe looks so stern. Teddy’s the one in the bunch you’d want to have a beer with.”

Now that she’s engaged, that’s the best Teddy can hope for.

Matt’s video is above. We’ll have the full video of Sunday’s events in a few days.

UPDATE: The full video, including Jennie’s amazing reactions, is now up here

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kushlis except where noted.

Mark Grace says “I’m coming for you,” Teddy says “Bring It!”

Racing Mark Grace on the Nationals Park scoreboardTeddy Roosevelt says Bring It Mark GraceArizona Diamondbacks TV analyst and “Racing Legend” Mark Grace responded to Wednesday night’s challenge with one of his own in the final race of the homestand Thursday night.

Following a decisive presidents race victory by Abe Lincoln, Nationals Park P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska intoned “Live from Chase Field in Arizona, it’s a special message for you Teddy.”

Just then on the HD scoreboard a video feed appeared of the Arizona Diamonbacks’ “Racing Legend” Mark Grace, holding a sign reading “Hey Teddy, I’m coming for you… We’ll see you in 2012.”

Teddy’s response? His own sign saying “Bring It!”

It appears we’ll see some Legends vs. Presidents action in the 2012 season. If so, it seems either Teddy or Mark will have to win.

After the race, the Nationals presidents met up with the real Mark Grace in the broadcast booth, where he was covering the game for Fox Sports Arizona.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.
Mark Grace photo by @Teddy26Nats

Video: “Air Screech” introduced at Nationals Park

Air ScreechBetween innings Thursday at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals welcomed a new mid-game distraction. Popping up along the third base line was “Air Screech,” an inflated, dancing, oversize costumed version of the Nationals official mascot.

The video speaks for itself, but just in case you were at a loss for words, Dan Steinberg at the Post has compiled some of the Tweets that appeared almost instantly.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Today’s man on the streeet: Thomas Jefferson

Each Thursday, the DC-focused blog SocialStudiesDC interviews a DC resident to get a slice of DC life, asking them what they are thankful for.

Today the blog took an unusual twist on the man-in-the-street interview and featured a more well-known resident,
the Washington Nationals’ own racing president Thomas Jefferson.

For the record, Tom is thankful to still be ahead of George Washington in the standings (as if Teddy doesn’t even count).

SocialStudiesDC is published by daily deal site LivingSocial, and recently featured Let Teddy Win on the DC Stereotype Map.

According to managing editor Eliot Stein, the team at LivingSocial loves the Let Teddy Win movement and blog, so presidents race followers might do well to keep an eye on this relative newcomer to the DC blogosphere.

Video: Racing Presidents issue challenge to Mark Grace

The Washington Nationals’ racing presidents are fond of taking on racing mascots from other teams, but Wednesday night at Nationals Park, they issued their first challenge on record targeting an opposing team’s broadcaster.

Washington-Nationals-Racing-Presidents-challenge-Arizona-LegendsMark GraceThe broadcaster in question was Diamondbacks color analyst Mark Grace, who was covering the game for FOX Sports Arizona.

Grace is one of the four “legends” portrayed in the Diamondbacks Legends Race, which was introduced just over a year ago. In a blatant appropriation of the Nationals’ own shameful gimmick, Grace has yet to notch his first victory.

Last season, the Nationals mascots challenged the new Legends to visit Nationals Park. With the mascots a no-show, the presidents turned their attention to the press box, holding signs that said “Come Race Us Grace!”

Grace stood up in Nationals Park broadcast booth and waved his arms, saying “You want a piece of this, fellas?” With one game left in the series, an appearance on Thursday is not out of the question.

Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: George Washington makes Lincoln look foolish

Since the team moved to Nationals Park in 2008, Abe Lincoln has been the president to beat, taking 46% of all races through a combination of aggressive tactics and suspicious bursts of speed in the stretch.

Washington Nationals racing president George Washington watches as Abe Lincoln fallsBut this week, George Washington, having finished second in the standings for three straight years, seems to have received a wake-up call, taking three of four races in similar fashion, with Abe-like bursts of speed.

On Tuesday night at Nationals Park, it was the George and Abe show once again. With Lincoln in the lead, Washington burst past him at the turn.

Abe, desperate to catch up, put on a burst of his own, but couldn’t catch the founding father, and fell flat on his face trying.

With the final month of the season looming, it appears notice has been served. If Abe Lincoln wants to continue his dynasty, he’s going to have to work for it.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Yet another wardrobe malfunction at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals Presidents Race Wardrobe MalfunctionA night after nearly pulling off victory #1, Teddy Roosevelt failed to compete in the presidents race at Nationals Park, trailing the pack from the start and giving up before reaching the finish line.

Thomas Jefferson, who hadn’t won a race since August 3, made up for lost time by leading wire to wire, but for the second time in just four days, his uniform popped open.

This time, a Nat Pack member raced to cover Tom and preserve his modesty. Memo to the Nationals: Can we suggest a tailor to reinforce Jefferson’s buttons?

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

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