The reality of what I’m trying to accomplish won’t even begin to sink in until I board AirTran Flight 160 on Friday morning bound for Hockeytown. Leaving my family, friends and co-workers and responsibilities for 30 days to wander around the country to watch hockey games is a decision that I’ve questioned more than once (as have others, believe me!).
But this past Saturday night, I drove over to Tampa for the Lightning vs. Atlanta Thrashers game. It was the first game I’ve been to this season and sitting there watching Vinny Lecavalier work his magic, and hearing the crowd roar when the Lightning scored (six times!) I remembered how exciting it is to watch hockey live and it validated my decision to hit the road for a month.
Outside the St. Pete Times Forum I picked up lower bowl seats, down low in the corner behind the goal with a close-up view of the ice. One of things I’m looking forward to is experiencing the view of different seat locations at each arena. Down low near the glass, the view is great, but the atmosphere is eerily silent as the glass blocks the sounds of the action. You can see the players lips move as they talk to each other, but it’s like watching a silent movie.
With the blowout win, some of the crowd left early, so we scooted down to the front row for the last ten minutes of the game. Every hockey fan should sit in those seats once in their life for a simply amazing experience (unless the puck is at the other end of the ice, when you just watch the action on the giant scoreboard instead).
As the final whistle blew, Brad Lukowich tried to flip the puck to us via the netting over the glass, but he missed (what do you expect, he plays defense) and Marty St. Louis grabbed the rebound and handed it to a little kid by the bench. You probably know this already, but hockey players are generally the most down-to earth athletes around.
I think there are two types of people reading this blog. Mostly hockey fans, but others who appreciate the complexities of making the travel arrangements, which was like solving a Rubik’s Cube! Some days I’m going to talk hockey, but I’m also going to share the traveling details, so hang in there with me when I go in that direction!
Note the pretty little icons to the right. I have no idea what they are for, but my 19 year-old son, Nik, swears they serve a purpose, so I’ll believe him.