Part Three: Saturday – Hockey Redux
Saturday was a pretty lazy day, spent mostly in front of the two glowing picture boxes. I was being torn in a few directions at once. Part of me needed some time on my own to chill out after seeing everyone at my reunion, while another part of me wanted to go to the Otters hockey game that evening. Another part of me wanted to save up my cash for less ephemeral things than a sporting event. All my concerns resolved themselves later in the afternoon, when a friend from church called, saying he had free tickets to the game, and wanted to invite me along. About an hour after I’d made plans to go with M, my brother called, saying HE had free tickets, and was inviting some college friends, and wanted to know if I wanted to come along too, and invite some people. After a series of phone calls, we decided to combine our tickets into one big group.
I was stationed on one side of the lobby, waiting to meet up with my friend and my brother’s group, I met up with M easily, but my brother entered from the other side of the lobby. I crossed over to meet him, and met with S to get our tickets, which were down low, in the corner where the players used to enter and leave the ice, and we would defend that goal twice. It was a nice change of pace from my usual seat, on the same long side of the ice, but different end, and much lower down than usual. I liked being closer to the action, but the metal rails that hold the glass get in the way of some sight lines, especially around the penalty boxes, where there are a lot of joints and corners. Maybe someday the arena could afford the “seamless” glass, if it fixes that problem like I think it does.
The game was the second half of a home and home series with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. The Otters beat the Majors the previous night 4-3, and Saturday’s game got off to a violent start, with a fight immediately following the opening face-off. Two other fights occurred; the referees let a lot of chippy play go without calls. The Otters got the scoring started not long afterward, scoring two goals in the first six minutes, but gave one back late in the period on the penalty kill. The Majors tied it up in the second, and the teams traded goals in the third, forcing overtime. The Otters seemed to have a hard time staying energized, and giving up the game winner less than a minute into OT showed how well the Majors stayed in the game, and took advantage of their better work ethic.
Since I was with a bunch of people who I met while my brother was in school, and see at church, I wanted to give them a chance to take part in the special fun of a hockey game. During the second period I bought Chuck-A-Pucks for everyone, and when the intermission came along, I explained the object of the game: to throw their numbered pucks over the boards and onto the ice, hopefully into the plastic barrels, to win fabulous prizes. As I had hoped, everyone seemed to get a kick out of the game, and got a little thrill at the bending of the convention not to throw objects onto the ice. Sadly, no one won anything, though I think my brother came close to a barrel with his throw.
After the puck-chucking, I got to share my hockey-knowledge with some folks, and one of my friends even mentioned part-jokingly that I had talked more in these few minutes than he’d heard in the past several months. This is probably true, but being able to share my love and knowledge of hockey is something that comes easily and I hope to use that experience to feel more comfortable opening up about other topics in the future.
Even though the game didn’t end well, spending time with friends at the game was a fun and exciting experience, one that I hope to repeat often in the future.
All in all, this was an excellent weekend, spending time with family, sharing a great meal and giving thanks for all God has done in the past year; continuing the tradition of holiday hockey; getting back in touch with my high school past, and being accepted back into that family after being away for so long; having an opportunity to have fun with my newer friends. I think God was really with me at that time, celebrating where I’ve come from and where I’m going in my life. Here’s to a great holiday weekend, and to the opportunities I’ll have in the next few weeks.