Thursday, May 17, 2007

Five to One, Baby, One to Five

As a special treat to the 2 people who still read my blog, here's a five part story to amuse and delight all:

Windy City Riding
Chicago is called the Windy City not because of the wind off the lake- but because of the politics of the late 19th century, and well, honestly, the wind off the lake is pretty fuckin' strong. I had planned with a few of the bike team members to go riding on Saturday afternoon, which seemed like a great idea. I haven't been training enough, and I need to get back on the horse. So, off I went to meet them by the Buckingham Fountain, and I felt great. I was just flying down the bike path, and met up with my friends just north of the fountain. They suggested riding north first, because of the wind. I suggested riding south to avoid the growing number of people crowing the north side of lakefront.

So, south we went, and we flew. I checked my computer at the end of my ride, and I had topped out at 27 miles an hour- not bad for a guy who is far too out of shape. Riding back north wasn't as much fun. The wind was fierce, but we made it through teamwork- drafting off of each other the whole way. At one rest point, I was talking with a friend about my plans for the evening. I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to go see playoff hockey or a certain Canadian band who writes songs about hockey. His suggestion: "We'll, I'm single tonight, too, so I'd say let's go to the hockey game."

I told him I'd think about it, and as we continued north, I told him I'd check for tickets when I got home, and I went home to check for tickets. Sadly, Ticketmaster wasn't helping me much, so I walked away from the computer to see if I could get a better pair of seats. By the time I got back, they had taken that night's game off of the Internet. If we wanted to go, we would have to buy tickets at the door.

I get tired and hungry.
I sat there, wasting time, avoiding everything, wishing I hadn't ridden so much. I waffled. I didn't want to go out at all, much less to my two fun ideas. I started fucking around on the computer, and listening to music. In reality, I was trying to come up with a good enough excuse to tell my friend to not go with either plan.

Then, as though inspiration could only do, Hit Somebody by Warren Zevon came up in the shuffle. A light shone through a window, and highlighted my silhouette. I was seeing the light. We had to go to the game.

I quickly made arrangements for a car, and called him. We made the informed and proper decision to go. He hopped on a train to my house, and I hopped in the shower to finally wash up.

The Fire
As we headed west from my apartment, we were listening to a certain band whose concert I was blatantly NOT attending despite advice to the contrary and we saw smoke. Not just a little bit, either, but a huge plume trailing off to the southwest. Traffic was backed up for ages, and we had dawdled enough time away to make getting to the game on time challenging at best.

I mustered all my Chicago navigational abilities and took off on a side road. My determination to be at the game definitely came through. We had finally driven north of the fire and got on the expressway. Traffic wasn't too bad, so we flew towards the arena. As I exited and headed north on Mannheim Road, we were quickly approaching the arena when I spotted it, just off the street. The one symbol that everything was going to be ok. Not just ok, but good. Not just good, but excellent. Not just excellent, but what would turn into one the greatest nights of my life.

The Weinermobile.

It wasn't my first live, in-person Weinermobile sightings, but something about it just told me everything was going to be ok.

The Tickets
We ran from the car to the ticket window. Ran. The website said the game was at 7, our watches said it was 6:55. We didn't have time to spare at all. As we finally got the window, I asked for two tickets. "Ok, I've got anywhere from twelve dollars up to fift-" the helpful ticket window guy said before I interrupted.

"You have on ice seats?" I sputtered, excited as hell at the prospect of being that close.

"Yep, but you have to pay cash because I've already pulled them." I worked as a Ticketmaster jockey at Tower for years. I knew the pains you got during onsales when you pulled a set of tickets that were suddenly returned for whatever reason. I knew what that guy would go through if he didn't sell them.

"Wanna do it?" I said to my friend who hadn't sat on the glass for a Wolves game. Me, I've been there. But I hadn't been where we were going to sit. "Where are they?" I said to the helpful ticket window guy.

"Section 107, seats 5 and 6." He said. That made the seats on the ice, between the corner and the opposing team's goal.

"We'll take them," we said in unison.

The Seats.
We hurried into the arena, still under the impression that we were late. We were in an especially big hurry because we knew how good the seats were, and that the Wolves' entrance show would be not only right by us, but the flames shooting from the wolf paws should be exceptionally fun.

We were grossly incorrect.

Gametime was actually about 7:20, so we had not only time to get a couple Polish and Blues, but time enough to lament that neither of us had a camera with us- something I almost always try to have with me at a game. A quick survey of the concession stands revealed that they didn't sell any, either. Our options were limited when my friend said "I have a camera phone."

We took our seats. We tested the camera. It worked, but we had no idea how good the shots would be. Here's one from the 3rd period:

Here's a faceoff from the second period:

And here's the goalie:

What you can't see is on the back of his helmet, there's a cross painted. A good Christian goalie, he was. T being T the recovering Catholic, and me being the unapologetic atheist, well, we had to come up with a Jesus-the-goalie joke. Wanna hear it?

"Why isn't Jesus a very good goalie?"

"Sure, no five-hole, but it's hard to stop a puck with your hands nailed to the posts."

Oh, and the sweetest part of the story? Not only did we score a goal 6 seconds into the second period, we clinched the series with a 5-1 victory.


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