Monday, May 15, 2006


Forty-years ago, give or take, my friend Ron called to enthuse over his latest and greatest coup. He had scored (as we are wont to say nowadays) two tickets to a hockey game at Maple Leaf Gardens: not just any hockey game, but one between those arch rivals — the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. We had already attended a few games together at the Gardens — in standing room way at the top and way at the back — but we eagerly anticipated enjoying a game from these well-situated seats.

Previously, we had paid a few bucks for the privilege of standing during a hockey game. We'd get there early, queue up with anticipation, and race up the stairs just as soon as they threw open the gates. We were young then and could do that: run up long flights of stairs and then stand for hours. I don't think we even got puffed or tired. We'd stand and cheer the heroic warriors without care or pain for as long as the game endured.

But these tickets were special, they were seats, very good seats, in the blue section. They cost us $5 each, that's $10 for the pair for the math-challenged amongst you. As I said, I believe that the game was between Montreal and Toronto and I also believe that when the ice chips had settled the score was 5-5. Perhaps Ron has a different recollection, but the years have put distance between us, and he pretty well eschews fellowship with the likes of me anymore. It's rather disappointing really but irrelevant to subject of this blog — although you can probably discern a modicum of hurt and resentment on my part.

Fast forward to almost to almost two weeks ago when the kids picked us up at the airport upon our return to The Great White North (which is actually pretty darn green in May). They told us about the playoff game that they had just attended between the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sens had hung on in a thrilling finish to win the match and advance to the next round. Then, "If we can some tickets for another game, would you guys be interested?"

That question almost seems rhetorical, n'est ce pas? Am I not a red-blooded Canucklehead? Is Ottawa not my home town? Is Billy Graham not saved? Is GWB not a humanitarian, a visionary leader, and a statesman? Okay, okay, would you grant me the first three points?

And so, we went. We broke bread (or forked macaroni) together at mid-afternoon on Saturday afternoon and headed off to the arena. The Boy, pleased with the offer of my camera, eagerly and gratefully commandeered it and proceeded to snap a gazillion pictures or about 450, whichever number is bigger. He has posted the one above on Flickr, so I grabbed it to help decorate this post.

In the event, we had a grand time. It turned out that we were seated in the last row of the arena, the one just before standing room, but due to modern engineering genius, we didn't feel far away from the ice and were able to see the whole sheet clearly. The Boy had a ball playing with the camera, while Butterfly, Cuppa and I cheered lustily and mightily — to no avail as it turned out.

But I must say that we had a blast. The game was tremendously exciting, even if the home team lost a heartbreaker in overtime.

Times change. I was in a modern arena and not venerable and staid Maple Leaf Gardens. I cheered for a team that wasn't in existence then and against another of similar history, or lack thereof. There is much more show and hoopla now. Back then, we went and watched and cheered somehwat restrainedly. It was quite wonderful actually, but it's a hyped entertainment package now — maybe too much so. Back then, Ron and I paid $10 for a pair of good seats. On Saturday, Cuppa and I paid $110 for two discounted seats in the nosebleed section. Even standing room cost $50 per person — I know because I found a discarded ticket.

Yup, things change more rapidly than I, for, as I was adjusting to the price, I was reminded by Dear Daughter that a hundred bucks is pretty cheap for a night out. That sounds like the type of thing that I would have told my own parents not all that long ago, and I'm sure I did.

And so it appears that I have become my parents and my daughter has become me.

It's been more than a week since I posted. After writing three blogs shortly after we arrived home, I became a little caught up with the minutia of life. And when I was able to cobble together a few bits of spare time, I tended to find myself working on holiday photos. I have uploaded many of them to Flickr, but have now split the pics into several groups. If you are interested you can go to my main page and access the Arizona Sets on the left side of the page.

I'm pretty darn sure that I will blog more about the trip, but I'm not sure when because the ToDo list remains rather formidable.



Gina said...

Ach, I'm getting old too, because I cannot believe what the prices of some things are.

Or perhaps that there are people willing to pay it.

Because I'm usually not.

Off to see your Flickr sets!

Simply Coll said...

Way back when the Jets still made Winnipeg their home town we often frequented the games. The last game we attended we went with my son (who lives and breathes hockey) and his then four year old son. My son, wishing to make this a day of memories for my grandson, granted his every wish for food and drink. Just before the third period, the excitement and all the food became too much for the little tike and he vomited right there and then. Thus ended the experience of my grandsons first attendance at a professional hockey game. :-)

oshee said...

Back in my premarriage days I used to go see Suns games. I went once last season and just haven't had the money for such luxuries this season. I know professional sports charge the high rates for tickets, because people will pay it. It just saddens me. I miss seeing the games live. They have simply priced me out of the option to go.

Granny said...

When I lived in San Francisco, I could get lower reserved seats at Candlestick (baseball) for $7. and bring all our own snacks.

Not anymore. The new park is beautiful but usually out of reach for me, especially when I add in the 270 mile round trip.

At least my Giants televise all their games and I'm out of the blackout area (if they even have one - they may not).

Dale said...

Round and round, eh A/C? Good to see you back. I'll pop over and look at the Flickr Pics.

methatiam said...

... on the other hand, there are great achievements these days we didn’t have back then.

Diet Coke comes to mind.

Bonita said...

Gee, a hockey game - here, it's 80 degrees outside. I'd like a little ice with my tea, please.

Cathy said...

Regarding the Arizona photos: I need to create an account on Flickr so that I can wade in on those excellent photos. They're all lovely. Times Arch is just wonderful.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

You can have more fun things to do than blog in a day, even though we miss you...LOL!

mreddie said...

We are not much into hockey down here even though we do have a semi-pro team here in town. ec

Kati said...

From what I hear, one can get tickets to hockey games in some NHL towns in the US for as little as $30 -- even during the playoffs! So it is expensive "only in Canada, eh?"

megz_mum said...

Shame tickets are so dear, but nothing beats the atmosphere of being at a game, as opposed to watching it on TV

Dee said...

The prices of tickets are outlandish here too but my husband has a friend who is a dr. and he has gotten tickets the penguin games and gave them to hubby. Hockey is not that big in the states but hubby loves it. But you need friends with money to go see the games or he spends his time in the lounge chair cursing and cheering his team on.

Chelsea said...

I used to pay $10 for good concert seats. Now I have to mortgage my home. Not worth it!