Saturday, December 16, 2006
Last night I got to go to my first ever hockey game. It was the Carolina Hurricanes vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs (do not get me started on Canada's blatantly unorthodox grammar). Alas, we lost, 4 to 3. I went with my brother, Matthew--I took him for his birthday. My company has season tickets in the fancy-schmancy "Championship Club," and I was lucky enough to snag a pair for this game.
We had quite a time getting to the RBC Center. My boss drew me a map of a back way to get there in order to avoid traffic, but I left it on my desk at work. Duh. I had redrawn it right after he drew it (because his handwriting is worse than a doctor's) so I actually was able remember most of it. But "most" was not good enough. We made it all the way to the arena. It was right there. But I made a left-hand turn too soon, when I should have gone through the light and turned left at the first driveway. Needless to say, this resulted in about a 30-minute delay, because I couldn't just "whip a U-y" with cops everywhere directing traffic, not to mention solid lines of cars coming from the other direction. So we got back on the freeway, but going the wrong way (Garmins don't come in handy when you're trying to go a back way and not the most direct way) and backtracking on the freeway was not an option since that was exactly the traffic we had wanted to avoid in the first place
Anyway, we finally got there and turned at the right place, and were directed to awesome parking spots right by the door. We asked someone where the VIP entrance was and got to avoid the long lines at the metal detectors. After asking yet another RBC employee how to get to our section, we finally found it. It was like entering a restaurant, with a maitre'd at a podium, except this guy hands out wristbands and drink tickets. Once we entered the Championship Club area, Matthew said, "You gotta get more tickets so we can come back!" Not only did we have posh leather seats, but there was a big buffet and plenty of chairs and tables where you can eat and watch the game on giant plasma TV's. I had some pizza, salad, half a panini, and some macaroni and cheese. Fountain drinks are unlimited. Matthew enjoyed a burger, pulled pork, and pasta salad with huge chunks of salami.
After we ate, we went to our seats and started to watch the game. From what I hear, 4-3 is a high scoring game for hockey. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to watch a game that is 1-0. The Canes were playing awfully. This was the fifth game in a row that they've lost, and it was obvious why. They can't keep the puck, and when they do get it, they can't hit it. Seriously, it was like (as my brother said) they allowed the first six spectators who arrived to suit up and hop into the rink. It was still exciting, though, when they did score, and they played that ridiculously loud horn thing that could wake the dead. I was surprised that I could actually follow where the puck was without having the benefit of a camera panning its course.
Speaking of cameras, I got to test mine out a little bit. The zoom rocks!!!
Unfortunately, since I'm still limited by the 32 MB card that came with the camera, I had to take pix at lower resolution with a higher compression rate. But I was very pleased with the speed--hardly any shutter lag. And I think the image stabilization is fantastic.
Naturally, the zambonis were of interest, providing something new to photograph.
Here's one of me and my brother (taken by the owner of my company, who was sitting in the other two company seats with his wife).
When the game ended, we thanked my boss for sharing his tickets with us, and left. I was anticipating gridlock getting out, but apparently the VIP's also have their own exit lane, which made things super easy. It had been a relatively quick game and it was only about quarter after 10, so my brother and I decided to catch a showing of Borat. It is definitely not for the thin-skinned, but it was hilarious with a capital H. I nearly peed my pants during the scene where he's just learned how to talk like a gangsta and he's trying to get a hotel room. On the way home, my brother and I kept doing "remember whens" (the bear!, the family photos!) and we were laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. Good times.