Sunday, April 12, 2009

On my ass at the Verizon Center

The NCAA Frozen Four hockey tournament is still an event thats about the hockey. Unlike the basketball Final Four where its about being seen and being cool, or the incomprehensible BCS college football mess with its continual controversy and superb gambling opportunities, the hockey tourney is still a blue collar event thats mainly attended by hockey fans from the hockey playing schools around the country. People wear jerseys or gear from their school of choice and we see many of the same folks every year, no matter the venue. I've never seen President Obama filling out his brackets or Jack Nicholson in the front row with his irritating RayBan's, just knowledgeable hockey fans watching some well played puck.

Our day began with a trip to the White House. A regular person can't get anywhere near the joint so we strolled around the large perimeter, a walk that triggered the same powerful thirst as yesterdays bike ride. We debated our next move over a pint of cask ale and decided to head to the arena, with a stop at Ford's Theater, to land a prime brewpub table before the game crowd arrived. I told the boys to save me a seat because I wanted to catch the tail end of practice and they were more than happy to comply. When I entered the arena practice was over, but it appeared that 'civilians' were being allowed on the ice. One of the uniformed security guys told me that Bauer was holding a skate demo but it was too late for me because, "They are out of skates, there is a 45 minute wait, and the event is over in 20 minutes". Being the type of guy who immediately accepts and believes authoritative sounding information passed on by uniformed officials, I thanked him and politely left the building...........well, maybe not so much. Folks who know me will certainly not accept or believe that, not matter how authoritative it sounds. What I actually did was walk out of his eyesight and duck into the first unlocked door that appeared to lead somewhere. I quickly found myself in the bowels of the Verizon Center and wandered until I found a large table piled high with pricey looking skates and 3 or 4 guys in line. I was asked my size and asked if I'd signed the wavier. "Wavier? Uh, yeah, sure I signed it". Five minutes later I was on the ice on a pair of the lightest skates I'd ever worn. Since I had helped coach both No1 sons's and 1stLtO's youth teams, I thought they would get a kick out of it if I shot some video. I took a few slow laps, a couple faster ones and then turned on the camera and skated backwards while narrating my 10 second video clip. The result is below. Yes boys and girls, I went flat on my ass, hat flying. A fellow who appeared to be on skates for the first time in his life had stopped and I should have looked over my shoulder just one more time. I went down right in front of the penalty box. Keep the sound turned down at the end, I may have uttered a word or two not suitable for a family blog. The two officials in the box were concerned that an AARP eligible fellow like me had hit the ice pretty hard and I thought to myself, you guys should be concerned, especially since I didn't sign your gd wavier! All was well however, and I skated around a few more times until we were told to leave the ice. I even managed to get my photo taken with the national championship trophy on my way out of the arena.

Woody, Davey, and several other fans at the District Brewpub were greatly amused when I played the clip for them. If you take a pratfall it's tragedy; if another guys does it, it's comedy. A few beers followed by an exciting overtime game won by most of the crowds least favorite team, Boston University, capped off the evening. Now its back to Minneapolis to hear a bit of Easter singing and then do a bit of Easter rolling. Happy Easter everyone!

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