Well I woke up in the morning (December 21/09) excited about what is going to transpire throughout the day. Finally we (Paq Twinn and myself) get to go to an Oiler game this year. David Staples was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to go. I'm not an idiot, so I said yes. He had me at free tickets to the Edmonton Journal luxury box. Free? SOLD!
So as I prepare myself for the day/trip ahead of me - I live in Stettler - I was trying to plan things out. Oiler jersey? check. Oiler hat? check. Oilers watch? check. All my usual nerdy Oiler paraphernalia? check. Ok, set to go.
Normally I would take our van as it's a pretty decent vehicle. But the wife needed it to pick up the daughter at day care. So I'm going to drive my 1991 Crown Victoria. It's usually my "go to work car", but for that moment, it was my "get me to the Rexall car", Oilers license plate and all. Edmonton Oilers, here I come.
So once I fuel up and get out of town it's 1:45pm. Forty five minutes behind schedule, but that's ok, I have lots of time. It's only just over two hours to drive to Edmonton from Stettler. So up highway 21 I go. Roads were pretty decent. As I'm driving along I'm listening to the OilersLunch. The whole time I'm listening to Bob I was getting grossed out. How much spit does he have in his mouth? Imagine using the microphone after him? Eww.
The whole way up I'm cruising at 100 kph. Like I said, the roads were decent. But as soon as I turn off 21 and make my way to the Anthony Henday, I can see the traffic slowing down. The roads were way worse here. What the hell is going on I'm thinking. Why does everything look so different? Ahhh... maybe it's because it's getting dark. It's 4:20 and Paq sends me a text. "Where are you?", he asks. "Not far away", I replied. "Be there soon".
Before I know it, the whole jam is at a stand still. I start to panic a little but manage to calm myself down. I'm going to the Oilers game man. Chill out. Well...
I was in that line for what seemed like forever. It was 5:49 before we started moving faster. Figures... I get up to the crash site and the cops shut their lights off and drive away. Just my luck.
At 6:00 pm I realise that I screwed up somewhere. Where am I? Why is the Anthony Henday so screwed up? EVERYTHING IS SCREWED UP!
So I figure out where I am - almost in Spruce Grove! - and start heading back to the west - where I came from *sigh* - and it's off to Paq's house. On the way to his place I almost spin out from black ice under an overpass by the Yellowhead casino but I managed to pull out of it. Underwear check after that. Minutes later some jackass in a 4x4 tries to pass everyone and almost spins out as well. He's lucky he saved himself because there was cars all around him, including me.
So now it's 6:30pm and I finally reach Paq's house. He jumps in and off we go to the Journal office. Traffic is still all stupid and we manage to work our way down to downtown. We run in and get the tickets. SWEET!
HOLY CRAP! Look at the time. We have 15 minutes till the puck drops. Better hurry. So we snake our way around the traffic and get on 118 th ave. I ask Paq if we should just park on the west side of the tracks. Just as I do that I decide on my own that I don't like that side of Rexall. Ok. I'm going to park by Axe Music (I love that place) and I feel like it's safer as it's a little better of a neighbourhood. Did you know it costs $12 to park around there? I was stunned. The last time I had to park it was $8-10 to park. So this guy waves at us and I thought, "FINALLY there is some good luck." The spot is in front of Kid Sport. I also like that place so if you have anything to donate to them please do so. It's a good charity.
Anyways, so we park there and I ask him how much to park here. You know.. thinking it's $12 like the rest. Nope. He says it's $14. I'm sure my eyes bugged out a little. Then he busts into it's for charity speech. I tell him it's ok and that I know the Kid Sport program. Ahh, it's Christmas, I would have given him $20.
So off to the game we go. Cross the road, past the scalpers, and up to the main doors. By this time we are excited and can't wait to get in. Tickets please. No problem. Scanned and we are in. SWEET!
Random coat check. He goes straight for Paq. Again... no problem. After a pretty thorough check he asks to see in his smoke pack. Just then he looks at me and I look at him. *heart sinks* He completely forgets what was in there. He just grabbed a pack off his counter and boogied out the door when I picked him up. Wrong pack of smokes. Sh*t!
As I try and throw my pack out for him to see and rip open my jacket to try and grab his attention, he shrugs me off and is only concerned with Paq. "Come with me", he says. *heart sinks again* They never did search me.
Just then, Gagner scores and we hear everything. Damn it! Gagner's my guy and I just missed his goal. Whatever right? We will be on our way soon.
Nope. 20 minutes later I'm told that he is banned from Rexall property for 24 hours. "Seriously?", I ask. For one little left handed cigarette? You have got to be kidding? You should have seen those security guards eyeing that "smoke" up. It was like he was thinking of a way to keep it and not turn it in. Bunch of jackasses. Although... at this moment, we were the jackasses. It was an honest mistake and no bad intentions were thought of. But sh*t happens and tonight was the night.
So when a friend is in need of help, I do that. What can I say, I'm a good friend. Not once did I consider ditching him and going to watch the game. Not once. I could have, it would have been easy to do but didn't.
So I get my ticket scanned so I can get back in and out the door we go. All the way off the property and back across the street and back to the Crown Victoria and my $14 parking spot. *palm in face* My poor $14 parking spot. The best spot ever.
In the car we go and I tell Paq I'll drive him home. I take the poor guy home, and at this time he feels like a pile of Calgary fLame sh*t. On one hand I feel so bad for the guy. On the other... I started to laugh at "our" luck. Why does screwed up stuff always happen to us? This isn't the first time that plans have gone array. So I drop Paq off at home - the 1st period just ended - and I'm heading back to Rexall. All I could think about was my $14 parking spot. Is it there? Will the guy remember me?
Somehow no one is in my spot and I take it back like I never left. Ok. Time to get inside Rexall... for real this time. I run in and as luck would have it, I found the suite as it is close to the main doors. I walk in and finally get to meet David Staples. What a super nice guy he is. Very personable. I need a beer after all that so I go and get one. Mmmmm... tastes good.
The 2nd period is just getting under way and that's ok by me. All that driving, I'm at least going to get to watch two periods. Yay me! As I sit (I was actually standing because my ass was sore from driving), I couldn't help but feel bad for Paq. He waited just as long as I had to see a game. Here I am sitting in a luxury box, drinking a beer and he's at home, most likely not very impressed. I text him my sympathies.
So the game kind of sucked anyways but dammit, I'm trying to have fun. Damn! The Blues score. Again and again. Ugh!
At least I did see Penner's goal. I was thankful for that. So the 2nd period is over and I better go outside to calm down a little and have a smoke. What? Smokin' Ray smokes? Shocking isn't it? So out I go. On my way, because the doors are right there, I beat the flow of people. Who's that over there? There is two people in line and I thought I should check it out.
It was goaltender Sami Jo Small from the Women's Olympic Hockey team. Sweet! So I barely wait and it's now my turn. I didn't know what to do so I pulled out my ticket to have her sign it (no way in hell I'm letting her write on my 1990 Bill Ranford jersey. I traded a pizza for it in the summer of 1990 with this dumbass that rented the suite at my parents house. I guess he was hungry?). So I hand her the ticket and she signs it.
We chit chat a little and I wish her/them luck on winning gold in Vancouver. She says thanks and I go to move on. She then asks me if I want to see the 2002 Salt Lake City Gold medal. What a cool looking medal. It gave me that feeling of greatness (much like the Stanley Cup does but it's not quite the same) and right then and there I imagined both of my girls winning one together someday. Oh how sweet would that be?
Then she asks me if I want to hold it - usually it's the guy asking that question *wink* - and I say sure. That medal was heavy. I bet around 2 pounds. It was incredible to touch/hold it. Very empowering. I then say thanks again and move on so other people don't waste the whole intermission waiting for me. (Later when I get home I wonder If by touching it, did I screw my girls over at winning it down the road? Is it the same as the Stanley Cup? Like a fool, I've touched that also in the past.)
So out to the Gretzky statue I go. as I stand there and smoke this young couple asks me if I could take their picture with their camera. Hey, I've been here before and I know how special that statue is to people. So no problem, I can do that. I take two pictures of them and they thank me and off they go (they were having their own adventure.) As I am getting ready to go back inside these two guys were just finishing smoking a joint right there in front of the building. What?!?
They reeked like the stuff and I decide to follow them into the arena. I chuckle to myself that these two are going to get the shake down at the door. Nope. Turns out they know the guy (same guy that busted Paq) at the door and high five him and continue on with whatever it is that they were going to do. WTF is that all about? They were just smoking the sh*t and they don't get tossed out? Paq was doing nothing wrong and he gets punted? Again... WHAT THE FU*K?
Whatever... I head over and get a beer and go back to the luxury box. David Staples, Jonathan Willis, Bruce McCurdy and Lisa McRitchie are all talking hockey so I join in. I'm sure I chimed in with some crazy Smokin' Ray thought and was given a strange look. We then all sat down to enjoy the 3rd period. GOILERS!
As I looked around I wondered where Katz sits. I ask David and he laughed. Katz rarely goes to games. What? The self appointed super fan doesn't attend games to a team he owns? How is that possible? Super fan my ass. What is it with the Oilers and their penchant for claiming stuff that isn't possible? Super fan claims... Win the division claims... A team that competes claim... why waste your breath? Oiler fans are not stupid.
So the Oilers gets kicked in the balls and lose 7-2 and the crowd is clearly upset. Boo's are tossed out - including myself - and the Oilers leave the ice. I can't believe the game is over. *sigh* We all chat it up for a bit longer and people start to disperse. I make a joke that I don't want to leave, but I really wasn't joking. I was sad that it was over. What a night so far...
I thank David once again and wish him a merry Christmas and I head out the doors back to my $14 parking stall. Well Edmonton... it's been a slice. I call the wife and tell her I am on my way home. Off I go.
Now I'm heading east on the Yellowhead and I turn at my usual ramp to head by Sherwood Park and then down to Camrose. The traffic is flowing and the place looks different but no matter... I keep driving. I'm going home.
The next thing I know... I'm at the West Edmonton Mall. What? I HATE THE ANTHONY HENDAY!!! I lived in Edmonton for 5 years and never once got lost. Never. Now I'm lost twice in one day? *sigh*
So now that I am at WEM I turn around and screw it, I'm just going to take Highway 2 south. The roads were not bad but every time a semi truck goes by you you go blind for 10 seconds. Is there a corner coming up? Don't know. Is there a car in front of me? Don't know. That was the scariest part of the whole trip. Twice I tried to turn off on a secondary road and get back to highway 21. Every time the roads were the sh*ts so I would turn around and go back to #2. I finally make it to Lacombe and slowly drive back to Stettler.
It's 2:00am and I'm tired and at home. What a day.
It's funny because I just said to my wife that since we have had our first daughter we don't have any crazy adventures anymore. This sort of thing used to happen a lot to me. I even told her I miss that kind of fun... well until this trip.
All in all I did have fun. I met some great bloggers and held a gold medal. At one point I swear I seen Hillary Duff and Paul Comrie while I was waiting for Paq at the holding area, but most likely not. Why watch the Oilers if Mike isn't playing?
I thank David Staples once again for the opportunity to see a game in a great luxury box like that. I appreciate it. And I should apologise to the readers of this story if you think it's a gay story. It was interesting while it happened. What's the next adventure bring?