This post is mostly just self-indulgent whining, with very little about hockey. But there’s a blurry picture of a hockey fight at the bottom if you read all the way through it:
It seems that the good people of Porkopolis loves them some dollar hot dogs…much to my chagrin.
I decided to head down to Cincinnati and attend the Cyclones-Wheeling Nailers on Friday night. I couldn’t make it out of Columbus until 5:30, but given what I’d seen at past Cyclones games at US Bank Arena, I assumed that wouldn’t be a problem. I had my first inkling I might be wrong when I came down Broadway under Ft. Washington Way and saw an actual line of cars waiting to get into the garage. Okay, I figured, it is 7:20, so this is the last minute rush. But I’ll park, walk up to the ticket window and buy my ticket, head inside, grab a burger and beer, find a good seat, the one on my ticket or not. And so on.
Imagine my horror when I walked around the end of the building and saw five lines at the ticket windows stretching almost back to the wall. I even momentarily considered buying a ticket from a scalper for an ECHL game but steeled myself to the cold and waited in line (Ahem, even Cincinnati Gardens has indoor ticket windows). And waited, and waited. I could see inside the arena and see that the game was already underway.
By the time I made it in, ten minutes had gone in the first period and Wheeling was already up 1-0. I really, really hate people who come into hockey games late. So I hate it even more when it’s me coming in late. It was hard to get into the game having come in so late. Plus, I was getting really hungry, because I hadn’t had dinner.
When the first period ended, I booked it up to the concession stand to buy one of those tasty burgers they sell at US Bank Arena (they are supposedly just plain old JTM Angus patties, but I bought a package of those hoping to recreate the experience, and it was nowhere near as good). Of course the concession stand was swamped with people lined up for dollar dogs. Okay, I told myself, I’ve seen this drill before at the Schott and Crew Stadium. Obviously there is a concession stand not selling hot dogs, so those of us who just want a delicious cheeseburger can get that. I circled the bowl. No dice. Every stand was swamped with the hot dog people. I finally decided to just get in line and wait. And so I waited. And waited. And waited. The line stopped moving. I guess they’d temporarily run out of hot dogs and people were just waiting for them. Realizing I was going to miss part of the second period if I waited, I gave my favorite under-the-breath curse; “This is FUCKING RIDICULOUS!” and headed back to my seat, hungry and angry.
I tried taking pictures to take my mind off of being hungry, but the lighting isn’t great in there, and nothing was coming out too well. My mood lightened when the Cyclones scored and I got to hear “Rock n Roll Part 2” as a goal song. Because as with the shootout, I may ultimately grow accustomed to some changes in the NHL, but I will never stop complaining about them. But mostly I sat and stewed and wondered if I would be able to buy something to eat before the third period. Yes, I hear you saying, I could have gone out while the period was going on if I was so miserable, but then I’d be waiting in line and missing the game I’d paid a princely $8 to see. I never leave my seat during play, unless it’s one of those times when I drink too much beer before the game and just can’t hold it ’til the intermission. I was swearing murderous revenge on the entire population of Kansas City for their strolling up and down the aisles during that soccer game I attended out there last fall…ain’t no way I’m lowering myself to that level, no matter how unhappy it makes me.
Finally, the second period of my discontent ended, with the Cyclones up 3-2. I headed back to the concession stand with trepidation and found…NO LINE. Everything’s coming up Milhouse! I still had to wait as some cash register problem was attended to, but at last I could order my cheeseburger and beer. As the concessionaire poured my beer, another woman, who apparently ranked higher in the US Bank Arena concession organization, walked by and said “Start of the third period! No more beer sales!” Thus ensued a long debate between the concession stand workers about whether beer sales were cut off at the end of the second period or beginning of the third. Superiors had to be consulted. It was eventually decided that beer sales had to stop, but seeing as mine had already been poured, I could have it. The last beer in the building tonight.
Feeling full of win and awesome, I returned to the bowl and found a seat near the top — although the game was better attended than I’ve seen for this incarnation of the Cyclones, there were still free seats higher up. I ate my cheeseburger, drank my victorious beer, and watched the third period unfold while peering around the ludicrous Bavarian hat on the spectator in front of me (Oh yeah, I was in Cincinnati). Partway through the period, I saw a beer vendor make his way around the bowl, which took away some of my pleasure, as I had clearly been misinformed that my beer was in fact THE LAST ONE to be sold at US Bank Arena that night. Harrumph.
Cincinnati dominated play pretty well, but Wheeling’s Sean Collins (a quick check of hockeydb on my BlackBerry informed me that he is the one from UNH, not the one from OSU) was awarded a penalty shot late in the period. Cyclones goalie Dov Grumet-Morris was shaken up on the play leading to the penalty shot, and then skated over to the bench for time-consuming equipment repairs. I was happy, though. I’d had my burger, I’d had my beer (whether or not it was the last one served), and I was watching minor league hockey in a half-full US Bank Arena (second largest crowd of the season, they announced). Life, if not good, was at least tolerable. When the delay finally ended, Collins scored on the penalty shot to tie the game. It eventually went to OT and then the dreaded shootout, which in the ECHL consists of about 600 players on each team taking shots. Cincinnati won. Everyone was happy, and then it was just another forty minutes of waiting to get out of the garage.
The moral of this story is something about leave Columbus earlier on dollar hot dog nights. Here’s that blurry fight picture I promised: