October 8th, 2005

Conrunner Kevin

Sharks 3, Blackhawks 6

Unlike the San Jose Sharks, the Chicago Blackhawks do not come anywhere near to selling out their arena, the United Center, so you can just walk up and buy a ticket for anywhere in the house. If I'd been willing to plop down the $250, I could have had a front row seat behind the glass. I didn't do that, but I did buy a club-level ($60) seat, and ended up in Section 218, Row 4, Seat 1. You know the shot of a hockey game from the center-ice camera? That was my view -- I was seated right behind the camera loft. Indeed, if it weren't for a half-dozen camera operators in front of me, the view would have been perfect. (As it was, it was only very good.) Standing up and looking into the press box above the upper level, I could see Drew Remenda, the Sharks' TV color commentator, and Randy Hahn, the play-by-play announcer.

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I think the 6-3 final makes the game sound closer than it really was. The Sharks never really seemed to be in this game. Am I disappointed? Sure, but I'm satisfied with my overall sporting event experience, you might say. $60 is expensive, but it's not something I'm going to do every day. And FWIW, I put the BBQ pork sandwich and diet Pepsi on my company credit card, as this was my evening meal, after all, and I'm still on travel.

After the game, I hustled down to the bus queue for the "express bus to downtown," calculating that I didn't have quite enough time to walk back to Union Station. Even though it was the first bus in the queue and it filled up quickly, it took a long time before it left, and then we inched through heavy post-game traffic. Still, I figured I might manage to make the 10:30 train to Aurora. I popped off the bus when it passed the Metra rail sign and followed the other people running for the train. Whoops. Wrong station. There are multiple train stations in Chicago, and I -- even though I'm a train buff -- got off at the wrong one. There was no way I could make it down to Union Station in time for the train, so that put me at maximum separation to the next train, which was the 11:40 PM to Aurora. That meant I didn't get back to my hotel until after 1 AM. Yuck.

I'd write more about my impressions of the Chicago train system, but I need to get some sleep. I still plan to go up to the East Troy Electric Railroad on Saturday, so I need to get some sleep.
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Conrunner Kevin

I Went to a Fight, and a Hockey Game Broke Out...

As I mentioned in my previous entry, there were a bunch of fights in last nights Sharks-Blackhawks game, but many of them were in slow motion. Earlier in the game, the set-tos were legitimate, with the players banging away at each other, but later, they seemed pretty reluctant to actually do anything, or apologetic at having gotten mixed up. Watching two players hold each other in slow motion for quite a while before actually swinging at each other, I fancied the following conversation between them:

"You really shouldn't have cross-checked me like that."

"Sorry about that; I didn't mean anything by it. So, how's the wife and kids?"

"Happy to have me out of the house and earning money again."

"Mine too. I don't really want to fight, you know."

"Yeah, but we've already started, so you know we're both going to get five minute penalties."

"We'd better give the fans their money's worth, then."

"I guess so; this game's pretty shot anyway. Want to go out for a beer after the game?"

"Sure, sounds good. Okay, here goes." *smack*