Random Thoughts

The Winter Classic

Well this has been long overdue, so it’s about time I write up about how I went to the Winter Classic (for those of you who are lost, it was the hockey game between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings that took place at Wrigley Field).

Any of you that I talk to pretty consistently or saw my facebook status know that I was at this game.  Well I took a bunch of pictures and had a few observations that I wanted to share.

1)  First off, I have to thank my dear dear friend Allisa who scored the tickets (only two of them), and wanted me of all people to keep her company (I don’t know why she thinks so highly of me).

2)  For those very few of you who care about my actual sports thoughts, my take on this game was this.  The Hawks came out with determination, and set a physical tone immediately (this was one of the scrappier games I’ve ever seen in the first period.  Every time the whistle blew, there was scrapping).  And in return they opened up a 3-1 lead.  Then their youth showed and they didn’t keep pushing Detroit, they made a couple dumb penalties, Detroit capitalized on both power plays, and suddenly all the momentum was back on Detroit’s side.

Detroit’s just an excellent team, and the Hawks have so much talent, that they’re able to get away with sloppiness with most teams in the NHL.  But with Detroit, they need to bring their A game and nothing else.  I have a bad feeling the Hawks and Wings are gonna be in a series in the playoffs this year.  One good thing about the Hawks/Wings this year though, is that it really feels like the rivalry is back.  The last several seasons this hasn’t really been a rivalry at all (from Detroit’s perspective), and deservedly so since the Hawks sucked.  It feels like that’s changing and this could be a great rivalry again.

3)  Using the bathroom at the game was one of the more concentration camp-like experiences I’ve ever had.

That was what it looked like behind me as I was heading into the bathroom.

Here’s my theory as to why the bathrooms were so crazy.  In baseball (which remember, that’s what usually happens at Wrigley), there’s a constant flow in and out in the bathroom, because there’s so many more breaks.  In hockey, there’s three major breaks.  Wrigley isn’t really built to handle this (also note that there were 45,000 people at this game, about 10 or so thousand more than a Cubs game).  So in the first period intermission, everyone went to use the bathroom, and no one came back.

Thanks to Allisa and the guys next to us buying beers, I had about five Bud Lights, which no matter how long you try to hold it, 5 Bud Lights are going to come out of you whether you want them to or not.  So when I hit the “I have to piss so bad, I’m worried about lasting prostate damage” point was midway through the second period.  Since play was going on, I figured I could slip in and out of the restroom piece of cake.  From my picture above you’ll see that was not the case.

Since everyone’s double their normal size thanks to wearing winter coats, the process of going to the bathroom was basically this:

– join the funnel of people
– become one with said funnel (ie you don’t know where you end and other people start)
– flow with the current until it whisks you into the bathroom
– pray that the flow leads you to the classic wrigley troughs, and not back out through the exit
– stand approximately 2.2 centimeters behind a guy currently peeing
– pee with others pressed against your shoulders
– turn around and become one with the crowd
– wait for the flow of people to birth you from the bathroom

4)  I was proud of the fact that there was a fly-over, and in about 2.6 seconds, I got my phone out and managed to capture it:

5)  By far my favorite moment of the game was this.  When we sat down, we had a big posterboard card that we were to hold up at the appropriate time (a “card stunt” as these are known).  The posterboards also had little eye slits in them so that you could see what was going on on the large jumbo screens out in right and left field.

Well the time finally came for us to hold up our little cards.  3…..2…..1….. and on the screens we could see that the bottom sections (where I was) spelled out “Happy Holidays” and the upper decks spelled out “2009 Winter Classic”.  Then there was another countdown when we were to flip over our cards to spell something else.  3…..2…..1 the bottom sections spelled out “Detroit Red Wings” on one side and “Chicago Blackhawks” on the other.  I was on the Chicago Blackhawks side, and I watched as all the Blackhawks fans on the other side slowly started to realize (thanks to the jumbotrons) that they were spelling out “Detroit Red Wings” and abandoned this card stunt by throwing their cards into the air, slowly disintegrating the whole side.  Well our side decided to join in the fun, as did the upper decks apparently, and everyone threw their cards into the air, until the card stunt blotted out the sky, and rained back down into the stands.

You have to give it to us Hawks fans.  We’re not even going to spell “Detroit Red Wings” and very quickly made a statement that to me said “screw you, NHL, we’re not going to be your puppets.”  I laughed for about 10 minutes afterward.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my phone out fast enough to take a full picture, as I was far too entertained.  So this was the best I got:

6)  Obviously the Hawks winning would have made the day ideal, but overall I had such a great time, and I’m so thankful that Allisa asked me to go with her.  I’ll never quite look at Wrigley the same way, and it’s funny that the first game I’ve been to at Wrigley since moving to Chicago was a hockey game.  Once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m so glad I was able to do it.

So I leave you with my other random pictures from the game.

2 thoughts on “The Winter Classic”

  1. so could you see what was going on on the ice from the shallow angle of the seats? Seems like the boards block a lot of the view when you’re that far back but not that high off the ground level.

  2. Yeah, it was an odd angle, but once you got used to watching the game like that, it was actually pretty easy to follow what was going on. Plus Reebok had a giveaway for every fan that came in which was binoculars. It was pretty brilliant, and very handy.

    Overall just from a viewing perspective, I prefer my 300 level seats at the UC, but it was fun to be a little closer to the action.

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