now that my i have regained a bit of feeling in my fingers, i am able to type yet another hockey post. i went to another outdoor hockey game yesterday, yes that’s 2 days in a row. this time it was the winter classic, just a mile away from my little house in the big house, michigan stadium. usually the site of my university of michigan wolverines football team. this time it had been turned into an outdoor hockey pond and was a matchup between the current detroit red wings and the toronto maple leafs.
it began early in the morning, the temperature had dropped yet again, it had been snowing all night, continued on throughout the entire game, and is still snowing today. no matter, we began with a beer at the local wolverine brewery, donned our gear, and began the walk to the stadium. after about 100 feet, a van of wings’ fans picked us up and gave us a ride the rest of the way. it was a good sign.
upon arriving at the stadium, spirits were high, people were packing all kinds of whiskey and warmups into their hoods, security was impossible due to the bulky clothing, and i kicked many a beer can on my way in. fans from both countries poured in, excited, fired up, and oblivious to the weather.
even some of the wings and leafs players had a bit of soccer fun outside of the stadium before the game
once in, we quickly made our way to the concessions, where there was hot chocolate and both american and canadian beers to be purchased, and i encountered 2 very friendly canadian fans.
we then found our seats and settled in for the game. in a show of support, players from the alumni game the day before were in attendance, along with the usa women’s olympic hockey team. it was so cold and snowy, no one minded huddling with the enemy, and drinks and hand warmers and blankets were shared all around. loyal cheers and comments abounded, ‘now THIS is hockey!,’ ‘what it’s meant to be!’, ‘this is kick-ass!’, heard from fans nearby. cold drinks froze within minutes, and hot dogs and pizza were cold within seconds. could’ve used the suzy cozy beer mitt for this game. that is, before they ran out of molson, and hot chocolate, and pizza.
they played their hearts out and had to keep stopping the game for a crew to come out and snow shovel while skating.
in the end, it went into double overtime, with a stop of game right in the middle of our captain, zetterberg’s rush on goal, in order to trade sides and be fair, and resulted in a sad shootout loss for the wings. but they played like warriors, and that includes all those in the stands.
as we left the stadium, exhilarated and worn out, and walked a mile back to our brewery through deep snow and the ongoing blizzard, clad in layer upon layer of heavy clothing, (Imagine being a sumo running up a sand dune), we knew it had all been worthwhile. even if we couldn’t feel all our digits. upon arriving back at my cozy little cottage, i took off my layers, went directly into a warm bathtub with a glass of wine, and was asleep and dreaming about this magnificent day by 7:30pm.
the discarded layers: polar full length down jacket with hood, hoodie sweatshirt with hood, turtleneck, neck warmer, wrap around scarf, knee high lace up boots, thermal tops and bottoms, wool tights, red wings hat, 2 pairs of thermal socks, hand and foot warmers, blanket, seat cushion, ski band, thin gloves, ski gloves, running tights, and chapstick. bring it, winter.
Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory. – William Barclay