Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday on Ice

Last week, I received free tickets for ice skating at the outdoor rink in downtown Charlotte, along with free skate rental and hot cocoa vouchers, followed by tickets to watch the Charlotte Checkers play a hockey game as part of the WBT radio station’s celebration of Veteran’s night. It was awesome!

Driving in downtown Charlotte is easy compared to a city like Chicago or New York, but nonetheless we made a few wrong turns and had to drive around the block in order to get into the parking garage. I am the navigator while TJ is the pilot (like our airplane talk?); however, he gets nervous driving in places he’s not familiar with. He was also driving fast, making it difficult for me to read street signs. Once we passed the garage, he was a little upset that I didn’t see it before he passed it (sorry, I try my best to read at 40 mph!) because, of course, the next intersection we came to was a one-way street. After much arguing discussing we got back to where we needed to be and found a good spot to park.

We made it to the rink, ordered skates for TJ and Th, and got laced up. I was a figure skater growing up and still have my old skates. TJ dug them out of our shed for me to wear. I have not skated since 1998, living in California, and was a bit nervous at how well I would do. I am happy to report it is much like riding a bike; one never forgets! I had no idea they made these cool U-shaped bars that the kids push around to help keep them balanced. In my day, parents had to hold their child’s hand, and the next day required a trip to the chiropractor because their back was permanently bent at a 45 degree angle from trying to keep the child on his feet.

At first Th was hesitant, and truth be told, TJ and I left him to fend for himself the first few times around the rink as we both worked out the kinks. Th eventually got used to the skates and was able to push the “walker” quickly. Of course he fell a few times, one of which he landed on the end of the bar and bruised his tailbone, but overall he enjoyed his skating experience and I am glad he was able to go with us.

After skating we walked right next door to the rink and ate some pizza at Fuel Pizza. It was a really neat place as it was all about vehicles and gasoline and full of memorabilia. We sat next to an old fuel pump that Th insisted belonged in a gas station and not a pizza place, but once our food arrived and his mind was focused on eating, he dropped the subject.

We ate, then headed to Ovens Arena to watch the Checker’s game. We drove there, paid for parking, parked the car, and headed to the Arena. Just outside the door, TJ took the tickets out of his pocket to hand me mine. He read it aloud: Charlotte Checkers versus Columbia Inferno, Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Saturday, December 15, 2007, 7:30pm. Bobcats Arena?! We were at the wrong place! Duh, TJ!!! How long have those tickets been in your pocket and you’re just now reading them??!!

We waited to get a parking refund, loaded back up in the van (time is now 7:20pm), and headed back to Uptown to find where we need to be. Of course, as I wrote above, TJ gets nervous driving in unfamiliar territory, and of course neither of us has ever been to Bobcats Arena nor knows where it is located. Ugh! After some good navigating on my part, we arrived at the arena (there were no directional signs, just so you know) and again pay to park. We made it inside the building just as the National Anthem was playing! Th had a great time. He was so excited and it was nice to spend time alone with him. He felt so grown up accompanying me and TJ on a “date night”!

I have never been to a professional hockey game and was surprised at how violent it is! There were probably 5 fights in the first quarter (I still don’t understand why it’s called a quarter when they only play 3 of them) but it was entertaining to watch Th as he watched grown men fist-fight. I sort of felt like I was at a boxing match, but I guess that’s one of the draws to the sport.



Th skating with the bar. . .
TJ. . .

Me. . .

Al and Stacey, radio hosts on WBT, and us. . .