On March 14th, 2017 I drove out to my hometown rink to watch the Ottawa Senators take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Being mid-March the weather was starting to warm up a bit but with the thermometer still hovering around ten below zero my journey from the parking lot to the front door of the venue was fast and targeted.
As I scurried past the meagre pre-game outdoor offerings I couldn’t help but to think back six weeks or so. In early February I saw these very same teams play against each other in Tampa’s home arena, and oh the difference. Up north in hockeyland the game is the thing, while down in the land of the Mouse it’s all about the entertainment factor, though I suspect the reasons are more related to weather than any sort of Canadian pride or country-wide interest in sport.
Had it been a balmy twenty-five degrees outside I probably would have shown up a bit early. I certainly would have stopped into the outdoor beer garden and meandered amongst the various kiosks set up outside (like I had in Tampa), but it was minus ten out so like I say I scuttled right on by with my ears tucked down into my collar and my hands thrust deep into my pockets, wondering about the crazy few who were partaking in the frigid outdoor beer tent festivities. Do they not know that there is beer for sale inside, where the temperature is set at a comfortable twelve degrees?
(Though on a non-weather front I should add that the pre-game entertainment inside was also way better in Tampa than it was in Ottawa – lots of cool lights and lightning flashes in the ceiling and stuff – so maybe we are more sport-geared up here, or it could be that we are just not as creative when it comes to Big Show programming.)
Anyhow, getting to the game at hand (which I did in a hurry), I arrived too late to get my free bobblehead and the Sens lost in overtime 2-1, so it was lose/lose for this guy. As I ran back to my car after the game and sat shivering in the inevitable and absolutely unnecessary traffic jam that is the Senators post-game parking lot situation my mind went back to the beer and hot dog party that happens on the roof of the Amalie Arena after every Bolts home game and upgraded myself to lose/lose/lose.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I’m just pining.
Did I mention that the Sens won 5-2 when I saw them in Tampa?