>(or Reflections on a fun Saturday night)
We packed up our teddy bears and cowbell for a fun Saturday night. Trust me, it makes sense.
We went to a minor league hockey game last night. Tickets are reasonable, the games are enjoyable, and this was a special promotion night for the team: the annual Teddy Bear Toss. The crowd brings teddy bears to the game and tosses them on the ice after the home team scores their first goal. Bears are donated to a local children’s hospital.
We left home with the ninth inning of a spring training baseball game on the van radio. The Milwaukee Brewers had come from behind and were leading by only one run going into the ninth inning, so we wanted to hear the last inning. They won, so we turned our attention from sunny Arizona baseball to ice hockey. (Um, yes. In March you can watch a baseball and a hockey game in the stretch of a few hours.)
Parking was easy, and we entered the arena with teddy bears in hand and plenty of time to spare. I rewarded myself with a new and cozy Green Bay Gamblers sweatshirt from the shop. Volunteers handed us coupons for free Personal Pan Pizzas as a reward for bringing in teddy bears.
Finding our seats was more of a challenge than we thought. We usually sit right by the glass because of Amigo’s vision, but it’s been a hassle in the past to help him down the narrow staircases to the seats. We decided to try the handicapped section this time. The first usher sent us “down the hall, take a left, and you’ll be right there.” The second usher looked at our tickets and sent us up the elevator. A third one said, “I know where these are. I’ll take you there.” She led us back down the elevator, where we ran into a good friend who works at the arena (Hi! Hi! Long time no see! Where are your seats? We don’t know yet! Mom, hurry up!) and eventually were led down a side hall to the wheelchair ramp and our area.
We (finally) found our seats, turned and waved to my friend on her catwalk beside her large spotlight, and then settled in for the fun.
When the Gamblers scored their first goal, the place went nuts. You’ve heard of raining cats and dogs? It was raining teddy bears in plastic bags! And since we were sitting down front, we were getting pummeled with animals that didn’t quite make the ice. We threw ours and at least twenty or thirty more. One hungry bear knocked over my popcorn, darn it. Next year, I’ll wait until after the toss to get snacks.
We left the arena minus three bears, plus a new sweatshirt, coupons for pizza and tacos (a promotion whenever the team scores five goals or more) and a radio t-shirt we caught when it was tossed into the crowd (yet another promotion). We’ll add it to Amigo’s collection.
All in all, it was a Funday Saturday for the sports fans in our family.