The Winter Classic: Awesomeness in the Rain, Under the Lights

After many years of entirely unspectacular New Year’s activities, I’m on a pretty good run. Last year, I spent New Year’s Day here, and this year, I was at the Winter Classic hockey game in Pittsburgh. My life is pretty good, I have to say.

I’ll leave the breakdown of the game to the pros (a good compilation of clips can be found on Japer’s Rink, one of my favorite Caps blogs) and just share my photos and a couple of kind of a lot of bullet points on my gameday experience.

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  • The weather-induced delay of the game from 1:00 to 8:00 left Kate and I with a fair amount of time to kill on Saturday. We decided to go to a movie, and saw “How Do You Know,” which we both thought was dreadful. It kept us out of the rain, though, so it served its purpose.
  • The fog rising off the river as we approached Heinz Field was daunting – I was worried that the visibility inside might be terrible. Fortunately, I was wrong.
  • The outdoor activities – inflatable hockey sculptures, a beer garden, local bands, etc. was a lot of fun to explore before the gates opened. The ice sculptures, however, had melted into unrecognizability from the rain and warm temperatures.
  • Going into the game, I had thought our seats – in row EE of the upper deck – were going to be kinda lousy, but as it turned out, our sightline was perfect for all the Caps goals, John Erskine’s fight, and for watching the rain in the lights. Yep… we were high enough to be under the overhang, so we stayed dry right up until the walk back to the parking garage.
  • I am not usually a fan of the yelling of “RED!” during the National Anthem, as happens at Verizon Center, but it sounded pretty damn cool with 30,000 Caps fans yelling it, surprising the Pens fans. (I still hated the “O!” though. It’s an Orioles carryover and has nothing to do with the Capitals or hockey.)
  • There was a lot of trash-talking around us, but the best of it came shortly after the Penguins scored their first goal, inspiring one of their fans to respond to a jeer with, “Yeah, look at the scoreboard!” This, of course, allowed the trash talkers to shout – with increasing scorn – “Look at the scoreboard NOW!” each time the Caps scored. I giggled every time.
  • One thing I am pretty sure I’ll never see again: a puck leaving a wake behind it because there is so much standing water on the ice.
  • On the way back to the parking garage, two strange things happened:
    • We were chided by a Pens fan for being insufficiently insufferable in our victory.  Apparently, he wanted full-on gloating and jerkiness to complete his experience. (I kind of went out of my way to be nice to anyone who tried to give me crap. Winning makes taking the high road easy, as it turns out.)
    • A whole group of us were mooned by a bride – literally butt-cheeks plastered to a second-floor window – as we crossed the street. Apparently she wasn’t a Caps fan.
  • We had to head home right after the game because Kate’s flight back to Minnesota was at 8:30 Sunday morning. (This, of course, was perfectly timed for getting home after the originally-scheduled start time. It was less ideal when things started later. I can tell you, neither of us were excited for an all-nighter on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.)
  • I am too old to stay up all night.

10 thoughts on “The Winter Classic: Awesomeness in the Rain, Under the Lights

  1. Joanne January 3, 2011 / 11:43 pm

    I’m going to assume that the rain appeased your brother for the relatively warm weather…

  2. Common Loon January 4, 2011 / 8:44 am

    I also liked the Winter Classic beverage. Even in a paper cup. And the fact that we were twice as old as anyone else at the first serive area on the turnpike – yeah, we still got it!!! It turns out that I had collected enough souvenirs for all parties, for no more than $12. And it sure was awesome to watch such talent in person, and not to have a sinking feeling in my stomach because any of them had just scored against my team. Thanks Brian and Sarah!!!!!!! And thanks to all who went out of their way (the ENTIRE family) to make the entire whirlwind such a great event. Couldn’t have pulled it off without the whole team!

  3. Shannon January 4, 2011 / 12:15 pm

    Yep, sounds EXACTLY like our trip to PA for Lillith Fair, complete with obnoxious fans, rain and an all-night drive home.

    But at least you were under an overhang this time and didn’t have to deal with the Mountain O’ Mud.

  4. Mom January 4, 2011 / 12:38 pm

    Loved ALL the bullet points and, of course, I’d heard some first hand. I am not getting any photos, however. Is there something I am doing wrong? What a GREAT beginning to a New Year 🙂

  5. Eileen January 4, 2011 / 1:50 pm

    Im not getting the pix either mom (on the iphone) but have loved the stories and, of course, loved the game. Glad y’all made it safely and had a great time.

  6. Sarah January 4, 2011 / 3:13 pm

    @Mom & @Eileen – I think the no-photos thing has something to do with the iPhone and its dislike of Flash. Try looking on your regular computer. If that doesn’t work, here’s the direct link to the Picasa album:

    @Shannon – The same, only 15 years older, which is much, much more difficult to handle – at least as far as the all-night drive is concerned.

  7. Shannon January 4, 2011 / 4:06 pm

    That’s kind of what I figured…getting older hurts (as I don my first pair of reading glasses).

  8. Common Loon January 4, 2011 / 7:47 pm

    One other important awesome thing to note: the ambient air temp here is 50 degrees less than it was during my visit. The only drawback to living here, I suppose.

  9. Eileen January 7, 2011 / 10:18 am

    Love the hockey card photo and the one of you and Kate in the seats! (Btw, I still couldn’t see the pictures on the desk top – just a big white patch, but I went to the picasa)

    Thanks for sharing!

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