This post is a little out of order, but I will get caught up on the ones I skipped by this weekend. I am getting behind doing my day jobs, planning for the Year of Giving Celebration next Tuesday, giving my daily $10 away and planning the next year’s commitment! Trying to sleep now and then too!
Over Thanksgiving weekend, I took my father to see a Hershey Bears hockey match. I would often go to the games as a child with my Boy Scout troop. I used to enjoy them, but this time I didn’t really enjoy it. Partly I think because the people that sat around us were loud and obnoxious the entire game. The other factor was that it became pretty clear that the fans showed up more for the fights than they did the hockey.
The Bears easily won 4-0. The nearly 10,000 fans packed into the Giant Center Arena would celebrate after each goal however if you really wanted to see cheering all you had to do was wait until somebody started punching his opponent in the face. “I want to see somebody bleeding on the ice,” a fan who was behind us said casually.
I’ve been to many Washington Capitals games and have not felt this same blood and guts mentality. Anyway, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
After the game I suggested to my dad that we hang out inside the arena for a while since getting out of the parking lot was sure to be an abysmal experience. He and I walked down a little bit to the area where wheel chairs are allowed and saw two older men chatting away. At the first opportunity I inserted myself into the conversation and explained my mission.
George, a man probably in his late 60s or early 70s with cotton-like flowing beard, told me he wouldn’t accept the ten dollars. “I don’t know why,” he started “just because.” I turned to his friend Melvin and asked him the same question and got this response, “Well, I don’t know either, but if that is what you want to do than I guess I’m OK with it.”
It was incredibly hard to hear Melvin. The acoustics were funky where we were standing and he was a bit of a soft talker so I feel like I got about 70% of the story. The 73-year-old from nearby Campbelltown, PA told me that he’s retired from the transportation business. “I loaded and unloaded the trucks,” he said just loud enough that I could hear him. He also was a volunteer fireman for many years.
To his left there was a metallic cane that leaned against the railing. “I broke my pelvic bone,” Melvin shared. “I did it right after a game here come to think about it.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell trying to get through the aisles. The aisles are so thin that you can barely squeeze in and out of the aisles. I nearly dropped a platter of chicken tenders, french fries, ketchup and beer all over the row in front of me because I could barely get by some women in our row. Not to mention that I too probably would have landed on their heads. It’s possibly the most poorly designed, not to mention dangerous, seating area that I have ever seen.
Anyway, Melvin said he was doing better now and that this was the first hockey game he had made this year.
I asked him what he planned to do with the money and he didn’t know for sure. “I’ll probably use it to take my wife out to breakfast in the morning,” he said after pondering it for a moment.
A man who looked to be in his 40s walked up the aisle and stopped to talk to Melvin. It turned out to be one of his three children. They got to talking and I figured it was time to go and said goodbye.
Melvin preferred not having his photograph taken and didn’t leave me any contact information, so I will probably never know if he reads this or get any more details on the whereabouts of that ten-dollar bill. I wouldn’t have gotten a good picture anyway; the arena wouldn’t let me bring my camera in. They have a strict no detachable lens camera policy which I think is silly. “We do this to prohibit professional photographers from taking photographs at the game,” I was told by a security guard. I was surprised since I always take my camera to NHL games and have never had a problem. This was the second time in two weeks that I have been turned away at the gate of a sporting event for carrying something that was not allowed in the stadium. Maybe I ought to just stay away from stadiums.