Thursday, March 18, 2004

posted by James - 11:03 PM

I've felt like this all day... like there’s fire and brimstone in my future.

I was at a Chicago Wolves American Hockey League game at Allstate Arena last night. I've only been to one other hockey game. I've never been to a hockey game at Allstate Arena. Heck, I've never been to Allstate Arena.

So, when they started the pre-game, ear-busting fireworks ritual, I was shocked and reminded of when they used to blow off fireworks in the Kingdome after a Mariners' homerun... just louder and brighter. But there was a young boy with his father that was neither shocked nor nostalgic; he was terrified.

His father took him beyond the curtain separating the passageways from the seating bowl until the lights came up for the start of the game.

It was probably my giant-sized, yet teddy bear-like figure, which prompted the father to approach me while carrying his son.

"We're going to ask this man about the fireworks," he said to his son.

They both looked at me and his father requested my assurance of ending the explosive end of the evening and winked at me.

At the time, I took this winking to mean, "tell my son what he wants to hear so we can return to my front-row seats." He also looked like this wasn't his first Wolves hockey game.

Now, I'm a guy who will do just about anything to help a crying child, especially if it's easily in my power to do so. So, I looked the boy right in the baby blues and told him, "Nope. No more fireworks tonight. You can go back to your seat now and get ready for a great night of hockey."

The boy seemed satisfied with my answer, and his father compounded the assurance with, "And if there are anymore, we'll come back and talk to him about it."

I was happy to see the boy stop crying and a little worried about his father's last statement.

My worries became justified when the Wolves scored about two minutes into the game... now, why can I watch an entire NHL game on ESPN and not see anyone score, but I go to a hockey game and can barely get near a seat before somebody's lighting the lamp and setting off more loudness and brightness.

However, these celebratory, stadium-vibrating outbursts also accompanied the sinking feeling of lying to a little boy.

Almost immediately after the puck crossed the net, the boy's father grabbed his coat and prepared to head for the door with his, once again, terrified child.

I felt some trepidation until they passed my location without an altercation, but I don't remember if they returned to their seats. And it would have been best for the boy unless he got over his explosion-phobia, because with the Wolves winning 5-1 they blew off enough fireworks to run out before the final goal.

I'm not enamored with indoor fireworks, but I've yet to shake the self-loathing I've felt since I LIED TO A LITTLE BOY! (capitalization added for damnation effect)

Oh, you thought I was going to take the eternal down elevator because I actually sat through a hockey game - sorry for the confusion.

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