The time of my life.

This past Friday, I attended my first Penguins game since I was about 16-years-old, and if you know any math at all, you know that that was mumble-mumble years ago.  Okay. Fine, let me do the math for you 36-16=HOLY NUTS, SHE’S OLD.

Twenty years.

Why did I wait twenty years to go to a second Pens game?

Well, when I went as a teenager, my father took my sister and I along as his guests when a customer of his at US Steel invited him.  Pre-game was awesome as we went up to the Igloo Club (is that still there? Not the Igloo Club seats, but the Igloo Club with the kickass buffet?) Anyway, my sister and I daintily inhaled everything in sight while squeeing to each other under our breaths, “THIS IS SO FREAKING AWESOME! I feel important. I wonder if Mario will come in here or maybe that big stuffed Penguin.”

Then we went to our seats and it was very not awesome.

The seats weren’t bad or anything, maybe midway up.  But here’s something I discovered at the time — from midway up, I could not for the 16-year-life of me follow the stinking puck on the ice.  I mean, where’s THE DAMN PUCK?!  Is it there?  Is it there? I do not see the puck.

I ended up just sort of following the players’ bodies and figuring, they must be chasing the puck, right? I don’t know if my eyes just reject the small black dot on the white ice or something, but I didn’t see the puck until one landed in my dad’s customer’s lap. I’m not even making that up.  He and my father were all, “Blahbitty blah steel tension blahbitty [more words I don’t understand about steel] blah bl–” BAM! Puck in the lap.

So THAT’S what a puck looks like. This is stupid.

I spent the next twenty years watching the Pens from the comfort of various living rooms, because at least on TV, I can see the stupid puck.

Then last week, Mike and I were offered — are you sitting down — FIFTH ROW BEHIND THE PENGUINS BENCH tickets!  Of course, we jumped at the chance to sit that close to the action, the closest either of us have ever sat at a Pens game.  We took our spouses along and made it a date.

Long story short? So THAT’S what a hockey game is supposed to be like!

Oh, my God, you guys. I had no idea what I have been missing.

My thoughts in random order because there’s no way to bring order to this much random awesomeness:

1.  I saw Michelle The Knitting Lady’s husband across the ice! I even took a picture!

Michelle couldn’t go to the game because of work.  Also, I should tell you that she has generously offered to knit me a version of that scarf I was coveting.  WOO! Can’t wait to sport that this fall or winter.

2.  Dan Bylsma? HOT.

3.  When you sit high up, the players kind of look like they’re skating a moderately fast version of a Smuckers Stars on Ice program; however, up close, five rows back, the incredible speeds hockey players can reach is mind-blowing.  They must have bionic thighs or something.  And they make it look so easy!  But here’s something I learned from curling … looking easy is not the same thing as BEING easy. I’m going to have that etched on my gravestone.

4.  In my opinion, and THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, so don’t write me evil letters, sister Pens Fan AKA I’d Leave My Husband for Sidney Crosby, I found that the fastest, most fluid skater seemed to be Geno.  There were times he literally took my breath away with his graceful power.  He’s like a cheetah on skates. Mmrowr.

5.  Player most likely to become an NHL coach?  That’s easily Billy Guerin who spent more time instructing players on when to enter the ice than Bylsma did.  He’s the one player that looked like both a player and a coach at all times — watching the ice like he was memorizing everything.  Love him.

6.  Letang is sex. No, I didn’t forget the y.

7. I never understood why hockey fans bang on the glass, but after sitting through that intense game, holding my breath without realizing it, jumping up and screaming and high-fiving when the Pens scored, and the general feeling of “I COULD KILL A BEAR AND BITE THE HEAD OFF OF A SNAKE RIGHT NOW,” if I was sitting by the glass, I’d have been banging on it like an angry zoo gorilla. That intense.

8.  There were some other kids in our row, and the reason I say “other” is because me and Mike’s wife Meg were basically little kids.  “Oooh! That sound when they hit the boards! Oooh! That punch! Ooooh! Look at the glass shake! Oooh! That guy just killed that Penguin! Oooooh! SQUEEE! Oooh! Eek! CAN I HAVE SOME COTTON CANDY?!?!”  She and I did not leave our seats one single time during the entire game.  We sent the husbands for food and they missed Leopold being knocked the hell out by some jerk and they missed Max Talbot’s fight.

9.  Speaking of fighting and knocking out, I could never be a hockey mom because I was aghast at how hard they drive each other into the boards and how serious about fighting they are.  If any one of those Penguins was my child, I would have been arrested after I used the business end of a broken hockey stick to beat the shit out of a Senator. This sport might be more physical than football. Way more brutal hits. Way less padding.  Hockey guys are incredibly tough, but Mama-Bearitis would easily trump that if I got my hand on a broken hockey stick.

10. I saw Letang and Geno have a little tiff during a commercial break and because I am an expert lip-reader, I shall now transcribe what they said:

Letang: You didn’t go around.

Geno: I did!

Letang: You didn’t. Right there. [points to the ice].

Geno: I did!

Letang: You did not!

Geno: I make many score.

Letang: My hair is pure sex.

Okay, so I made up the last two, but the rest is, like, verbatim. You’re welcome.

11.  I had so much fun that I spent the entire game wondering how I could become employed by the Penguins or the Arena so that I could go to every game for the rest of my life and get paid to do it.  I mean, there’s this guy whose entire job it looks like is to sit in the bench with the Penguins and hand them sticks.  No lie.  I could do that.  How hard could it be? I bet you don’t need a Ph.D. in Hockey Sticks to be all, “Here’s your stick.  Here’s a stick.  Sticks here! Get yer STICKS HEEEEERE! HEY, SEXY LETANG, YOU WANNA STICK?!”

Or how about this guy’s job?

He would spend the breaks heading to the locker room and retrieving hockey gloves. That’s easy! I could retrieve the hell out of some hockey gloves for the Pens.

Or what about the guy whose job it is to fly that little blimp around the arena and drop prize envelopes?  I could do that!  I fly my kid’s remote-controlled helicopter like I’m saving lives over the Pacific. Precision handling is my middle name.

Or what about the Ice Crew?  It appears that some of those guys are in charge of shuffling across the ice after the Zamboni drives over it.  I guess to test the smoothness?  I could do that.  “HEY! YOU MISSED A SPOT!”

Or maybe I could be the person that opens the doors for the Zambonis? Or maybe I could drive a Zamboni provided I don’t have to ever ever ever parallel-park the Zamboni on account of my inner-ear thing? Or maybe I could be an usher? A hockey-stick cleaner? The lights-turner-offer? The person that hides in a locker and watches the players get undressed?

What do you MEAN that’s not a thing?



  1. Mike, the Knitting Lady's Husband
    April 20, 2010 7:27 pm

    Emilie, any fans new to the arena this season may have been very confused, as the following were thrown for various hat tricks…hats, messenger bags, tote bags, christmas stockings. It was a banner year for giveaway-night hat tricks!

  2. DuranieGirl
    April 20, 2010 9:22 pm

    Long time viewer…first time poster.

    First, I love me some Letang!

    I must say that watching a hockey game live right in front of you is probably the most exciting thing ever. I love football, but the pace of hockey and all the body slams, cross checks, high-sticking, tripping, etc. just pumps you up.

    Just a side note…I was in the movie Sudden Death. Remember that? If you pause it and forward it very very slowly you can see me in my 90’s grunge flannel screaming in the crowd during the final moments of the movie. That was great and every time that movie comes on, I watch it. What a good day that was. We got free hot dogs and soda, got to watch the real Pens practice (Ulf Samuelsson was the hottie on the team)and got to be in the movie. I’m going to miss the “Civic” Arena.

    Go Pens!!

  3. Neesie
    April 20, 2010 9:32 pm

    Love hockey. Love hockey players. Not sure which one I love more. ;)

    I will be very sad when the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over. It will be a very long summer with nothing to watch but the Buccos. :(

  4. YinzerInExile
    April 20, 2010 10:33 pm

    6. Gah. Yes. And I was just about to politely submit a comment requesting additional photographic love for Letang. Noms.

  5. Jerk
    April 21, 2010 1:03 am

    My two favorite Pittsburgh blogs are this one and the Pensblog and I’m just catching up on here. I have to admit I made a shitty anti-knitting comment there and I’ve felt pretty guilty since reading the five questions post a few posts back. I see that Mike is a registered poster here so I wanted to apologize to you and Michelle for any bad feelings caused by myself and the other posters. it’s pretty easy to be a tough guy when you are anonymous and say something stupid when you have no clue as to what the real story is. So for what it is worth from an anonymous poster, I am sorry for any bad feelings I caused. Hope to see Michelle knitting away at future games…go Pens!

  6. Bojack
    April 21, 2010 7:35 am

    Back when I was a lad, GAWWWD, delivering 79+ copies of the Post Gazette to the neighbor’s homes, remembering that so & so wants it behind the storm door, Mrs. Bitch wants it on her SIDE
    porch (would have traded precious collection of black market collection of Playboy magazines (cuz in the morning while delivering the paper you get first crack at the good trash and learn who subscribes) for those as-yet-uninvented enviromentally hideous green or red plastic sleeves and permission to just chuck ’em in the general direction of a house….

    The Pens were a new franchise and they COULD NOT GET ANYONE TO GO TO THE GAMES! The PG would give (free) me (us) paperboys 6-12 tickets each, every week, at a whack, and we’d go helping to (fill) round out an attendance number that averaged around 1500-3000 per game…….

    The times they have ‘a changed!! :-)

  7. Bojack
    April 21, 2010 7:49 am

    PS- To be a good fan ‘back in the day’ you had to memorize the WHOLE roster of players’ numbers cuz the names weren’t on their jerseys! Proly too expensive to put them on! And, the numbers were close together, unlike football! :-)

  8. Bojack
    April 21, 2010 7:52 am

    Course, we weren’t looking at them like V does, but it was a little easier cuz very few wore helmets!! :-)

  9. red pen mama
    April 21, 2010 8:48 am

    This is hilarious. Thanks for the a.m. laugh.

    How can you be a precision remote helicopter flyer but not be able to parallel park?

    My husband got Pens tickets from his office when he earned his psychology license a couple of years ago. We were on the floor, behind and to the right of the goal — and fortunately, the opposing goal for two periods. It was unreal, and I told him I would never be able to watch a live hockey game from anywhere else. I saw Sidney
    Crosby score and it was breathtaking. And I’m don’t normally crush on Sid (although: that mouth. Dear God.), but watching him close up was amazing.

    And I got to bang on the glass and harass the goalie!

    So, do the players talk about fudge all the time, or am I misreading those lips?

  10. red pen mama
    April 21, 2010 9:03 am

    Wow. Can you tell I’ve cut back on the caffeine?

    How about *I don’t normally crush on Sid*. I just can’t stand typos in my comments.

    Geno and Sid both have such different skating styles. I was watching the other night (I don’t remember if it was Friday or Wednesday), and Geno got the puck, and it was like watching a rock gather speed as it rolled downhill. He’s so big on skates, but I knew once he was going he would be hard to stop.

    The player I think is the speediest is always Jordan Staal. Everytime he takes off, I say, “Man, he’s fast.” My husband’s a little tired of it. But at least I’m not licking the TV screen everytime Letang is on the ice. I have some restraint.

  11. hello haha narf
    April 21, 2010 9:47 am

    i gotta get you to a game in our gold circle box. (i owe burghbaby a game, too. we could all go together and call it a party.) gold circle boxes are much closer to the ice than the suites up in peanut heaven.

    anyhow, in the box the waitress brings your beer and nachos so you don’t have to miss a single second of anything. unless you have to pee.

    and yes, the igloo club buffet exists. it rocks.

  12. johnaz6312
    April 21, 2010 10:40 am

    Before I moved out here to AZ in 1999 I managed to afford the 15 game plan for seasons for the 98 season. I was paying $19.00 a ticket per game at that time. My seats were up behind the goaltender on the home side, upper level so you can almost touch the dome. Not Kidding!! They are the best seats in the arena there!! Why you may ask, because you can see everything. There is action that goes on behind the advancing as well. You get to see the little things that you can’t see when you are right along the boards. Thats right $19.00 a ticket for the best seats in the house.

  13. Cassie
    April 21, 2010 10:42 am

    I would love to hang with you at more games for the whole lip-reading thing. I always say to my husband, “I’d love to know what they just said,” after one of the players gets in the others’ face. I know a lot of swearing…but still.

  14. Mike, the Knitting Lady's Husband
    April 21, 2010 11:16 am

    #55 “Jerk” – Anonymous or not, it’s pretty cool of you to come on here and say that. It does mean a lot to us. Thanks and Go Pens. Do it!

  15. Mia @ 1 Mom Just Saying
    April 21, 2010 9:52 pm

    I won Penguin tickets twice.
    First time were Igloo seats – got a horrific flu couldn’t go – husband and a buddy went.
    The very next year I won again – 3 rows behind the penguins bench!!!! Guess what – got the flu couldn’t go – again husband and a buddy went.

    I have yet to go to a Penguin game!!

    How much does that suck – for me, not the hubby.
    I’m beginning to think there is a pattern….hmmm.

  16. Kristina
    April 21, 2010 10:28 pm

    I’m so glad you posted about the Pens! They are the only sport I am into and I love reading your blog! :c)

    Grats on going to a game! Next year I am going to take my bf who is a HUGE pens fan to a game.

    Thanks for blogging…you genuinely brighten my days when I need it most.

  17. scottie
    April 22, 2010 9:14 am

    i remember your dad telling us the story about the puck nearly hitting him in the stands one night when your family was over watching the ’90 stanley cup playoffs with us. i also remember him giving me a puck. i dont think it was THAT puck, but i was 6 or 7, so i cant remember exactly.

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