Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hockey-Related Notes from Vacation...

This is a little belated, but I've been kind of tied up since I got back from Florida. Anyway, here goes:
  • Whenever I travel I like to take an informal (and completely unscientific) poll regarding which sports teams have the most fans wearing their gear. Disney World is an excellent venue for this type of analysis because you get to meet literally thousands of people. Some of them even come to Florida completely unprepared for the impending cold snap with only one jacket in their possession, and as a result are wearing the exact same Red Wings fleece in 90% of their vacation pictures. (Not that that happened to me or anything.) As disappointing as it is, I have to call Ohio State and the Pittsburgh Steelers the winners by a long shot. I even came across a whole family of Buckeye fans sharing a horse-drawn carriage ride around the campground while we were waiting for the Hoop Dee Doo to start. I was actually surprised that Disney let people wearing those kinds of outfits on their property. They used to have standards for attire. (One of my fellow interns almost got turned away at the gate one day because he was wearing his Gamecocks shirt. But they have no problem letting the Buckeyes roam their property freely. I’ll never understand it.) Anyway, I was pretty disappointed with the representation for the various Michigan-based teams.
  • I did have one guy in a Wings hat ask me where I got such a beautiful jacket (not the one referred to in the story about ill-prepared vacationers. I swear.). It was a nice little moment of camaraderie. High five, random guy.
  • On my last morning, I headed out to the park in my Wings fleece (Okay, I admit it. It was me in that anecdote above.) and Wings visor (because apparently I can’t travel without looking like a banner for the state of Michigan) and I got booed by a guy in a Blue Jackets jersey. I’m not kidding. He actually booed me. I just stared at him with my best “Seriously?” face. That’s hard to picture unless you know me, but it’s a good one. I promise.
  • One morning at the hotel, I saw a guy in a Lindros Flyers jersey in line for the pop machine (I was on vacation. I reserve the right to drink pop for breakfast. I usually get breakfast Slurpees when I’m down there, but they don’t have them at All Star Sports…and yes, I did make an effort to book the other hotel I like to stay at just for their Slurpee machine.) and I asked him if he was excited for the Winter Classic. He had no idea what I was talking about. Seriously.
  • All Star Sports has a giant wall of sports pictures in the lobby. They’re gloriously sun-faded (Memo to Disney: Bad. Show. I couldn’t even wear a hair tie on my wrist when I worked there…) and I promise you they haven’t been updated since the hotel opened in the ‘90s. Anyway, there are a handful of hockey pictures among the assortment. I can almost promise you that whoever picked them out was a Wings fan. How can I tell? Stevie Y is in three of the seven hockey pictures. I even took pictures to capture them in all of their sun-faded glory. There’s one of him winning a faceoff against Steve Rucchin, one of him being hooked by Joe Sakic, and another of him just standing there and being awesome. Jaromir Jagr and Marty Brodeur also made the cut, along with Martin Straka and a couple of guys whose names I can’t make out in their photo captions and I’m reasonably certain that I don’t care about anyway. The recognition of the greatness that is Steve Yzerman makes me feel a little bit better about having sold my soul to the Mouse a few years back.
  • My hockey-watching knowledge came in handy when we stopped in Nashville on the way down. I was told that my flight would be taking off at 8:30 and had a brief moment of panic when I looked at my watch and saw that it was 8:45. Fortunately, I remembered that Nashville games always start at 8 or 8:30, which reminded me that they’re on Central time there. See, all this time I spend obsessing over hockey comes in handy once in a while.
  • One of the first things I did during my visit was head over to the Cast Surplus store. It’s where Disney sells over-stocked items at steep discounts to Cast Members. While there, I managed to snag 5 Wings Cup Champions shirts from ’08 for 90 cents each. One for each of my parents, two brothers, and me. I’m pretty sure it was the greatest shopping moment of my life.
  • My only source of score updates came from frequently texting Google. I was feeling pretty good about the Wings’ victory over the Lightning until I had the brilliant idea to call home and request that the box score be read to me. It was at that point that I was informed (rather reluctantly) that Zetterberg had been injured. Thanks for ruining my vacation, Ohlund.
  • There’s a new show at MGM that’s modeled after American Idol. The guy who won the show that I saw looked exactly like Jonathan Ericsson. It was uncanny. He even claimed to be the same height. I’m no longer convinced that his knee is actually hurt. I think he might secretly be pursuing a music career by auditioning for Idol in Disney World.
  • The Canadian pavilion at Epcot sells jerseys from the Canadiens, Leafs, Oilers, and Flames. It turns out that even the Canadians don’t care about the Canucks or the Sens. Also, all of the pavilions in World Showcase sell local foods and specialties. America’s pavilion sells funnel cakes. God bless the USA.
  • During one bus ride back to Sports, “I Wanna Drive the Zamboni” came on the overhead speakers. I was apparently the only one there who knew the lyrics. And, yes, I sang them. I may have also danced in my seat a little.
And finally, Little Sister requested a Wings jersey for Christmas this year. She was willing to accept any of the members of the Flying Circus line. I was quite proud. I’ve clearly taught her well. It’s pretty cheap with screen-printed numbers (and the small ones are up on the shoulders instead of the sleeves for some reason), but she was pretty excited about it.

Yeah, that's me in the Yzerman jersey. My sister's 12. I've still got her by 1 inch, even though I look shorter in this picture. I'm apparently the world's shortest person. Also, how awesome are my pants?


  1. your hockey related notes are very good, the I liked the most is: the one who said in a morning in the hotel, I saw a guy with a Lindros Flyers jersey on the line of the local machine (I was on vacation. I reserve the right to drink pop for breakfast. was the best of all ... I loved it!