Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Big Chill at the Big House...

I couldn't have asked for a better Saturday. I began the day in Ann Arbor for the Big Chill, and finished it at the casino for a Wings viewing party. Both of my teams won big, and I had a great time. Here are some quick notes from the Big Chill:
  • I knew the day was going to be great when my car's shuffle started playing Bob Seger's “Mainstreet” just as I turned onto Ann Arbor's Main Street. Technically, the song's written about a place on Ann Street, but I was close enough.
  • The atmosphere in Ann Arbor was incredible leading up to the game. I've never tailgated before a hockey game before, so that was a new experience. I had a good time, even though I was surrounded by Spartan fans.
  • We were ecstatic to discover the Arby's curly fries mascot at the fan fest before the game.
  • I'd already seen the ice when I was there earlier in the week, but I'd only been on the field that night. Walking into the stadium through the stands was a whole different experience. Over the years, I've gotten used to the spectacle that is the Big House on game days, and seeing the stadium full had kind of become routine. Seeing the rink laid out in front of me in the middle of the field was a completely different experience, though. It was kind of surreal.
  • Liz and I had great seats (well, spots to stand, really—nobody sits). We were in the seventh row at the faceoff dot in the Spartans' end.
  • I really, really, really love fireworks. I don't know why, but I suspect it has something to do with Disney. I also love hockey and the Big House. Combining all three in one epic event was pretty awesome. The fireworks at the end weren't necessarily spectacular, but seeing them launched from the new towers over the stadium with the lights dimmed was very cool.  Here's a short video I took of part of the show.
  • I looked like an idiot during the second intermission because there was only one other person near me dancing along to the Blues Brothers. I was across the stadium from the student section, so I shot a quick video of the beginning of the dance. It's not very long, because I wanted to put the camera down and join in.
  • I was, of course, standing on the bleachers as I danced, and it wasn't until halfway through the song that I realized the guy behind me had taken a seat and, well, you figure it out.
  • I've seen other flyovers before, but the stealth bomber before the game was really neat to see. It seemed more like a glider than a jet.
  • I got a close-up shot of Mickey Redmond and his hat. I had no idea what it said at the time, but I remarked to Liz that it looked like he was a Russian submarine captain. It wasn't until I got home that I could read that it said “Redmondov.” This has sparked so many questions. Why? Why does that exist? Please tell me that there was an explanation somewhere in the broadcast that I missed.
  • After the fourth goal, Liz was just hoping for an MSU goal so that she could celebrate with her “Go Green/Go White” mittens. I was hoping for another UofM goal so that my “Go Blue” mittens could be used to their full effect for the “more goals” cheer when number five was announced. I got my wish. She didn't get hers.
  • The only thing that could've made the day better is snow. I was really hoping for some, but I'll have to settle for the short flurry that we saw during the skate last week.
  • I loved that the student section got the wave going. The Big House is the only place in which I approve of the wave, and the slow wave holds a special place in my heart.
  • The announced attendance was over 113,000 people, but Guinness is only certifying 85,000 people. I'm not sure how you lose almost 30,000 people, but I guess they make the rules. The Big House didn't look full to capacity, but it was pretty darn close. I call shenanigans.
  • The NHL would be insane not to bite on the chance to try to one-up the event with a Winter Classic there. Which, actually, is a pretty good reason for not getting your hopes up about it happening.
  • The last thirty seconds on the PK were incredibly stressful. I wanted Michigan to hold onto the shutout so badly. Little things like that make me like hockey even more. What other sport gets your heart pumping like that in the dying seconds of a blowout? There's always something on the line.
  • Everything was perfect, from the weather to the score to the enormity of the event. I'll never forget it.
All of my pictures are over at Photobucket.

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