Tonight was Athena's first hockey game outside of the womb. I have to use that disclaimer, because the entire time she was gestating (or is that ME who was gestating?)... anyway.... while she was "cooking," we attended a whole season of hockey games. So she has heard the noise before, just from a very different perspective.
For anyone reading this who does not already know... we are season ticket holders for the Carolina Hurricanes, and have been for five seasons. This year will be our sixth. We took a forced hiatus while the players and the league worked out their differences, and that hiatus may have actually been the best thing that has happened to us.
The Hurricanes are so grateful to the season ticket holders for coming back, that we are getting all sorts of perks we didn't anticipate. They paid us 5% interest on our money while it stewed in their bank accounts last year. That was money I gave them before Athena entered our lives and drained our bank accounts. Then they applied one third of that money to this year's season tickets (this was a plan we chose... they had several choices including just getting this year's tickets with that money). Now the rest of the balance will stew for this year (giving us 5% interest) and one half of it will apply to next year. Finally, the remainder (still gaining 5%) will go toward year three.
On top of that, this year we got a 10% discount, next year we get 20% and the year after we get 30%. AND THEN they slashed ticket prices this year to get people to sign on. So, this year, I got my invoice, and INCLUDING the parking pass (we always buy one because it saves us about $41 in parking to buy in advance), the invoice was about half of what it normally is. In other words, we got two third-row NHL season tickets for the price of one.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! No, we didn't get a set of knives... but when we drove up to the arena using our normal route, the little parking lizard waved us on toward Premiere Parking (Normally about $5 more than standard parking and VERY close to the arena). I looked at the parking pass and almost fell out of the car. Sure enough, we had been given Premiere Parking for the price of regular. For the WHOLE season!!! This would have been welcome any year, but this year especially, with a one-year-old and being pregnant to boot. I nearly cried tears of joy as we slipped into a parking space only a few rows from the front doors.
So how did Athena enjoy her first hockey game, you may be wondering? I was concerned about how late she would be up (game starts at 7... her bedtime is anywhere between 7:30 and 8:00). I was also concerned that she wouldn't like being confined to our two little seats and our two little laps. And then, would she even like the hockey?
Well, folks, I am pleased to say that she had a grand time at the good old hockey game. She was fascinated byt the jumbotron. She loved watching the men skate around really fast. She thrilled at the music between plays. She headbanged. She danced. She clapped. She cried when she met the mascot (completely forgivable... he IS a giant pig, after all). She even quieted down during most of the play time and watched the game. She didn't seem to understand what all the fuss was about when we scored (which we did six times, incidentally), but she enjoyed it all the same.
There was a point, though, when I realized that I can never take her to a game by myself. Chris and I walked around the arena at first intermission to see some friends of ours. Athena got bored with that very quickly, and wanted to walk around. So I agreed to stay with her while Chris talked to his friends. When we got back onto the concourse, she took off running. She wouldn't hold my hand, and she was darting in and out of people's legs, nearly causing several serious injuries both to herself and to the poor, unsuspecting pedestrians around her. By the time we got back around to our seats, I was exhausted. Fortunately, Chris was at the top of the stairs waiting for us and he carried the baby down to our seats. I barely managed to huff and puff myself back down the stairs.
So, overall, tonight was a smashing success. I work this weekend, so Chris plans to take her to the next game (Sunday afternoon) by himself. She will not even be tired for this one... as she will have just woken from her nap, so I am sending Chris all my positive energy to get through the game.