We never know what sort of "extra" entertainment we'll get at any given hockey game. Sometimes, it's nothing more than Chris getting an exceptional view of one of his favorite cheerleaders. Sometimes there are celebrity sightings like Clay Aiken singing the National Anthem or Squirrel Nut Zippers performing on the ice. Sometimes it's human bowling or hamster ball races. Really, the entertainment runs the gamut.
But every now and then, something really unusual happens. For instance, back in first or second season of the ESA, (now the RBC Center), the classic film "MVP: Most Valuable Primate" opened in theaters. As a special treat, the ice skating chimp who starred in that film made his rounds to all the NHL arenas. If I am not mistaken, the first arena he visited was ours.
Our seats are very close to where the national anthem is sung, which is also where most of the entertainers come out onto the ice, so we always get an up-close view of whatever they are dishing out that night. Now, monkeys of all sorts give me the heebies. They are right up there with clowns and other things that look "almost human." I don't like 'em. Euw.
So super-chimp hits the ice and does his skating schtick. I leaned as far away from him as possible as he entered then exited the ice. When it was over, I breathed a sigh of relief. But then, Chimpy McSkater's handlers approached us. They wanted to take a promo shot of the chimp in the seats like he was watching the game. More specifically... MY seat.
So we moved down to the front row and allowed the chimp to sit and have his picture taken. If Chris weren't so superstitious about sitting in his actual seat at all times, I would have asked him to switch chairs with me for the rest of the game. Instead, I faced my fear and sat in monkey germs for the final period, thinking the whole time about that hairy monkey butt on the very sit I was currently perched in.
Fortunately, there hasn't been another monkey at a game. Until Friday night, that is. The rodeo was in town on Saturday, so they were promoting it at Friday's game. One of the featured acts is a little tiny organ-grinder monkey that rides a dog. A border collie. With a saddle and everything.
When they rolled out the carpet onto the ice, I knew it must me some rodeo performer. I peeked over my neighbors and saw the dog. "OOOOOO! A dog!" I said, excitedly, hitting Chris repeatedly on the arm.
"Yes, it is a dog," says Chris, affirming my astute observation.
"Oh my God, there's a monkey on that dog," says I.
"So there is," says my husband, non-chalantly. Then we watched in fascinated horror as the monkey rode the doggie out onto the ice and back again. Weirdest. Thing. Ever.
In other hockey news, last week we attended a game and sat in Chris' boss' seats at center ice with Athena and Marcus. My sister and her husband had our seats. Since our seats are behind a goal, there is a big net to prevent stray pucks from shooting out into the crowd and ultimately through some innocent person's head. But the sides of the rink are net-free. It's rare that a puck will head off into the crowd that way, just because of the way the players shoot the puck, but it does happen. In fact, by some crazy, random happenstance, it happened last Saturday while we were sitting center ice.
I was looking down tending to Athena in some way or another. I looked up just in time to see the puck heading right for us. Chris was first in line for the trajectory of the puck's flight, so he turned his shoulder to block it from hitting either of our children (or me, I'd like to think). As luck would have it, the gentleman next to Chris took the brunt of the hit instead... right on his thumb. It bounced off Chris's shoulder, then my hand, right into the empty seats in front of us. Some jerk-face jumped into those seats from across the aisle to snatch the puck, and didn't even consider offering it to the guy whose thumb was now as black as night and as big as a zucchini. Honestly, I've never seen a bruise form so quickly in my life. It must have hurt like a mother.
So two oddities in one week of hockey. Not a normal week at all. But I'll always prefer a guy taking a hit with a puck to a dog-riding monkey. Always. Euw.