Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sarah had a hockey game yesterday in Amherst just outside of Buffalo. Since the Islanders were playing the Sabres in an afternoon game the next day, we decided to stay in Buffalo for the weekend and get tickets. I tried out Stub Hub for the first time and it was awesome. I was able to get four tickets relatively cheaply for an NHL game. They were nose bleed seats 1 row from the top. The view was great if you don't mind looking down at the game with the feeling that your perched on a window ledge of a 10 story building. I cheered from my seat because if I stood up to cheer I may have ended up 30 rows further down in a heap with my legs dangling over my head.

 I've been an Islander fan my whole life. We used to watch the Islanders from my home in Jericho on Long Island on WHT. Our neighborhood had underground wires so for years we couldn't get cable tv. WHT was our saviour with premium tv delivered over the airwaves via a special antenna on the roof. There was a special box on top of our tv that would receive the signal. It also had it's own speaker since the sound would not transmit to the tv. We used to record the games and movies with our original VCR which was the size of a Volkswagon. We would have to plug in a microphone to the VCR and place it next to the WHT box to record the sound. We would have to put a sign on the door leading to the basement where the box was that we were recording a movie so no one would make noise coming down stairs. Inevitably, every movie we had included whispering voices and commentary like Mystery Science Theater. The recorded Islander games came complete with cheers from home. I have reorded Stanley Cup games from 1980-1983 when the Islanders won four cups in a  row. It was a great time to be an Islander fan watching greats like Billy Smith, Mike Bossy, Brian Trottier, Bobby Nystrom and more. It was the dream team of the 80s.

We got to the game early so we could watch the teams warm up. Cade, wanting to be like his dad, is also an Islander fan. He has several Islander jerseys and watches them on tv with me. We root for the Sabres as well unless they are playing the Islanders. Today was different though. Cade became a true Islander fan today on his own. We went down to the tunnel where the players enter the ice and he reached his hand over to high five the team as they came out on to the ice. Every player high fived him, "even the goalies" he grinned from ear to ear. We watched the warm ups and as each player left the ice, he got another high five. As Islander defenseman Andrew MacDonald left the ice, he picked up a puck and handed it to Cade and gave him knuckles. Cade turned to me with the biggest smile I've ever seen. I don't think his feet were touching the ground. As we made the trek back up to our seats in the clouds, the smile never disappeared. "I can't stop tingling," he said. He's an Islander fan for life.

Islander/Sabre tickets, $167.
Islander jersey, $59
Parking $8
Seeing my kids smile so hard it hurts their cheeks, priceless.

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