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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Moar Ice Hockey Fun Times

"Every day is a great day for hockey."
Mario Lemieux

You may or may not remember a few weeks ago I wrote this (link) post about rekindling my love for Ice Hockey and the Belfast Giants, and where it all started just over ten years ago. The tl;dr version is I started going when I was about thirteen and stopped going when I was sixteen. I don't really know why I stopped going if I'm honest. I don't ever remember not enjoying it, until I'd gone so little that I stopped recognising the players. It's always more enjoyable when you have favourite faces to support, and by support I mean lust after. If I was inclined to make this more informal than it already is, I may have used a winky face after that last sentence. But I digress, for whatever reason I've only been a handful of times since I was sixteen. I can barely believe eight years have passed. 

In my sport withdrawal after the Winter Paralympics and the Commonwealth games, I decided to ask my dad to take me to the first pre-season friendly game between the Belfast Giants and the Cardiff Devils. I had just seen it advertised by chance on Facebook or something. All the memories and love for the team and the game came flooding back, and I've been to every home game apart from one since the season started. That's four games in a month. 

I've been fortunate that so far I've had someone to go with me. Duties are split between my dad, my aunt and my sister. I was worried nobody would want to take me, but they've all been really accommodating. This weekend I even made it to two games. The first was on Saturday with my dad, aunt Karen and my granda. We decided to take my granda for his birthday and I bought him his ticket. It was a great game against Coventry Blaze and the fact they actually won really made my granda's birthday.

My pre-game selfie!
Luckily they weren't playing Braehead Clan as I was wearing a lot of purple.
Eye shadow, t-shirt and nail varnish!

It was nice to see they also had the old retired jersey numbers up finally, a number of which were some of my favourite players. They made me feel all nostalgic and I don't know if I mentioned it, but I love nostalgia. It's hard to believe the first Giant to be my favourite (Paxton Schulte No. 27) retired back in 2004. Ten years ago! Gosh, do I feel old.

On Sunday my sister Eva agreed to go with me. So far games have been on Friday and Saturday and she always works either a Saturday or Sunday. Luckily this weekend she worked the Saturday and the second game of the weekend happened to be on a Sunday. I love when things work out. She doesn't really like sports, like... at all. When she used to go with my aunt and I when I was fourteen, she used to sleep through the games. Literally. Though that had as much to do with her undiagnosed thyroid condition as her lack of interest. However, I hoped the promise of fondue and alcohol may make this time around a little more enjoyable for her.

Our dad had said he would take us as we weren't sure the train stop beside where the games are played was wheelchair accessible. However he changed his mind when he realised he'd miss some of the Ryder Cup and we ended up chancing it and taking the train. Luckily the stop was wheelchair accessible and there were some people on the train on their way to the Giant's too, so we followed the people in jerseys so we didn't get lost. I got this photo of Samson and Goliath - the iconic cranes of Belfast - as we walked to the bridge. I've always wanted a good photo of them.

I had such a fun time at the game with Eva. She opted out of having alcohol as the game started at 4pm and it was a bit early, but she enjoyed the it nonetheless. She super got into the match, even if she did end up liking the opposing team - the Fife Flyers - more. It was the first time either of us had seen Fife, but I guess Eva got a good feeling about them which held up as they beat us 6 - 1. I usually like games a little closer than that, even if we don't win. But I still enjoyed the game against Fife. I guess the company helped.

I'm going to two games this weekend again, both against the Cardiff Devils. They were the team I seen with my dad in the pre-season match. I can't wait. In that game we beat them 2 - 1 and the game after that they beat us 7 - 5. Not to mention how rough they play and the fact they're managed by old Giant's legend and my favourite player ever, Todd Kelman. Hopefully it's going to be quite a show down!

On Sunday I had a treat yo self moment and purchased myself some merchandise. A nice mug, because a girl can never have too many mugs. Especially a girl that drinks as much tea as I do. And I also bought a snap bracelet thing. I don't really know what they're called. They go straight and when you snap them on your wrist they curl around, if that makes sense? I remember getting them as a kid, and I guess I'm just easily amused. 

Treat Yo Self

While I was in the mood to treat myself, I decided rather than waiting for Santa to bring me a jersey for Christmas, I would buy myself one. Eva agreed that I could totally buy myself one and still get one for Christmas, so I would have two to change things up. Also there's always the chance Santa might forget or they might be sold out around Christmas etc. On Monday I ordered my jersey and it will take three to four weeks to arrive. I got SaraBloo on the back and the number 84. Last time I got a players name, but then it sucks when they leave. Plus I didn't feel ready to make such a commitment yet, even if I do have a favourite. This is serious business! 

So yeah, I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Eva is taking me on Friday and my aunt Karen is taking me on Saturday. I'm really surprised how much Eva's looking forward to going to future games. She even mentioned maybe getting a jersey some day. On Friday Eva and I are planning to get a little... steam boated (drunk). Probably she more than me. I'm just really looking forward to an awesome game and maybe some fondue. Love me some strawberries, marshmallows and fudge! Yum, yum.

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