I create context. I also write blog posts:

Going To The Hockey Game

Posted: August 26th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


This is my submission to the Rochester Story Walk.

We had a plan, and it was a good one.

We rehearsed it on the drive in. Everybody knew their roles, and we ran through our lines flawlessly. Our scheme was simple, our preparation thorough; it was foolproof, it had to work.

Heading downtown following a blurry parade of brake lights and hustling pedestrians, we parked in the Midtown Garage and walked the tunnel under Exchange Boulevard, nothing amiss about our foursome among the crush of other hockey fans. Red, white, and blue jerseys and hats and signs painted the scene; there was a buzz, an excitement in the air.

But there was one problem: I was six years old.

“When the usher asks you how old you are, what are you going to say?” my aunt asked me.

“Four!” I beamed, proud of myself for knowing the right answer.

“And why are you telling him you’re four?”

“So I can go to the game for free!”

“Good.”

“Go Am-ricks!” It would take me years to master the word Amerks.

“All right, so when they ask…” The conversation repeated as we all reached the sidewalk, bracing against the cold wind that was cutting through our scarves and biting at our cheeks. A man played an accordion on the corner.

Finally, we made it to the building, floating with the crowd. The lobby, walls a burnt orange, protected us from the snow and the wind, but slush from ten thousand boots, my own included, made the floors slick.

We reached the turnstile. My aunt was carrying me now, for greater affect. An usher with gray hair and a red jacket greeted us:

“Good evening, hockey fans!”

My uncle held out three tickets, and he and my older brother pushed through. The usher smiled and looked at me.

“And how old might you be?”

Everything was going according to the plan. We had given him the tickets, nobody had said or done anything to arouse suspicions, and I was well versed on my one line.

“I’m four… and a half!” I sputtered.

The ticket-taker laughed. Our cover blown, we expected the worst: a long line at the ticket window. It was my fault.

I don’t remember if I had done it on purpose or not.

“And who are we rooting for tonight?” he asked.

“Go Am-ricks!”

“Well then, enjoy the game.”

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