One thing that people always rave about when it comes to Billings, Montana is how safe it is. We’re regularly on lists of best places to raise a family because our crime rate is low for as decent sized as we are. People like to complain about a recent uptick in crime, but I think it’s more of a matter of us seeing the bad things get more airtime via social media than a real spike in bad peeps. One man’s safe is another man’s sheltered, though, and a lot of people in Montana have an irrational fear of big cities. My irrational fears fall more in the “that could never actually put your life in peril, you idiot” category, so I can’t really relate, but Joel was more than a little worried about spending a few days in Detroit, and the people we talked to who had been there didn’t do much to ease his distress. But he begrudgingly agreed to go (like he had a choice), and we started our Detroit stay off with a Friday night Red Wings game in their fancy new arena. I did my best to make Joel feel comfortable by getting a nice AirBnB and reading him articles that said Detroit only has the 10th most murders per capita, so it’s practically safe. Plus, similar to how calories don’t count on vacation, scary people don’t come out in the winter, right?
With the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals potentially ending tonight, it seems like the right time to share our night during the “Midwest Winter” trip when we got to see a team that isn’t there this year but has been each of the last two years. NHL games are sneaky expensive. I expect it from NFL games since they only have 8 home games a year, but NHL teams have 41, so you’d think it would be less pricey. However, they do have less seating, and with the Penguins being the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs with arguably the best player in the league playing for them, I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised by the fact that they have a loyal following that drive up the prices. We’d been told at the Steelers game the night before that Penguins games were even better than Steelers games. We were dubious after all the fun we’d had at Heinz, but we remained open to being surprised by PPG Paints Arena!
Game number 2 of our Saturday in Dallas was a Dallas Stars game. I learned a lot more about hockey when I was in college and would go to games, but I will still admit that it’s one of the few sports where I don’t totally understand all of the rules. I get offsides and some of the penalties, but icing is totally lost on me. The only sports that I understand less are probably field hockey and cricket, and weird things will have to happen before I see a game of cricket live.
With all that being said, hockey is one of the sports I most enjoy watching live. I never watch on tv with the exception of the NHL playoffs and the Olympics, so that may contribute to why I like it so much in person. But I also think that it’s a great environment- hockey fans are as faithful as they come, and I am continually amazed watching hockey players do as much (if not more) on ice as I can do on land. Plus, there’s something almost comforting about the coolness of the rink while watching a game (especially when you get sunburned at a college football game the morning before).
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.