Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Let's Go, Ice Pilots, Let's Go!!!

My husband and I took our boys to their first ice hockey game yesterday. I know, the pro stuff didn’t happen this year, which was a great disappointment for us as we felt this was the year that all three of them were old enough for us to take the entire family to a Panther’s game. There are other leagues though, smaller leagues, other than the NHL and Pensacola has the good fortune to be home to one of those teams… the Ice Pilots.

Now for those of you NOT in the know, Pensacola is the Home of Naval Aviation. If you’re going to be a Naval Aviator, with few exceptions made, everyone comes through Pensacola first. Sometimes Pensacola is referred to as the Mother in Law of Naval Aviation as many young aviators meet their future wives while in flight training. So it is fitting that their team is the Ice Pilots.

Off we go to the downtown Civic Center to see their first hockey game, the Ice Pilots vs. the Carolina Checkers. And, by the way, the Civic Center becomes 'The Hangar' when the Pilots are playing. The Pilots play in 'The Hangar' not a rink, just so you're in on the official lingo. My husband had gone down earlier in the day to purchase our tickets in person since there were specific seats he wanted to see if he could obtain… season ticket holder’s seats. Sure enough, front and center, 10 rows max from the bottom, he got these great seats… and at normally 15 bucks a pop, they were on sale… two for one. Can’t beat that with a stick.

Husband on one end, three kids on the middle, dear old Mom sitting on the other end like a book end, we waited for the game to start. Funky fun music playing in the background, my kids were really getting into it. But that’s when what hockey is actually about, really kicked in… because, you know, it is all really… about…the…snacks. Everything is about the snacks. So my husband made his way to concession, Son#1 in tow, to come back with 4 hotdogs, 2 cokes, 2 bottles of water, and a saltless pretzel (mine). We spent more on snacks than tickets. All were happy and the game started.

It was great fun. We got to know the couple behind us, probably in their 50’s, 9 kids between the two of them, and 21 grandkids. They were rabid Ice Pilot fans, and he was a riot. At first I thought he was drunk, but then I realized he was just a huge extrovert. By the end of the game, he had my introverted 2nd son pumped up enough that he stood up and yelled, “Go Ice Pilots! Kick Some Butt!” I was stunned. Who was this screaming hollering little boy, with blue eyes peeking out from his green wool cap? Surely it was not the little boy who blends into the floorboards at school, quietly making his way through life?

I got to know the lady beside me, who lives with her husband in Navy Point and needs a new roof due to Ivan and sustained some serious water damage from the hurricane. We talked about the hurricanes and what we would do different for next year and both of us laughed and said we really hoped to get our roofs fixed before next season.

I know I say I am introverted, and I am at times, but when I am around good fun people, I can be very talkative and extroverted. That’s how I felt at this hockey game, which is probably how my 2nd son felt too, uninhibited to be ourselves around good people.

In between periods of this game, after the hockey players have left for the locker room, they have this little go cart thing that is made up like a Blue Angel airplane (Pensacola is home of the Blue Angels) and a guy inside it has this big tube that shoots t-shirts. As the theme from Top Gun plays, this go cart/Blue Angel guy as well as IceMan (the mascot, remember IceMan from Top Gun... they ONLY have the name in common, trust me... although if their mascot looked like Val Kilmer, I am sure there would be more women in attendance) throw t-shirts into the crowd.

At some point in time, another trip was made to concession, this time with husband and Son#3. Hot chocolate, some kind of chicken fingers, french fries... cotton candy at one point. It gives me heart burn just remembering watching them consume all this food.

It was just good clean fun. If I lived in Pensacola, I’d be a season ticket holder. But not a groupie. Blech. I was looking over the list of players and they all seem to have come from Canada or the Czech Republic. Can you imagine the scene, a kid really into ice hockey coming home and saying, “Ma! I got my big chance! I’m going to Florida to play Ice Hockey!!” Kinda made me laugh. Anyway, I know these young men have groupies, I think I saw a couple of them. I could never do something like that… Brilliance not Brawn has always attracted me (although I would have never turned down a good combo! Heh.) If I were going to be a young groupie, I’d have been more inclined to hang at the Math Bowl than the Super Bowl.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've got a local UHL team as well, the Icehogs.
I try to catch a game every blue moon or so - they're fun to watch, even if I still don't understand half of the penalties they can get.

9:01 PM  

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