Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Canucks: Home Away from Home

A few weeks ago Jacqui and headed out to the nearby Nationwide Arena to take in the Columbus Bluejacket's season opener. Now, I was never a huge hockey head until last year. Living in a hockey crazed town like Vancouver really boosted my vicarious interest in the sport. I have this with a lot of things really. Basically if other people are excited about it I get excited about it. And the entire city of Vancouver is one excitable bunch. It didn't matter that the Canucks didn't make the playoffs last year, every single game would (WOULD) inevitably be sold out. Last year Jacqui and I went to a pre-season game and the tickets were still nestled comfortably in that "this feels way to expensive but the experience will probably be worth it and I'll regret it if I don't go." category.

To counteract all this it's interesting to be in Columbus which although they boast a NHL team, is definitely not a hockey town. The citizens here like hockey alright, but with the OSU football team being number one in the nation, the city's capacity for supporting multiple sport enthusiasms is pretty tapped out. The upside of this? We scored opening night tickets for just 10.00! And even more importantly... the Bluejackets were facing our old hometown heroes the Vancouver Canucks!

Jacqui and I were pretty much the only Canucks fans on hand that night. There was one other Canuck aficionado sitting two rows in front of us and we latched on to him for moral support as soon as we spotted his Orca emblazoned jersey. Other than that one guy though we were pretty much on our own, our cheering voices mere whispers in a sea of hostile thousands.

The game did not go well for our heroes. By the time the third and final period rolled around the Canucks were down 0-2 and it looked like a shut out WHEN SUDDENLY...


We cheered our heads off. And in an weird show of silent solidarity the Bluejackets fans didn't even respond. It was odd. Not even one groan of disappointment. We had to scour the scoreboard to confirm that the Canucks had even scored. They had indeed but, alas, they were still down 1-2. Dang. As the minutes ticked down we slowly resigned ourselves to the "well at least they didn't get shut out" mantra WHEN SUDDENLY...


Again the Columbus fans were as quiet as ninjas. No reaction at all. Again, totally weird. We again screamed our heads off as we watched the game head into over time. Telling ourselves the last two goals were flukes, but hoping for a come back miracle we watched with bated breaths WHEN, IN A FLASH!


It was sweet, delicious with just a dash of scary as we celebrated all the way out of the building weaving through hoards of dejected Bluejackets fans who were liberally giving us the stink eye. It was a proud moment for both my born and bred Canuck wife and for me her honorary spousal Canuck-by-association. Holla back for hockey!*

*Official slogan for the 2007-2008 NHL season...provided the NHL stops being lazy, reads this blog already and pays me for said slogan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


A few weeks ago Jacqui and I went apple picking. It was a surprise in honor of her 23rd birthday. Surprises like that can be interesting in part because I wasn't super confident on the location of the orchard. It somehow lessens the dramatic surprise tension after you get lost once or twice and are continually cursing your mapquest directions.

However in the end we safely made our way to Lynd fruit farm located in picturesque Palataska, OH. It was truly beautiful. The day was crisp, clear and gorgeous. I'm sure you've noticed but I feel like there's just this thing about fall that makes every color, every leaf, every patch of sunlight just a little more real, a little more in focus. Do you ever have that? I know that for Jacqui and I spending last fall in Vancouver the City of Brotherly Rain was definitely a different than the saturated autumn glory of the Midwest.

The u-pick schedule for the day featured the dainty and delectable Jonathan's and the behemoth and bland Yellow Delicious. I'll let you guess which ones we chose to fill our 7 lb bag with...

The trees were full, the sun was out and we were ready to pick. We were only getting a smallish sized bag so each apple was important. We moved from tree to tree like highly trained apple connoisseurs.

"That one's perfect!"

"Hmm maybe not, that one's got a tiny spot."

"I don't know...Do you see the way that one is sort of crowding the other apples? The last thing we want is bossy fruit."

And other things dramatized apple connoisseurs may or may not say.

After the picking we went to the little concessions stand they had. I had a brat, Jacqui a hamburger and we both had as much fresh cider as we could hold. It was delicious.

Later that night we made a pie with our hard won produce and watched King Kong on DVD. Just like mom used to do. The pie, the apples and the Kong were all great but even better was the whole experience. There's just something that felt right about apple picking in the fall. I think somehow it made me feel like a kid again to get so excited and to enjoy so fully something so simple. I think that part of me really longs for real experiences like that. Sometimes I get too caught up in being passive entertained. TV, movies, even reading can fall into this category. It was just nice to be able to engage in something in a way that felt real; in a way that was physical, emotional and so sensory all at the same time.