I'll admit it. I'm not the world's biggest hockey fan. Maybe it's because my crush on the star of the hockey team in high school was unrequited. Maybe it's because I became a sports fan in some of the Blackhawks' most dreary days. Maybe it's because I am the worst skater on the planet. For whatever reason, I am not part of the rabid, bloodthirsty fans who pack the United Center. Still, I am dying to go to the Winter Classic.
My colleague Eamonn is dead-on. It's the novelty that is attracting me to this game. For whatever reason, hockey was moved indoors at some point in history, though it's a game that begs to played in open air. Despite many of their dumb marketing moves, the NHL recognized this with last year's classic in Buffalo, and I want to be a part of it. I want to sit outside on Jan. 1, have my boogers freeze, throw snowballs at the right field bleachers, and enjoy the sound of players crashing into the boards while also enjoying the sights of Wrigley Field. Most of all, I want to be able to say I was there.
The team announced the seating plan and prices, and I couldn't reasonably afford the tickets. With the best seats going for $325 at face value before Ticketmaster's ridiculous service charges, I would need to make a decision between going to the game and paying rent. As nice as my landlords are, I think they would rather that I paid rent. I also will have to run down a season ticket holder to buy those tickets for me. It seems impossible, but there has to be a way, right?
1. Beg. Beg everyone I know, everyone they know, send letters begging players for tickets, letters begging front office people for tickets, lots and lots of letters, begging, pleading letters. It may alienate my friends and family, but it's worth it.
2. Get another job. I know this is a bit much, and with the economy, I doubt the usual places for short-term employment -- retail outlets, bars and restaurants -- are doing much hiring. Still, if I want to go badly enough ...
3. The game is right after the holidays. Ask my friends, family, neighbors and the guy who sells me coffee in the morning to chip in to one, central gift. Sure, it's tacky, but what the heck. I really want to go to the game.
These actions all seem a little extreme, but it's what I need to do to go to "the hockey game of the year." Or I could realize that this game is not for a working stiff like me. It's probably best that I watch the game from the friendly confines of my couch, wearing sweats, boogers unfrozen with a mug of hot chocolate in my hand. I won't be able to say I was there, but I will avoid losing my friends, family and hard-earned ducats.