Gather round, y’all, and let me tell you the tale of my first hockey game. It all starts on a cold December day in 1992. My Dad came home from work with exciting news. “Guess what, everybody?” my Dad said. “What?” we all responded. “Every year at this time, I get all kinds of goodies and gift baskets from the gravel companies for being such a nice government inspector. And this year, one of those cheap-ass gravel companies gave me a pair of Oilers tickets!” Dad explained. And the great debate started. Who would Dad take? Would it be me, or my brother? My sister was never a consideration, because it’s silly to take a girl to a hockey game. (In 1992, I wasn’t as enlightened as I am now) Soon, my Dad made a decision. My brother would go with him to see the Edmonton Oilers tackle the San Jose Sharks. I, understandably, was depressed. Here I was, the middle child, getting the shaft once again. My Dad sat down with me and we had a talk.
“Are you OK with this, Mark?” he asked.
“Sure I am,” I said, feigning enthusiasm.
Dad saw right through my charade. “Don’t worry, Mark,” he said. “Every Christmas, those gravel companies actually shell out for some pretty nice stuff. I’m sure it won’t be long until I get another pair of hockey tickets. And when I do, I’ll take you.”
Seven years later. . . . No longer the innocent 15-year old high school freshman. Now, I’m a hulking 22-year old college graduate leaching off of his parents until I figure out what to do with this thing called “life.” Dad came home from work one night and said “Guess what? One of those cheap-ass gravel companies gave me hockey tickets for a Christmas present!” And I immediately shouted “WOO!! My turn!” On Wednesday, December 1, 1999, I was off to see the Edmonton Oilers tackle the Colorado Avalanche. Not those lame-ass Sharks. I was getting to see a good team. And the Avalanche.
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