Monday, February 8, 2010

March of the Penguins

I'm glad I was able to make it to the game yesterday -- oddly enough, I made it because my Subaru WRX was "snowed out" of my neighborhood since I went to the game on Friday night and stayed overnight in DC. It turned out to be an excellent battle between the two teams. I'm also glad the Caps won, because the trials and tribulations of getting to and from the game were, in a word, unacceptable.

My brother came from Hagerstown in his own Subaru. I-270 was, in his words, "a disaster." He had to drive all the way to Bethesda to the closest Metro station, Medical Center, where he then waited 30 minutes because he'd *just* missed the departing train. Metro neglected to post anything about only running trains every 30 minutes on their website, otherwise, he would have just tried to drive into DC and park in a garage. It took him nearly three hours to arrive. Meanwhile, because I had his tickets in my hand, I, too, missed the entire first period because I waited in the Green Turtle for him.

And Mr. Leonsis, while all of "your" employees may have shown up for the game, not all of the Verizon Center staff was present. That much was clear when I entered during the opening minutes of the second period, even if I hadn't already received a text message telling me that the concession lines were ridiculously long because more than half of the stands were not open. My brother and I sprinted to our seats, and respectfully waited for a stop in play to enter the actual seating area despite no usher being present (not sure if the usher was taking a quick break or if they, too, couldn't make it due to the weather). One of the season ticket holders next to me missed the *entire* second period waiting in the concession lines. There may have been enough staff present to "run" Verizon Center, but it was very obvious to anyone there that not "all" of the arena staff was present.

I understand the need to hold the game, Mr. Leonsis, and if both teams were there and the officials were there, I would have been sorely disappointed to not be able to see it. What does disappoint me is that part of the justification for hold it (from a previous blog entry) was that the NBC crew was there, and then telling people who were there that the ends (the win and a majority of seats being filled) justified the means (Pittsburgh's players on busses for 5+ hours in conditions that were, at best, treacherous; thousands of people -- including "super fans" such as Sam "The Horn Guy" and the announcer Wes Johnson -- making borderline insane trips to get to the arena). Please don't tell us things that we could see with our own eyes weren't true either (that "all employees" were there). You may not have had a vastly different game experience than you usually do, but many of the rest of us definitely did. To belittle our journeys and our experiences by dismissing them out of hand is insulting to those of us (Caps and Pens fans both) who went to, literally, fanatical lengths to see this team play.

For the record, my brother sent me a text at 8:14PM last night. We'd departed the Irish Channel after a late lunch at 4:15PM. Four hours for him to get home, and he said that I-270 was even worse going northbound. But, as a true, diehard Caps fan, he said it was all worth it.