If anybody bothers to read my portion of the blog, you’ll understand that I’m a huge sports fan. When I have free time to myself at night I’m always watching a game of some sort and it’s led to me wanting to pursue a career in sportswriting… and not knowing anything about any popular TV shows. This blog could be a start so here goes nothing…
Editor’s note: By suggestion I should advise this story has been fictionalized.
I’m proud to say I’ve been to a lot of cool playoff games throughout various pro sports. The coolest experience might have also been one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.
My best friend since childhood, Tom, had this ridiculous idea of making fake media passes to the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings after seeing them clearly in a postgame interview on YouTube. In New York this was a massive Finals since it was the Rangers’ first since they won it all in 1994.
He brought a friend to Game 3 and it worked. I was in disbelief. I turned pale as a ghost when he texted me the next day saying “You’re coming to Game 4. Get a suit.” Mom was like “No way!!” and Dad thought this was great and basically told all his friends who wouldn’t rat us out. To calm Mother, he gave us our attorney’s phone number if we got in trouble.
His plan was wear suits and use the passes — which he labeled LA Times — posing as interns. He told me to take a selfie and send it to him to make my pass. That afternoon, he shows up to my house with this:
I’m in tears laughing until I realize that this is real and there’s no going back. I was definitely afraid of sneaking into The World’s Most Famous Arena.
On the train to NYC we’re pretty quiet. He just tells me to make it look like I’m supposed to be there. When we get outside the arena, Tom leads me around trying to find the media entrance and on the way he spots the Yankees TV play-by-play man, Michael Kay walking with his agent and asks if we can take a photo. Incredibly nice guy, massive head…
We get into the game and it turns into one of the most exhilarating atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of. The passes give us full access to the arena and press area, so we walk down rinkside where players are purposely whipping pucks at the glass to scare the kids leaning on it. Eventually we settle in a standing area above the lower bowl of MSG. I looked up the price of a seat on StubHub where we were and it was about $2,650.
The Garden is on edge the whole game. The Rangers were down 3-0 at this point so a win was needed. Rally towels were spinning everywhere you looked and as soon as the light went out and The Who’s Baba O’Reilly started playing everyone lost it. New York scored early and I was able to see/hear their goal song in action for the first time.
There were two points where the fans could’ve all had heart attacks when slush on the ice stopped two Kings goals. The Garden is notorious for bad ice conditions and they made their presence known that night.
The Rangers would pull out the win 2-1 but go on lose Game 5 and the series in LA.
It was incredible and I promised myself I would never do something that stupid ever again. I broke that promise five months later in Boston, but that’s another post….