Seeing UND hockey for the first timeA few months ago, a loyal blog reader mentioned that the one thing I had yet to do in my quest to become Midwestern was to venture North to Sioux country and go to a hockey game. To remedy this problem, he and his wife kindly offered up two of their season tickets to a game of my choosing.
By: Hailey Adkinson, The Jamestown Sun
Posted Dec. 11, 2011
A few months ago, a loyal blog reader mentioned that the one thing I had yet to do in my quest to become Midwestern was to venture North to Sioux country and go to a hockey game. To remedy this problem, he and his wife kindly offered up two of their season tickets to a game of my choosing. Of course I was thrilled, and jumped at a chance to go to my first hockey game. (Side note: I have gone to one other hockey match sort of, women’s ice hockey Slovakia vs. Sweden at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, but I don’t really count that because I didn’t understand what was going on). We emailed back and forth to figure out a date and once it was settled I kindly offered to reimburse for the cost of the tickets.
“That wouldn’t be very North Dakotan of me to invite you to a game and then have you pay!” was the reply I received.
A few weeks later I received the tickets in the mail with a parking pass and a sticky note reading something to the extent of: “Here are the tickets to the game. Please be sure to return the parking pass when you get a chance. Enjoy!” I was flabbergasted. First of all, a complete stranger was offering up his season tickets free of charge so that I could experience a part of North Dakota that his family has come to love. Secondly, he and his wife had enough faith in my moral character, without ever meeting me, to not walk off with their parking pass. This solidified it. I love North Dakota.
As soon as word spread via social media that we were headed north, text messages came in directing us to stop off at Blake’s relatives before the game and enjoy a delicious hearty “supper.” If we were in the area, obviously we needed be fed. Mashed potatoes, meatballs and homemade creamed corn stuck to your bones a bit more than nachos and hotdogs anyway. So, after a delicious meal we were off to the game.
As Blake and I entered Ralph Engelstad Arena, or “The Ralph” as I was later told, we were in the midst of stimulus overload. Both of us were gazing off in every direction and of course, I soon bumped into someone. Now, I’ve been raised to apologize if I bump into someone, but I am very aware of what it is like at crowded sporting events and I never expect the same apology in return. Much to my surprise, before my apology had a chance to slip out, I heard, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” I was stunned for a moment and even had to mention to Blake how surprising this was. He too had noticed the same phenomenon.
Once we regained our composure, we continued on to our [AWESOME] seats. It didn’t take long for me to realize I freaking love hockey … especially when they hit each other. It had all the things I like about sports smooshed into one sport: a college atmosphere, die hard fans, a fast pace (I have an extremely short attention span), rules that aren’t too complicated and really fun cheers. To top it all off, it’s all done on ice. Hockey must have brought something out of me because I was soon screaming for the Sioux to smash the other guys into the wall. The only thing that was a little strange were the cheerleaders … or figure skaters … or cheering figure skaters? They were very good at what they were doing, but I didn’t quite understand what they were doing.
Before I knew it the game ended, thankfully in a Sioux victory. Spirits were high in my little blue car during our hour drive back to Fargo, and I realized why a lot of people from North Dakota never leave. It’s because they experience days like today every single day, without even realizing it.
Adkisson blogs about discovering the Midwest at becomingmidwestern. areavoices.com