Sunday, November 30, 2008
Plush With Anticipation
We’re packed like sardines in a tin can at Rabobank Arena, so I’m holding Jennifer and Denise’s stuffed animals to make room for them to sit comfortably. Although, it’s more like I’m cuddling their animals. The new friends I met tonight are having a little laugh at my expense, but that’s okay. It’s all for a good cause, and I don’t mind being laughed at when I’m squeezing a polar bear, a moose, and a panda.
We’re anxiously awaiting the first Condors goal. When that happens, not only is our local ECHL team on its way to another victory (Actually, they‘re not), but our stuffed animals are on their way to center ice. Close to 9,000 fans are in attendance for Teddy Bear Toss night, which means there are a lot of people getting excited at the prospect of chucking stuffed animals into the air.
Then, at 14:28 of the first period, forward Dale Reinhardt buries a shorthanded breakaway goal and the stuffed animals begin to fly. We’re in the upper section, so we have a fantastic view of the carnage. There are cats flying into the Idaho Steelheads’ bench. There are dogs catching themselves on the netting behind the goals. And there are some teddy bears so large the kids trying to carry them off the ice are falling over under their weight.
All told, it’s a complete mess. A glorious mess. There are thousands and thousands of stuffed animals on the ice now, ready to go to underprivileged kids in the area for the holidays. Everyone in the stands is happy; giddy almost. The ice is colorful cacophony of plushies. And I feel oddly satisfied about the whole thing.