Worth The Wait image

Worth The Wait

A story about a contest, by Eric Trondson-Clinger

My Dad asked me to go down to the arena with him for the first game of the Minnesota Wild?s existence. Minnesota is a rabid hockey state so tickets were hard to come by. He wanted to stand outside and try to find some tickets, but said he wouldn't pay more than face value. In other words, he ain?t gettin' no tickets. It didn?t seem very realistic, so I didn?t really want to go. Somehow, I still ended up down there.

I trudge downtown, find my Dad and proceed to wait while he has his arm up in the air with two fingers extended. We spend an hour getting laughed at for saying we won't pay more than face value. Game starts, crowd outside thins and Pa still has his paw up in the air. I remember how persistent my Dad can be. Fuck.

About halfway through the first period, he decides to go up to the ticket booth and see if they maybe decided to sell some standing-room only-tickets. They hadn't. Goes up to the ticket-takers and asks them something I couldn't hear. We stand around the lobby.

First period ends.

People start streaming outside to smoke. My Dad gets his hand in the air again. About four or five guys come up and all say a variation of "You're STILL here?!? Go home!"

Second period starts. The lobby is empty with the exception of this curly-haired guy my Dad had befriended while looking for tickets. He hadn't found any either. Throughout this whole ordeal, they had met up every 15 minutes or so, exchanged notes on what the latest news was from the ticket office, what each had heard about how the game was going, etc. The curly-haired guy mentioned that he hoped someone would leave early and give him their ticket stubs so he could get in. Pa hadn't thought of that. I mention that since it's the first game of the team's existence, most people are going to keep them as a souvenir. Dad agrees, but it doesn't stop him from stopping every single person going out for a smoke on whether they were leaving the game or not.

Most of the second period was spent this way. Asking for stubs, harassing the ticket-takers, holding his arm up in the air and getting laughed at by the smokers.

We?re talking to the curly-haired guy again when he spies a couple leaving. Based on who knows what, I didn't peg 'em as smokers. Neither had the curly-haired guy. He rushes over before Dad has a chance to react and asks for their stubs. We watch him go. A moment later, my Dad spies a mother and son leaving, heads them off at the pass and asks if they're leaving. They are. Pa asks if we can have their ticket stubs. She says sure.

We're in! And they're great seats!

Curly-haired guy hadn't had any luck. "They were in a suite, so they didn't have any stubs." Dad mentions that we had gotten some stubs, but in a very gracious way. Didn?t want to rub it in or anything. The curly-haired guy congratulates us. As we're thanking him, back comes the mom.

"I'm really sorry to do this, but as soon as we got outside, my son said he wanted to keep the stub as a souvenir. Do you think we could have one back?"

I hand her my stub. She thanks us, apologizes and leaves.

So it's me, my Dad and one ticket stub.

While I?m thinking about what we might do, whether one of us will make a sacrifice for the other or what, my Dad sticks his arm out again. To the curly-haired guy. "Here ya go. One doesn't do us any good."

Curly-haired guy is taken aback. Spends a good minute or so asking us if we're sure. Dad says we are, so I guess we are. He thanks us and walks in.

We spend another 15 minutes or so in the lobby. It?s very near the end of the second period. Nobody walks in or out. I?m getting a little cranky and tired and my feet are killing me. I ponder how to ask Dad to give up. Thankfully, he asks how I?m feeling. ?Ready to give up yet?" I shrug and take a few steps to look at the clock. "Let?s give it another ten minutes." He says ok, but I got the feeling he wasn?t too happy about the answer. Before he has a chance to talk me out of it I say my feet are hurting and that I?m going to sit outside for a bit.

So I sit.

I glance in once in awhile to see my Dad in the middle of this huge lobby, totally alone. A few people come out to smoke, but I don't see whether he asked any of them or not. I don?t care anymore. My feet hurt, I hadn't had a cigarette in three hours and I missed the curly-haired guy?s jokes.

I sit and stare at my shoes. I see some movement out of the corner of my eye and see this well-dressed couple heading towards the parking lot. Dad is about ten paces behind them and speedwalking to catch up to them. Something about the way my Dad is running after them makes me think this is his last attempt. He catches up to them and they talk for five seconds, if that. My Dad walks away. I didn't see any exchange and it happened way too quickly for there to be any luck. I drop my head and stare at my shoes again. Pa walks over with a big grin.

"We got some stubs," he says and hands me mine. He looks at his to see what kind of seats they are, but can?t read it because of the poor light. I look at mine and make out what it says. "Holy fucking shit! Jesus Christ, Dad, these are in the front row!"

"Wow...these tickets cost $150 each! Uh-oh...it says to use gate one."

Gate one was the very gate we'd been hanging out by. The same gate where the ticket-takers had had more than their fill of my Dad?s questions.

"Dad, with seats like these, they'll let us use any fucking gate we want."

He gets a big grin on his face and we start walking towards gate two.

We find our seats and I spend the third period and OVERTIME at the first Minnesota Wild game ever, talking with my Dad and the two beautiful women sitting next to us, pounding on the glass in time to "We Will Rock You", and watching the end of a great hockey game. Definitely worth the wait.

submitted on April 21 at 11:26 PM

Event took place on October 11, 2000 in or near St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

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