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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Height Induced Anxiety Conundrum At The Good Ol' Hockey Game

I'll be the first one to admit that I can take sports, or I can leave sports.  I don't mind playing the occasional game of basketball or soccer, but I can't stand football or tennis.

And watching sports games on television for me is a lot like watching paint dry.  There's only so much excitement watching your teams score runs, touchdowns, and goals on a thirty-nine inch television screen before you start to get bored and ask people to pass the honey garlic chicken wings.

Arguably, the experience in watching sports events is much better when you go to an actual game and watch it live as it is happening.  There's really nothing like being in the stands or bleachers of a baseball diamond or football stadium watching the crowds go wild over their teams, and cheering for your favourite players as they do their best to win the game.

Well, a few days ago, I got the opportunity to see a game.

The date was March 19, 2015.  The place was Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.  The time was 7:30pm.  And the game was the match up between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators.  Whichever team won would move on in their quest to win the Stanley Cup.

And, I was there.

You see, the same day that the game was being played, earlier in the afternoon, my nephew and his hockey team were taking part in the "Sens Gameday Experience" (at least, I THINK that's what it was called).  Anyway, they received the opportunity to play a simulated game on the ice rink at Canadian Tire Centre, and we all decided that it would make sense to just get tickets to the hockey game that was playing that night.

And what a game it was!  The final score was Ottawa 6, Boston 4.  But the way that both teams were playing on the ice, you could tell that both teams really wanted the win.  As soon as one team scored (the first goal was scored less than thirty seconds into the first period by Ottawa!), the other team would score right behind them.  At the end of the second, the score was tied 4-4.

Like I said, it was a really close game.

All in all, the experience of going to a hockey game (my very first professional hockey game ever - I know, I'm supposed to be Canadian here - was a fantastic one, and I would easily welcome the opportunity to go to another one.

However, there was one obstacle that I had to get over before I started to have fun at the game.  And in order to explain it, I want to show you my hockey game ticket again to highlight something.

My seat for the venue was section 304, row P, seat 19. 

The way that Canadian Tire Centre is laid out, you have the 100 section, which is the section that is closest to the ice rink.  You get a full view of the players, the goals, and the sight of a hockey player losing a tooth or two during a scrap with the opposing team's goalie.

The 200 section is located about 15-20 feet above the 100 section.  This is a section that will allow you to have a higher up view of the action, but will still allow you to make out the players on the ice and follow along with the game.

I was on the 300 section.  A section that is WAAAAAAY higher than the 200 section.  And we were in the third row from the top.

Did I mention that I have an extreme fear of heights?  One that causes me to experience vertigo if I climb too high up a ladder?

So when I snapped this picture with my cell phone (which I was having trouble steadying because my hand was shaking so badly), you can imagine why I initially was a little bit nervous about being seated up so high!

I thought to myself, "there's no way I am getting through this game without having a panic attack, or passing out from being so high".  And for a brief moment, I questioned why I was there in the first place.

But then I started to try and face the fear.  I was not letting my fear of heights stop me from enjoying the game.  All I had to do was two things - don't look down more than you have to, and keep your gaze on a fixed object until you feel more comfortable.

Sure enough, our seats faced the giant Jumbotron in the middle of the rink, so I focused on that.  And after a few minutes of staring at the Jumbotron, I started to relax a bit more until the anxiety went away.

Still...if I do this again, I will happily pay more money for a seat closer to the action.  Believe me, it's better for everyone.

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