Columbus is such a cool city; there is so much to do. Being out in the suburbs with three young kids, we miss out on some of the action, but fortunately we’re close enough to take advantage of what we can.
We may not have pro football or basketball teams, but we’ve got hockey (Blue Jackets) and soccer (Crew). Even those who may not be die-hard fans can show up to support their city’s teams, and have a great time doing it. Mark and I attended several hockey games before the kids came along, and it was always fun to go. It’s a bit different these days; the games are still fun, but they are loud (too loud, sometimes) for the kids, and there is a lot less beer consumed when we go as a family (ha!). It’s a much different experience, but still fun, just the same.
We were fortunate to receive tickets given to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio by one of the CBJ players. RJ Umberger has generously given DSACO tickets on more than one occasion, and we were happy to have an opportunity to take the kids to a game tonight. Andrew has recently discovered hockey, so he was thrilled to see them play. Alex was a little more apprehensive (the poor kid remembered the noise from the cannon from the game he attended two years ago), but he was a trooper and made it through the first period in his seat.
After that, though, he was done. Mark took him out to the area just outside of the arena (where the concessions are) so he could relax a bit. Out there, he had a great time. He had a giant tv all to himself, a big box of popcorn, and a great game to watch. He was a happy kid again! I switched places with Mark after a while, so he could enjoy the game as it unfolded, rather than watching it on tv. Alex happily waited out in his little area, and was very excited that his team was winning.
The arena staff was truly fantastic. When Mark took Alex out, a Guest Services representative noticed Al and quickly caught on that the game was overwhelming for him. She offered Mark earplugs for Alex, and then suggested moving our seats so that Al would be more comfortable. At that point, though, Alex wasn’t going back into the arena, but we were grateful for the offers. The entire staff (all those who checked our bags, scanned our tickets, showed us to our seats, filled our concession orders, and tried to make us comfortable) was pleasant, courteous, and made us feel very welcome.
Even though Alex isn’t quite ready to handle an entire game (I’ve already requested noise-cancelling headphones, so that we can hopefully try again soon!), we still enjoyed the evening. When your hometown team wins, that makes the occasion a bit sweeter. Go Jackets!