Darcy's Road to the 2012 NHL Winter Classic
In December, two fans were given the opportunity to attend the 2012 NHL Winter Classic in Philadelphia from a contest on the Sharks Facebook Page. Here is Sharks fan Darcy Osheim's experience.
BEFORE THE TRIP“So….Um…Guess what I just won?” I could barely get out the words to Rich, my husband, the first on my list of people to call with the exciting news. I am not what someone might call lucky, and could barely believe what I had heard. I had just won tickets to the NHL Winter Classic in Philadelphia, PA! If I had not been at work, I would have screamed! As it was, I was softly jumping up and down, too excited to will my body to sit still for even a moment. At the Sharks game that night against TB, I was telling everyone I could see. The win and the 5 goals in the first period topped off my night, making it one of the best I had ever had.
Two days later we went down to the Tank to pick up the tickets. We walked in the main entrance and were let down stairs. I felt so special being able to not only go behind the scenes, but to go to a place at the Tank I had never been before. There were huge pictures on the wall of a few of the players, and a Christmas tree across from the reception. We were told to wait and I could only think that this Shark’s tree would look perfect in our living room. Sarah handed us our tickets and vouchers in a thick white envelope. The tickets were so shiny and impressive. I do not think that I stopped smiling that whole day. Rich and I are so excited to represent the San Jose Sharks and fans out here on the East Coast!
THE ROAD TO PHILLYFinally, January 1st came around. Most people dread the first of the year due to hangovers from the party the night before, but not me. This year the first marked not only the first time I would get to set foot in Philadelphia, but also officially started the trip.
Unlike so many Sharks fans, I am new to Team Teal. Though I had been to a few games when the Sharks first started, I found them again as my brother was battling cancer. We had been visiting Justin again at Kaiser, trying to keep his spirits up when two very large men entered his room. At the time I didn't know who they were, but they were gorgeous (all the ladies will agree).
Torrey Mitchell and Douglas Murray had come to visit my brother, which basically made his day. After seeing how wonderful these players were off the ice, I couldn't help but become a fan of them on the ice. It did not take long to realize that I bleed teal, and always will. I have thrown myself into learning the game and cheering for the sharks for as many games as I can see.
I religiously enter all the contests that I can, especially the ones through the Sharks Text Club. But I never win. This is why I was so surprised when I got the call about the Winter Classic. The only thing to make this trip better would be if the Sharks were playing (although they did win the game the same night!).
As we pulled up to the Marriott Downtown, we were met with a multitude of signs that let us know that this was the headquarters of the Winter Classic. I couldn't believe how close we were to the heart of downtown. Just a block away from LOVE park, City Hall and Reading Terminal Market, we were able to experience so many of the great things that Philly has to offer by just walking outside our hotel.
After eating too much good food at a local Gastro pub (apparently that's what they are called), we settled in our room, excited for the next day. As you may know, the game got moved back from 1pm to 3pm, which was to make sure the ice wouldn't melt during the game. This meant more time for us at the Reading Terminal Market experiencing great food!
THE NHL WINTER CLASSICFinally it was time to bundle up and head to the game in the buses that Marriott provided for their guests! As we got off the bus we were greeted with a ton of confused looks. All "Sharked out," we really looked out of place on the East Coast. People asked if Mapquest got us lost, if we knew what ice looked like, and a few other "clever" comments. Mostly, besides wondering why there were two Shark fans wandering around, people were really nice and friendly (though I think it was mainly because we were clearly not Ranger fans). Our seats were great, and we were able to have a great view of ice and the big screen!
There was much Pomp and Circumstance as expected for a game like this, and it was fun to be a part of. The game started and we got into cheering for the Flyers. I figured cheering for the home team was nice since we were having such a great time in Philly. The game got off to a slow start as the puck was behaving very differently on the outside rink than it seems to do inside. Each stoppage of play brought a team of men with shovels to clear the ice, as well as someone to patch the divots that had been made.
Both teams seem to struggle with the condition of the ice, as Rich and I struggled with the cold. The cold was more bearable once the Flyers scored! The Giant Liberty Bell over the right field wall lit up and tolled each time the Flyers put one away. The Rangers fans gained more confidence as the game progressed, and the Flyer fans lost a lot of steam. I know that if the Sharks fans were there, no one would be able to hear the other team's fans. And that is why we ROCK!
The third period seemed hopeless until an epic chance for a penalty shot came with nine seconds left! It was a bit sad when Flyers sniper Danny Briere could not score, but it was finally a hockey game where the team I was cheering for lost and I was not devastated. I think the Philly fans were taking it quite hard, because as we left, I did not hear any comments about being a Shark fan. We walked away with a few souvenirs that we bought, as well as two seat cushions that we got just for going!
I wish my words could share exactly how awesome this trip was. I will never forget how much fun we had, and how special we felt during this whole process. And all of this was possible because I filled out a form on the Sharks Facebook Page for a chance to win. Next time it could be you! Keep the faith, and GO SHARKS!
Click here to see more photos from Darci's trip.