Thursday, August 9, 2007

That Was Easy!

Thanks to True Coyote Love for the inspiration. I started writing this post a couple days ago and then realized that it would make a good speech for this public speaking club/organization that I am a part of at work. I was scheduled to give my first speech today and typically the first speech is an icebreaker where you just talk about yourself. Since I hate talking about myself and revealing private aspects to others, especially coworkers, I decided to give my speech on something that I really like: hockey. Of course, right? Well, here is the speech that I wrote last night and I think it's an enjoyable post that many of you can relate to. I made some adjustments to it while I was at work to make sure my speech didn't go over 6 minutes, but this version is pretty much what I said in my speech.

As some of you may well know, I am a huge fan of the LA Kings hockey team. Some may call it an unhealthy obsession but I like to think of it as just part of my life. I've been a Kings fan since I was about 6 years old, when I started watching games with my dad and brother. Back then the Kings played at the Great Western Forum and when I was growing up every now and then my family used to make the trek out to the Forum to see the Kings play. At the time I never really cared where we sat because I was just grateful to be able to see a game in person. Even though neither of my parents drink and they're the nicest most respectful people, we usually sat in the upper section where the beer flowed deep and taunting the opposition was in full force, which I always loved to take part in!

In the fall of my senior year of high school, the Staples Center opened for '99-'00 season which meant that I had only one season to enjoy Staples Center before I ventured off to college in St. Louis, Missouri. While the opening of the arena was a huge deal, I honestly can't even remember if I went to a game that season. But during my four years at college, about once a year, right before Christmas vacation, my mom would call asking me if I would like to go to a Kings game while I was at home. I'm not quite sure why she would even bother to ask if I wanted to go, but she always did and I always said yes. The NHL lockout occurred during my first full year back as a Southern Californian, which was pretty good timing since I was living in Irvine at the time. The following season I moved back to LA County but yet managed to only attend one game. This past season I went to six games and probably would have gone to more if the team had actually performed better. After having gone to several Kings games at Staples Center and sitting in various spots around the arena I think I've finally figured out which section is my favorite.

At Staples Center there are three levels: 300 is the highest tier, which is followed by two rows of box suites, then the 200 level section and the 100 section is the tier closest to the ice. I've been to several games in the 300 level. Naturally, the seats closest to the redline, or the center of the ice, are slightly more expensive than the ones off in the corner, but I think the extra cost is worth it. While some may prefer to be able to see the entire ice at an angle, I feel that you get a somewhat distorted view of the ice. I would rather sit closer to the redline so that you can view each end of the ice equally. The jumbotron is directly in front of you giving you a great view of the replay video. The best part of sitting in this section is being able to look down and see everything.

I highly doubt that I've ever sat in the same seat or row twice. I may have sat in the same section twice and if so, it was one of the 200 level sections either directly behind the net or just off to the right. These sections are great because (a) you're up just high enough and (b) when the play is right around the net on your end it's a ton of fun watching the action up close. The drawback, which you may have guessed, is that when the puck is on the opposite end of the ice, you can barely see what's happening and then you feel compelled to sneak a peek at the jumbotron and the next thing you know the lamp is lit, the crowd is on their feet, and everyone is cheering because the Kings scored! I've never managed to get my hands on tickets in the 200 section at the middle of the ice because I think they're special tickets that aren't readily available to the public. I could probably find tickets on ebay or but have yet to do so.

I also have never been to a Kings game while sitting in a box suite. My brother's friend's company has a box suite where you can pay $50 for a ticket and have access to free food and drinks for most of the night. While it would be nice to be in the confines of a suite, I can imagine that you would probably miss out on the real atmosphere of a hockey game. For once in a blue moon, Los Angeles residents are actually friendly to strangers, we strike up conversations with each other about how the team should be coached, and what's the fun of attending a hockey game if you can't witness food being spilled on someone or a fight breaking out in the stands or having the opportunity to catch a puck or even better, the risk of getting hit by the puck. The netting that is placed behing the goal starting from the top of the glass to a certain height takes away most of the fun but it's still common to see pucks shooting out into the stands.

Last season I went to two games where I sat in the 100 level. The only reason my boyfriend and I sat in those sections was because we got the tickets for well below face value. At one of the games we sat behind the team benches about 9 rows up from the glass. Even though I was really looking forward to sitting in those seats, after the game I decided that it really wasn't all that great. It was fun being able to see the players upclose but being that close to the bench and glass really impeded our view of the ice. The other time we sat in the 100 level was behind the penalty box about 17 rows up from the glass. This was the. perfect. seat. Our seats were right at the redline and at row 17 we had unobstructed views of the ice. Sure, the puck would get lost when it came around the near boards but every seat in the house deals with that problem. We were still close enough to the ice where the action seemed more intense than it normally does and we actually had to turn our head in order to follow the play up and down the ice. If we wanted to see a replay on the Jumbotron, we had to tilt our heads up because we were so far down.

For attending any ordinary game, my first choice seat would be in the 300 level in the section as close to the redline as possible, seated in one of the first few rows. For special games, if someone is about to break a record or a team I'm interested in seeing play comes to visit, then I would search for good deals in the 100 level, once again close to the redline, but in a row towards the back of the level so that I won't be distracted by not being able to see everything. While any seat at Staples Center is worth the money it really depends on what view and atmosphere you desire. After several seasons of venturing to Staples Center sitting in a variety of sections, I've finally found my favorite seats.


Isleschick said...

I've been in a suite and it's nice every once in a while but there's no way I could do that every game.

Tracy said...

HOLLA! Haha. I was in a suite the last game this last year and while the free food was delicioso (c/o dora the explorer), it's too far out of my way. I like to feel the glass shards in my eyeballs when someone gets slammed extra hard.