February 26, 2011 Comments Off on perfect games, perfect day
When the going gets weird, the weird get bowling. We had just enough snow on the ground today to make a trip down to the big city risky in the VW, but not enough to make a trip to one of the sledding hills truly worthwhile. The boy, however had some ideas. Or, really, one idea. Perfect Games.
Perfect Games has taken over from the flooded-out Happy Joe’s as the amusement parlor of choice among the middle school/fifth grade set. It’s a giant warehouse of bowling alleys, laser tag, and arcade games, tailor-made to turn dollars of parents’ money into cents worth of plastic toys. But today I relented, and I have to say it was a pretty awesome time. Coulter offered to pay for a couple frames of bowling, and as you can see from the O’s reaction above, it went pretty well.
O, it has to be said, is something to see bowling. She’s all arms and legs to begin with, and with two parents who can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, the result looks pretty much like a tumbleweed attached to, well, a bowling ball. About half the time she’d wind up, start flailing down the alley, and then stop short. I was worried she was going to break her wrist. Coulter gave her some tips, and the next ball she rolled hit the right gutter so hard it bounced and ended up in the left gutter. Two gutter balls in one roll. Stellar. But she also managed a handful of strikes, so go figure. Her brother, on the other hand, was just getting mopey and frustrated when he bowled two strikes in a row, which improved his mood considerably.
The best part of Perfect Games is that they have a grown up section, also known as a bar. Coulter and I shared a pint there while the kids did their arcade thing, which was quite nice after a hard afternoon of bowling.
To top the day off, we hit the last regular season hockey game, which was fantastic. ISU played Northern Iowa, which is a bit of a mismatch in any sport, and tonight was no exception. A goal in the first three minutes. A short-handed goal six minutes in. Two penalties on Northern for having too many men on the ice (when have you ever seen that in a hockey game even once?) But only one good fight. For the price, there probably isn’t any better entertainment in town on a Saturday night, or certainly any that you can take your two kids to. It capped off a reasonably perfect day. Great to have the uncle in town, and to have the excuse to kick back and do some fun stuff.
January 16, 2011 Comments Off on hockey night–divided loyalties
My alma mater (hat) and current employer (sweatshirt) are only a couple hundred miles apart, but they play in different athletic conferences, so I rarely have to choose between them. Both schools have club hockey teams, though, that do play each other four times a year. And tonight was one of those games.
Illinois hockey was by far the best party in town. Dad took me to my first game when I was about 13, and he instantly regretted it, I’m sure. Most of the crowd had obviously spent the afternoon pre-gaming, and the cheers were, to say the least, creative applications of the Queen’s English. In college, I proudly contributed to this sort of impressive behavior, and my fellow fans and I were rewarded by game scores of 23-7, referees throwing punches, and–occasionally–the cops showing up to break up fights on the ice.
The league has calmed down quite a bit since then, but the games are still nicely raucous, full of penalties, questionable checking, and off-color cheers. Perfect family entertainment, in other words. We caught the first two periods before things got too late, and saw ISU score three goals and hold the Illini to nothing–despite a double power play in the second. No great fights, but enough violent checking to keep the boy happy. O liked it, too, though her favorite part may have been the popcorn. (Dad will be pleased to know that the classic “***hole, ***hole, **** him up, **** him up” cheer is still alive and well…)
And, of course, we all cheered for the Zamboni. Hockey purists would frown, of course, but it was a fine evening out for the three of us, and it capped off what we all agreed was a hell of a good day–killer muffins, a new TiVo remote, sledding, tofu, and hockey.
I have no idea what we’re going to do tomorrow…