When I do get around, I write about it. If you want to read exclusively about my visits to United States presidential sites, you can do that over here.

Travel: Massachusetts

Usually when I'm in Massachusetts, I'm visiting friends or John F. Kennedy. I did sneak in one travelogue, though ...

Frozen Fenway

January 12, 2010

Hockey is a fine sport that requires amazing skill and endurance, but it has one great flaw: very few hot dog vendors. Sure, you can go to the concourse and get a hot dog. But who wants to get up? If I wanted exercise, I'd play sports, not watch them.

On Friday that great injustice was remedied. Boston College took on Boston University -- the college equivalent of Israel vs. Palestine -- and I was there, eating a hot dog purchased from a roaming vendor. The hot dog alone made it a special evening, but as an added bonus the game was outdoors in Friendly Fenway Park. It was about 20 degrees and snowing, and I was with 30,000 of my closest friends.

It's strange to see hockey in a ballpark. Imagine going to the zoo, and when you get to the lion cage, there's a mime in there. Then as you're watching, the mime get mauled by a lion. Being a professional, he refuses to scream for help, but instead uses hand gestures to express how much agony he's in, until his head finally disappears inside the lion's mouth. It's nothing like that at all, but what a fun visual, right?

Our tickets were on the third base line in the lower deck. Ordinarily I like being up high for a hockey game -- seeing the whole ice helps you appreciate how plays develop. But something magical about Fenway made the lower deck the place to be. Maybe it was the view of the Green Monster. Maybe it was the fact that the upper deck was windy, and about 20 degrees colder. Who knows? Some other magical observations:

Pep bands. Both the BC and BU pep bands were in attendance, playing from their spots in the stands. If you've never played a brass instrument outside in the cold, here's what happens: the horn is cold, your breath is hot, and when the two touch there's immediate condensation. All the water then rolls back to your face, which chaps your lips and makes it very painful to play. Of course, since you're outside at a sporting event, you have to play even louder to be heard, which usually means pressing harder and more painfully against the horn. You suffer for three straight hours, you can't wander off from your seat, and (trust me) no one will be impressed enough with your effort to make out with your chapped, bruised face after the game. And yet both bands toughed it out, kicking out arrangements of today's urban radio hits for all three periods. I salute you, pep bands! And speaking of urban radio hits, the only black person we spotted the whole night was a player for BU. Hockey! In Boston!

Standing. Nobody in the lower deck sat down; we stood for the whole game. You might think that we stood to help mobility, so that our toes would not turn black and fall off. Possibly. Or maybe everyone in the ballpark just loved hockey that damn much.

Shirtless people. You always expect some shirtless people at Fenway, but not in January. There were quite a few college students with their shirts off, reminding me that I am very glad to be done with college. Besides, if I take my shirt off in public, there's usually rioting of some sort. I have to alert the National Guard before I go to the beach. These are the burdens I live with.

Hot stuff. You know what goes well with hot dogs? Hot chocolate. It a shotgun wedding in my stomach, but the wedding night didn't seem too rowdy.

The only disappointments on the night were BC taking the loss, and no one in the crowd offering their spontaneous thoughts on the quality of the New York Yankees. I can now scratch "outdoor hockey" off of my sports wishlist. I do not know when I will see a baseball game played entirely on ice, but after my time at Fenway, that dream seems a little closer.


One man's quest to be the humblest person alive
Copyright 2014, Chris White