Thursday, December 24, 2015

Time To Party: Part II

In an interesting twist this year, I once again attended two holiday parties but, unlike previous years, neither one was a family gathering. Last Saturday, after a draining day at the lodge blood drive, I stopped over at the neighbor’s house for a wonderful gathering. It was a great opportunity to meet most of the people who live around us especially since I haven’t had the time to walk up and down the street to properly introduce myself. It was a great night.

This past Monday was the second party of the season. This time it was the annual work party but, once again, it was a little different than previous years. Our first holiday together, in 2013, we all went bowling at a place around the corner on Street Road. Last year, having previously held a large one year anniversary party a couple of months prior, we toned things down a bit and simply went out to dinner across the street. This year, the bar was clearly raised as we got a balcony box for a Flyers game at the Wells Fargo Center.

I really didn't know what to expect heading into the building as, despite growing up in the area, I had never been to a hockey game. Baseball yes, hockey no. The gathering itself was very nice as the noise in the arena wasn’t too loud so that we could still have conversations without having to yell at one another. We spent a good part of the evening talking about work (of course) but also some of our other interests. It is really nice to get out of the office and continue to get to know one another a little better even though we have the same banter during the work day. Meeting outside of the office is just a different time.

The game on the other hand is not the game I remember watching when I was younger. In addition to the plentiful penalties, the sport is severely slowed by constant ice maintenance every five minutes which, in itself, took five minutes to clear the shavings. This drew out 20 minute periods into 45 minute marathons. This on top of the fact that the hard-nosed sport that I recall from years past is dead. Hockey without fights is like NASCAR without crashes. I am actually surprised that no one tripped on their skirt going up and down the rink.

By the time nine o’clock came around the third period was just beginning and the Flyers scored to tie the game within a minute of the puck being dropped (they ended up defeating the Blues 4-3). For a couple of us with longer drives home, it was the perfect opportunity to call it a night. And with our signed pucks in hand (everyone in the box got one), we made our way through the maze and finally out to the parking lot where there was no traffic to be found. 60 minutes later and I was home for the night, ready for bed, and not looking forward to the early morning alarm.