My father has done a lot for me over the course of my now 35 years. He taught me how to golf and change the oil in my car. He helped me redo an entire kitchen and replace a radiator. We’ve been to football games and baseball games. We’ve gone canoeing and fishing. But until March 13, my dad had never been to a Penguins game. Ever.
That changed last Sunday when we visited Consol for Pittsburgh’s 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. After a brief tour of the new barn (Me: Pretty nice, huh? Dad: It better be. It’s new.), we sat down in Section 118, right behind the home net. During warm-ups, my dad was surprised by the size of some of the players, specifically pointing out Oilers behemoth Steve MacIntyre, all 6’6”, 265 pounds of him. During the game, he was awed by the speed of the players, mentioning on several occasions how fast the action was. A veteran soccer referee, he was intrigued by the officials, wondering if they were ex-NHLers.
As the game progressed, I found myself explaining some rules (icing, offside), some penalties, and the difference between a linesman and a referee. This isn’t an enviable task during a game, but I didn’t mind in the least. For probably the first (and last) time in my life, I was teaching my dad something and not vice-versa.
I told my dad to keep an eye on Alex Kovalev. I should have told him to watch Chris Kunitz, who scored twice. I told him how impressive Max Talbot’s breakaway goal was and how sweet Zbynek Michalek’s slap shot was. He nodded in agreement. One of the highlights of the game was describing to my dad why the fans were going crazy when a certain couple locked lips on the Kiss Cam. They were Malkin’s parents, I said. He had a good laugh.
Overall, a great father-son experience – even if it did come 20 years after I first started attending Pens games. But I’m glad we finally have the memory. It’s never too late. And, hopefully, it won’t be our last. In the words of my father, “We’ll have to do this again.” Yes, we will.