The other day when Hilary called I got to the phone first. “Is dad there?” she asked.
“Yep, he just walked in,” I said. “What’s up?” I ask.
“Get dad on the line and I’ll tell you both at the same time.” Oh.
“Well, that sounds scary,” I said as my mother-brain kicked into oh-crap-what-now mode. For the uninitiated, oh-crap-what-now can go either way. It can be she’s the victim of a hit-and-run car accident or gotten that promotion and sizable raise. We’ve gotten both of those calls. And many others on that continuum.
When Roy finally gets on the line, she tells us that Mother’s Day and Roy’s birthday are both coming up very soon. And as her gift to each of us, she scored two Oilers’ tickets to two home games. She would attend each game with one of us. We would need to figure who would attend each time. This was near the great news end of the spectrum.
I chose Sunday’s game 3 in round 2 of the playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks, even though the seats were much poorer, because the 5 PM start time was more reasonable for someone who doesn’t really like night driving.
Greg and Grady also had tickets so he drove and effectively removed that hassle. We got there early, came through a less busy entrance, and had time to spare. Again, worry free.
When Brett Kissel’s microphone failed during the singing of the American national anthem, we became part of the 18,000 plus voices belting out the Star-Spangled Banner. I ain’t no damn singer but I was so proud of our collective selves for doing the polite, generous, gracious, and right thing under the circumstances. I don’t know all the words and I think the song is terribly difficult for all but the most accomplished vocalists. The truth is, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t technically perfect but it was heartfelt and so clearly Canadian.
Even though there were earlier problems with the music that typically rocks the room during the warm up skate, I didn’t put two and two together. Cynical me thought the mic ’problem’ was a contrived publicity stunt. Clever but contrived. I haven’t heard any Rogers Place or Oilers spokesperson official explanation but do know the story blew up on social and mainstream media.
I’d also wager that nine out of ten Americans wouldn’t know any of our much easier national anthem lyrics or care enough to try singing it.
It’s just too bad that warm glow we were feeling was dashed by the Ducks’ goal just twenty-five seconds into the game. It was not a stellar night for Cam Talbot who has routinely performed miracles between the pipes. Many of the passes were sloppy and there were too many turnovers. But, yet, the love affair continues. The hope and the optimism are palpable. Roy will likely see a winning game Wednesday night but I’m glad I was there Sunday. It was a night to remember, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.