Weekend in Dallas, Texas

Greetings from aboard a Southwest Airlines flight somewhere over Texas. I actually love flying, which is weird considering how nervous it makes me. Like just now, it got bumpy. No one flinched. I started praying. I'm sitting in a row next to two pilots flying to catch the plane they are piloting later, which is kind of nice. If something happens to the pilots, at least I know there are back-ups. Plus, if they start panicking, I know I'll need to pray harder. (ugh... screaming baby behind me)

Anyway, I'm on my way back from a weekend of hockey in Texas. Why did I go to Texas for hockey? 'Cause I'm a dork. I always wanted to see Mathieu play on his home ice, and when he came to LA I couldn't not go down for a game. Seeing my guy play when I could unabashedly cheer for him was a great feeling. Ever since, I wanted to do the same for my other guy. But B-Rad being in Florida was a bit of haul, and even I couldn't justify that. When he was traded west to Dallas, I started to consider it more.

Since then, I've meet some great people via Twitter. After the amazing time I had in Montreal, an opportunity made partly possible by Twitter, I felt I had another reason to go to the Lone Star State. I've never been to Texas, and what better excuse than to see my guy play live at home and have some locals to meet up with to show me the real Texas. It was (almost) all I hoped for and more (the "almost" is explained later). Probably most notably, my weekend consisted of two games at the breathtaking American Airlines Center. (You know, I love my quirky Shark Tank, but damn, the AAC is phenomenal).

  • Saturday, March 20- Stars vs Ottawa: Afternoon games are rough, and the Stars got off to a sluggish start. Mathieu's former mate Kari Lehtonen let in a goal on the first shot. But Dallas pulled it together and showed some guts, playing a tough game. B-Rad had 2 goals in the game. I screamed loud. Jason Spezza scored a hat trick for Ottawa, and he got one hat thrown out for him. In the end, the Stars won 5-3. B-Rad was the first star. I was glowing.

    Other than the game itself, there was other awesomeness. Jen... dude, I totally can't even put into words the mad hook-up she got for this game. Oy! Platinum level seats. Such privilege gave us opportunity for some nice side attractions. Like seeing Fabian Brunnstrom walking around on the concourse. (He may be having trouble adjusting to North American hockey, but DAY-UM, homeboy is beautiful!). Or walking by the booth and seeing Dallas broadcasters Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh ("Razor") broadcasting live. Or chatting with Razor in the concourse during the 1st intermission and having him give me crap about wearing a Tampa Bay jersey. (Dude! It's my traditional I-wear-this-to-B-Rad-games-in-San-Jose-so-I-don't-get-beat-up-for-wearing-a-Dallas-jersey jersey). I told him I'd see him in San Jose on Thursday. He'll probably think I'm a stalker. =P I officially fell in love with the Platinum level, and if they had such in San Jose, I'd be broke
  • Sunday, March 21- Stars vs. Phoenix: This is where I get to the disappointing part of the trip. I stayed an extra day in Dallas to see this game. After the trade deadline, I looked at the schedule and saw that Mathieu's new team would be in Dallas the day I was planning to come home. The prospect of seeing my two guys play each other live and in person was just too good to pass up. Dave Tippett killed my dream, scratching Mathieu from the game. I caught a glimpse of Mathieu up in one of the boxes during the shoot out, and it just made me sadder. What an awesome thing that would have been. =( As for the game, that was disappointment, too. Dallas lacked the spark they had the night before, losing to Phoenix in the shoot-out (which also propelled the Coyotes past my Sharks into top seed in the Pacific division). B-Rad actually had a great game. He was good all night, picking up an assist on a Loui Eriksson goal, and netting a goal in the shoot-out. (ugh, this was hard enough to write, and now screaming kid is screaming again)
When I wasn't at a game, I was mostly just eating.

  • Tex-Mex. We have a lot of Mexican food in California, too, but Tex-Mex is different. Our's tends to be lighter, with more veggies and fish, this seemed to have lots of cheese and a lot more sauce.
  • BBQ: beef brisket, coleslaw, fried okra, and some sweet tea. And a Shiner beer.
  • Chicken fried steak: Not only the fabulous thin beef battered and fried like chicken, but all the fixin's, too. Mashed potatoes and white gravy, cream corn, biscuits. Finished off with a Dr. Pepper and coconut cream pie.
Special thanks to Myra and Patty for taking me out to Tex-Mex, and Jen for introducing me to Babe's for chicken fried steak. I might never be the same. After the Ottawa game, several of us Twitter people met up for BBQ (Patty, Myra and family, Teri, Jen, and Brandon and his brother, and Brad G, who isn't on Twitter, but runs things now over at Defending Big D since Brandon went big time). (seriously, I'm going to slap that kid myself. And then the parents for just letting him scream).

Two final things of note for this trip.
  • It snowed. Seriously. I went to Texas, and it snowed. A lot. The day I arrived, it was 70 and ended the evening with thunderstorms. Saturday it snowed. Sunday, it was freezing and WINDY! Monday, I leave and it's bright and sunny and headed back to the 70s.
  • I didn't do too much tourist stuff, but I did walk over from my hotel (the Hyatt at Reunion, you know, the big tower with the ball on top? Yeah, I was next to that), and walked over to Dealey Plaza. It was sad to see the "X" on the road, marking the spot where President Kennedy was shot. I went up to the 6th Floor Museum that has preserved the spot where the assassin fired the bullets. It all happened before I was born, but it is still an incredibly sad moment in our country's history. I hope I never have to experience the loss of a leader like that in my lifetime.

All in all, what a great time I had! I could get into this NHL roadtrip thing. My friend and I are already thinking Pittsburgh next year. But Dallas made an impression. I might want to head back here.

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