It was a Saturday morning on March 28th, and Henry was having his daily “you people are fucking helpless!” rant, all because I ran out of makeup at the exact moment Chooch suddenly needed a piece of toast. So now Henry had to decide which to do first: go to the store for makeup or make toast. This particular rant ended with “If I end up in the hospital someday, you two are NOT moving into that room with me!”
So it was pretty funny that several hours later, he was dropping off us downtown in order for us to go to the Penguins game.
As in: WITHOUT HIM.
“BUT WHERE DO WE GO?!” I cried as Henry slammed on the brakes in order for us to catapult out of the car. It was an area I was unfamiliar with! (Like, all of them.)
“Just follow the people in hockey jerseys!” Henry barked, mumbling ‘idiot’ under his breath.
This day was notable for two reasons:
- Chooch and I were going to put our big kid pants on and handle ourselves independently of Henry. DOWNTOWN.
- This was going to be Chooch’s first ever hockey game!
It’s amazing that he agreed to go with me, especially since it was last minute (Barb gave me the tickets the day before — she is the best fairy god mother of all time and I still miss her EVERY SINGLE DAAAAAY), because Chooch hates hockey. And if there is one thing he hates more than hockey, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins specifically.
I can pinpoint for you the exact moment this aversion, this fiery hatred, started: It was Friday, June 12, 2009. Chooch was three-years-old, and the Pens had just won the Stanley Cup. I was screaming. Like, lunatic-levels of verbal raving. And then I picked up Chooch and started jumping with him in arms, still screaming and woo-ing and crying tears of hockey happiness.
Chooch lost his shit. He started shaking and trying to pull away from the psycho broad shouting PENNNNNNNNNS in his face like some asshole being raptured, and then he was crying too, but not the same way I was. He was crying in the vein of a child in the throes of being scarred for life.
My friend Alisha was there that night, and she was like, “OMG put him down! You’re scaring him!” All of this in conjunction with the neighbors running into the streets outside, banging pots and pans and creating absolute sports-related pandemonium, paved the path for a very traumatic event in Chooch’s life. He probably thought the world was ending.
Ever since then, he has purposely rooted for every opposing team, especially the Flyers, oh how he loves to break my heart by cheering them on out of spite; one time I told him I was going to buy orange balloons for the birthday party HE WASN’T HAVING. But Barb was like, “Maybe if you take him to a game, he’ll change his mind.”
Right away, he said he would go with me and of course he had to wear one of my Penguins shirts because god forbid he should have any of his own. That annoyed him.
“You know I’m going to cheer for the Coyotes,” he warned on the way to Consol, and I promised that I would abandon him in an alley with nary a cardboard box if he even WHISPERED it.
But then we got there and he was like, “OK. This isn’t so bad.” Also, Henry gave me money so that I could buy him food to keep his mouth shut. That seemed to help.
He was really excited about singing the National Anthem and kept talking about it and talking about it and I was like, “Who gets excited over the Star Spangled Banner, you freak!?” But then he got to have the last laugh because some soldier had returned home from somewhere and surprised his family on the ice right before the game started, so I started crying because I just can’t handle life anymore. Chooch was like, “Are you CRYING? Jesus Christ.”
But then the best thing happened! The game started and everyone started screaming LET’S GO PENS and then CHOOCH was screaming LET’S GO PENS! My heart, oh my heart.
After the first period, we managed to go to the bathroom separately without losing* each other! WE ARE GETTING SO GOOD AT BEING….people.
*OK, I thought I lost him for a few minutes, but he was just waiting for me inside the helmet. Which is exactly where I told him to meet me.
Also, Chooch said to me, “I actually didn’t use the men’s room. The line was so long, so I just came back over here by the helmet and used the family restroom.” I love that he has way more ingenuity than me. If the line to the women’s room was too long, I would have just cried about it, peed my pants, felt rage, considered killing myself, and then blogged 87 paragraphs for no one to read about my ill-fated journey.
Chooch just rationally finds another place to piss.
I’M DOING SUCH A GOOD JOB RAISING HIM!
Here is Chooch coming back from buying a Dilly Bar after spending two periods wearing me down. “Now can I have a Dilly Bar? When can I have a Dilly Bar? Wait…what’s a Dilly Bar, again?” Then he would look at the scoreboard and cry, “IT’S STILL 0-0?!!?” The two older men next to me kept spitting out disparaging remarks about how boring the game was, Kunitz needs to go, Bennett needs to go, shoot the fucking puck. But they were surprisingly not too loud about it so I didn’t get all that upset. And every time they would leave their seats, they would high-five Chooch, so they weren’t all too bad.
I think what really won him over was Iceburgh, the Penguins’ mascot. We all know that Chooch is a future furry, and he gloms on to mascots every where we go. So, he spent most of the time searching the stands for Iceburgh.
But then in the third period, actual scoring finally started happening so Chooch was like, “Hmm. This is kind of cool.” Except for the times when I would accidentally scream in his ear and then he’d consider going back to hating hockey. I CAN’T HELP IT. I’M A SCREAMER.
“Man, I just really wish you could see Crosby score,” I lamented to Chooch. And then, no less than 10 seconds later, Crosby scored. I wish it always worked that way.
The Pens ended up winning (amazingly, considering the abysmal streak they’ve been on during this season’s homestretch) and Chooch got to see a fight and unfortunately, a grisly hit by Shane Doan on Letang, which stopped the game for a good 10 minutes before Letang was finally able to get and skate off to the locker room, with assistance. Chooch was outraged by all of this and become obsessed with flipping off Shane Doan’s picture in the game’s program.
Right when we were leaving our seats, some guy walked by and said, “YOUR SHIRT IS AWESOME!” except that he said it to ME and not CHOOCH, and you guys know how Chooch gets when shit like this happens. It was basically like this guy took my eyeball purse and beat Chooch with it, that’s how much it stung him. God, he is so attention-starved! He must get that shit from Henry.
Chooch was so pleasant all afternoon that I caved and bought him a plush Iceburgh. And then we managed to make it all the home on the trolley without accidentally giving the homeless people all of my money (Bleeding Heart Syndrome) or falling off a cliff.
Then we came home and I asked Henry if he missed us and he said no because we were only gone for a few hours. :(