Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Perception vs Reality: Platinum Seats

*This post is coming a week late but the motivation just isn't there when you lose a game to the Sens by a score of 5-0.

A couple of months ago, on an early summer's day, the Leafs announced that they were giving out chances to win tickets to the Coke Zero Fans First game. I was working downtown and knew they were at Much Music so I took the early GO train and made an attempt to line up for whatever they would be doing. The line wasn't too long but the planners were adamant on starting at 8:30 am sharp. With a half hour to go, the humidex close to 40C and Sens_Sucks a few feet away from me, I couldn't wait for the line to start moving.

The hockey gods must have heard my silent prayers because ten minutes later and one of the Coke dudes started handing out complimentary tickets.


SEATS RIGHT UP AGAINST THE GLASS! This will probably be the only time I will ever be able to catch a game in the first row without selling a kidney. I've dreamt of this many times but never thought it would happen. Now the only thing standing between me and the game is father time.

As I got to the ACC, I looked around for the entrance to the platinums but couldn't find one. Turns out that there's some secret entrance behind the stairs to the upper levels. While walking down those steps and into the dimly lit corridor, I felt like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas. This is what it's like to be a gangster (or a wealthy businessman). I put down my beer, took my seat and waited for our heroes to take the ice.

Enter Sandman starts booming from the speakers, Andy Frost's voice greets the crowd, the gates open and Gustavsson is leading the way. Oh shit, it's about to begin! Let's see if a game in the platinums are all it's cracked up to be.

Perception: I'm so close as you can get, without being in the same booth as Pierre McGuire. I will literally be able to smell the players' blood and sweat!

Reality: Despite it being a free "Fans' first" game, the lady beside me made sure I got an authentic experience by ordering sushi so all I smelled was raw fish and wasabi.

Perception: I'm right up against the glass! I can't get any closer to the action. The view must be impeccable.

Reality: WTF, ref?! Get the fuck out of the way! My seats were right by the blue line and I was blocked out of the play any time the puck was in the zone for an extended period of time.

Perception: So we have periods one and three in the Leafs end. That's okay, our D should be much improved this year. Dion's leadership will provide direction and I'm sure Komisarek and Beauchemin will be way better than they were last year. I can't wait to see that up close.

Reality: Komisarek and Beauchemin didn't play, I saw Nick Foligno blow by Dion Phaneuf and I got real close to the Leafs defence...when they were sitting in the box serving a penalty.

Perception: At least I will get to see the Leafs' offence up close in the second period. I can't wait to see how Versteeg will fit into the picture. He will provide some much needed secondary scoring. Also, KADRI!!!1

Reality: 0-6 on the powerplay in the second period including two 5 on 3's!

Perception: With TIFF finishing up, I'm sure I'll catch some celebrities in the platinums too!

Reality: I had to squint my eyes to see a group of Raptors players across the ice from me...I only found out their names from Demar DeRozan's tweet...and then I had to use google to see who on the Raptors was named "Joey"...

Perception: It's a preseason game, I don't give a damn if we win but I can't wait until we score a goal so I can bang on that glass!

Reality: We get shut out 5-0 and the loudest ovation that night came when Wendel Clark made an appearance.

I don't know if I can say that sitting against the glass have met my expectations. Platinum seats are great as an experience but they definitely aren't the best seats in the house. When the puck was in my zone, the linesman stood right in front of me, and when the puck was in the other end, I had to crank my neck until it cramped just to get a glimpse of the action. If wealthy Bay street brokers want to pay ridiculous amounts of money to sit so close, then good on them. I definitely wouldn't recommend these seats to the hardcore fans. I think I'll stick to the upper bowl where I can see the whole rink. Perhaps if the Leafs put up more of an effort and won, I might have changed my mind about the seats. I doubt it though, I've always been a glass is half empty kind of guy.