I sometimes wonder (for no apparent reason) whether C, my ex-husband, ever thinks of me–ever wonders how I am doing–now that it’s been more than five years since our divorce. I think of him, his wife, and his daughter often; I wonder how they are and genuinely hope they are well. I think, too, of C’s mom, grandparents, and brother; I wonder how my former sister-in-law is doing, or my former niece and her sister, whom I’ve never met, and C’s uncles, aunts, and cousins.
It has always troubled me that divorce cut me off irrevocably from these people: one minute they were family, and the next they became strangers I’ll never see again. This finality and the absolute abruptness of the break both stun and sadden me. It’s something I still haven’t made peace with, even all these years after having moved on.
Winter is a contemplative time: the landscape is sleeping, people have retreated indoors, and like meditating cats we all have hunkered down to generate and savor our own inner warmth. Winter, especially in New England, is a time for waiting: when will we see long-lasting days again, or when will we dare to bare our ankles and necks? The barefoot and sandal-clad days of summer seem impossibly distant, and we’ve almost forgotten the object of faith–spring green and all the hope it holds–that we’ll spend these next interminable months waiting for.
It is in these winter months when it is natural to wonder about time and its passing, or about the nature of love and loss. How long have we humans been treading this old, tired earth, tracking mud on our soles and brushing snow from our boots? All these generations–all these endless eras–and what at all have we learned about heartbreak and how to weather it? We’ll all older but no wiser now; we’ve just become more practiced over time at the same old mistakes, rehearsing the same stories even though we know how they all will end.
Winter is a time when such questions arise unbidden, and they linger like frozen snow that won’t melt until spring. Some questions are unanswerable, and others simply unanswered, the Universe remaining tight-lipped when it comes to our most pertinent questions.
When I first envisioned what it would be like to watch a hockey game at Fenway Park, this is the picturesque scene I imagined, with the grandstands full of fans, an outfield full of snow, and an ice rink incongruously centered between first and third base.
Unfortunately, J’s and my tickets to Sunday’s Legends Classic–a charity fundraiser match featuring former Bruins players and celebrities–afforded us this view:
Having a great view of a steel girder is a classic predicament at Fenway Park, where architectural oddities provide an abundance of “obstructed view” seats and where the seats in older sections are antiques:
J and I were lucky, though. Whereas the guy in the row ahead of us was seated directly behind The Pole, J and I could crane our heads left or right for a pole-free view of the on-ice action:
Sunday’s Legends Classic was the day-after finale to Saturday’s Winter Classic, in which the Boston Bruins played the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston’s beloved (and history-laden) Fenway Park. J and I couldn’t afford tickets to the Winter Classic, which were going for hundreds and even thousands of dollars on online ticket reseller sites. J and I are diehard sports fans, but we can’t stomach ticket resellers (a.k.a. legalized scalpers) and their jacked-up fees.
So while we enjoyed watching Saturday’s Winter Classic on TV from the best seat in our house, on Sunday we took the T to Fenway Park to watch a friendly game of old-time hockey played by old-timers.
Part of the allure of the Legends Classic for J and me was the simple opportunity to set foot in Fenway Park. Although J and I have been dating for three years and have gone to nine Red Sox games together, we’ve always traveled to other cities (Atlanta twice and Oakland once) to see the Red Sox play. Instead of paying those aforementioned jacked-up ticket reseller rates for baseball tickets, we’ve participated in the surprisingly common phenomenon of the Red Sox pilgrimage, whereby diehard Sox fans converge on cities where the Sox are playing, buy face-value seats to the entire series of games, and root root root for the away team.
Sunday’s Legends Classic allowed J and me to kill two proverbial birds with one stone. We got to set foot in Fenway Park, and we got to see the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of a hockey game there. When else could we watch local youth hockey teams play in the outfield shadow of giants…
…or see the Bruins’ mascot, Blades, greet fans alongside the Red Sox’ mascot, Wally the Green Monster?
On-ice, a game that matched retired pros with celebrities who haven’t laced up skates in decades offered its own kind of hilarity, with one goalie playing the entire game with two cans of Budweiser and some hydration tubes strapped to his mask…
…while a motley crew of helmeted, hatted, and bare-headed old-timers eschewed the subtlety of puck-passing, choosing instead to congregate in a frozen free-for-all wherever the puck happened to be.
After spending the first period fighting The Pole for a decent view of the action, during intermission J and I took a walk around Fenway, where we took in the usual ballpark sights and smells…
…before finding a section near the electronic scoreboard…
…where there were empty (albeit snowy) seats.
From this blissfully unobstructed vantage point, J and I had a much better view of those old-time hockey plays as they unfolded…
…and we finally got a chance to take a classic shot of Fenway on ice.
Click here for a photo-set of images from Sunday’s Legends Classic, including two panoramic shots: one from our original section in right field and the other from our adopted section in center field. Enjoy!