One of the reasons I started this blog was to become more aware of the things I want to accomplish or experience in my life, and to be better about making these things happen for myself.
Well, this weekend I had the perfect example of how I’m getting better at making things happen.
It all started back in October, when I first found out about the Hockey City Classic coming to Chicago. The main event was going to be two really great college hockey matchups, played on an ice rink inside Soldier Field. But along with the games were going to be a bunch of other cool events, including two days of free public skate.
Now, let me back up and explain my strange obsession with ice skating. I am not a great skater. I’m good, but not great. I think I just like to pretend I’m better than I am. I still remember my first time on the ice – it was when I was 6 years old, for the birthday party of one of the girls in my ballet class. I was a little wobbly at first, but by the end of the party, my parents had to literally drag me off the ice. Shortly thereafter, my parents signed me up for beginner’s skating lessons – something I am fairly confident I would have stuck with, had it not taken my mom 45 minutes in traffic each week to drive me to the rink. I completed my “pre-alpha” skating class, got a special patch, and, much to my dismay, that was the end of my skating career.
I’m pretty sure my patch had this Franklin Park Ice Arena penguin on it.
Fast forward about 8 or 9 years later, when I was in high school. A friend of mine and I began having weekly Friday night sleepovers, in which most weeks we would have her dad drive us to the Polar Dome ice rink for open skate. Each week, we’d get there early, catch the end of a hockey practice, then skate around ogling the hockey players until the rink closed and my friend’s dad came to pick us up.
Anyone else remember going here, despite how creepy it was in retrospect?
During those years, I got a lot better at skating, though I still wasn’t ever able to stop without crashing into the boards. I was always watching the hockey boys doing their stops, ice spraying everywhere. Someday I would learn to do a hockey stop. It went onto My Life’s List (back when it was still handwritten in a notebook). But in the meantime, I’d just skate whenever I got the chance.
The chance to skate didn’t come all that often. Just a few times in college, arranged by the dorm RAs, and later when I worked across the street from Millennium Park and I would keep a pair of skates at my desk to use during my lunch break when I could find enough time to get away. But my dreams of being a great skater never really went away, and any time there’s an opportunity to skate someplace fun, I always want to do it.
Back to Present Day
So, here we are, back in the present day. I find out about the open skate at Soldier Field, and I want to be a part of it. I sign myself up for the Hockey City Classic mailing list, and wait patiently for details. Oddly enough, right around the time I get an email about the free passes Office Max will be giving out, I also happen to have met a special someone whose love for skating even greater than mine. (A hockey player, no less). It’s perfect! I’m going to not only get to ice skate at Soldier Field, but I will have someone to do it with who will be just as excited about it as I am. (Let’s call him Hockey Guy).
The day of the skating pass giveaway comes and goes. And it completely slipped my mind. I missed my shot!
At first, it doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve already skated a couple times at a couple different rinks this winter, and I’m okay with not getting passes.
But as the date gets closer, I find myself regretting it more and more. So, I start to look for other ways to get tickets. Someone is bound to be getting rid of some. Some person who maybe snagged some for free looking to make a profit. Or someone who just can’t go, and wants them to be put to good use. I can ensure they are put to use.
Late one night, I find out I’ve secured a pair of tickets. I’m pumped! It’s for Monday morning, so I tell Hockey Guy about the tickets, and we both plan to take Monday off work. We’re going to have a whole fun day off together, skating and hanging out downtown.
And then the bomb hits. The person who was giving me the tickets put them in the mail. The USPS. In Chicago. Anyone who lives in Chicago and has ever needed something to come in the mail probably knows where this is heading.
The tickets were mailed Monday afternoon. A week before the event. Wednesday comes, then Thursday. No tickets. They have to be here by Friday, right? Nope.
So all day Saturday, I sit in my apartment, stalking the mail lady, waiting for my last chance.
Stalking the mail lady
Finally she arrives. I throw on some shoes and run downstairs.
At this point, I’m heartbroken. I’m angry. I’m disappointed. I’m dreading telling Hockey Guy that I’ve let him down.
For the rest of the day, I mope around, being mad at myself for dropping the ball not once, but twice on this. I should have tried harder. My whole mantra since starting this blog is supposed to be, “If you want to do something, make it happen. Don’t just sit around waiting for it to happen to you.” I sat around. I waited ’til the last minute. And I failed.
However, after the pity party I threw for myself all day Saturday, I woke up on Sunday with a better attitude. Somewhere between motivation and desperation, I started up my computer, went to Craigslist, and found a 6-day old post from someone who had 6 tickets for skating at Soldier Field.
I took a deep breath and started my email. Hi, there. I know this has been posted for a while, but is there any chance you still have any of the ice skating passes left…
Closed eyes. Hit send. Here goes nothing.
And a few hours later, there’s a reply in my inbox! She still has four tickets available. If I want two of them, I can meet her in Bucktown and pick them up today!
Trying hard not to get too excited, just in case something falls through a third time, I get in my car and drive down to the Starbucks at North and Damen. Not too long after, I have the tickets in my hand!
Not only am I going skating at Soldier Field, but these are a better time slot, and were cheaper than the original ones that never came in the mail.
I made things happen for myself. And it paid off.
We ended up having an awesome day, and skating on Soldier Field was incredible.
Follow Up: In case you were wondering, I did manage to get a refund for the tickets that never came. And yes, Hockey Guy has agreed to teach me how to hockey stop so I can cross it off my list. I’ve already had one lesson, but it may require several more. Stay tuned.