The Red Mile

There’s just something inherently wrong with watching Stanley Cup hockey while sweating because it’s so warm. The season needs to be shorter.

Or there need to be fewer teams, especially in places where you can’t naturally have ice outside. (But that’s just a personal gripe.)

Last night was Game 5 in the Tampa Bay-Calgary Stanley Cup Final series. As is becoming a habit, Craig organized a gathering at the Rose and Crown, one of Calgary’s more popular watering holes. A former employee of the Rose, Craig was able to secure spaces on the third floor for us, so we’d have a place to sit and watch. Assuming we got there early enough to actually get a seat and not end up having to stand.

Which of course meant that not only would the office be let out at 16:30 (it was for the last game), but I’d get stuck in an interview for a new Web Developer position until 16:50. I ended up jogging from the office (corner of 11th Ave. and 3rd St. SE) to the Rose (corner of 15th Ave. and 4th ST. SW) — a distance of about 11 blocks. All my gym excursions and healthy habits apparently have paid off — even with poor running shoes, I got there without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack.

Many people sang along with Hockey Night in Canada’s opening theme, and with “O Canada”. But the cheering really didn’t kick in until the game got going. The series was tied at two games apiece, and both teams needed the advantage. Walking into Game 6 will either be staying alive or trying for the win, and it would better to be the latter.

The volume in the bar was quite high … and we could barely hear the TVs. Everyone was yelling, shouting, cavorting, and several of us (Paul, Scott, Thelton, Keith, among others) were taking pictures of all the mayhem. Thelton was having particular fun emailing all the photos he’d taken with his cellphone immediately to the Calgary office email alias, to ensure that everyone arriving in the morning would see all the “glory”.

I’m sure the patrons downstairs from us really came to despise the noisy folks on the top floor. We would stomp the floor rhythmically, chanting “Go Flames Go” as loud as we could. We would scream and yell whenever Calgary got close to Tampa Bay’s goal. The table of Cory, Chrissie, Michelle, Colin, Neil, Jason, Carl, and Julianne would chant about others in the room until they either acknowledged the chant, or the chanters got bored and picked on someone else.

The game itself was nerve-wracking. It was close. Calgary would score, then Tampa would score. It was tied when the clock ran out, and overtime began. I hate overtime. It’s such a toss-up. First goal wins, and you really get nervous when pucks get to close to your own goal. Luckily, Kiprusoff is a strong goalie, and Calgary’s defense was all over Tampa. And so it came down to the last five minutes of the first overtime period when Calgary finally popped the puck in.

Total pandemonium.

Within mere seconds, 17th Ave. was full of people, and traffic evacuated to the side streets. We weren’t far behind, though we had to do a couple of shots at the bar before we could get out the door. Then it was out to the Red Mile, and wandering in the direction of Melrose. The Red Sea had poured into the Red Mile.

Unlike our previous ventures out onto 17th Ave., this was a warm, dry evening, and was perfect fuel for the flashing fire. As you’ve no doubt heard (as most of North America has), Calgary’s Red Mile has turned into a “Girls Gone Wild” breast-fest of flashing. There’s websites devoted to this stuff. I’ll bet you’ll even be able to find videos in adult stores before too long (assuming, of course, that they’re not already there). It’s pretty weird, considering how this city is most of the year (save for Stampede, of course). You’d almost think we were in New Orleans or Mexico… Am I going to argue about it? No point, and no, it’s not because I want to encourage it. If people feel that liberated, all the power to them. I just hope that they consider some of the consequences.

Angie got hoisted into the air on Thelton’s shoulders. Almost immediately, she was surrounded by a multitude of hormone- (and alcohol-) fuelled idiots, calling for Angie to remove her shirt. Angie, who has been known to do daring things in the past (and probably wouldn’t be objected from doing them under other circumstances) basically told them to grow up and take a hike, and returned to ground level.

We didn’t stay on 17th Ave. for too long, and started off in search of something else. For some reason, that was Cowboys, a bar just north of the railway tracks. After finding Angie’s car (she couldn’t quite remember where she’d parked), we wandered up 5th St., listening to the incoherent shouts above the cacaphony of car horns.

When we arrived at Cowboys, I bade the others a good evening, as I headed home. Why? Simple reason: I have a moral objection to Cowboys. I do not wish to EVER enter an establishment whose waitstaff are known to have breast implants (rumoured to be paid by the bar’s owner), and over whose door there is a sign that reads: “Through these doors walk the most beautiful women in Alberta”. Thanks, but no thanks.

I was quite tired when I finally got home. It was late, I was still a little inebriated, and I had to go to work the next day. One major advantage of having gone drinking with the group, though:

You fall asleep fast.