Piney Orchard Ice Arena, Home of the Washington Capitals. Piney Orchard was a bit out of the way, but being a Marylander it was a great place to catch a practice or, as a kid, get a few autographs. A few seasons ago, the Caps bid farewell to Odenton and moved into their new facility in Arlington, VA. Kettler is nothing short of amazing; the best rink in the area and a state-of-the-art NHL practice facility. But is has one HUGE problem: It's in Virginia.
I live and work in Maryland. How the hell am I going to sneak out of work to watch training camp!?
It's not like there's a good way to get to Kettler from here. Whether I'm coming around the Beltway or braving the city, it's still an hour+ to get to Ballston Commons Mall. Most bosses tend to notice things like 5 hour lunch breaks. It's one thing to take a 5 minute walk or drive to the rink to catch an hour of a scrimmage while downing a sandwich. It's another thing to take a full day off for what is essentially a 3 hour window of ice time in the middle of the day. I know it's worth it, it always is, but it's painful. It forces you to pick certain days over others.
Which scrimmage will be the best? Who will be on the ice? When can I catch Kugryshev's hilarious dry heaving routine? What if today is THE day!?
It also makes it hard to coordinate a camp trip with friends. Camp is so much better when it's shared with a few pals, trading stats, analyzing the power play, or making snarky comments about Boyd Gordon's assorted nicknames before heading down to the Front Page or Rock Bottom. But trying to work around schedules and meetings and family requirements to take a day off in the middle of the week? Excruciating.
So rather than sneakily catch six or seven practices and scrimmages throughout camp, I'm left filling out leave requests and HONESTLY declaring my intention to attend Caps Training Camp. I'm hoping to keep my boss happy enough to forget the random days I'll take off in the middle of the season to catch a practice.
(cough cough) I am feeling a bit under the weather though. I hope I'm not coming down with something...