The story of Roger’s first trip to a Ducks game starts at about 11 o’clock the morning of the game as he and I tested out various configurations of the BabyBjörn and his protective ear muffs.
By noon it was time to start getting him ready for the 5 o’clock game with a feeding, diaper and costume change and gathering all of the various paraphernalia required for a five to seven hour trip out of the house (more on this later). We dressed him literally from head to toe with duck themed clothes, including a Ducks jersey that fit perfectly even though it was made for a Kermit the Frog stuffed animal.
We left the house around two, stopped at the grocery store for some diapers and snacks and made it to Honda Center early to purchase an autographed CHOC Teddy Bear. The Teemu Bears had apparently sold out in the first 12 minutes so we got the next best thing, Saku Koivu!
Once we made our way inside, Amy and I stopped for some pizza. I also had a beer with a straw so that I didn’t spill any into the occupied BabyBjörn on my chest. After finishing our lunch we took some pictures while we waited for warm-ups to start. Rog started to get a little bit fussy but made it just long enough to see the Ducks skate out and take a few pictures. Thanks to the person sitting in front of us, we were able to get a family shot with the players warming up in the background, and it was off for a diaper change and up to our actual seats.
Up in section 430 it was picture time again, and as we marked the occasion it was time for Roger to first meet Brett who seemed impressed that this baby a) exists and b) was already living it up at a professional ice hockey game.
The first period was the Platonic Ideal of what a live hockey game should be. The Ducks seemed determined to show Baby Rog exactly why he should (and hopefully will) love this game. With smooth skating, especially away from the puck, and crisp passes the Ducks dictated the pace of play, entered the zone at will, and created numerous scoring chances, exactly what makes the live game better than watching on TV.
Despite playing extraordinarily well, the Ducks were only able to score one goal, but it was a gorgeous shorthanded tally from Devante Smith-Pelley on a sick pass from Ryan Getzlaf. At this point the ear muffs faced their sternest test. They passed with flying colors, as the roar of the crowd and bellow of the goal horn didn’t even faze Roger. (Note: who knew it’s not spelled “phase” in that context? You learn something new every day)
Late in the first, we decided to take Roger down for a feeding in the concourse so that he was all prepared for his next visitors: Jen, SK and Arthur from Anaheim Calling and Jen’s roommate. It was at this point we realized that in all the flurry of preparations I had left the bottles at home on the kitchen counter. We visited with the AC gang for a little while (probably should have taken a picture of that momentous occasion) and headed home.
On our way we stopped at Grandma and Grandpa Mormino’s seats where apparently Roger had been a major topic of conversation between Grandma and their usher. She gushed at the sight of him, even while being pestered by her boss to sign some paperwork.
Shortly after we got home the game fell apart for the Ducks. Nashville scored two goals early in the third and sealed the deal with an empty netter. Clearly the Ducks had lost the will to win without Baby Rog in the building. Hopefully they’ll continue to play that well for him in the future, because he’s sure to be attending a lot more games in the years to come.