My First Trip to The Garden

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Flyers
My brother-in-law and I. (I'm on the left)

My brother-in-law and I (I’m on the left).

What a day Tuesday January 29th was for me. I was at my apartment at my college eagerly awaiting the start of the Flyers-Rangers game later that night. Around 4:10, I received a text message from my brother-in-law that read “Can you be at Madison Square Garden by 7 pm tonight?”. After picking my jaw up off of the floor, I told him that I will be there.

After driving to Secaucus and catching a train to Penn Station (which is basically under MSG), rather than drive all the way into the city, I met up with my brother-in-law and without even going outside I was inside the world’s most famous arena.

I was at a New York Rangers game against my Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

The view from my seat.

The view from my seat.

Unlike my trip to Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena in 2009, I was a little more cautious of what the fans would be like. Going into Pittsburgh I didn’t hesitate to wear my Flyers jersey. I didn’t mind heckling from Penguins fans. However, New York fans are a different breed, so I was unsure of what was going to happen. New York fans are quick to mention how bad and ruthless Philadelphia fans can be, yet they will never admit that New York fans can be too.

Anyway, the Rangers scored first before I even got to my seat when Michael Del Zotto ripped a shot past a screened Ilya Bryzgalov about three minutes into the game. Once I got to my seat and took off my jacket, I got my first taste of Rangers fans when the man sitting next to me looked at my jersey (I had on my Chris Pronger jersey) and said “Pronger? I thought he was dead”.

Even I thought that one was kind of funny. (Mind you, these fans are not above anything).

Now that I think about it, I probably know more about the Flyers than he does about the Rangers (and this guy had to be more than twice my age).

As I cheered my Flyers on, I was awestruck. As a hockey fan, This was a check-off-the-bucket list experience for me, a hockey game at Madison Square Garden.

MSG's Famous Celing

MSG’s Famous Ceiling

After snapping some pictures and watching some hockey, the first period ended and we went to get something to eat. As I waited in line, I felt the person behind me bump into me a few times (not hard). I looked back and this “kid” and his mom (or so I thought) were laughing. I chuckled back, shrugging it off like it was nothing.

I then started talking to this “kid”, who was not a young boy, but a grown woman (who was not much more than 5 feet tall) and, I would presume, her friend. We talked to them while we waited for our food and needless to say these two fans were surprised to see how nice I was. (After all, I’m a Philly fan).

After they left I turned to my brother-in-law and asked him “Is it bad that I first thought the woman behind me was the son of the woman standing next to her?”.

Hey, as I said before, New York fans are a different breed.

After returning for the second period (in which Ryan Callahan scored to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead), I stayed in my seat for the remainder of the game, save for one quick bathroom break midway through the third period.

Aside from getting a chance to go to the world’s most famous arena, I also got to see a great hockey game (Flyers-Rangers games always are). Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen scored in the third period to cut the lead to 2-1. The game came down to the very end. Unfortunately, despite a flurry of offense, the Flyers fell 2-1 to their division rivals.

My trip to Madison Square Garden was truly an unforgettable experience.

I got to experience New York (specifically Rangers) fans first hand, which is always interesting. Honestly, their bark is worse than their bite. Granted, they are passionate about their Rangers (and they’ll’ be the first ones to let you know). I was surprised at how comfortable I was walking around MSG with my Flyers jersey. I was heckled a little bit (which was nothing that I was not expecting) but it was nothing bad.

This is definitely something that, if I am ever lucky enough to get a chance to, I would do again in a heartbeat.

The only thing I would change is the outcome of the game.

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