Last night we were at a hockey game. Part way through the second period I looked over to a little area they have set up with a bar and tables at glass level and saw Portland Fire and Rescue working on someone. I pointed it out to Brent and the guy next to me said they had been working on him since part way through the first intermission. They were across from us and at ice level and I hadn't noticed it at all.
From that point on I split my attention between the game on the ice and drama right off of it. When they took the man out of the arena on a stretcher they were still bagging him so it was very serious. My guess from his size, the bagging and the fact that his shirt had been opened that he had a heart attack while watching the game. It was a very exciting first period, with us tying it up at the end after being down 2-0. And I know that sounds really disrespectful and that's the point of this blog.
How surreal must it have been for the team working on him, any love ones he had with him, and, if he was conscious, for him as well. It's a playoff game. We were down 2 games to one going in to last night. If we lost that one that was pretty much it. We were blown out the night before. And started down 2-0, fought back to 2-2, then briefly took the lead in the 2nd to lose it and then to get it back, the crowd was loud.
Now, do not misunderstand me at all, I hope that the man is okay. That he makes a full recovery, that he suffers no real permanent damage.
But...I am a writer.
While it was happening, when the boys would make a great play and everyone would cheer, when the goal song played, when the announcer yelled, when the bumper music played...all I could think was...how surreal would it be to die in this environment?
We all have ideas of how we would like to go. Mostly they are peaceful. Go to bed one night and that's it. Or quick. I want it just to be a flash and I'm done. But I don't think anyone thinks, I want to die while the crowd cheers and sings along to TNT.
And how many people in the arena had no idea what was going on? We were in a battle for our play off lives while a man was in an actual battle for his life? I mean, the area he was in is right across from me and I didn't notice it right away because I was focused on the game. Anyone not in the line of sight for the bar area would have had no clue. And anyone in the line of sight who never left the ice viewing would have had no clue.
And yet, there he was. In what might have been the most important moments of his life. Portland Fire and Rescue working on him. Getting him stable enough to take to the hospital. All the while the crowd goes wild...