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The Face Off Field Trip, or the story of how we came to be RiverKings fans.

We moved to Hernando from Newport News, Virginia. My husband was getting out of the Navy, and we had to decide where we wanted to live, for good. Most of my family is in Texas, and his family is in Arizona. Well, since they don’t have real chili, or Tex-Mex, or really much of anything in Arizona, I didn’t want to move there. And for some reason I can’t pretend to understand, he didn’t want to give Texas a try. So, we started looking at the Memphis area. My dad is in Germantown, and he really seems to like the area. He retired from the Air Force and came to Memphis, so there must be something there. After all, he’s a Texan too, so we can trust that he has good taste.

So we started looking into the area. We had small, elementary school children, so the schools were very important. We also wanted to give the kids something I never had; lifelong friends. As a child, the longest I ever lived anywhere was 3 years, and those assignments were few and far between. I had to learn to be the new kid a lot. So I’m great at making friends, bad at keeping them. I’m so used to moving all the time, I have to rearrange the furniture regularly. I wanted a different life for the kids. We also wanted it to be a small town. We wanted that wonderful, homey, small town aura. So when the realtor showed us Hernando, we feel in love. We knew that we’d be working close to home, and we could spend more time together as a family. But what would we do with that time?

Everywhere I’ve been stationed, there have always been a million things to do. In a military rich environment, there are always theme parks and stadiums around to take your money. It’s not quite that exciting here. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to do and enjoy around here, but it takes a little more work to find it. So as soon as we got settled, we started looking for things to do as a family.

We saw a show at the Orpheum. Nice, but way expensive. We did Mud Island, and the parks, and the zoo. All very nice. But nothing that we all really bonded over. Then one day the kids came home after a field trip. They were both at Oak Grove Elementary School, and they both went on a field trip to the DCC. Last year’s Face Off Field Trip. They couldn’t stop talking about it. Our son Austin was so impressed with how fast they skated, and how hard they hit the puck. He’s played several sports, but I’ve never seen him so excited about watching one. And our daughter Hannah, was really excited about Keith Aucoin. He’s so cute. Yeah, she thought the hockey was cool, too, but having some cute players didn’t hurt. They were so eager to see another game, they bugged me all the way home. I had to promise we’d go to another hockey game. We got home, and explained everything to my husband. He and I sat down and looked through all the things they gave them at the DCC and how they gave them a pretty thorough “Hockey 101”. We had literature on all the charitable things these hockey players do, and we read it. We were impressed.

In Virginia, we had the Admirals, and we never went to one game. It was too far, and not in my favorite part of Norfolk, and it was very expensive. Here, the DeSoto Civic Center is right up the road. Once we checked out ticket prices, we decided we had to give it a try. Even if it was just a minor league team, it might be fun, and it was something we could take the whole family to.

Well, one game and we were hooked. We loved the atmosphere, the fans, and of course, the team. Unfortunately for Hannah, Keith had already moved on. But she was fine. She already had her eye on Derek Landmesser. We all had such a great time. I coudn’t believe we had finally found something that all four of us liked! There was no whining. No “How much longer” or “I’m bored”. The most traumatic event of the night was trying to figure out which mascot we liked more, Sheldon or RiverThing. We went to one more game about a week later, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and that was all it took to make us season ticket holders.

I’m not sure how many teams in the CHL do a “Face Off Field Trip”, but I think they all should. I know it’s a controversial subject, and maybe they shouldn’t include that ticket in the cost of season tickets. I understand both sides. I don’t like the idea of missing any game, especially against Bossier. And so early in the season is tough too. But this is for kids. Some kids who have never been to a game. I believe that if you’re a season ticket holder dying to go, then go to the game and enjoy. If you can’t go to the game for whatever reason, I’m sorry. I only know that if it hadn’t been for that field trip last year, we probably wouldn’t be season ticket holders today. If it weren’t for the “Face Off Field Trip”, there wouldn’t be a www.riverkingsfans.com. So when someone asks me how I feel about giving up my seat at a daytime Bossier game, I say “Give my seat to a future hockey fanatic!”

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