Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Today was a pretty cool day. Well, not in terms of temperature, but in terms of events.

The Phantoms needed some people to come and film their latest commercial. Their intent was to place a few dozen Phantoms-garbed fans in the Spectrum seats. The fans' job was to watch a game intently, then break into celebration when a goal was scored. The trouble was, they didn't have enough willing participants to fill the seats for the ad.

Well, MY afternoons have been open for a while now, so of course I agreed to do it, along with some other fans. It sounded like a pretty interesting thing to do, IMO.

The first step for me was deciding which jersey to wear. I finally decided on a game-worn purple Neil Little jersey that I got from a Flyers Wives online auction about two years ago. (See a pic of me wearing it here; I'm the one on the left.) I was a bit concerned that they'd tell me it wasn't suitable, since the Phantoms no longer wear the purple jerseys; now their road jerseys are black. But out of the choices in my closet, I thought the purple one was the best option, so I wore it.

So, did I mention that the coolness of this day was completely unrelated to the temperature? That's because when I got in my car to drive to the Spectrum, I discovered that my A/C is flat out not working. AT ALL. It seems to be the fan that's the problem, because I couldn't feel any air coming out of the vents whatsoever, no matter what setting I had the fan on. So I rolled down the window and thanked the Lord that it's only about a mile's drive, because it was extremely hot in that car.

When I got to the Spectrum and gave my name to the guard at the will-call window, they showed me into what I believe is the Kixx (local soccer team)'s locker room. There were hoagies and beverages in there, so I had some lunch. Hat Trick got to take a picture in whoever's stall has a number 10 on it, lol. He also got to pose with the "Maggiano's Meatball", which is used for promotions during intermissions at Phantoms games.

We all got Phantoms t-shirts for participating, and I got a Phantoms rally towel that's autographed by Pete Vandermeer (one of our forwards who's coming back this year). Then we all went upstairs. To my surprise, they took us up to the SECOND level to do the filming. Somehow I figured we'd be down on the first level, closer to the ice... or should I say, to where the ice USED to be. Arrrgh! I'd never seen the bare concrete floor before today. It looked so... strange.

We all settled down in the northeast corner section of the second level. They arranged us in our seats, starting with the second row of seats and working our way back three or four rows. It took a few minutes for them to shift us around in our seats and get the look "just right". That was when I started to be glad I'd gotten a rally towel; there was no a/c in the Spectrum and it was HOT up there, but I had the towel to blot the perspiration so it didn't LOOK so much like we were filming in July. Then they turned the lights on us and it went from "hot" to "sweltering". Boy, those lights give off some SERIOUS heat!

That wasn't the worst of it, though. There was a funky odor, like something rotten, emanating from somewhere. We finally pinpointed it as coming from a large puddle of black-coffee-colored stagnant water, about 2" deep all through, that had collected below the very front row of seats. Due to its location in a very shadowed area, it was hard to see the filthy water until one of our front office people accidentally stepped into it. BLEAH. That not only revealed the stagnant swamp's presence, but also stirred up the water and increased its pungency.

I dubbed it "Lake Ick", and then "Lake Biohazard". I was in the second row of seats. Lake Biohazard was directly in front of me, so I made sure that Hat Trick stayed IN my bag. I didn't want him to wind up anywhere near, or (God forbid!) IN that horrid water. If he'd gotten that revolting muck on him, I wouldn't have even BEGUN to know how to decontaminate the poor little guy, so I kept him out of harm's way until the shoot was over.

Our instructions were to sit and pretend we're watching a game, as the text of the ad was read. At one particular point in the text, we were to burst into cheers and applause as though the Phantoms had scored a goal, and remain cheering until the end of the ad. Meanwhile, the ad, which was to promote the $48 Phantoms Family four-pack (four tickets, four sodas, four hot dogs) and to highlight the new feature of the four-pack: four Dave and Buster's Power Cards. The cards alone are worth $40, so IMO this is a darn good deal.

In any event, we ran through this sequence about four times, maybe five. The whole thing was over in an hour. It was fun (except for the puddle-of-scuzzy-water part).

All in all, it was a good way to spend what might just be my last weekday afternoon off for a while. I have a job assignment (yay!) in Norristown (boo, on the long commute!) that's slated to last until at least the end of the month (yay!). Of course, I'll believe it'll last that long when I SEE it, because I've had supposedly long-term things change on me in the past. But maybe this one will continue as long as it's supposed to. We shall see.

Oh, brother... it just occurred to me: driving to Norristown with a broken air conditioner tomorrow should be an adventure. I'm DEFINITELY going to have to have this car fixed, ASAP.

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