I go to a great number of sporting events per year.
So much, that I don’t even count anymore.
I’ll typically look for the cheapest way in just so I can be inside. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time in the upper decks of stadiums and arenas.
Typically, things are pretty decent up top. Usually the amenities aren’t as amazing as the lower levels, but the fans are typically more engaged in the game and the experience evens out to a positive.
But every so often, it’s nice to shake it up and spend a couple of extra dollars and see the game from a different perspective.
I was able to gain that different perspective on Saturday night during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s game versus the San Jose Sharks. I was able to sit six rows from the glass, directly next to the player bench for the Sharks.
A view of the empty benches before faceoff
For someone who spends a lot of time upstairs, it was such a nice change of pace being down low. From the bathroom lines being shorter to the beer selection being better, it was just a great experience.
Plus, the game action is a whole lot closer.
The Lightning and Sharks await a faceoff in the Lightning zone
The downside of being that close is, while you get an amazing view of the action on your end of the ice, things on the other end of the ice can be difficult to see. Though this crutch is offset by the huge scoreboard above center ice.
Ultimately, the Lightning did not prevail on the ice, dropping the game 3-1. But I was able to watch most of the fourth quarter of USF football’s victory over Memphis at Amalie Arena’s outside party deck on the upper level of the building, so I at least got to see one victory that night.
It’s weird how quickly I wound up back upstairs. It didn’t even take until the next game.