St. Patrick’s Day weekend (April 17-19) was pretty jam packed for me. Back in February, I decided to buy some tickets for the Ducks v Sharks game and I ended up turning a game outing into a little mini-vacation with a couple of my friends.
On Friday, Zuric picked me up in the morning at 9:00 AM and then we headed down to San Diego airport for our flight out to Oakland.
As soon as we arrived, we were picked up by our other friend, Ron, and ended up venturing from Oakland Airport, to a beer garden, then to another bar, and finally to another bar.
Unfortunately, by the time 3pm hit, I was already drunk and that was a sign that my night was going to end early. I don’t even remember the names of the places we dropped by, so that says a lot, haha.
Friday came and went pretty quick for me, but Saturday was the highlight of my weekend. The hockey game ended up being one of my favorites in recent memory.
To start out the day, we headed out to San Francisco to buy brunch and then explore the city before going to San Jose in the evening. We headed out to the local Bay Area Rapit Transit (BART) station and we rode the train from Oakland to San Francisco.
Once we arrived, our first stop was a place called “The Bird” that sold very delicious fried chicken sandwiches that reminded me of Nashville Hot Chicken and it was dressed with a delicious slaw that had mango in it, I think. Verdict? Awesome. I loved it.
Between that and the game, not much happened worth talking about. We explored AT&T Park, walked alongside the ports and then did a giant loop around downtown that ended up being about an 11 mile walk. At least that was my exercise for the day 👌🏼.
So for the game, Ron’s friend, Josh, joined us and we headed out to San Jose. Unlike visiting United Center as a neutral fan, visiting the Sharks felt very different and I thought we were going to get chirped viciously.
If anything, all we got was friendly, lighthearted banter. Met a Sharks fan that had a quick conversation with us at a bar about where we were from, got some friendly chirps from some of the older Sharks fans, and surprisingly we ran into A LOT of Ducks fans. We took up a sizable portion of the bar we were at and also stood out noticeably walking in the crowd to the SAP Center.
The arena was a lot smaller than I expected, but it actually held a good amount of fans (roughly 17k, IIRC). If anything, my compliment would be that they actually filled their seats. I don’t recall seeing any empty seats in the Stadium and that says a lot of their fanbase. The main complaint I have is that because of the design of the SAP Center, the upper levels and the lower levels both share the same concourse that gets ridiculously crowded; I’ve never seen this kind of crowding at Staples, Ponda, United, Petco, or the Q.
My favorite moment of the night was during warm-ups. I was so excited and entranced by watching my favorite players again that when Silfverberg’s wrist shot went high and at my direction made me flinch as soon as it hit the glass, hahaha. That never happened to me before, and I played for 6 years as a kid.
My second favorite part of the game was interacting with other Ducks fans. We complimented on each other’s gear, threw out cheers, gave out high-fives, and held our own against the Sharks crowd with our Ducks cheers. It also turned out to be a pleasant surprise when we found out that we had a couple Ducks fans in front of us and a sizable amount of other Ducks fans to our sides in adjacent sections. To be completely honest, I was expecting a lot more hostility in the game from our hosts, but that’s probably due to my experiences with other fan bases that visit the Pond.
I’d love to do this again soon and I’m aiming for Vancouver, Las Vegas, Nashville, St. Louis, and Dallas in the next couple years.
The following day, we woke up late and then drove out to San Francisco again to attend an Off The Grid event; a big assembly of local food trucks at a specified location.
To end our weekend, we picked up some good food, drank a few beers, and then ventured around the city to visit a nice bar and Fisherman’s wharf to pick up some souvenirs. Not much else to say on that, but the food was a bonus to Saturday’s events.