| Hockey Odyssey - Glendale,
Land of the Dessert Dogs
By Jess Knaster
From landing in Phoenix, to walking around
the streets of the suburb of Glendale, the Phoenix area has been very kind to
me. In fact, upon leaving the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, a simple question to
a TSA agent turned into a free ride from her to my hotel in Glendale, which is
about a 20 mile ride, and as it turns out, was just a few miles from her house.
If you happen to be reading, thank you Edie for the ride, I will not forget
Upon arriving at my hotel, the odd vibe that is Glendale began to set in. The
hotel is a very western motel style hotel, that fits in well with the city. I
was right down the street from historic downtown Glendale, and a building that
I believe is a very large library.
The city of Glendale, at least the downtown area, is nothing too special, at
least for those that live in a city like Glendale. Save for a Subway, the
downtown square is devoid of any brand name restaurant, a very welcome sight.
Dotted with antique shops and one restaurant right in the square called Bit-zee
Mama's (a very nice blue plate special kind of place, with American and Mexican
favorites), small but historic downtown Glendale is pretty cool in it's
Upon walking down the main avenue, Glendale Ave, there are a few more places, a
little more seedy, (not really seedy at all, just moreso then a diner place
frequented by women in their seventies). A local fast food eats is Pete's Fish
and Chips. Frying up rectangular fish patties since 1942, Pete's is a staple in
this small desert suburb. Try Pete's sauce, it's not just ketchup (they didn't
tell me to say that, it's just their very truthful slogan. BTW, it's not just
ketchup, it's spicy ketchup).
A little further down Glendale is the Ceretta Candy Factory. A store and
factory all in one large room, the Ceretta Candy Factory offers a ridiculously
large amount of chocolates, caramels, and even flavored almonds and peanuts. A
tour here consists of a walk along a wall with a few pictures on it, a tribute
of sorts to companies that help with ingredient distribution (i.e. the Blue
Diamond Almond Co. , the C & H Sugar Co. etc). The end of the wall takes
you to a TV monitor that shows a short video history on the factory, and, if
with a school tour, a trip inside the short walled factory area to see how
stuff is made up close (it's a short wall, so when they are making candy, one
can see it from the guest area of the room.
Today, as a capper to my trip, I attending another sporting event in town.
There was a NASCAR race today in nearby Avondale, but, right next to the
Glendale Arena Jobing.com thing, is the newly, and confusingly named University
of Phoenix Stadium. As mentioned before, it's named for the online university,
so, for those keeping score at home, the Arizona Cardinals went from Sundevil
Stadium (home of the Arizona State University Sundevils) to the University of
Phoenix Stadium (home of the online students from many cities, most of which
Now, having only attended one NFL game in my life (a riveting 1995 affair
between the Carolina Panthers and the San Francisco 49ers), I was vastly
unprepared for the circus that I was about to enter. Not to knock on any
football fans that often attend games, but HOLY MOSES. 70,000 face painted,
chest painted, beer drinking, screaming, foam finger wearing, hard hat (or
sombrero) wearing, jersey clad, screaming, insane, screaming, beer drinking,
and some screaming people in a building is just a bit more electric than I'm
used to. Upon entering the Pheen (?), I was instantly subjected to madness.
Hell, searching for ticket from a scalper was madness. Walking through trucks
upon trucks with BBQ's, tents, coolers, and even TV's showing other games was
madness. Passing through security, getting patted down, and getting a foam
finger (that part was pretty cool) was madness. But it was fun.
The Pheen is your standard giganto-stadium, with four levels. In the middle of
each endzone is a terrace area, an opening to just stare in awe of the size of
this building. The lower level has a store and various concessions, pretty
standard stuff, upstairs is the same, but the real centerpiece of this
masterpiece is the roof. Similar to the soon to be extinct Texas Stadium, there
is a large rectangular hole in the roof of this monster, however, unlike Texas
Stadium, perched high, high above the seats, sitting on top of the roof over
each endzone, is a large rectangular panel that, when activated, closes the gap
in the roof, providing a domed atmosphere. I've been told the contraption takes
5 minutes to complete, either closed to open, or vice versa, however, i wasn't
able to see it.
As this is a hockey blog, I'll spare you the majority of the details of the
game. Bottom line, the Cardinals got beat down by the 'Boys 27-10. Dallas QB
Tony Romo had a good game, throwing for two TDs and the Cowboy D had two
interceptions while allowing only one TD, by way of the ground.
Being the day after Veterans Day, they had a halftime memorial for former
Cardinal and ASU Sundevil Pat Tillman who turned down a large contract to fight
in the Army. Downed by friendly fire, Tillman was remembered not for how he
died, but what he died fighting for by all in attendance, regardless of the
blue or red on their backs. An induction to the Cardinal Ring of Honor and the
unveiling of a statue completed the halftime ceremony, complete with a
rendition of "God Bless America" by Hootie himself, Darius Rucker.
Sitting on the Cowboy half of the field, I was surrounded by a sea of blue. A
common stereotype of football fans is that they drink alot of beer. That one is
true. Another one is that they are loud. That one is true too. But, the one
stereotype that was a huge misconception, at least for me today, was that
football fans are disrespectful, mean people. Wearing my Cardinals garb, and
talking to Dallas fans wearing theirs, I was treated just like another person,
with no ill will towards me, and in fact, a few fun conversations throughout
the game. Granted, this may not really surprise anyone, but to me, anyone who
decides to drink bathtubs full of beer and scream "dirty words" loud enough so
that people in China get lessons in English swear words don't usually strike me
After attending this game, I'm afraid of the effects it had on me, as, I
greatly enjoyed the atmosphere, camaraderie, and spectacle of this event.
Unfortunately, there are two NFL teams in the Bay Area that I could get real
hooked on. I see a Vernon Davis (Tight End for the Niners) jersey in my future.
It will never replace hockey, but there might just be a place in my tiny little
brain for this game called football (interestingly enough, they don't really
use their feet. Somebody should look into that. Find a sport where people use
their feet, and call that one football, or maybe be fancy and spell it futbol).
In all, my trip to Phoenix/Glendale was a nice one. Although I won't get to
repeat everything I did over the next three trips here, I will thoroughly enjoy
them. Tomorrow I fly to LA for Sharks rematch with the Kings at 7:30 PST. Look
for a write up late Monday night as I have an early morning flight to Denver.
Thank you for sticking with me and reading this insanely long post, but this
small town wanting to be a big town has some good charm to it, and deserves a
post that reflects it as accurately as my fingers and previously mentioned
small brain can muster.
Go Sharks (go to a football game, when there's no Sharks, of course)
Contact Jess at
blog Sharks Hockey Odyssey
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