A VISIT TO BYWARD MARKET

If you happen to visit Canada’s capital, Ottawa, besides seeing the Parliament Building , take a visit to Byward Market .

It’s been around since 1928 but refurbished in 1978.

It reminded my friend and I of two places that we both have seen a lot .

Chelsea Market in New York City and Faneuil Hall in Boston .

There’s stores, bars, restaurants and the area surrounding the market is the home of the Prime Minister and the United States embassy.

Yes it’s that close to Parliament Hill .

Byward Market is in Downtown Ottawa and the area around it has all sorts of stalls.

Even though the weather wasn’t great, there were snow showers, my friend and I explored the area.

The smell of Christmas trees and wreaths, as well as the bakery where my friend brought some gluten free cupcakes smelled so heavenly.

There was even a small store in the neighborhood that was like the store Big Lots here in the United States.

Of course we had to check it out and shop again .

Don’t judge me,okay?

We didn’t eat that other Canadian delicacy , Beaver Tails, which is pastry in the shape of a beaver’s tail.

We did check out a chocolate and candy shop and my friend just had to buy 2 candy apples, one of which she had wrapped so that she could bring it back to the United States.

After we left Byward Market , it was time to go back to the hotel and rest up a little but.

After all, this was a 30 Plus Teams Tour we were on.

We had a hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre to go to that night.

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SPORTS DIVA’S GUIDE TO GETTING CHEAP SPORTS TICKETS

Many thanks to blogger Itinerary Planner for suggesting a post like this.

(Check out her blog, Travel Itinerary for tips even if you aren’t doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour . )

You’re going to either Dallas, Houston , Los Angeles , Miami, or even Tampa – St. Pete for a little rest and relaxation , right?

ABSOLUTELY!

But this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour , remember, so you’ll be going to a sporting event whether it be a baseball , hockey, football or basketball game .

It might be your favorite team that you’re going to see, or a team that you really don’t like, but you want to see a game anyway .

Or it could be a team or sport that you know nothing about , but you want to take in everything in the city.

Besides, all the travel guidebooks about the United States and Canada all say that this is something you should do when visiting both countries, so why not?

Set some money aside and join in the fun at a game.

This is where the Sports Diva comes in.

I’m going to give you some tips for getting to a game on “the cheap”.

I should tell you that as much as I love to watch football and some of the stadiums are on my bucket list , attending an American football game, aka the NFL , can be VERY expensive , depending on the team.

A lot of fans either get their tickets from other fans who don’t go to the game or the majority of them are seasons ticket holders and there’s no way in hell they’re giving up those seats, unless the team is really bad or moves to another city, which seems to happen a lot in the National Football League.

I rarely go to the football games, because as much as I love football, the Sports Diva isn’t mortgaging the house for the most popular sport in the United States .

Instead, I’m going to tell you about the three sports whose games I attend the most, baseball, basketball and hockey.

Let’s say you’re in New York City , and you want to attend a New York Knicks basketball game.

Sounds good, but don’t even think that you’re going to get a cheap seat right on the basketball court so that you can yell and scream at Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, along with the rest of the Golden State Warriors .

That’s not going to happen in any basketball arena no matter if you’re in New York City to see the Knicks or if you’re in Memphis to watch the Grizzlies .

We’re talking cheap tickets, not blow your budget on your trip.

You have other things to do while on your 30 Plus Teams Tour .

You want tickets at a reasonable price .

Depending on the team, you can get tickets from the team’s own website, from NBA tickets.com, or a third seller .

I happen to use a site called VividSeats.com, but there are others.

I use VividSeats.com for hockey and baseball tickets also.

Don’t worry if you think these tickets are fake, they’re very legitimate and they’re the seats that ticket holders don’t want .

If you’re from another country, keep in mind that you might not be able to use some of the websites that I mention, so your best bet is to just go onto the team’s own website.

You want to attend a hockey game while you’re in town?

Depending on the city or team, tickets are fairly inexpensive.

If you happen to be in a city like Toronto , Montreal , or New York City , hockey tickets are some of the most expensive due to corporations buying up tickets and giving them to clients, who spend most of the game on their phones and not watching the game.

They hardly have a clue who any of the players are.

If you happen to go to a game, you can spot these “fugazy fans” a mile away .

They’re the ones in the suits or the team apparel that they just bought from the team’s store a few hours before the game started and they and the person they brought to the game with them , are taking selfies like they’re the newest hot model.

But I digress , and I’ll talk more about these posers passing as fans in another blog post.

When I go to a hockey game, I get my tickets in a couple of different ways.

You can go on the NHL ticket exchange, the team’s own website or have a friend that’s a season ticket holder.

That last option only works if you know someone in the city that you’re going to visit.

As with basketball , don’t get it twisted.

For some unknown reason, people who go to a hockey game either want to sit directly behind the glass or next to or behind the benches of either team.

These aren’t cheap seats, no matter how good or bad the team is.

The whole purpose of going to a game is to do it as cheaply as possible .

Sitting right behind the glass just isn’t it.

While I’m throwing out tips, let me give you a real important tip on seeing a hockey game on the cheap.

The higher up you sit, the more action you’ll be able to see, and believe me, this is a sport where you don’t want to miss ANY action.

If it’s too expensive to see a NewYork Rangers hockey game at Madison Square Garden , you’re in luck.

The New York and New Jersey area have two other hockey teams.

One plays in Brooklyn at the Barclay’s Center and the other one plays at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey .

Tickets for both of these teams are very inexpensive and the good news is that you can get to both of these arenas by public transportation if you happen to be anywhere in the New York City area.

The last sport, baseball, is the cheapest of all, no matter what stadium you watch it in.

You can sit in the bleachers, behind home plate, behind the dugouts, where the teams come out of, and the nosebleed seats.

You can even do standing room, which isn’t as bad as its sounds, and you’ll be able to see EVERYTHING.

For baseball, there are several different ways to get cheap seats if you want to see a game.

You can go to the team’s own website of course, a third party, and MLB.com.

(That stands for Major League Baseball . )

There’s another way as well.

Depending on the team, you can walk right up to the window at the stadium either the day of the game, or on a “do nothing in town” day and buy your tickets.

It’s hard to do this with any other sport but baseball, and who knows, you might be at a game where it’s “giveaway day”.

You might leave the game with a team scarf, hat, jacket or a bobblehead of the team mascot or a current or former player .

One word of warning though, and this applies to all three sports.

Beware of people approaching you and asking if you either need or are selling tickets.

Just say no and keep it moving.

These people are scalpers and by and large the tickets they’re trying to sell you are bogus.

You want cheap but don’t take it to the point where you’ll get embarrassed or in jail.

Scalping is illegal in most of the United States .

Do your homework before you leave.

Check the team’s schedule to make sure that they’re going to be in town.

If you have friends that live in the city that you’re going to, ask them if they want to go to the game too.

If so, send the money or give it to them at the game.

I dont need to tell you how many times I’ve done this.

Another thing you could do if you happen to have friends in the city is get a big group together and get a suite at the arena or stadium.

That might sound great, but do you really want to see the game in a place where you have unlimited food and drinks or do you want to be where the action is , near the other fans?

I can see many of you saying , “I’ll take unlimited food and drink for 1,000, Alex.”

Also in some of these cases, you won’t get a paper ticket.

It’s all mobile now so have your phone ready because it’s going to be scanned by ushers as you enter the building .

Don’t worry if the name on the ticket isn’t yours.

It’s the name of the person who sold the ticket.

Here are some of the websites to use:

MLB.Com

Ticketmaster.com

VividSeats.com

NBA tickets.com

SeatGeek.com

NFL.com – Good luck finding an inexpensive football ticket. If you find a seat for less than $100, depending on the team, go for it.

NHL Ticket Exchange is part of Ticketmaster, so let’s say you’re doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Vancouver , Canada and you want to see a game up there .

Go on your mobile device and plug in NHL Ticket Exchange Vancouver Canucks and it will bring you right there.

Whew!

Sorry that this post was so long and I want to thank Itinerary Planner for suggesting it.

Leave me a comment in the comment section if you want more ideas about seeing a game cheaply.

As usual , thank you so much for liking and supporting my blog .

SPORTS FANS ARE THE SAME IN THE UNITED  STATES  AND  CANADA , RIGHT?

If you  happen  to  live outside of the United  States  or  Canada ,  you’re  probably  saying to yourself, “why do these Americans especially ,  care so much about this thing called ‘The Super Bowl  “?

The rest of the world  gets excited about  soccer’s  World Cup ,  but people  in the United States  and Canada, by and large, really could care less.

Some of us and our good neighbors to the North, actually are interested  in the World Cup.

But not really.

The  Super Bowl ,  which features the two best American  football teams, is quite another story.

It’s  not just about the commercials  that some companies  pay an arm and  a  leg gor, nor is it to see the big name entertainers  that do their thing at intermission ,  which football fans call “halftime  “.

Some of us have placed bets not only who’s  going to win, but by how many points  one team is going to LOSE by.

Many of us like to watch  just for bragging  rights . 

We can’t  wait to tell our friends or coworkers that hate our team that we are the champions (pardon the pun.)of the National  Football  League for the wwhole  year.

Many people  who aren’t  Canadian  or American  want to know just  what  it is about sports that get us all worked up and do really stupid things.

What does it mean to be a fan and aren’t  fans of all the four major sports the same?

Nope, and the Sports Diva is here to tell you the difference  between  the baseball, football ,  hockey and basketball  fans in the United States  and  Canada . 

Some of them might be  familiar  even if you don’t  live in either the United  States  or  Canada .

I could start by telling  you about the  baseball fans who attend and watch, “The Subway  Series” games between  the  Yankees  and the Mets for bragging  rights  in New York  City . 

I could even try to describe  the nastiness  between  hockey fans in Canada, that is  “The Battle  of  Alberta” between  the Calgary  Flames  and Edmonton  Oilers  hockey teams . 

This rivalry got so nasty that at one pojnt, two politicians from Edmonton  and Calgary actually  got into a fistfight  over their teams . 

One may wonder just what is this nonsense all about?

You may think to yourself ,  people shouldn’t  get worked up over other people bouncing  a ball, hitting a ball, throwing  a  ball, or slapping a hard black disc over the ice.

But some of us do, and yeah we paint our faces in the team colors and wear funny looking wigs in the team colors as well.

You might think all of us sports fans are crazy but you don’t  see the difference between  fans of the four sports.

It’s  a lot of screaming and yelling, you say.

It’s  not really that serious.

As  a  sports fan myself, I can tell you that fans of baseball, hockey, football  and baseball are very different . 

I’m  going to tell you how different they are.

Baseball  is the sport that most Americans  grew up watching, and many of us were first introduced  to the game by our grandfathers  and father’s  or in my case, my aunt.

Baseball  isn’t  the most  popular  sport in this country, because  a lot of fans find it very boring.

As a result,if you go to a baseball  game ,  most of the fans of baseball are older and more traditional . 

They don’t  want any changes to  their sport at all.

A lot of them are by and large ,  over the age of 40.

It’s  also one of the cheapest  priced sports tickets to buy . 

Baseball  fans by and large do support their teams, but fans of both New York teams, Boston Red Sox,  Chicago  Cubs, St.Louis Cardinals  and Philadelphia  Philies take it to the extreme.

These  cities   live and die by their teams.

Even Canada has gotten  into the act.

In hockey mad Canada ,  it’s  the Toronto  Blue  Jays  baseball  team  that’s  known  as  “Canada’s  Team.”

Basketball  is the sport that many young people  gravitate  towards.

To say that they’re  excited about  it  would  be  an understatement . 

It might be due to the flash and glamour of the  sport, not to mention many of it’s  stars . 

In many cities though the average  basketball  fan is being priced out of his arena, even if you’ve  been  a fan when the team was pretty bad.

If you happen  to  attend  a basketball  game  in  either the  United  States  or  Canada ,  don’t  be surprised  if most of the “fans” sitting in those seats are either actors, actresses ,  politicians ,  other sports stars  or rap singers.

Madison Square  Garden in New York  City  and Staples Center  in Los Angeles  are famous for their “celebrity  row  ”

Basketball  fans do love their teams  and will spend  a lot of money on team apparel ,  but attending  a basketball  game  now has become  less fan friendly  and more like an event that one goes to be seen at.

The last two  sports fans  are very similar  and they have some of the most passionate fans in any of the major sports.

It’s  Hockey  and Football . 

Hockey is popular in Canada where most of the fans actually played hockey themselves . 

It’s  not so popular  in the United States ,  but in the places where it is popular ,  you have some of the most rabid fans ever.

Hockey fans, no matter if they’re  in Canada or the United States ,  aren’t  only passionate  about their sport ,  but their favorite team and players.

(I should know, I’m  one of  those  passionate hockey fans!)

Male and female  hockey fans love  talking about hockey not on  to other hockey fans but to non hockey fans who don’t  seem to get it.

Hockey fans will be buy every hockey apparel  that they can, whether it’s  the team they support  or even a player they like who plays for another team.

Hockey fans will ride and die for their team and they will even tell you why their team is better than yours.

Depending  on where you  are, hockey tickets  are fairly easy to get.

This might be because  a lot of  Americans  don’t  follow  the sport . 

Unless you’re  in Canada then tickets are fairly expensive ,  even if you do go on a website like NHL  Ticket Exchange ,  in which season ticket  holders give away their seats because  they can’t  use them.

Lastly we’ve  got Football ,  which is the most popular  sport in the United States . 

Most of us in the country know someone  who played football  and if you happen to be from the Southern  part  of the United States ,  especially, Louisiana ,  Georgia ,  Florida, Alabama ,  Texas or Mississippi ,  not only did you play football in elementary ,  high school  and colkege, there’s  a good chance that   your grandaddy and daddy also played . 

Like hockey, football  has many female fans and you’d  better believe  that a lot of us know the sport  and really aren’t  shy about yelling at  the referee for calling a penalty on our  team.

We will also swear and curse at players on our own team if one of them drops the ball, just like we see male fans do.

Football  games are the most expensive  sporting  events  to attend ,  but the stadiums  are ALWAYS sold out, no matter how bad your team is.

Many fans are season’s  ticket holders and they really don’t  want to sell their seats unless the team really is doing bad.

Football fans, like their hockey  counterparts ,  take being a fan to a whole  another level . 

Let’s  call it one step below cray cray, shall we?

Only a football fan would tell you proudly that their team is special because they’re  known  as  “America’s  Team”.

(That’s  the Dallas Cowboys ,  by the way and yes, they are known as “America’s  Team”)

Like hockey fans, football  fans will not only support their team at home, but they’ll  make that trip to another stadium and well, act the fool.

At a hockey game, depending  on the team, you might see one or two fans wearing the jersey of opposing teams.

Football  fans, being the step above crazy that they are, you’ll  won’t  be able to count how many fans you’ll  see wearing the other teams jersey.

There’s  THAT many of them.

Also unlike the other sports ,  you will NEVER see a football fan wearing the jersey of a team that isn’t  playing.

Going to  a football  game  is like going to  a Halloween  party ,  even though it’s  not.

You’ll  see fans wearing “Cheesehead” hats at a Green  Bay Packers  game.

(Wisconsin  is the leading producer of cheese in the United  States  in case you weren’t  aware.)

If you go to an Oakland Raiders  game, you’ll  see fans wearing  every sort of scary attire, not just the Raiders football jersey.

(Being in the midst of the Raiders fans isn’t  known as “The Black Hole  ” for nothing.

Unfortunately ,  like hockey ,  football  is known not only for the nastiness on the field, but in the stands as well . 

It might be because  of  the  amount of  alcohol  served at both games, but it’s  more of  a case of, you know , people  not acting like they’ve  been  there before.

So the next time you see a game in the United States  or  Canada ,  whether it be on TV or in oerson, and you’re  under the  impression  that  fans are all the same, no matter what the sport is, think again.

WHAT TO WEAR TO A HOCKEY  GAME  

Another 30 Plus Teams  Tour  of New York  City  /New Jersey  is about to happen . 

Again I’m  off to  Prudential  Center  in Newark, New Jersey  to see the New Jersey  Devils  and Boston  Bruins  play, and yes, I’m  going to  take the PATH  train . 

What do you wear when your 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of a city includes a hockey game ? 

If you really  aren’t  a fan of either team, you can go with the team  colors.

In the case of the Devils ,  it’s  black, red, and white.

However ,  just because  it’s  a hockey  game ,  don’t  do what happens  to  be  a  major pet peeve of way too many hockey fans, including  me.

Don’t  put on a jersey of a team that isn’t  even playing . 

It might be a hockey game you’re  going to but don’t  bust out a New York  Rangers  or a Pittsburgh  Penguins  hockey jersey unless those teams are playing . 

Stay in your lane.

Know what teams you’re  going to  see.

If you decide  to  go with the “it’s a hockey game ,   so I’m  going to wear a hockey jersey  no matter what team it is” thingy, be ready for some side glances not only from the home team fans, but from the visiting fans too.

Hockey fans are very passionate and will definitely  make comments about the swag you have on.

Also ,  please  don’t  show up in a football  or basketball  jersey to a hockey game.

Really, don’t  take it there.

Once again ,  know  the sport that you’re  going  to  see.

If you have to, buy a hat from the city that you’re  in.

Wear that Atlantic City  hat proudly if you’re  in New Jersey . 

Better yet , don’t  wear any team stuff or their colors  at all.

Just go to the game and take in all the craziness  that is seeing a hockey game in person . 

What about if one of your teams is playing?

Let me show you.

1. My Boston  Bruins jersey that I brought from the Hockey Hall of  Fame Store in Toronto  oh so many years ago.

2. My black pants from The Rainbow  Shops in the United  States.

3. My sneakers and socks are from Payless  Shoe Stores in the United  States.

4. The rings and bracelets  are from Forever  21   and H&M.

5. The necklace  belonged  to  my late aunt and I  wear it all the time.

To complete my what to wear to a hockey  game  look, oh yeah, you’d  better  believe  I’m  going  all out.

My jacket has the colors of the team that I’m  rooting for.

Gold (yellow) on the inside and black on the outside . 

It’s  not reversable ,  though.

On the front ,  there’s  the logo of the Boston  Bruins . 

I’m  ready to  go . 

Now THIS is what  to wear when you go to a hockey  game . 

START SPREADING  THE  NEWS- NEW YORK ,  NEW YORK- THE NHL STORE

Recently ,  I visited two sports stores in New York  City  while  doing my own  30  Plus  Teams  Tour . 

I did go to the NBA  Store, (Sportsandtravelblog.wordpress/2017/10/16 – start  -spreading  –  the  –  news-new-york  –  new-york  -the – NBA  -store)but being the team sports apparel  fashionista that I  am, I  also went to the NHL  Store.

The store isn’t  that far from the NBA  Store.

It’s  located  on 47th Street  and Avenue  of the  Americas ,  better known  to  New Yorkers  as 6th  Avenue.

If you happen to be in New York  City  and want to  visit  the  store, you can take the subway  and get off at  the Rockefeller  Center  train stop, which is 4 7 – 50th streets . 

Get off and take the stairs  that lead to  the  47th street  side.

Once you’ve  done that walk to  your right hand side  and the store is at the top of the stairs.

You can’t  miss it because of all the team stuff from all 31 teams, not to mention the giant Lego hockey player dressed in the team uniform  of one of the teams.

Since this is New York City ,  the Lego  hockey player is wearing a New York  Rangers  uniform . 

When you walk into the store ,  not only do you see one of the biggest table hockey games that you have ever seen, but a giant motorcycle  with the NHL  logo on it.

(This is New York City ,  after all. EVERYTHING  is larger than life here.)

You can play the game ,  but riding the motorcycle ,  don’t  even  think  about  it .

A picture next to it will have to  do . 

The sales people  here are helpful  and  friendly ,  plus they really do know their hockey.

Even though the store is in New York  City ,  the sales people  aren’t  wearing  hockey shirts and jerseys from the three local teams ,  they’re  wearing hockey apparel from the teams that THEY like.

If you look above you, not only do you see pictures  of  current  and  former  players, but there’s  a  television  studio  as well.

The NHL  Network  not only does shows from here but sometimes  they have player appearances in the store.

The store has everything  for the hockey  lover in you and it doesn’t  matter  if  you’re  a man, woman  or child.

No toddler stuff like in the NBA  Store though.

Don’t  be surprised  if while you’re  shopping, the NHL  commissioner  just happens to stop by as well as some of your favorite  players to not only get interviewed ,  but to actually  shop.

Trust me on this ,  they do if their teams just happen to be playing in the New York  /New Jersey  area.

As for the commissioner dropping  by, there’s  a reason . 

The headquarters  of the  NHL  are right next door.

With as much as this store has, on the  day that I  visited ,  it wasn’t  as crowded  as the NBA  Store is.

That might be  because  hockey isn’t  as popular  in the United  States  or the rest of  the  world  like the NBA is.

What  the NHL  Store  has that the NBA  Store  doesn’t  have is a Starbucks . 

After you finish  grabbing  all the  hockey  stuff that you can fit in that black and grey shopping  bag with “The Shield” on it, walk to the  back of the store and get  your Pumpkin  Spice  Latte fix on.

If you want to  get  more hockey swag for yourself  or that  hockey nut back home, get yourself  down to the  NHL  Store  on 47th  Street  and  Avenue  of  the  Americas . 

MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY

It seems  like  every  day  is  some  kind  of  holiday  in  the  United  States ,  whether  it  be  Memorial  Day ,  which is  considered  the  unofficial  first  day  of  Summer ,  Labor  Day ,  which  is  considered  the  unofficial  last  day  of  Summer ,  or even  President’s  Day ,  which  if  you’re  of  a certain  age, was really  two  holidays ,  Lincoln ‘ s  Birthday  and George  Washington’s  Birthday .

We even  have  Columbus  Day  and Martin  Luther  King ‘ s  Birthday  as holidays  also .

Need we even  mention  July 4th  with  all  those  fireworks  that seem  to  go on before  and  AFTER  July  4th ?

Some people  want to  carry  it a little  bit  too  far  and  make  Super  Bowl  Sunday  a holiday  here in the  country  also .

Don’t  get  me  wrong ,  I  love  watching  the  game  and not for all those  commercials  and  the  halftime  show  that seems  to  go on  forever ,  but let’s  not  get  carried  away  here, folks .

Super Bowl Sunday isn’t  nor should  it be  considered  a  holiday .

When I  was growing  up ,  I wasn’t  one of  those  children  who couldn’t  wait  for Christmas  just  to see what  I  would  get from  Santa  Claus .

Christmas  still  isn’t  my favorite  holiday .

Thanksgiving  also  isn’t  my favorite  holiday.

It was just another  day  to get with the  family ,  stuff our faces and watch  a  lot of  football .

That hasn’t  changed ,  although  instead of  giving thanks ,  stuffing  my face with a lot  of  food, and watching  football  with the  family ,  I go over to  a girlfriend’s  house to do the same  thing .

Then, as now, January  1st ,  New Year’s  Day  will ALWAYS  be my  favorite  holiday .

Forget about  the  fact  that  everybody  and their  mama  seems  to  have  celebrated  just  a  little  bit  too  much  the night  before ,  at the time ,  I  was too  young  to  understand  why folks would  do this  to themselves  on this one particular  day. FB_IMG_1501844169540FB_IMG_1501844180404FB_IMG_1501846375774FB_IMG_1501844320125

Now that I’m  older, I’ve  turned into  one of  those  people  who  I wondered about  when  I  was  younger .

January  1st  not only  meant  the  start  of  a  new year  and new cities  to  explore  on your own  30  Plus  Teams  Tour ,  but on  a  personal  note ,  it’s  28  days away  from  my birthday !

( Yeah, it’s  all about  me, don’t  judge.)

There’s  still college  football  games to watch on TV ,  but not as many  now as there was when I  was growing  up .

Of course ,  besides  that Mimosa  that you  were having ,  you had to watch the Tournament  of Roses  Parade  and check out  all the  floats  decorated with ,  what else?

Lots  of  roses of every color .

But now, January  1st  means another  sporting  event for me to enjoy.

The National  Hockey  League  has  their annual  outdoor  game called  The Winter  Classic ,  which for the  past couple  of  years  has been  held  every January  1st .

Some  things  just haven’t  changed on my  favorite  holiday .