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Rosner: You Can’t Make This Up, My First Trip On The Road

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New York Islanders

This past Tuesday, I traveled for the first time to cover the New York Islanders for their Feb. 15 contest against the Buffalo Sabres. With my brother Jamie living in Buffalo, I could kill two birds with one stone and get to see him.

Leading up to that day, there was so much excitement.

By the time I had everything ready to go it was 7 am, and my flight, or so I thought, was at 9:30.

A quick look at the JetBlue app, I realized I had made a rather foolish mistake. My flight was at 8:10 and for people that have to go west to go to JFK Airport during rush hour traffic, an hour was not going to cut it to get to the airport, let alone get through security.

Quickly I raced into the car and headed to the airport. The GPS said 35 minutes and I lied to myself that I would be able to make my flight. Then I checked the Jet Blue app again and it said the airplane doors were to close at 7:50, take off was at 8:10.

I was what some people like to call “screwed”.

In sheer, utter panic, I checked to see if there were any other flights to Buffalo later that day. There was a 1:50 pm flight, which would get me in around 3. But then I checked Delta and sure enough, there was a 9:30 am flight. Because of how close to my original flight it was, there was no way for me to cancel and get any money back.

It is what it is.

So I was practically already at the airport when I bought my new plane ticket, so I had enough time to breathe.  Everything went smoothly, the flight was quick, and I had made it to Buffalo in one piece.

My brother, the nice man that he is, picked me up from the airport on his lunch break and dropped me off at his apartment. At around 4:45 I ordered an Uber and got to KeyBank Arena 10-minutes later. I got through security, got my credentials, got to the press box, sat down, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Despite the crazy morning, I was good. I was at the rink and I was able to do my job.

Everything was going well and at the second intermission I met up with my brother who had attended the game with a few friends. With about five minutes to go before the third period, I told him I’d see him later and made my way back to the press box.

Except there was a problem. I had no idea where in the arena I was and had no idea how to get back to the press box.

So, like any normal person, I asked for help.

I was sent in 15 different directions, as there was confusion on which elevators went up to the press box. I ended up finding a flight of stairs and praying that they would lead me to the press box. Sure enough, there was a sign that said press box followed by a door.

I had made it. But when I went to pull on the door, it was locked.

Perfect.

So I walked down the flight of stairs back to security and told them my dilemma, that the door was locked. One of the gentlemen radioed up to press security to get the door opened for me.

He was met with radio silence.

I had no other option so…I texted Newsday’s Andrew Gross. I explained my current situation and he asked me “Where are you?”

And for some reason, I typed “behind a door.”

How I thought that was a helpful piece of information is beyond me, but given my panicked state at the time, I quickly forgave myself.

The security guard still had not been able to reach anyone so I just started banging on the door. And sure enough, I heard footsteps and the door swung open.

It was Andrew. He had come looking for me.

When he opened that door, I probably looked like a lost puppy. Andrew greeted me with “How did you get here?”

I had no idea. I was just relieved that this latest nightmare was over.

“I certainly won’t be forgetting this day,” I said in my mind probably a few times. I had been saying that since I got to the airport that morning.

After the game, my brother and I had been invited out by Andrew to go to a local restaurant with his daughter and his daughter’s boyfriend who were also in attendance at the game. We finished up our work and headed out.

My brother had his car at the arena so we drove to the restaurant.  Andrew, the smart man he is, walked given the restaurant’s location.

After looking for parking, we found a spot, got out of the car, and got to the restaurant. I reached for the door of the place and it would not open.

I looked up to see if I could see anyone and I made eye contact with the hostess. I would consider myself a solid lip reader and it was clear as day that she was saying “We are closed”.  Andrew and his family had gotten in right under the wire, and they had locked up behind him.

My brother and I walked back to his car, went back to his place, ordered some wings, hung out, and we made the most of it.

I stayed in Buffalo until Thursday morning, as my flight home was at 6:40 am. I had triple-checked.

With everything that had already gone wrong on the trip, and knowing that there’s always a chance of oversleeping, I decided that sleep was not happening Wednesday night.

I pulled a good ol’ all-nighter, woke my brother up at 6 am Thursday morning, got to the airport, and got home.

Honestly, given the embarrassing nature of this story, in so many ways, I wasn’t going to tell people about everything that went wrong, let alone write about it.

But it is a trip I will never forget and because of how hectic it was, I can now laugh at myself. And remember, whether you are laughing at me or with me, you are still laughing.

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