NHL, NFL and NCAA basketball – all in one week in Nashville! I have spent a considerable amount of my first six months full time RVing in more rural areas with lots of hiking, kayaking, fishing and mountain biking. Nashville and the city life has been a great change of pace.
Yes – it has nearly been six months and I am currently editing a fast-paced one minute video of my first six months on the road – stay tuned next week or if you don’t receive my emails yet, enter your email in the blue box and I’ll ping you with an email when it is posted.
I was able to connect with an old friend whom I had not seen in many years. It was great to meet his family, catch-up on the paths our lives have taken and enjoy the Nashville sports scene. One of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been connecting with old friends and developing new friends along the way.
My first NHL game, and it was an energized experience. The Bridgestone Arena was packed full with 17,000 fans as the Nashville Predators battled the Buffalo Sabres. There was a lot of action and a fun experience. Preds goalie Pekka Rinne recorded 21 saves in the 2-1 win over Buffalo.
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” — WAYNE GRETZKY, former professional ice hockey player and head coach
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A packed arena and great hockey provided an exciting and fun game. The excitement was observable as the fans were really involved. The Preds presented a great overall and engaging experience. The Preds beat Buffalo 2-1.
The Vanderbilt Commodores game did not quite present the same level of excitement as they controlled the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Memorial Gymnasium has a capacity of 14,000, but there were very few fans in attendance, perhaps just a few thousand. Granted this was not an SEC experience, which may have changed the dynamics.
I have clearly been spoiled with the intensity of the basketbal experience at my alma mater, University of Dayton. The Dayton Flyers average 13,000 fans per game and the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio is a great NCAA basketball venue.
Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tennessee is an interesting arena built in 1952, and one of the few places remaining where the team benches are under the baskets, not along the length of the court. And the court is elevated a few feet, almost like a stage. This is most noticeable as the people at the scorer’s table are sitting below the level of the court and looking eye-level at the player’s ankles.
Vanderbilt easily walked away with the game, and sinking 18 of 19 from the foul line certainly helped. The Blue Raiders struggled, making only 2 of 14 3-pointers. The Commodores won 79-51.
Thursday Night Football! Watching the Tennessee Titans dominate the Jacksonville Jaguars was fun, but I also realized how the viewing experience is substantially better with the analysis, close-up cameras, field sounds and replays offered through TV.
The crowd was somewhat noticeably sparse at kickoff in 69,000-seat Nissan Stadium in Nashville amid the rather cool and breezy 38 degree Fahrenheit weather. The stadium gradually filled in during the first quarter and then quickly emptied in the thrid quarter as the Titans secured their lead. Nissan Stadium sits downtown right along the Cumberland River, and the walk to and from provided some great views of the Nashville skyline lit at night.
There was palpable excitement in the air as the Titans scored on their first drive of the game, setting the stage for what was to follow. I took the selfie in the second quarter during the huddle when the Titans shut down the Jaguars on a fourth down at the one yard line. I turned around to see Titan’s Derrick Henry take off on a 99 yard run breaking numerous tackles.
The halftime entertainment was Racheal Lynn Woodward, better known as RaeLynn, who was a contestant on The Voice in season two. She was on a permanent stage up under the scoreboard at the end stadium and was really difficult to see. The sound was great and fortunately she was broadcast on the big screen so we could see her and the band.
Witnessing Thursday Night Football was a unique experience but the cold weather and sitting near the top of the stadium detracted a little from feeling like I was part of the action. The Titans won 30-9.
More on my time in Nashville coming soon. Also my Six Months in Sixty Seconds video coming next week!
Thanks for following my journey!