Every ticket stub has a story to tell

Ernie Bertothy
Ernie Bertothy

As technology improves lives and makes everyday things more convenient, there can be a downside. Allow me to explain.

This revelation came to me during a recent afternoon. My wife Shelley and I can always use more room to store things, so I thought I’d try to create some space.

It was time to purge, as I said goodbye to things that were no longer worth keeping.

The process was painstaking, but necessary. Each item needed a quick once-over before it can officially be considered trash. I soon came across an old Nike sneaker box that required inspection.

Upon opening the shoe box, my eyes lit up as if I just found a treasure chest filled with gold. The kind of gold that is special only to the person who owns it.

I found a box of old ticket stubs. This abruptly ended my cleaning session, started a walk down memory lane and brought a smile to my face.

Each ticket had a story. How did I get the ticket? Who did I go with? Who won the game? How good were the seats? What happened once we got there? The memories came rushing back to me.

And I then realized that today’s gadgets allow tickets to be printed at home, or worse yet, scanned straight from your smartphone — rendering your ticket nonexistent.

Before the days of StubHub or Ticketmaster.com, you actually had to get your tickets in person. Remember getting tickets through Tickettron at the old G. Fox building in Waterbury, or better yet, going to the box office of the old New Haven Coliseum?

I was reminded of my first Hartford Whalers game, Dec. 23, 1989 against the Minnesota North Stars. Dave Tippett scored the game-winner and I can still hear Brass Bonanza, the song that played after every Whaler goal.

As a baseball fanatic, I still have ticket stubs from 32 different Major League ballparks. Not every trip was easy. Some stubs become a badge of honor. Who else would fly to Denver for the day to see a ballgame — I did on May 24, 2008, at least that’s the date on the stub.

One brought me back to 1999 and my first baseball playoff game as the Mets held off elimination in game four and beat the Braves. I’m still not sure how John Olerud’s grounder got through the infield against public enemy No. 1 John Rocker.

There are also stubs that remind you of random moments — like the day I came closest to catching a foul ball. That was June 30, 2007, Indians vs. the then-Devil Rays, in Cleveland, off the bat of Jonny Gomes. The pop fly was within reach. I think I had an alligator-arms moment, but maybe my buddy Tim should have caught it.

I also remember my first NBA game — Orlando Magic at the New Jersey Nets on April 1, 1994. I saw Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway team up to beat the Nets at the old Brendan Byrne Arena, now called the IZOD Center. Remember when they use to name buildings after a human being?

I’ve only been to two NFL games, but saw one special moment — Jerry Rice’s final touchdown catch in the NFL. And he did it as a Seattle Seahawk against the Jets on Dec. 19, 2004.

And ticket stubs transcend the sports world. Maybe you saw a Broadway play, a monster truck rally or even a newly released movie with that special someone. How about a concert?

I have a few concerts to remember. In addition to seeing U2 and Bruce Springsteen multiple times, I have a one other very unique experience — seeing Hootie and Blowfish at Foxwoods in 2001.

I almost forgot about that, but my ticket stub reminded me.

Ernie Bertothy is a contributing writer to the Citizen’s News.