I'm still having a hard time accepting the end of summer, and here it is already, the day before the Toledo Storm home opener.
Confession: I'm no hockey fan.
Which is not the same as saying, incidentally, that I do not like hockey.
It's more like confessing that everything I know about ice hockey could fit on a snowflake.
Once, years ago, my husband and I considered taking our then-young daughter to a Storm game, but we were talked out of the idea - by a season ticket holder.
"Uh, you know," this rabid Storm fan advised, "you might want to think twice. It gets kinda, you know, rough."
Ohhh, we said, so you think maybe professional ice hockey is too violent for a young kid to watch?
"Oh, I don't mean that," our friend said. "No, it's not what happens on the ice. It's what goes on in the stands."
A Storm game, our friend explained, would be a real handy shortcut for teaching an impressionable youngster the kind of vocabulary that would make her kindergarten teacher sign the retirement papers.
To this day, I've never been to a Storm game.
Not that I'm so pure of mouth myself.
No, it's more like hockey is just one more thing I haven't gotten around to yet.
But maybe this'll be my year.
I say this because now I'm inspired. And I'm inspired because of the Storm's 2006-07 promotional schedule.
I don't know what they did last year to bring 'em on down to the Sports Arena, but this year sure looks like there's some fun in store.
And plenty of mystery, too.
The thing is, most of the promotional nights are self-explanatory.
I'm fairly confident, for example, that I know what "Xmas With the Storm" means for the Dec. 23 home game.
And I also have a pretty good idea what the Dec. 29 "New Year's Party" night entails.
Same with the Jan. 7 "Family Day" event.
But what, pray tell, will happen if I show up Dec. 27, which the front office is calling "Run From the Family" night?
Where, oh where, I ask - sarcastically, so please, no e-mails - are professional hockey's family values?
And what's in store for "Medical Patient Day" on Nov. 3 - concession stand discounts for the uninsured?
I'm just guessing here, but "All Faiths Night" sounds like a Republican faith-based hockey initiative. Prayers before face-off?
"Engineer's Night," meanwhile, prompted an editor around here to suspect a devious Storm ploy for getting a new arena built.
For the occupational tip of the hat, though, I think it's a tie between "Insurance Agent Appreciation" and "Lawyer" nights - which is most feared?
Because a fundamental principle of journalism declares that you, the public, have a Right To Know, rest assured that I did call the Storm front office for details.
Turns out the guy I needed to speak with wasn't around yesterday afternoon. Meetings and stuff, I was told.
And I don't doubt it.
He was probably out trying to line up something amusing for "Guinness Book of World Records" night.