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Racking up the air miles
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Racking up the air miles

Buckle up, folks. We’re going all over the map this week.

I mean that both literally and figuratively since I’m in the middle of a Winnipeg Jets road trip that is taking me on quite the U.S. tour.

Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., on Monday. Washington to Atlanta to Nashville on Wednesday. Nashville to Boston on Friday. Boston to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The Jets — and Mike — have been everywhere, man. At least lately, as the team plays eight straight road games this month. (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)

And then back to the Manitoba capital Monday, where the hockey team will finally get to enjoy some home cooking, playing games at Canada Life Centre for the first time in more than five weeks.

I’m not sure if it’s going back and forth between time zones, a lack of sleep, or the handful of stories and features on the go right now taking up space in my head — including a fun one coming up in Saturday’s Free Press I think you’ll really enjoy — but the ol’ brain is bouncing around these days.

And so, back by not-so-popular demand is a collection of odds and sods, rather than one focused subject this week.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre

I’ll never be a morning person. And getting up at the crack of stupid on Wednesday in D.C. — my alarm and wake-up call was set for 4:20 a.m. ET — was made even more difficult by the fact I was still wide awake at 2:30 a.m., as is often the case coming off covering a hockey game and knowing I have an early flight out the next day.

But credit to the Delta flight attendant for the terrific comedy show she put on just before our 6:30 a.m departure.

First up was her humorous reminder to everyone to keep their masks on at all times, with the exception for taking a quick sip or bite of drink and food. She then rattled off examples of people she’s caught trying to game the system, including: “I’ve seen people eating sunflower seeds for three hours. Suckers. Candy canes. I had one lady holding a grape — a single grape! — for about an hour, telling me she was eating grapes. She was eating the same grape for an hour!”

She then promised to get us to our next stop as quickly as possible, saying she’d spoken with the pilot and, “He’s going to fly it like he stole it — and land it like he owns it.”

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I definitely LOL’d — that’s laughed out loud — at that zinger.

America Runs On Dunkin’ — or so the saying goes. Mike runs on coffee, and comedy, when it comes to early-morning flights. (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)

 


 

Faithful readers of this newsletter — Hi Mom! — will know I’ve previously touched upon some interesting Uber experiences I’ve had.

Nothing too crazy yet on this trip, as I’ve stayed within walking distance of both the Washington and Nashville rinks, so I’m getting my steps in.

However, I did have a funny moment on my ride from the airport to my downtown D.C. hotel on Monday afternoon, when my driver’s phone rang and the caller ID called out “MOM.”

“You should probably get that,” I told him.

He laughed, and did.

After a brief chat with the woman who brought him into the world — based on his age I’m guessing she must be close to 80 — I interjected by saying “Hello” and telling her that her son was doing an excellent job of driving.

Hey, I couldn’t help but play the role of the polite Canadian.

 


 

I completed another trip around the sun this week, officially turning 47 on Monday. And so I’ll blame my advancing years on the fact that, 24 hours later, there I was sitting in Capital One Arena as Winnipeg and Washington hit the ice for pre-game warmup holding my hands to my ears to block out all the noise.

That’s right, folks: The music was WAY TOO LOUD!

The volume at Capital One Arena in Washington was cranked to ear-splitting levels on Tuesday night. (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)

Seriously. It was heart-pounding, ear-splitting stuff, and I was re-assured by a few colleagues in the press box, including a couple younger than I, that they, too, found it a bit much.

Good. Because if they hadn’t, I was going to tell them to GET OFF MY LAWN!

 


 

Speaking of excessive noise, I overheard quite the salacious little tale while in the Atlanta airport Wednesday morning on an hour-long layover.

Sitting a few seats down from me at a neighbouring gate was a young guy, maybe late 20s, talking to a buddy while using AirPods, apparently oblivious at JUST HOW LOUD HE WAS SPEAKING.

All within earshot could hear him describe how he was on the cusp of filing a big lawsuit against his employer after he was accidentally sent an email chain between a couple of higher-up that apparently was quite explosive in nature.

“The lawsuit is going to bring them to their knees!” he told his friend.

He never mentioned specifically where he worked, but he was making reference to having offices in both California and Vegas.

But I, and many others, learned there were 76 juicy back-and-forths he predicted were going to cause a PR nightmare as soon as word leaked out about his yet-to-be filed statement of claim.

“And it’s going to go public,” he vowed.

Except, PLOT TWIST: “Unless they buy me off. I’m not against being bought off. I’m shady like that,” he told his buddy.

I’d love to tell you how this particular soap opera ends, but unfortunately they began boarding and I had to bolt.

Talk about a cliffhanger.

 


 

A few other things I’m currently excited about, in addition to the day-to-day fun that comes with covering a pro hockey team for a living and getting to visit some pretty cool cities like the ones on this current trip.

 

  1. Wordle. Like a lot of you, I’m sure, I’m now hooked on the daily world puzzle. My lovely daughter, who turned 17 on Tuesday, introduced me to it last weekend. And now I can’t get enough, anxiously counting down the clock each day for the new one to appear.
  2. Pork chops: Specifically, the amazing one I ate on Monday night at Old Ebbitt Grill just across from the White House. I dragged myself out of my hotel for a solo birthday meal, and I’m still thinking about the delicious slab of meat on my plate nearly 72 hours later. Chef’s kiss!

    It was Bon Appétit for Mike’s birthday dinner on Monday at Old Ebbitt Grill in D.C. (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)

  3. Ozark, Season 4: It comes out Friday, in case you hadn’t heard. And I am absolutely pumped to see what’s in store for the likes of the Byrdes, Ruth Langmore and Darlene Snell, who are among the most compelling characters I’ve ever seen. I get to Boston early Friday morning and have a Jets practice to cover in the afternoon, but I’ve told my personal assistant — that would be me — to clear my schedule for an evening of Beantown binge-watching. I’ll likely order room service. Maybe they have pork chops on the menu?

 


 

That’s it for another week, folks. Thanks, as always, for reading. And if you know someone who you think might enjoy this newsletter — or if you have a mortal enemy you’d like to subject to my Thursday afternoon musings — please forward them this link to sign up for free. 

The more the merrier!

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