Looping Detroit: A People Mover TravelogueSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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I remember when the Joe Louis arena opened. It was the talk of the town and I really wanted to go. I started leaving subtle messages through out the house to let my parents know how dead set I was on getting down there to see a hockey game. I put drawings of the Red Wings symbol in the cereal boxes, like a prize, plunging my hand into the box, I’d pull them out and say real loud “Wow, what is this? The Red Wings ?!” I put all the good silverware on the lawn in the form of the Red Wings red wing symbol. After a while, after my mom calmed down about her silverware and we were eating breakfast I was still possessed by the idea of seeing a game, and started chanting, Red Wings, Red Wings, over and over like kids do, and next thing you know I’m standing on the kitchen chair and preaching about the wonders of hockey. I felt like the Ghandi of hockey, or like a pastor preaching to a flock of non-believers. My family still was not interested in watching white people beat each other to get a little puck in a little goal. They felt it was more barbaric then entertainment, and that a young mind should not be influenced by it. This even though my father was a huge wrestling fan. After months of begging and pleading, my parents finally caved and got us tickets to a Red Wings game for my birthday.
The car ride we took downtown was different this time. I felt like Detroit was a whole new world filled with wonders to explore on the way to watch white men on ice hit that puck and each other with their sticks. We passed people getting off the People Mover covered in Red Wings gear some dressed head to toe Wings red and white. After we finally found a place without a meter to park, we had to walk a couple of miles. Downtown was empty, but nearer the arena it was crowded that night. On the way, we passed two Coney Islands. I couldn’t understand why they put two restaurants with exactly the same thing on the menu right next too each other. After walking, for years I said, we were finally there. I had a Rocky Balboa moment and ran up the stairs like I’m preparing for the biggest fight of my life, pumped my fists when I got to the top, because we were sitting in the nosebleed seats, but I was so happy it didn’t matter. I couldn’t recall the woman’s name who sung the national anthem, but she had that kind of quivering opera voice. It was a symphony for the soul just before, you know, the skating and beating began. Once the game began the crowd was roaring for the Red Wings. I saw different races connecting in a way I never thought possible. Hugging, chest bumping, spilling beer on each others shoes without getting angry. I mean even people from overseas were there. At that very moment life isn't defined by race, just by love of Red Wings (and not love for the other team, but I can not remember who that was now ).
I’d like to do the same thing with my children, take them down to the Joe, see a game—I’d say at minimum, count on seeing the Red Wings at least 4 times a season. The two Coney Islands are still there, but the city is changing. Parking, for one, is way more expensive, almost as much as my birthday tickets were back then on game day.
— Brie McGee
Maybe there’s an ad in there for
Phenomenal Nails by Chiketa or Little Foxes Fine Gifts, or one of the other attractions at the next stop that may or may not be any longer.
(Is it the same bird that races the train past Joe Louis?
The bird that will always pull ahead and keeps going just as we disappear into the tunnel before Cobo? It looks like fun that bird is having.)