My experience playing hockey in Texas

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Tanner Curtis

The worst winter storm in the state’s history swept through Texas last month, and staff writer Tanner Curtis was there to experience it while competing in a hockey tournament.

Tanner Curtis, Staff Writer

Over President’s Day weekend the state of Texas was hit with one of it’s largest snowstorms in history.

The state dealt with massive power outages, which lead to people not getting water or heat in their houses. I just happened to be in Dallas for a hockey tournament that weekend and had a very interesting experience myself.

On the first day in Texas, February 12, it hadn’t snowed yet and was about 25 degrees. This was the warmest day that weekend, but I could tell that the state wasn’t prepared for the upcoming snowfall. There was no salt on the sidewalks to keep the ice off of them and the people there weren’t getting any extra food or supplies in case they were snowed in.

Although it was freezing and was only forecast to snow one day, I didn’t think that it would cause any major problems. But on Feb. 13  when I woke up, Dallas had become a winter wonderland overnight.

This is when I could really tell that the state was not prepared for this type of weather. The main reason for this was that the roads weren’t plowed at all. Normally the three inches of snow that came down wouldn’t have caused many problems, but the roads were completely untouched, making it much harder to travel. We had to leave for our games at least 30 to 45 minutes early for the rest of the weekend.

Temperatures had dropped below 20 degrees and most restaurants had started to close because employees couldn’t get to work, which meant that people like me staying in hotels had to rely on the hotel restaurant or gas stations to get food. Having gas station ramen and a Gatorade after two hockey games isn’t the most satisfying meal.

The morning of Feb. 14 was when everything really got bad. I woke up early for my game to my team’s group chat blowing up about how our hotel had lost all power. At first I didn’t think much of it because it was just my hotel and I would be leaving soon for my game and planned to fly home right after. But then about five minutes later I found out that there were massive power outages across the state and my game had been delayed an hour.

This was the first time the weather had really affected my hockey tournament because now there were people that wouldn’t be able to play because they had earlier flights home. There was also a concern that the tournament would be completely canceled.

I started to ask some other people I knew in Dallas and their games were getting cancelled or postponed too. Then about 20 minutes after the original delay, we got an alert saying that all of the tournaments in Dallas had been cancelled.

This was pretty disappointing for my team since we were hoping to get one last game in but at least we were going to be able to get home soon.

Or so we thought.

When I got to the airport that afternoon we quickly realized that getting home might not be as easy as we expected.

The airport was packed and because of all of the snow TSA was completely understaffed. The line to get through security was around four hours long and quickly growing. Our biggest concern went from our flight getting delayed because of the snow to not being able to get on our flight at all. We waited through the whole line and we knew it would be close. But once we finally got through security we had just missed the flight by 10 minutes. I knew it was going to be a long day after that.

We immediately scrambled to start finding other flights but the only other flight was at the end of the day to San Jose, while we needed to get to San Francisco. But we decided it was the best option we would get. So we waited at the airport, but then a few hours later the flight to San Jose was cancelled.

After that the only option was to stay the night at the airport. My dad and I had tried to get standby seats on two other flights but they were either cancelled or had no room. By about midnight in Texas I told my dad that we should just take any flight we could out of Dallas to escape the weather. I knew some flights would be going to Las Vegas in the morning, but then out of nowhere a last call announcement came over the speakers for a flight to San Diego.

We sprinted to the gate and just made it on the flight. We had finally escaped Dallas after about 14 anxious hours at the airport. My dad and I got to San Diego a few hours later and got a flight to San Francisco for the next morning. We arrived home around 24 hours after we were originally supposed to, but at that point we were just glad to be home.