Elephants, monster trucks and slap shots … you’ll find it all and more at Bridgestone Arena.

March 9, 2012

By Mitchell Despot

 

Over the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to attend Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, Monster Jam and five Predators games, all at Bridgestone Arena. Each event offered a vastly different experience, but with a recurring theme. … I had a blast.

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My tour began on Jan. 26, when I attended the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Even though I’m in my 20s, attending the circus instantly made me feel like a kid again. From the moment the elephants and performers began their march around the arena floor, I could feel myself cast back into my childhood. With the smell of funnel cakes and cotton candy wafting through the air, boys and girls of all ages from grandparents to parents to children all enjoyed what truly is “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Two weeks later, on Feb. 10 and 11, six 10,000-pound cars and 200 dump trucks full of dirt invaded Bridgestone Arena for Monster Jam. I had never attended an auto show before but was told to bring my earplugs. I brought two packs. Who knew that singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” at the top of my lungs and watching Maximum Destruction soar 30 feet through the air could be so entertaining? Whether it is from inhaling dirt and engine oil for two hours or just the sheer excitement of seeing a junk car smashed like a soda can, Monster Jam will definitely crush your expectations.

I’ve lived in Nashville since 1998 but have attended only a handful of Predators games in that time. I’ve always wanted to become a member of Smashville but never seemed to find my groove. After attending five Predators games in the last month, I’m hooked. The team that occupies the ice at Smashville today is unlike any of the teams I have seen in the past. There is truly something different about this season, and with the massive push the team made at the Feb. 28 trade deadline for Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad, it’s in a position to make a deep playoff run.

What makes a Predators game special to me, though, is more than the team. It’s the fans from across the country who pack Smashville every week. From singing “I Like It, I Love It” every time a goal is scored to sighting celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Mike Wolfe from History Channel’s “American Pickers” or ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, Predators games are attracting a crowd like never before.

Up next, the NCAA men’s tournament on March 16 and 18 for two more rounds of March Madness and, oh yeah, don’t forget the We’re All for the Hall Keith Urban and Vince Gill concert April 10, a reminder that, in addition to sports and family entertainment, Bridgestone Arena has hosted 15 of the top 25 North American tours since 2010.

The real question is, if you haven’t been to Bridgestone Arena lately, what are you waiting for?

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