Think back to when you were 10 years old.
Remember the summer days spent on the soccer field or in the pool with your friends without a care in the world? And then, suddenly, a cooler full of popsicles appeared?
Those were the days.
On Tuesday afternoon, as the heat indices flirted with the 100-degree mark in Nashville, I left the comfort of our Bridgestone Arena offices in search of frozen treats. Alongside Preds In-Arena Host, Maverick, we raided the popsicle section of a local Kroger and headed down the road to the Donelson-Hermitage Family YMCA to visit participants in the Y Day Camp.
Behind the wheel of the Preds Treat Truck - a Nissan Titan painted Gold with Predators logos shining bright - Maverick wheeled the cooler full of cherry, orange and grape concoctions, as well as a box full of foam Bridgestone pucks, under a pavilion… and waited.
They came in droves, campers of all ages, eager for a reprieve from the hot summer sun. With a puck in one hand and a popsicle in the other, their gap-toothed smiles cut through the beads of sweat running down their cheeks.
Admittedly, the only frowns came when Maverick had to break the news he was not Craig Smith, nor was he Mike Fisher. But as the resolve of a child goes, their minds wandered back to the flavored liquid running down their hands, content once again.
This scene will continue to play out across Middle Tennessee over the next three Tuesdays as the summer wears on, the countdown until Opening Night and cooler temperatures well underway.
So, why do it?
Well, why not? After all, Predators brass knows that just because the team's popularity is at an all-time high, the work of growing the fanbase is never done.
And in this case, you're never too young to become a Preds aficionado. A puck and a popsicle might just do the trick.