Monday, June 24, 2013

The kid, the concert and the radio contest...

When it was announced that Taylor Swift was coming to Winnipeg late last year, my sister was adamant that she was going to get tickets and take her daughter to her first concert.

Though she was only four-years-old at the time, my niece swooned over Taylor Swift, singing along to her cartoonesque songs, and dressing up in her “pop star uniform” that consisted of a ruffled tool skirt and a blue shirt with a silver microphone printed on it. 

She was, and still is, a little diva who has ideals of being a pop star.

Timing was off when the tickets went on sale. They were expensive, and my sister was only a few months off her mat-leave. While my sister and brother-in-law are by no means poor, other financial priorities and responsibilities took precedence over buying a pair of Taylor Swift tickets. The concert quickly sold out, and though my sister had big ideals of taking the kid to the concert, it just wasn’t in the cards. 

Flash forward to last week, maybe even the last couple of weeks; Taylor Swift hype was growing, and my niece who had turned five in March was not immune to it. She asked her mom to take her to the concert, and when my sister said she couldn’t she replied “OK. One day can you take me to a Taylor Swift concert?”

I’m not sure how my sister answered, but from that moment she went into action. She enlisted the help of some of her friends and co-workers to try and win a pair of tickets through any contest she came across. 

While clusters of tickets were released and quickly snatched up, and StubHub boasted some pricey tickets, my sister held onto the hope that sheer luck would get my niece into that show. 

I suppose this post sounds rather trivial, given that my niece is a happy, healthy kid who wants for very little in life. While she certainly doesn’t get everything her heart desires, she does have a great life and a family that loves her very much. Beyond just seeing Taylor Swift, my sister had hopes of creating a really great experience and some incredible memories for the kid.

It may sound cheesy, but this concert meant a great deal to both the kid and my sister.

Getting close to T-Day, and still nowhere close to having tickets for the show, my sister was still desperately hoping for a miracle. She Retweeted radio station tweets, signed up for online contests. She called and texted radio stations; even when they weren’t giving away tickets. One time she got the number wrong and accidentally texted a morning show in Alberta. They politely informed her that they had no Taylor Swift tickets for Saturday’s show in Winnipeg...

She got a number of us, her friends and co-workers, to take part in her hunt. I can’t even recall how many things I signed up for to win these darn tickets. Where there was an opportunity, I was there (sometimes forced by her) to try my hand at winning. 

And then a few days ago it happened; my name was called on the radio (99.1 Fresh FM) and I had ten minutes to call in and claim my prize: Two coveted tickets to the Taylor Swift concert.

I made the ten minute call-in deadline with 40 seconds to spare, and sounded like a complete moron on the radio. I was in shock that I’d actually won these tickets that my sister had so desperately tried to get, and I think I congratulated my niece on the airwaves for me winning these tickets. 

I sounded like a goof.

As fate would have it, the day I won the tickets was the day she graduated from nursery school. I was going to buy her a balloon and a small bouquet of flowers, but thanks to the radio station I was able to give her an even better gift: Two stage-side tickets to the Taylor Swift concert.

When I told my niece she was going to the concert, she replied by saying: “I knew Taylor Swift was real!”

Aside from my niece, my sister was beyond excited. She told the kid that I’d be taking her to the show, and I went along with it, until I realized that it should be my sister who takes her, not me. 

While I’m sure the concert would have been fun, it was going to be the kind of experience that the kid had maybe once, or at the most a handful of times in her life. More than just the kid, it was an experience my sister would only ever have once: Taking the kid to her first concert. 

It was a no-brainer to give the tickets to my sister, and explain to Kennedy that mommy would be her date for the night. (I promised her we’d have a special date at the beach, since that’s more my thing anyway.)

My sister and my niece got all glammed up for the show and had the time of their lives! 

The Kid patiently waiting for the show to start.
My sister later told me that the people in the pit were so courteous to my niece, and that one of the women from the radio station recognized them from when they stopped by their cruiser before the show and stopped to ask them if they were having a good time. Beyond that, the kid was able to see her idol and dance and sing along to Taylor Swift like she’d never done before. 

The next day my niece told me that her favourite part of the show was every time Taylor Swift was on stage. She was so excited that she got to go, and I’m pretty sure this night will go down as one of the best nights ever for both my sister and my niece. 

It all sounds pretty cheesy, but I am so grateful to have won this contest.

Thanks 99.1 Fresh FM, you helped me make one of my niece's dreams come true!