Joe Louis may be a hulking, windowless, concrete monstrosity of an arena, but it doubled as the best playground in the world for two young kids. Some of the best moments of my childhood were spent with my brother, chasing each other through the concourse, up and down those beer-stained, rank-smelling steps.
I remember playing hide-and-seek in those heavy red vinyl curtains separating the concourse from the 20,000-plus seat bowl where the Detroit Red Wings played. And how the stadium workers told me that the fourth floor was full of rats, longer than your arm, who lived for years in the cold. Maybe they just said that so my brother and I wouldn’t sneak up the elevators.