Hockey Night in San Jose

So, here’s the thing about me and Hockey.

Back when I was a kid, I was a big Hockey fan. Watched the Montreal Canadians play on television whenever it was broadcast and when I wasn’t doing that, I was playing hockey in the streets with my friends.

Yes, the frequent calls of “Caaaaar!” whenever we had to stop game play to move our nets out of the way of incoming cars, and “Gaaaame on!” when play resumed is as funny and true as it was in a similar scene in Wayne’s World.

But, at one point in time, basically when Ken Dryden retired and I entered High School, I stopped watching. Why? Because of (what I saw as) the stupidity of my friends. Some of these guys would literally get into fist fights the day AFTER a game because of some stupid call or play or defeat. Wtf? Yeah, totally ridiculous and completely took me out of it.

In the years since, I’ve watched a couple of games but never as religiously as I used to. I attended only a handful of games but never paid for one since I had either won the tickets or gotten them as gifts. Plus, since I always worked downtown, I easily and quickly got fed up of all the scalpers making a fortune on selling tickets at ridiculous prices – shutting out so many fans who would love to see a game but can’t afford to.

One thing, however, that I always knew, saw, and experienced, was the fan participation. Not the idiotic riots which we are, unfortunately, infamous for, but the energetic, joyous, rambunctious cheering, jumping, dancing, etc, that brings a fun level to audience participation at games.

This year, seeing as I’m stationed in Emeryville, California, a bunch of us decided to go catch the Habs when they came to town to play against the San Jose Sharks. Why not? The tickets were extremely affordable (in comparison to similar seating back in Montreal, I believe the cost would easily be three times as much!) and it would have made for a fun outing.

What a difference.

Yes, the arena was very well lit, and there was a lot of activity outside of the rink and lots of things to see, BUT… audience participation… is a misnomer. You are not allowed to stand during the game. You are not allowed to jump around. You are not even allowed to LEAN FORWARD in your seat! Wtf?!

That’s right. Watching a sports event like hockey is like watching a MOVIE. Sit in your seat, prim and proper, with your backs straight and no talking. How do you get INTO a game if you are so far removed emotionally? And, of course, if you’re not allowed to move, then the Ushers do not allow anyone to come in OR out of the rink area during game play. So as not to disturb anyone, you see. Again, wtf?

If you want to just sit there, comfy and cozy in your chair, with a blanket over you to keep you warm… why don’t you just stay home? Srsly. Think of the money you’ll save. At least they allow us to jump up and cheer when a goal is scored, but still….

After the game, instead of feeling pumped because of the action, I felt like “okay, well, that was nice, may as well go home to bed now.” Heck, maybe that’s the real reason. Just another form of crowd control. But definitely NOT a hockey game like we’re used to back home.

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