thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2012-03-26 11:17 am

The Reluctant Introvert Goes to a Hockey Game!

Fandom takes you to strange places. You find yourself, for instance, in Lawrence, Kansas. Or you find yourself bidding a lot of money on a small piece of molded plastic on eBay. Or you find yourself waiting in line at four in the afternoon for a movie that isn't showing until midnight.

On March 25th, fandom took me to a hockey game. [ profile] dramaturgca courageously volunteered to accompany me, and since she is an actual fan of the Ducks and I am not a fan of the Ducks or anyone they had left to play at that point, we picked a game based on convenience to us. Which left us watching the Ducks vs. the Bruins.

Keep in mind that I am a huge introvert who has problems with crowds and loud noises and bright lights and people too close to me, and thus am perhaps the person who should least go to a hockey game. I mean ever. If you had to choose between taking an elephant to a hockey game and taking me, most wise people would choose the elephant.

But I went. And I had a really good time. And since I solicited advice from you all for this, I'm going to offer you my observations. As a very pathetic sort of thank you, basically. (Yes, I know you'd rather have a card. Next year, I swear.)

Here's what I learned.
  1. Hockey is better and easier to follow live. It just is. By an almost incalculable amount. I was worried about being able to see the puck, being able to follow the game without the TV replays, being able to figure out what the hell was going on without being able to back the game up. That turned out not to be an issue at all. There actually are replays of key moments, because of the Jumbotron, which is a torture device we will discuss in a moment, but it's obvious what's going on on the ice, because you can see what everyone is doing. Not just whoever has the puck. It's also hugely obvious, watching a game, what problems a team is having; you don't need to be told that a team has a turnover problem, because you can see that they're constantly giving the puck to the other team. Basically, you can see stuff instead of hearing people tell you what you'd be seeing if you were there! It's awesome.

  2. Hockey games are loud. Oh god, I cannot adequately convey to you how fucking loud it is, and I was attending a Ducks game late in a season in which they are no longer in playoff contention. Also, it was absolutely sheeting rain outside, and this is Southern California, so a lot of the season ticket holders stayed home out of fear they would melt. (It was supposed to be sold out, standing room only, but there were lots of empty chunks.) And yet. So, so loud. Screaming fans! Super-loud music! Piercing whistles! Random sound effects! And then each period, as the game got closer to the end and the crowd got drunker, it got louder. Somewhere in the middle of the second period, my ears started to surrender, and my conversations with [ profile] dramaturgca all began to sound like this:

    D: [A thing.]
    Me: Sorry, what?
    Me: Um, still couldn't hear you.
    Me, wondering if it is safe to pat a disappointed hockey fan in a sympathetic manner and deciding probably not: There, there.

    My point is, it's tough to angst when no one can hear you, and in a hockey game, there is a lot of angst, but no one can ever hear you.

  3. The Jumbotron is a work of pure evil. I had never seen one before, because of my scrupulous lifelong avoidance of any situation in which a Jumbotron could conceivably be appropriate, and it is a GIANT MULTI-SIDED TV IN THE SKY. (If you've only ever seen hockey in streaming or whatever, you've probably wondered why players on the bench and in the box spend so much time staring up. They're staring at the Jumbotron, hypnotized.) Which provides useful information, yes, but also does horrible things like provide giant closeups on random members of the audience, some of whom are eating. (Or texting. Or waving frantically to get the attention of the Jumbotron God, for reasons that are still totally unclear to me.) It's awful.

  4. Hockey games are - pretty cheesy. Like, they sort of hide this from you in TV coverage? But in actual reality, once the TV coverage goes to commercial, they play terrible covers of songs from two decades ago, and they have these weird halftime competitions where, like, they pull random kids from the audience and have them hit pucks into circles, and the Ducks have a little dirigible that flies around inside the stadium and drops coupons for things no one wants coupons for on random audience members. (Half of them react like a coupon is the last item they need on their scavenger hunt, and half of them keep texting.) They have unfortunately dressed audience members (including a complete loon who sat near us and who we tried to ignore because we were afraid if we made eye contact we'd catch something). They have these competitions where fans sing or dance, which lead to contact embarrassment so severe I had to stare at my feet for them. So, basically, we're talking about fifteen or twenty thousand people who get together one evening to be total dorks. It's frankly adorable.

  5. Live hockey games have energy. Even if you didn't care at all about either team at the start of it, by the middle of the second period, you totally would, because it turns out that kind of caring is contagious. I found myself genuinely incensed that the refs, who it goes without saying sucked donkey balls, took a goal away from the Ducks for goalie interference when there was obviously no goalie interference. (Seriously, go watch that - I mean it! - and then know that at the time, I cared about that specific event more deeply than I cared about 90% of the votes I cast in the last election. The noise you're hearing in the background there? I was one of the people making it.) And I am not a joiner, mind you. I assume if you were the kind of person who actually chanted because everyone else was chanting, you would spend most of every hockey game totally high on the energy of people around you. (I assume this is why they design the parking lots to have looooooong waits to get out, so that you can come down from that high before you get out on the freeway and start, you know, driving to the net.) As it was, I smiled a LOT.

  6. Fangirls watch hockey differently than other fans. I mean, no, not in terms of what we actually see, but - okay. I was between [ profile] dramaturgca and a random dude, both of whom were vocal Ducks fans. They both reacted the same way to the situation on the ice, but they sounded different. The random dude talked to the team like they were drivers on the freeway who were cutting him off and had maybe also fucked his mother. [ profile] dramaturgca talked to the team like they were puppies who just did not understand that they were not supposed to pee on the carpet, but could probably learn to potty outside with lots of help. (Yes, I would like to get a comparison sample from when the team is winning.) It sounded like this:

    [The Ducks have the puck and are heading towards the Bruins' goal!]
    Random Dude, in a tone of intense aggravation: Come on, you fuckers, just - just GO, just GET IT - OH FUCK YOU.
    D, in a peppy, high-pitched tone: Come on, sweeties, come on, you can do it, babies, you just - AUGH.

    Because of this, I spent some of the evening working hard not to laugh. I think hockey on TV would be greatly improved if you had Sugar Announcer ("They're really trying hard! Harder than they did last time! Awwww, isn't that CUTE?") and Bastard Announcer ("If these assholes don't stop blocking their own shooting lanes, I'm going to go down there myself and start punching them in the junk.") instead of the burbling idiots they generally have talk over everything interesting happening in the game. (Opinions, I have them. Best Beloved is laughing at me right now.)

  7. If you go to a hockey game - and I think you should! - try to go with someone who has been there before. Because [ profile] dramaturgca has been going to games at Honda Center for years, she was able to pick out good seats (great seats, even!) and then navigate us to them with a minimum of difficulty. She also drove there and dealt with the parking mess. Basically, she went to a game and sort of carried me along with her. It was great.
It was, overall, a wonderful night, and I am already planning to go back next year. I am apparently determined to become the country's least-likely hockey fan. (Sadly, I can't compete on the international level, because I have friends in countries that basically don't even have skating rinks who are finding themselves inexplicably drawn to hockey. That's hardcore.)

Or, to sum up: Hockey. YAY.
laurajv: Don't give me any wild ideas! (Default)

[personal profile] laurajv 2012-03-26 06:53 pm (UTC)(link)
The crowd energy, oh my GOD, that is like the best thing about live hockey, to me. I am also very introverted, and so afterwards I am completely EXHAUSTED (apparently extroverts find that kind of thing refreshing and have MORE energy afterwards, which I do not understand), but it's so good, in the moment.
juliandarling: (Default)

[personal profile] juliandarling 2012-03-26 07:34 pm (UTC)(link)
SAME HERE. Draining, so draining but so amazing!
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[personal profile] psyche29 2012-03-26 07:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I went to a very hockey-centric university, and while I don't even really care that much about which team is playing which other team, nor about scores or anything at all, I have been to many hockey games in my life, and loved every moment of every one.

And thank you for the best laugh I've had all day. Number six on your list has me in tears here at my desk as I try to stifle my laughter and fail. Extravagantly. People are getting up from their desks to come check on me.
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[personal profile] dragonfly 2012-03-26 08:15 pm (UTC)(link)
+1 Number six ftw!

::wiping own tears::

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[personal profile] musesfool 2012-03-26 07:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Ahahahaha, I am more of a bastard announcer type. I yell at the TV A LOT (with any sport, but mostly hockey and football since they are a lot faster paced than baseball, where it's more of a low simmering rage instead of a loud shouty one).
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[personal profile] abyssinia 2012-03-26 07:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I also went to my first hockey game this weekend! Avalanche vs. Canucks

I too was surprised at some of the cheese - especially when, during one commercial break, the people who were out shoveling the snow off the ice stopped, formed a line, and started break-dancing.

Though the munchkins they had on the ice playing between periods were just adorable.

(and I still don't understand why the refs didn't call what looked to me like the Avalanche player decking the Vancouver goalie, though we were so high up in the nosebleed section I could have imagined it, except that 20 seconds later every Canuck on the ice swooped in on said Avalanche player against the wall in front of the Canuck bench and let him know how they felt)
aderam: (Luongo Wins)

[personal profile] aderam 2012-03-26 08:08 pm (UTC)(link)
It's because as we all know the Canucks (and Roberto especially) are a bunch of divers. So the refs don't call things in our favour. (*biased rant*)

Refs are weird? I don't know, I didn't actually catch that when I was watching.

Also I'm a little jealous that you were at the game. I watched it streaming, but CBC kept kicking me off. Which was lame.

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[personal profile] indeliblesasha 2012-03-26 07:27 pm (UTC)(link)

I am so glad you enjoyed your live game :D It is totally different being there live! I have never been to a hockey game live, but many many many many football games and a few baseball games, and it's much the same. You're not dependent on the right camera following in the right direction and hoping they don't change angles right as you were about to see the amazing thing you think is coming.

You are my favorite least-likely hockey fan, and I do genuinely adore you for dragging me out of my self-imposed hockey celibacy. :D

(I wound up not watching the coyotes/avs game the other night because I COULD NOT DO IT. I tried. And I cringed. You simply cannot root for two teams at the same time. WOE.)

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juliandarling: (Default)

[personal profile] juliandarling 2012-03-26 07:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Ugh I love this, because it's all so true. Hockey games are full of dorks. Ginormous dorks.
princessofgeeks: (Default)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2012-03-26 07:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I love this.

I read some hockey RPF BECAUSE OF YOU and also because of Benton Fraser.

But I actually have been to a few minor league hockey games in my tiny city and it's fun to know that the NHL pro's are just as cheesy as the minors.

Everything you say matched my experience. Except it's somewhat nicer than baseball in July because its COOL and AIR CONDITIONED.


I enjoyed it live way more than on TV. Basketball is similar.

Baseball I think is just as good on TV. But not hockey.

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[personal profile] mrkinch 2012-03-26 07:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I went to a game at the Joe about ten years ago and found it extremely quiet, I think it was a low crowd-energy night, because there were no annoying announcers or damned play by play! Just the shouts of the players and the scrape of skates on the ice from waaaay up where I was standing, and it was amazing.

I love hockey. I even love watching it on tv with the sound off, just the ebb and flow across the ice. With its speed and maneuverability, it's what other goal sports wish they could be./severe bias

[personal profile] meri 2012-03-26 07:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I didn't fall in love with hockey until I saw it live and it was because of the noise, the energy (so much), and even that cheesiness that made me fall totes in love.

Though, I sound more like the guy fan when my team isn't doing well. But that's partly because I really like saying fuck?
aderam: (Canadian Rink)

[personal profile] aderam 2012-03-26 08:02 pm (UTC)(link)
YAY! Congratulations! I'm glad you liked the game. This report is highly accurate and amusing!
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[personal profile] vamysteryfan 2012-03-26 08:17 pm (UTC)(link)
I laughed out loud at #6. So true!

And I love your perspective on the game. I am a hockey fan - I've seen the Bruins at Boston Garden and the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and pretty much all of oyur observations are spot on.
puckling: JGL's collar with a tie  (I'm just here for the clothes)

[personal profile] puckling 2012-03-26 08:17 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm going to my first hockey game I care about tomorrow (I went with an ex for Valentines once, but I had no vested interest), so this is me taking lots of notes!

dramaturgca talked to the team like they were puppies who just did not understand that they were not supposed to pee on the carpet, but could probably learn to potty outside with lots of help.

HAHAHAHAHHAHAH, but hockey players basically ARE puppies! Dumb puppies, for the most part!

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[personal profile] doctor_denmark 2012-03-26 08:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I went to a couple of AHL games last year. Pro-tip, don't sit right behind the bench, or, at least, not if you think you're going to accidentally spend more time making heart-eyes at your favourite player than watching the game.

I'm glad you had a great time :)
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[personal profile] lolaraincoat 2012-03-26 08:43 pm (UTC)(link)
You know what you might like even more? Peewee hockey. Little kids on skates are wonderful to watch, and the game's a bit easier to follow because they're not quite as fast, and the parents are kind of amazing to hear ("Kill 'em, Marcy! Kill 'em! [fast sideways look at disapproving mums on either side] ... oh, sorry .... Kill 'em GENTLY, Marcy!") and best of all, NO JUMBOTRON.

You might need to visit Ontario to get the full effect.

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[personal profile] sothcweden 2012-03-26 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
It sounds like a blast. I went to watch our local minor league team solely to watch my cousin's son be one of the munchkins playing between periods. He's 8, and I think his gear may weigh more than he does. In the car on the way there he very seriously told me the rules for the age at which they're allowed to start checking and fighting. He was adorable.

Your Sugar Announcer and Bastard Announcer made me laugh. I might actually watch sports if they had that. It would also make for some hilarious slashfic potential. I'm just saying.
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[personal profile] oaktree 2012-03-26 10:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Just so you know, it is primarily your fault (though you do share that august honour with [personal profile] deepsix) that I am now legit into hockey and like, watching games and reading blogs and reading fic and stuff. Two weeks ago I would not have thought this would be my life /o\

But it is so totally awesome :D
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[personal profile] jamafanta 2012-03-26 11:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I watch the games on, mostly because I don't have cable but also because sometimes you get a feed from Sweden and their commercials are funny. But recently it's all been the straight announcer's feed, which means you hear them bumming around during commercials (when they think no one's listening), talking about the dorky things they do on the ice during commercials, and occasionally mocking the odd audience member.

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[personal profile] spuffyduds 2012-03-26 11:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh god yes! I have been to one hockey game & I really went JUST to make my husband and his buddy happy and by the middle of the game I was standing up SCREAMING "BLOOD ON THE ICE!!!!!" HAPPILY.
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[personal profile] samjohnsson 2012-03-26 11:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure if it's the crack about after-game driving in five or all of six that has me giggling like a schoolgirl, but dear god.

Another reason to like hockey: The You Can Play Project has been pretty much adopted wholesale by the league.
Edited (15 years of HTML and I still leave hrefs open.) 2012-03-26 23:11 (UTC)
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[personal profile] pineapplechild 2012-03-26 11:50 pm (UTC)(link)
...Now I'm trying to figure out how to get together a Fannish Hockey Night. because that sounds AMAZING.

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[personal profile] vass 2012-03-27 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
Oh fandom.

I'm holding out until cricket RPS becomes a fandom. That's something I can go to matches for.

Actually, that raises a question. What sort of scale is hockey on? Test cricket is a like a full scale war. It's epic - and I'm not talking about the emotions or anything like that, I'm talking about the scale. When JK Rowling talked about Quidditch matches going on for months, she was thinking of cricket. Whereas the other sport I enjoy, netball, is lightning-fast (no game lasts longer than an hour) and very condensed. Where does hockey fit?

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[personal profile] innocentsmith 2012-03-27 01:16 am (UTC)(link)
Sugar and Bastard announcers would be an amazing comedy sketch. During dull moments Bastard could mutter about how So-and-So should never have been chosen for the team, while Sugar cooed over how hard they're trying, and/or the friendships/relationships of the players, and/or evaluate their tushes. And then, of course, when the refs made some horrible decision, both announcers would be united in their vituperative rage.
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[personal profile] melannen 2012-03-27 01:48 am (UTC)(link)
Now I am wondering if I could actually watch live hockey! I try to go to a few minor league baseball games a year - I like following the game, and figuring the stats, and the crowd (especially because our local minor league is usually fills their stadium less than half full) and the epic cheesiness and the food and that it's basically just a summer evening picnic, but I've been to a couple of live football and basketball games and spent the the whole time confused, annoyed, bored and headachey, because I couldn't follow what was going on and the crowd was too much, especially with basketball where everything is so closed in.

But hockey, as a game, does at least make more *sense* than basketball or football...

(Also OMG suddenly hockey RPF everywhere! Is this all your fault? It seems like it's your fault. On the one hand, I do sometimes want more to read after I've re-read both of the Pro Hockey dueSouth stories. On the other hand, augh, hockey players.
umbo: (wings)

[personal profile] umbo 2012-03-27 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
I'm so glad you had such a great time! And that you were brave enough to, um, brave the noise and crowds!

(and the Wings are actually winning tonight, yay!)
archersangel: (insane)

[personal profile] archersangel 2012-03-27 03:06 am (UTC)(link)
I think hockey on TV would be greatly improved if you had Sugar Announcer ("They're really trying hard! Harder than they did last time! Awwww, isn't that CUTE?") and Bastard Announcer ("If these assholes don't stop blocking their own shooting lanes, I'm going to go down there myself and start punching them in the junk.") instead of the burbling idiots they generally have talk over everything interesting happening in the game.
i'd watch hockey if it was like that.

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