Last weekend the girls and I were invited to see the Rangers play the Devils at the Rock. At one time hockey was a popular sport, particularly in the late 80s and early 90s. Today, it's on nobody's radar. If hockey were a celebrity, it would be Ian Ziering. Yes, I know, who indeed.
Anyway, hockey is still a great sport to see live, the tickets were free, and Jess was happy to be going with one of her friends. The last time I went to a hockey game the girls weren't even born, and Ian Ziering was enjoying a comfortable career on 90210. It's been so long that I forgot about the atmosphere associated with a hockey game, namely:
1) The fighting: There were at least five fights during the game, including one in which a Ranger player ducked and covered his head to avoid a further beatdown. During the first fight, I glanced at Steffi, who looked like someone witnessing the ice turning into a burning ring of fire. I told her that hockey is one of the few endeavors, other than boxing, mixed martial arts, or being a Real World cast member, where fighting is condoned, if not encouraged. By the end of the third fight, Jess and her friend were slow motion fighting with each other.
2) The Cursing: In 1979, when I was a hockey fanatic, Denis Potvin of the Islanders broke Ranger Ulf Nilsson's ankle with a hip check. To this day, when a fan finishes whistling a short tune, the crowd will chant "POTVIN SUCKS!!!" What does this have to do with last Saturday's game? Well, the Devils fans have taken over that chant by following the whistling tune with "RANGERS SUCK!!!" Stef was intrigued by the clear, distinct whistling preceding this fairly frequent chant.
3) The Scoring (and Cursing): Since the mid-90s, scoring has been way down in hockey. On the positive side, Saturday's game had lots of scoring, with the Rangers winning 5-4 in OT. On the negative side, each Devils score was followed by Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll" playing full blast, which included the fans chanting, "HEY...YOU SUCK" after every goal. I assumed this was aimed at the Rangers, not Gary Glitter.
4) The Chanting (and Cursing): I loved going to hockey games when I was younger. Ranger fans would yell "Let's go Rangers", which in turn led Islander fans to yell "1940" (which prior to 1994 was the last Ranger's Stanley Cup win). Since "1940" is no longer in play, the Devils fans reacted to each "Let's Go Rangers" chant with, "RANGERS SUCK!!" It should be noted here that the Devils play a very predictable, vanilla form of hockey. Evidently their fans use the same approach to berating an opponent.
All in all, the girls had a blast and are interested in going to another game. I'm not sure if they could understand what was happening down on the ice, but I had no doubt by the end of the night they knew who sucked.
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