Tonight Z and I went to our first ever hockey game.  It was the minor league Seattle Thunderbirds vs. the Everett Silvertips and neither of us knew what to expect. Z hates to watch hockey on TV because he says he can’t see the puck, and I have a general dislike of all things sports related, but with a $12 Living Social deal, it seemed like an adventure. Fifteen minutes in and I was hooked. How can I have two friends from Canada and have seen Youngblood back when Rob Lowe was everyone’s darling in the 80s and NOT know how awesome hockey is?

Things I knew I’d like:

  • no baking under a hot summer sun
  • no humid arena
  • no waiting for eons between plays or for someone to strike out

Things I had no idea I would love:

  • the sound of the blades on ice
  • the penalty box–how ingenious
  • the sound of bodies slamming against the glass
  • the booing of refs and the opposing team
  • the fights

Oh, my God, the fights were delicious. Until tonight,  I thought I was a pacifist. In high school when there would be a sudden fight in the cafeteria I would shrink away and feel superior to my classmates who were encouraging the punches. I never understood the glee of spectating while someone inflicted bodily harm on another person and I likened the crowd to the people who would go to the Colosseum in Rome to watch gladiators fight to the death.  But tonight, I was a paisano. Maybe all that padding and those helmets gave me a false sense that they were all well-protected and so it was okay to shout encouragement for the punches. It was just so visceral.

My second favorite thing was the simultaneous barbarism (booing refs, singing how much the other team sucks, cheering a fight) and the politeness. When Z and I went to a Sounders game this summer, we were astounded by how everyone seemed to have ADD and could not sit still for five minutes of soccer before having to leave their cramped seats for a beer or popcorn. It was a constant stream of people excusing themselves past you to go do something that was infinitely more important than the event they had paid to see. But at a hockey game, apparently, you stay in your seat. If you have to get up because of  irritable bowel syndrome or whatever, you apologize profusely and look sheepish. Then when there is a time out, people rush out of their seats or back to their seats before the puck is in play again. Its terribly civilized. I love that contradiction.

I know it was a minor league hockey game and not everything can be turned into a bloggy life lesson, but after the summer (and Indian summer) doldrums where I posted nothing, wrote nothing, and made few of the life plans I had planned to plan, I feel revitalized. Sometimes you just have to throw punches. Or at least cheer a good fight.


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