Thursday, January 10, 2008

Going to the Game.

For the first time in about 30 years, I went to a hockey game tonight. (Thank you Blair and Susan!) The Mister has some friends who were able to get us some tickets (as they are near impossible to get, the tickets, not the friends) and we went to dinner and then the game. I'm not a huge sports fan, in fact, most of the time I am completely the opposite of interested in sports; sometimes I'm offended that sports even exist. But even a hardened cynic such as myself can admit that watching sports on tv and going to a live event is, if you will excuse the pun, a whole different ballgame.

Going to an actual game makes me see, on some level, kind of what the allure of sports is all about: the story isn't written yet, anything can happen. I guess I can appreciate that, if nothing else. Also, when you go to a sporting event, particularly in a fairly small arena like the one we were in tonight, you can hear the hiss of the skates on the ice, and the clap of the stick on the puck and the grunting and puffing and the effort that goes into playing a game. That gets lost on television, I think. There's an immediacy in attending a game that makes it much, much more interesting. Also, there's usually plenty to look at other than the game, if you are so inclined. There's always the scoreboard, the big screen replays, the coaches, and, of course, the people around you.

The Mister and I used to go to plenty of baseball games when we were dating and first married. We'd go to the lots of Blue Jays games when we were young and kidless; we even were lucky enough to go to a World Series game in 93. But the best games I think I ever went to were when the Detroit Tigers had a farm team here for a couple of seasons, and they played at a beautiful old park ("oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world", in fact) just a couple of blocks from our house. It was spectacular; we'd walk there from work on a beautiful summer's evening, get in for around 5 bucks, grab a slice of pizza for dinner, watch the ball game, and walk on home. The park was small enough that you could hear everything, (including the catcher swearing at the pitcher), there wasn't a bad seat in the place and if you went in after the third inning, tickets were half price. And we got to see some of the most exciting baseball games that have ever been played. It was fabulous.

The Mister went to an NFL game a couple of weeks ago in Detroit, (with Blair again, actually) and I think football is about the only game I don't think I could sit through, at least not without bringing a good book. The games are interminable, and nothing happens for 90% of the time,you can't even make out who's who down on the field and it's played outside in the winter. What's to recommend it? I think they should just make the field shorter and then the games would be over much faster. I remember going to football games in high school, but I don't remember actually watching any of the game. I always felt sort of sorry for the girls who had boyfriends on the team, because they were actually supposed to pay attention.

I went to a cricket game in Ireland once. That was easily the most boring thing I've ever gone to. I drank a lot, so that helped.

I'm thrilled beyond belief that neither one of my kids has a shred of competitive fiber in their little selves, or is athletically inclined whatsoever. Not only would I not want to go to a game, it would kill me if they did badly, and I'd probably have to be restrained if another parent said anything about my child. I'd end up on the news for sure.

I have to say, I was impressed at how efficient the hockey game started at 7, and by God, it was over by about 9:15. I appreciate that kind of competence. Even if they did lose.

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