Above the Glass
by Samantha on 02/20/12 at 05:13 PM ET
Yes, I know “proper” in a sport like hockey is somewhat subjective and open to interpretation, but still…there are just certain rules of the road we should all observe to ensure our mutual enjoyment of the game. Now, as fans we all know the basic rules of the road, and we drive safely. But I’m sure we’ve all seen and perhaps had a choice word or two with the small but mighty band of individuals who, shall we say, commit numerous moving violations over the course of a game. Like, for example, getting drunk before the game, wearing yellow shirts and sweatpants and performing a dance routine after every goal long after everyone else has sat back down and the puck has been dropped for the face off. Inspired by a recent run-in with said individual, I’ve put together this handy reference guide on how to enjoy the game responsibly.
Stay in your assigned seat. This entry was inspired by a fan in my section at a daylight game on Saturday afternoon, who was playing musical chairs with seats that clearly weren’t his. Every time a rightful owner came in and booted him, he just moved over to the next seat that obviously didn’t belong to him. And whatever you do when committing said semi-crime, do be sure to don the proper camouflage so not eveyone in a 10,000-seat arena will see you. Which brings me to this:
Dress appropriately. To ensure that we could all enjoy the pleasure of his beer-fueled antics, said fan wore a bright yellow oxford shirt and gray sweatpants and of course, downed a few beers before the game even started, thus ensuring that on the small off chance we didn’t see him, we could smell him. Appropriate attire includes jerseys, t-shirts, hats or other attire bearing the team’s logo, along with rink-appropriate attire such as sweaters, jeans, jackets, boots and scarves, preferably in colors that represent your team. Red, for example, is a popular color in Portland as it’s the Winterhawks’ signature color. Perhaps even wear a suit, especially if you want to shout out commands to the players like you are on the coaching staff. Better yet, you could just do this:
Leave the coaching to the coaches. Let’s face it, fans chirping at refs and coaches now and again is just an accepted part of the game. But if you want to give play-by-play advice to players without ever shutting up once the whole game, may I suggest sitting in front of the glass behind your team’s bench at center ice, where at least they could hear you. Now mind, they might not listen and you could possibly be thrown out, but at least you’d have a shot. And do take a moment to check the roster and make note of the starting lineup, so that when you shout out a player’s name, it’s the right one. On the don’t list: Sit 20 rows up from the ice at the opposite end of the rink from your team’s bench, where the only people who will hear you are fellow fans who aren’t interested. And don’t shout “Go Carruth!” when in fact, rookie goaltender Brendan Burke (son of former NHL goalie Sean Burke) is the one in the net. And yes, Big Bird there was the one giving out non-stop advice to a goalie who was on the bench.
Save the dancing for the dance cam. We all like to celebrate goals, and here in Portland we have the Rosebuds dance team to help us do so. Now, a little high fiving and getting crazy momentarily is fine, but doing a full-on Broadway dance routine that involves bumping yourself up against the guardrail in front of your illegal front-row seat every single time your team scores until other people have to tell you to sit down….not so much. If you’re a Rosebud and you’re young and pretty and it’s your job, then carry on. In fact, I say leave the dancing to the trained professionals and the little kids who like to get their groove on when the dance cam goes mobile while there’s a ice fixit or a timeout.
Snack responsibly. If you are eating a bag of peanuts like there’s no tomorrow, don’t leave the shells on the floor all around everyone else’s feet so they have to trudge through it in their new shoes. Bring some napkins to scoop them up or stash them in. If you are eating nachos, nobody wants your cheese in their lap. And for Pete’s sake, don’t high five anyone after you’ve plowed through a mound of cotton candy. Key to snack enjoyment is keep it to yourself, bring lots of napkins and keep hand wipes or hand santitizer handy.
Honor the 2-drink maximum. I mean, really, if you need more than two beers at 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon, then you have a bigger problem than hockey’s alcohol policies. Now mind, I love a beer and a hockey game. Emphasis on one beer, which it takes me the entire game to drink because I’m admittedly a lightweight. But still, if you are drinking to the point where even your friends and family are telling you to sit down and shut up and you’ve already been warned once by security, then that should be the sign it’s not fun anymore. For anyone. Besides, overdoing it usually results in the above fashion “don’ts” and unfortunate dance routines that end up on YouTube. And who wants that? Which brings me to this:
Remember, we’re all in this together. Slapping high fives (per the instructions above), a few “woohoos” and what I call the fashion trifecta (hat, mittens, scarf or other clothing bearing your team’s logo) is totally acceptable. Having one or two beers consumed responsibly over the course of a game, totally fine. But enjoying the game at the expense of other people not being able to do so is not cool, dudes and ladies. The above tips are just a few basic rules of the road, so I say drive safely. It saves lives and fellow fans and friends will thank you for it.
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About Above the Glass
Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.
Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass