The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/30/13 at 06:50 PM ET
This isn't exactly another, "Girls' guide to Watching the Rangers"--and kudos to Stanley Cup of Chowder's Sarah Connors for issuing a stern and thorough rebuttal to both the concept that women somehow can't be passionate sports fans, or those who believe that anyone who sees an athlete and is attracted to them suddenly becomes a sports "bunny"--but this well-intentioned article by MLive's Karen Dybis, offering a parent's guide to bringing children to Red Wings games has me a bit perplexed.
I had parents who were very thorough about going to public places or attending public events when I was growing up--they'd walk me through the routine, how long we'd be staying, where we were going to eat, how long a walk it would be to where we were parking, what constituted appropriate conduct, etc.--and if I or my friends started misbehaving, we were told to zip it and usually did.
Here are some of Dybis' points...Parents, what do you think about these suggestions?
- Try eating somewhere nearby before going into the arena. Kids are little engines. Put some coal in, and they’ll chug along nicely. Forget to feed them, and get ready for a temper tantrum right before the puck drops. Plus, there are plenty of family-friendly bars near Joe Louis where you can pick up a pizza or hot-dog dinner for a reasonable price. Consider Hockeytown restaurant to see the memorabilia there, and the Grand Circus People Mover station.
Again, my dad's version of a pre-game meal was eating a hamburger at the Athens Bar or going to Trapper's Alley (yes, I'm that old, I remember when Trapper's Alley was very fancy, and I remember when it was very shady, too)...
- If you’re willing to plan ahead, set up a reservation at The Signature Grill, a restaurant adjacent to the Joe at Riverfront Towers apartments. You can typically park at the apartment garage if you’ve got your name in with the restaurant. The food’s not overly expensive, especially if you do just a couple appetizers and drinks. Plus, there is an amazing view of the Detroit River and Canada to keep everyone happy. There also is an indoor tunnel to walk to the game. You’ll be out of there and home in your PJs before most fans have even started their cars.
- Look for end seats. If you have a choice, try to sit in a position where constant trips to the bathroom or for snacks won’t bother your fellow patrons. Nothing creates more animosity among fans than being stepped over constantly.
This one kind of bugs me because I believe that everyone at every age who goes to Joe Louis Arena needs to know that restrooms are a pain in the bladder to use, and from day one of going to the Joe--or going to any sporting event--I was reminded to plan my fluid intake accordingly. I know that sounds cheesy, but, "Don't load up on pop or you'll have to pee three times during the game" is plain old honest.
- Don’t wait until the game is over to leave. If you stay until the bitter end, you’ll be joining hundreds of people into the People Mover. They’ll smash your kids as soon as to look at them. If you’d like to avoid the shoving match, get out early and get moving back to your car. The freeways will be less crowded as well, and everyone can enjoy a cursing-free nap on the way home.
This really gets to me. I don't believe in leaving the game early, for starters--seats are expensive, and you're essentially renting 'em for sixty minutes of playing time, so why not maximize your investment?--and the parents I know both do their best to serve as bouncers for their kids in the crush of the "moo" tunnel to the Joe Garage, along the way to the Cobo Roof, or on the People Mover, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent telling a pushy person, "Hey, watch out for my son/daughter/their friend."
There's also something called stadium etiquette, and the adults attending the game have responsibilities to watch their swearing around kids, to understand that they're gonna be up and out of their seats a little more often, that they may get a little tired or a little grumpy because kids are kids, and that you really have to watch out for other people, and especially little ones, whlie going up and down the stairs or traversing the concourses. In my opinion, the responsibilities for making sure that kids enjoy the game include common courtesy and common sense from those who don't have kids and understand that some patience and tolerance is necessary. That doesn't excuse a parent from allowing their kid to spazz out or have a temper tantrum at a game, but hey, sometimes things happen, and we all have to let things slide at games.
What do you think about this guide? Are we just talking about very young children here, or do you think that this applies to a wider range of "kids'" age groups? And what are your recommendations to fellow Wings fans in terms of bringing small children, school-agers or their teens to games?
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.