Thanks to the generosity of a friend, TRC and I were able to go to an ice hockey game on Saturday evening. I've been to a few hockey games in my life--a couple of Grizzlies games out in Utah, and the Germany/Slovakia game at the Salt Lake Olympic Games. I enjoyed those experiences, but (and I'm being totally honest here) hockey has never really seemed that complex to me. A bunch of guy skate around on the ice and try to get the puck in the goal. What's so complicated about that?
Well, I was with a Canadian at the game on Saturday, and I discovered two things. First of all, there's a whole lot more to it than "puck in goal." Second, once you actually understand the rules, watching hockey is tons more fun.
Go figure, right?
It also helped that it was a fantastic game. The Portland Pirates vs. the Worcester Sharks. It went into a shootout at the end, and culminated in a five minute brawl on the ice. (Seriously, it got pretty nasty out there. I watched the YouTube version, and it seemed much tamer when I wasn't actually there watching it happen.) But hey--Portland won, so all is well in the world. It was a thrilling game, and a ton of fun to watch it in person.
I wasn't really sure what TRC would think of it all. He was wicked excited to go to the game, but I thought it might be more of a "hey--this is different" sort of a thing than a real "I want to watch hockey" thing. Plus, it's an hour and a half ride down to Portland, and an hour and a half back once it's over. (We didn't get home until a little before midnight.)
Turns out? He loved it. It took him a bit to get into it. He wasn't expecting just how noisy it would be (and even then, he covered his ears for most of the game), but I think he started getting a glimpse of how exciting sports-watching can be. By the end, he was cheering and yelling along with everyone else--and he was actually paying attention to the game.
I think it helps that hockey is pretty straightforward. Puck in goal, after all. It's not like football, which I keep trying to explain the finer nuances of to him. He could tell if something went well or if it didn't. The puck either ended up in the net, or it didn't.
In any case, we had a lot of fun--even if we were a tad more tired Easter morning than we probably should have been. :-) Many thanks to the friend who asked us to come along.