I have written about hockey and the fighting once before but I need to reiterate how much the fighting and unruliness bothers me at games. Don’t get me wrong, it is my absolute favorite sport to watch and to me, there is nothing more exciting than watching live hockey! Seriously, if they don’t start regulating more, they should just start calling it The UFC instead of The NH. I don’t go to a hockey game for the fighting but I know there are many fans who go just for that! No other major league allows fighting like The NHL does. In most sports, when a brawl does ensue, the referees jump in and pull it apart. In The NHL, the refs stand back and let them fight it out for awhile before attempting to break it up. Today’s game, had just one fight. Lots of shoving and pushing but only one fight that called for penalties on the players. Not too bad but lately, I am embarrassed to be a fan though. I have been to games at other arenas and this happens everywhere. When players on the opposing team are announced before the game, the fans yell out, “you suck”. When a goal is scored, the fans stand up and cheer to a song, (Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll Anthem), and all call out “Hey, you suck” as they cheer for their own team yet heckle the opponent. I cannot remain standing. I won’t say it and I don’t allow my kids to either, though I know that I can not control what they do when I am not there. I am uncomfortable being a part of it. Adults, kids women, men, all around chant it. The swearing at games amazes me as well. Today, a man in front of me, was sitting with a young boy about eight or nine years old. The referee made a call that this man obviously did not agree with. He stood up, screamed the “f word” and made a gesture that meant the same thing. All right in front of his kid! I don’t know how we can change these attitudes. No one is noticing me, as I sit down, refusing to join in on the cheers and jeers. My silent protest won’t change it. I am not going to make a change by myself, there are nearly 20,000 people at a game. I think about it at every game, but have yet to thought of a solution. It cannot happen by myself.
Learning how to interact with others in sports whether you win or lose, is an important part of sportsmanship. This is something we all try to teach our children. In my Kindergarten, we play lots of math games and interactive games. They know that when the game is over, they have to shake their opponents hand and say, “good game”. We can not always be winners, but at least we can learn to be gracious losers. One thing I always mention to my students’ parents at back to school night, is to play games with their children and let them LOSE! They are in class with 21 other children and will not be able to win all of the time.
It is not always negativity that I witness at games. Today in fact, I witnessed a really nice chain of kindness. A woman was walking down the steps to her seat with her hands filled with food that she had just purchased. One of the beers, in a plastic bottle, fell off her tray and hit the cement stairs hard. It exploded like a champagne bottle, soaking the woman sitting to her right. The woman who dropped it was mortified and stood there not knowing what to do first. I offered to take the food to her seats for her, as she tried to help the woman now covered in beer. The woman covered in beer did not get upset, and instead calmed her down and said not to worry because she knew it was an accident. The woman behind her, grabbed the bottle from the stairs, that was still pouring out and started to help clean up the mess. As all of this was going on, another fan, got up and got an usher to call for someone to help with the clean up. Nothing huge. Just something that proved to me that despite all the negative cheering, booing and name calling, these people still offered to lend a helping hand and do the right thing. No harsh words for this woman. Just sympathetic looks, (knowing she just spilled a ten dollar beer), and silent gestures as they tried to help her without making it into a big deal.