Note: This is a backdated entry.
Before the show.
I’m a little bit dubious about going into this hockey game. I’m hesitant to say I’ll enjoy it because I’m not a team sports person at all and don’t particularly enjoy watching sports, but I’ve also been to a few provincial games to get volunteer hours and I had fun then. (Go Mississauga Steelheads!)
I’m going with a friend (a born-and-bred Leafs fan) who knows a lot about hockey, and she even knows one of the Sens players! Apparently Matt Duchene is from her hometown, and although she doesn’t know him that well personally, she played hockey with his sister, his dad was her hockey coach, and his mom was her guidance counsellor. Small world, I guess.
Although I don’t think I’ll be very into watching the sport itself, I know that I’ll get caught up in the excitement of the crowd. I love feeling like I’m a part of a community, so I get easily caught up in the energy and the momentum of a big crowd, and I’m sure it’ll be like that when I go to watch the actual game. I might not understand anything about hockey and I might not know anything at all about the Sens, but I’m sure I’ll somehow end up invested in the game, cheering for them and vocally hoping for their win, just because everyone around me will be doing so. I love cheering and being enthusiastic anyways, so I can see myself participating in that respect.
For example, I know nothing about soccer and actually kind of hate playing it (I am definitely not a cardio person), and I generally find watching other people run across big fields boring when it’s on television. When the Euro 2016 was happening, however, I lived with people who liked watching soccer and the Icelandic team definitely caught the world by storm with their underdog story, so I found myself watching the matches with my roommates and even going to a pub to watch with more fans. It was a lot of fun to cheer for a team together with people that I liked, to watch the games and feel a part of that community. I’m sure that’s how I’ll end up feeling when I go to watch the Sens game tonight!
I also know I’ll be intrigued by the athleticism of the players. Watching people move has always been eye catching for me, and I’ll probably be keeping an eye out for any cool moves a player might pull, the speed at which they skate around, how they hold their hockey sticks and position themselves for a play.
I guess I’m looking forward to it a little! At the very least, it will be a fun time with my friend.
After the show.
I actually had a lot of fun at the hockey game! I wouldn’t go so far as to say I will watch hockey all the time from now on, but I was definitely a Sens fan for a solid two hours. I might even like them more than the Leafs, and I’m from Mississauga so that’s almost like betrayal. I even have trading cards! (They were giving them away for free when we entered the place.)
It was a good choice to bring along a friend (her name is Paige) who knows a lot about hockey because I appreciated the game a lot more with a deeper understanding of what was going on. She told me that I got to witness a lot of things that you would want to see in a hockey game, except the actual fighting. There was a goalie switch, and the start of a fight, and one of the players actually hit the plexiglass so hard, it fell onto the ice and they had to move the last two minutes of the period to the beginning of the next one and take the break early because it took a while to get the plexiglass back up.
She also explained all the rules to me as they became relevant in the game. If there’s one thing I know about hockey, it’s the icing rule! (I feel proud about remembering this.)
From a theatrical perspective, I was surprised at just how traditionally theatrical the game was. When we arrived, the players were out on the ice practicing, similar to the way the orchestra was already out on stage. Before the game actually began, they all skated off, the lights went down, and a video was projected onto the rink and on the big screens, hyping up the players, the team, and the game. It created this sense of anticipation and suspense, as if we were about to watch something epic.
There was also standing up for the national anthems of both Canada and America, and how a huge Canadian flag was passed around a section of the audience near the bottom, all tradition and routine (my friend informed me that the passing of the flag was a thing that occurred before every game, no matter the team, and was a tradition in the NHL).
Watching the players do their job was an amazing experience. They were putting on a show as much as they were playing a game, and it is so inspiring to watch people move when they have a mastery over their body, whether that be in sport, in dance, or in theatre. The athleticism these guys possess on ice is unreal (especially since I myself can’t do more than skate forward in a straight line and turn to stop). Another friend of mine who is a huge Sens fan told me that, since Karlsson wasn’t playing this game, I should keep an eye on Duchene (and I already kind of was, as like I mentioned, Paige knew his family), and I was impressed by the way Duchene moved on the ice. There were some things he did on his skates, like the way he turned to avoid another player, or the way he maneuvered himself to steal the puck from the opposing team, that was almost artful in his movements.
One thing that surprised me a little was that there was a lot of hype before the game, but the actual beginning was unceremonious and without much fanfare. I hadn’t even realized the referee dropped the puck until they were already playing. I had assumed after all that suspense, everyone would have been waiting for the first puck to drop with baited breath, but it just… started.
Furthermore, the ending was super anti-climactic, probably in large part because the Sense were losing to the Panthers by five points (the game was unfortunately 2-7 to the Panthers). Paige, who is very much a Leafs fan and almost wore her Leafs jersey to a game that had nothing to do with the Leafs, told me that she’d been to a Sens game once before and she was surprised to see a lot of fans leaving before the game actually ended. She’s been to Leafs games as well and she told me she’s never seen so many people leave before a game finishes than she does at Sens games. It makes me sad to contemplate—it must be demoralizing to see the people who are supposedly your fans leaving before you’re done playing, like they’re deeply disappointed and can’t stand seeing their favourite team lose another game. I think I feel strongly about this because when you’re at a play, a dance, or an orchestral event, leaving early would be viewed as deeply rude and disrespectful to the people on the stage. I guess it’s different for a sports game—maybe it’s treated more like a concert, where people shout and dance and eat and come and go at their leisure.
There are differences in audience decorum based on the live event, and I guess I was mistaken about the kind of decorum you would have at a sports game, treating it in a much more formal manner because I was seeing it with this class in mind.
Anyways, I had a lot more fun than I expected I would at a hockey game, even though I don’t do the team sports thing, and I would gladly go again—provided it was with someone who actually knew stuff about hockey and wouldn’t mind fielding the thousand questions I will undoubtedly ask. Paige was the real MVP of the game in this respect, because she was patient about everything that I asked (and it was a lot).
One last comment: the chicken tenders I bought cost almost as much as my ticket! It’s more expensive than some drinks you might buy during intermission at the NAC. I guess the raised prices of anything being sold in the immediate area of any live event will be the same no matter what it is you’re about to experience. I’m still slightly exasperated about it.
Hello! My name is Reine Tejares, and this is my blog for THE 2100: The Theatrical Event at the University of Ottawa.