Ice Ice Baby
Despite what it looks like, I am not following up Beatles Week with Vanilla Ice Week (regardless of Brent’s suggestion).
On Saturday, a bunch of Careerians went to an Indiana Ice hockey game (weirdly, their webpage has an ad before you get to any content.) It was only the second hockey game I’ve ever been to, and while it certainly was fun, nothing occurred during the game that would elicit a reaction anywhere near this:
From L. to R: Jen, some of Melissa’s hair (I think maybe she’s glad she didn’t show up in a picture where I look like a raving loonie), me, Jodi, and Melissa (a different Melissa!)
That picture actually shows up on on the Indiana Ice website, in the photo gallery for this game, along with a few other pictures of our group (thanks, Jonell, for finding them!). I think we can all be glad there is no video of me trying to get a free T-shirt by whooping and hollering. What’s a little loss of dignity in the face of getting a free T-shirt? Sadly, it didn’t pan out, so lost some dignity for nothing. That probably would have happened without the prospect of a free T-shirt anyway, so I’m okay with it.
As I’ve mentioned, the game was fun. Hockey’s kind of like a fast moving, more violent soccer. While no actual fights broke out (much to Lee‘s disappointment), there were plenty of solid hits. It was relatively high-scoring for a hockey game (4-3) and even went into overtime and ended in a shootout, so it’s hard to complain about the lack of a fight.
What was more interesting to me was the immediate sense of community bestowed by the game. I’d never been to an Ice game before and was only barely aware there even was a hockey team in the state, but there I was rooting for the Ice like I’d gone to school with each of them. Collective pronouns were par for the course – “We need a goal!” “Our guy just smacked into that other guy!” and that kind of thing. It wasn’t just me, either. We were all rooting for “our” team, made “ours” because it says “Indiana” right on their jerseys and we, being Hoosiers, had to root for them. If it had been two Indiana teams, we would have had to choose between them using a complex algorithm using geographic proximity, experiences in the respective towns, and location of family and friends.
I was again reminded of the Jerry Seinfeld bit where he talks about sports (paraphrased): “You got a guy on your team and you love him. He’s the greatest guy there is. During the offseason, he gets traded to a different team, and when that team plays against your team, you hate the guy. He’s the worst guy ever. What’s different? The guy hasn’t changed. All that’s changed are the clothes he’s wearing. We’re rooting for laundry, basically.”
I’m not a full-on Sports Guy by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t memorize stats, I barely know the players on my favorite teams, and I don’t plan my day around watching games. Even so, I find it’s easy to get excited in the sports atmosphere. There’s a sense of camaraderie with the other fans, even if you’re rooting for different teams – rivalry is its own specific sort of camaraderie – and it’s a good feeling to have that connection with other members of the human race, even if it’s for something as unimportant as a minor league hockey game.
It was a good time, and I really only have two quibbles:
- Our team lost.
- They never once played “Ice Ice Baby” in the arena, a song that you would just assume would be their theme song, wouldn’t you?