Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Triple Natural Weekend: Part 2

I spent most of the triple natural weekend in Columbus visiting my brother Big Mike.  During a round of sporting clays I discovered that I am an unrepentant white oppressor and that, as such, Moonbats have stopped inviting me to wine and cheese parties.  Well, I don't mind.  I'll have another manhattan and assuage my guilt that way.

Next on the agenda was a hockey game followed by dinner and drinking.  Prior to last weekend I'd never been to a hockey game and I found this one very informative.  By contrast, I've been out drinking before so there weren't any surprises there - surprising no one.

Columbus Blue Jacket Memorabilia

Big Mike has tickets for the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.  Last Saturday was hat night, so we both got a Blue Jacket gimme cap.  Not bad, as I had neglected to bring any kind of head gear and the place is as cold as the inside of a Frigidaire.

For those who have not been to Nationwide Area, the place is gigantic.  We wound our way through Nationwide's labyrinth and after an interminable ride up the elevator we arrived at the entrance to our seats.  Here's the view from the mouth of the access tunnel.

Right Side

Left Side
To get some idea of the proportions, note that the people are the size of termites.  Staring out into the vastness of the hockey arena, I felt a little twinge of vertigo.  Then I took note of the stairs we were supposed to descend to get to our seats.

Going down...
Clearly, some civil engineer had me mixed up with a mountain goat.  The steps are steep, and we were seated in the second row from the edge of the ledge.  I descended carefully, least a misstep cause me to fall down the steps and over the non-existent safety railing.  The phrase, "Hey, this is bullshit!" crossed my mind a few times during the descent.  At the correct row, I had to squeeze past a host of men as large as myself with out losing my balance and going over the rail.  Sadly, I didn't make it and fell to an untimely death.

Okay, I'm just kidding.  The seats are packed together tighter than steerage on an American Airlines puddle jumper.  One way or another, everyone has to figure out where their legs and shoulders are going to go, and then we can all watch the game.  But first, our national anthem.  Which means we all stand up again, and although I stood up I failed to sing along with O Canada and The Star Spangled Banner.  The man next to me managed it, and didn't do badly with The Star Spangled Banner, which is rare.

Finally it was time for hockey.  Giving credit where it's due, the Blue Jackets have been getting the snot pounded out of them lately, but tonight looked like it might be a little different.  For one thing, the Blue Jackets scored a goal right away.  Lights flashed, music played, the scoreboard went nuts and some enterprising individual torched off an imitation cannon.  Hot puppies!  We're going to win one.  Maybe.

Then along about the second period two players agreed to disagree and the game was put on hold for a few minutes.

Game not in Progress
Agree to Disagree
Protracted Disagreement
I note that no one is moving in to break the two up, nor is the rest of the team getting involved.  This is pretty mild compared to baseball, where this kind of discussion is likely to clear both benches and involve interested third parties in the stands.

Order Will Be Restored
Order was restored shortly after I got this picture.  The general feeling was that the Blue Jackets won that one, but you couldn't really prove it by me - very little damage was done and both these men are professional athletes, which makes a huge difference.  For instance:

Big Mike used to play on a softball team (division F as I remember it, but maybe it was G), and on that team was a retired Canadian hockey player.  The man used to play for a major Canadian team and had the sports injuries and associated surgery scars to prove it.  He was a goalie, and his knees were shot.  He wanted to play softball though, and so would take a pain pill or two before the game, said pills augmented by a six pack of beer.  Then he'd play softball, but in spite of the pills he still couldn't run, so there was only one choice for him: he hit home runs each time he was at bat.  There wasn't any question about what he'd do when he came up to bat.  He'd looked at the game and knew that he'd just hit it out of the park, and that would be that.  That way he wouldn't have to walk the bases if he didn't want to, and he sure wouldn't have to run them.  He just put the ball over the fence.  That's how it is with a professional athlete.  Mix a pro up in an amateur game and the difference will be apparent to anyone who watches for two minutes.  There just isn't any competition.

So in a hockey game, a fight breaks out between two players who drop their sticks, shuck their gloves and have at it.  Eventually they quit and are given a time out.  The thing I noticed is that no real damage occurred, and although I saw plenty of punches and wrestling around, there wasn't any blood and the match didn't go to ground.  So are the fights real?  Yes, there are heated tempers, but the fight is a lot more controlled than a casual fan might believe.

So, back to the game.

Not a Hockey Player

Cleanup Crew At Work
Every so often the clean up girls take to the ice and give everyone something to rest their eyes on.  The little darlings skate along with the enthusiasm of a future Hollywood starlet about to be discovered, bravely pushing their shovel and looking for a talent scout.  I gather that the clean up girls are a new addition, and were recruited to replace the all male crew.  This is a definite improvement over a group of guys pushing shovels.
The other part of the show is the pee-wee game, where two groups of kids take to the ice and play a ten minute game.  One young man managed to overcome his stage fright and score several goals, which put him in the spotlight later on.  I enjoyed watching the kids play and I think it's a good thing for the kids as well, as they get to mix with the pro players in the locker room and meet them.

Broken Window - Look where the spectator is pointing

Repair Crew
A cursory examination of the stadium will reveal that the spectators are protected from injury by a thick sheet of plexiglass topped by a net.  Pucks fly all over the place, and one slap shot missed everything but the safety glass - and cracked it badly.  The game was called and the repair crew came out and replaced the glass.  I gather that this is relatively new, and was precipitated by the death of a spectator who was clipped by a puck.

Final Score
Here's our final score.  Big Mike was worried that the Jets would tie the game up, which was justified.  The Jets played the final segment without a goalie and were all over the Blue Jackets goal like white on rice, but our team managed to hold them off.  Here the official recapitulation if you'd care to look.

I enjoyed the hockey game a great deal.  We sat next to a Canadian group who were mercifully well-behaved.  The game had a lot of activity in it and featured some of the worst refereeing you can imagine.  The referees refused to call obvious fouls committed directly in front of them, and the bias against the Blue Jackets was as blatant and obvious as a Moonbat politician accused of moral turpitude.

We departed for Barley's in downtown Columbus, where we had an excellent dinner and which I'll review in another post.

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