In the past, my interest in ice hockey has been
purely evasive unenthusiastic. So you know that when our younger son, Greg, developed an intense passion for the sport, I had nothing to do with it.
He has grown from a fan (Dallas Stars, of course!) to an expert stats-analysis hobbyist. And now the man is serving as a volunteer off-ice official for the local NAHL team, the Lone Star Brahmas.
I may not care much about hockey, but I sure care about Greg. So I jumped at the chance to go to last Saturday’s home game (my first-ever) and see him in action. A few observations…
Their arena ain’t the American Airlines Center. Thanks to the echoes, I never understood a word the announcer said. It sounded like a record being played backward. The building felt more like a high school arena than a pro venue.
Even at that, while I don’t know whether or not the competition is international… the attitude sure is.
Greg keeps track of both teams’ shots on goal, where on the ice each came from, and who made the shot. This is roughly equivalent to watching a flock of squabbling seagulls and being able, at any moment, to tell you which one has the sardine.
Every time the home team scored, dozens of small black blobs went flying from the stands onto the ice. They looked like turds, which I thought seemed insulting. But Brent said they were little “stress-ball” Brahmas. He had seen them for sale in the fan shop. These adorable kids skated out to collect the miniature livestock. I never saw anyone throwing the cattle back into the crowd to be re-used. My theory? They’re herded back to the store, where they are sold again for the next home game. If true, think of the boost to profits!
So now I truly understand the joke, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” Seriously, I could not believe the amount of time the players spent fighting. I didn’t get any pictures showing the flying fists and bodies, because every time a fight started I was too busy asking “What is the deal with these guys??”
One player even threw an intervening ref down onto the ice. In the last period, the penalty boxes started looking like clown cars. Even Brent, who has attended many NHL games, was astonished. When I asked whether this was normal, he said, “No. And I’ve never even seen a seven-minute penalty before.” Several players got themselves ejected… I think. I wondered whether the coaches would have to start sending in the stress-ball kids.
I enjoyed the evening, though. And I gotta tell you, my respect for Greg’s focus and skill keeps expanding.
Could this be the same kid I worried about having the attention span of a flea?
Your turn: Do you have a passion / hobby that absorbs your attention? Do you go to huge amounts of effort to learn about it? Share a comment below!
Thanks for reading,