Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

One and done


I wish the Bruins well and I’m fond of some of the players in a detached sort of way but I’ll say this:  Unless Kyle Snyder decides on an athletic change of career that involves wearing skates and carrying a stick, I’m fairly certain I’ve seen my last professional hockey game in person.

The seats were fabulous.  FABULOUS.  Six rows off the glass on one of the goals.  So the action was coming toward us and going away from us instead of whipping past us from left to right and back again.  Right there was a win.  Visually, it was entertaining.  The white ice with the players in black uniforms flying over them…it was a feast for the eyes.  I’ve been to many hockey games (albeit long ago) and my memories of those games are similar to my memory of last night’s game.  Not much about the game, more about individual players and what was going on AROUND the game.  Visually it is stunning but I really never have gotten into the specifics of the game.  I felt sorry for Tim Thomas losing and I was annoyed that the fans booed at the end of the game (not knowing hockey fan etiquette, is this something the fans always do?  Are they booing the team that won, not their own team?) and those who stayed with two minutes to go and then suddenly decided the comeback was impossible so they bolted.

For me, the thing I can’t get past, is not only the acceptance but the encouragement of violence.  Before each period of the game, the video board showed footage of the team along with the heart-pounding music, to get the fans into it.   (That alone struck me odd…we already did that before the game began…it was like celebrating three mini-games instead of one full game.)  Every other clip (and in some instances, EVERY clip) was of a fight or a really hard hit.  The fans, of course, were going crazy and it was obvious that the mission of the videos was clear:  Get as angry and worked up about this as possible.  I have a hard time getting excited at the prospect of guys taking the ice in anticipation of fighting.  It’s something I can’t wrap my mind around.  I know many hockey fans will tell me either I’m too soft or I don’t get that fighting is a huge part of hockey.  Maybe so.  But the violent images being flashed on a giant screen all night only served to make me uncomfortable with the people around me screaming for blood.

As Red Sox fans we can point to the ARod/Tek fight from 2004 as being a bit inspirational for the team and for what happened that year.  But Jason Varitek has spent years separating himself from that, insisting he was wrong to get into it and refusing to sign photos of it.  The fights are few and far between in baseball (and most of them not really fights anyway) and last night made me grateful for that.

My parents have always been Boston-based sports fans.  Along with trips to Fenway, my father courted my mother by taking her to Bruins and Celtics games as well.  I remember many nights when I was very young, sneaking into my parents room while my mother slept and my father watched the Bruins on his small black and white television and just adoring Brad Park.  Hell, I watched every game the US Hockey team played in 1980, not just the “miracle” game.  So even last night I had some nostalgia for those days and I could see myself becoming attached to players if I truly followed the games.  But I don’t ever see myself becoming attached to the game itself like I was when I was younger.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t happy for the experience.  Great seats, great company and a fun night out.  The Garden is visually stunning (although I have to admit I feel no connection to it the way I did with the “old” Garden), a beautiful place to see an event.  I’ll just stick to the Celtics being my sporting event of choice there.

You haven’t lost me Red Sox.  Certainly not to hockey!


November 14, 2010 - Posted by | 2010 |


  1. I always enjoy your point of view. I’ve never seen a hockey game; we don’t have ice sports down here unless you count the flavored ice concoctions called snowballs that we love to eat in the summertime. I have no doubt I’d share your view of the violence all too prevalent in hockey. Football makes me pretty uncomfortable. Basketball has so much speed and grace that the rather too frequent blatant foul seems to be called as much for lack of finesse as for breaking the rules. So basketball is my second favorite game but clearly lagging rather far behind baseball.

    There are people, even women, I’m told, who enjoy boxing both as spectators and as participants. I even know a Jesuit philosopher who is a boxer. While it seems more honest in its violent intent, to me, it is just violence for the sake of violence. I don’t see the art and the fans appear to me as mindless as the audiences in film noir flicks who call for knockouts and sigh with satisfaction at the sight of blood.

    It’s just not my thing and I don’t think opposing violence in or out of sporting events is something one has to explain or apologize for.

    Comment by Anita | November 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. It’s sort of like going to a NASCAR race for the crashes. The big hits are a draw. And fighting, well when you’re getting ponded by someone all night eventually guys snap. Either that or the tough guy stands up for his smaller teammate. It’s been a part of hockey for ever and it’s not going to change. The league tried to discourage it a few years ago and one of the side effects was that attendance was down. Obviously, true hockey fans love the game for the speed, finesse, goal scoring, and goal tending…but that doesn’t fill seats.

    As for the pump up music between periods, that’s been a part of it as long as I remember. Heck, at UNH, certain songs were played before certain periods….Black Betty being the most common.

    I agree it’s not for everyone. And things have changed since guys like Orr, Bourque, and Neeley took the ice. Seems like it’s going back to the broad street bullies teams of the past. But it’ll cycle back to a more civilized game again.

    Comment by Stacy | November 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. When players like Orr, Esposito, Sanderson, Johnson played, they had one bad guy, Pie Mackenzie! The rest of the team was to score and stop the other team from scoring, not fighting. If they needed a fight to get motivated it was Mackenzie. That’s when hockey was enjoyable.
    I froze my butt off many a night watching those guys. And of course in the end we were rewarded with the Stanley Cup!
    Haven’t liked Hockey since then.

    Comment by noni | November 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. It’s interesting to explain to people who are casual fans of hockey or not fans at all, but fighting actually does have a role in the sport. There is an unwritten code and rules to it. And it actually keeps more guys from getting hurt.

    Yes, I know it doesn’t seem to make sense. But two guys squaring off one on one actually does prevent injury to other players. The instigator rule has handcuffed them a bit, but it’s the game’s way of policing itself. Don’t go after a guy with a dirty hit if you’re not prepared to drop the gloves.

    I enjoy the fights. Not going to lie. But I would rather see a top shelf goal or a fantastic save.

    Comment by Alexis | November 15, 2010 | Reply

    • My issue is more that the fighting seems to be (at least at this game) the main focus of the game. Every video they showed on the board to get the fans excited was either of a fight or a hard hit. One, one video showed highlights of goals. All it did was get the fans wired for violence and anger. It’s the only sporting event I’ve been to where the fans felt ANGRY throughout the entire game and I just didn’t like it.

      Comment by Cyn | November 16, 2010 | Reply

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