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What to say at a hockey game

One of the people I went to a game with asked me if I talk when I watch games at home.  I said “huh? Probably.”  I do a little, but not nearly as much as at a game.

Do I bark at the players when I go to a game?  No.  But I do talk “to” them.  It sounds something like this:

“Stop him! Take that away from him!  Oh… dear, oh no… Atta boy, Nemo, put a stop to that.  There, that’s better, there you go… Who is that?  Is that… oh no, sweetie, wait.. oh, no dear,  not… shit…   Don’t let him go there!  Catch him!  There, much better.  Oh… um.. wait… uh oh.  Look out.. there’s… he’s… phew… much better.  Way to go Pickles!”

And so on.  I’m sure it can be irritating to a listener, but my audience is small, since the volume is quite low, conversational.  And generally I don’t use obscenities.

So what should you say at a hockey game?

There are ritual group chants that make themselves heard at a hockey game.  They vary from venue to venue.

The standard “[insert name] sucks!” is ubiquitous.  The patrons at the Tank have not yet figured out how to make themselves heard without shouting over the national anthem.  I find that pretty offensive.  The organized “sucks” shouters are mostly drunk so there is no point trying to reason with them.

There is the other standard “Let’s go [insert team name]!”  That doesn’t work so well with the Sharks because it really needs a two syllable team name to sound good.  But we try anyway.

Also there’s “Pizza!” when the Sharks have three goals and some time to score a fourth, because of a Pizza Hut promotion going on.  I think it’s Pizza Hut.  Could be Round Table.  It doesn’t work in my neighborhood so I don’t care.

There are individual talkers too.  I have heard game-long conversations about office gossip, family matters, dating troubles.  They are not exactly loud, they just have to raise their voices enough to hear each other over the noise of the game.  I don’t have to worry about leaning and blocking the view for those people, but I do wonder why they came to the game.

Then there are private grand-standers.  There was one guy who sat in front of me at the Blue Jackets game for the first two periods.  His absence in the third was such a relief that I didn’t even mind the Sharks losing.  He was one of those people who yells each player’s name as he skates by, shouts it loudly and angrily like me hollering for the dog that runs away every day.  He would intersperse this barking with “shoot!”

It doesn’t matter that the players either cannot hear him or ignore him as part of a noisy inarticulate crowd.  I found him intolerable.    I’m a law abiding citizen and generally I avoid trying to get the attention of angry drunks, so I didn’t kick him.  I did nothing at all.

It probably doesn’t matter what you say at a hockey game.  It is very very loud, so I suppose it is just fine to talk to yourself or shout whatever comes into your head.  Everyone else does.


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