Posted by: Chelsea Novak | April 4, 2006

Now truly part of the nation

“What are you doing tonight?” M asked me over the phone at work today.

“Well, I was going to go to the gym, do some laundry, watch 24..”

“No. You’re not.”

“I’m not?”

“Nope. I was just handed Leafs Tickets. And they’re good.”

Thus began my first ever Maple Leafs game, from seat 2, row 16, section 108.

I got into hockey when I got into M. It was something I was always aware of growing up, but I spent more time watching La play hockey in our local arenas than I did watching the NHL on TV. I’m also from a pretty dedicated basketball/auto racing home. Sure, hockey was the reason that my grandparents got a TV (so they could watch the Leafs of course), but Hockey Night in Canada was not a sacred thing in our home. Star Trek, yes. Hockey, no.

So I’ve spent the last seven years learning about hockey (teaching a lot about basketball too) and all of that culminated into my first Leafs game tonight. True I have been to an NHL game before in Ottawa, a fine and fun time, but we were so close that I couldn’t do much other than scream every time someone hit the boards near where we were sitting. This time, we were at one of the blue lines and we could really see everything.

And hear everything too. Early in the game I could hear Pat Quinn swearing at the team from across the rink (I could even see him chewing his gum) and when the Leafs tied it 2-2 in the third, I heard the ACC explode (and this wasn’t even a hugely exciting game). I can only imagine what that place must be like during the playoffs (kind of like how Leaf fans are going to have to imagine the playoffs in general). It’s pretty amazing to be swept up in it all.

Even more fun was hearing thousands of people make the same noises that M makes while he’s watching hockey at home, but all in unison. And one had to chuckle at how much the ladies love Darcy Tucker. It was just a bit silly. Less fun was how the game went to a shootout (man I cannot handle those) and how the Leafs lost.

Still, it was great to get to see a game. Great for M as well. I could happily give up doing the laundry any time in exchange for this kind of fun.


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