Five for Fighting
Jason and I attended a Utah Grizzlies hockey game on Saturday. Although I have been to an Olympic hockey match, this was my first time at a professional hockey game and honestly, it was a bit of a shock to me.
Everyone knows that hockey is a pretty violent sport. Players get slammed into the plexiglass, high-sticked occasionally, and shoved on the ground; that I expected to see. However, I wasn’t counting on all the team brawling and fist fights. Yeah, really, fist fights.
So yes, the game was much more viscous than I anticipated. I was amazed at just how many times play was stopped abruptly due to players randomly deciding to pound each other. These sudden violent exchanges seemed to quickly escalate into team affairs. If two guys started quarreling the other players usually swarmed around them ready to jump in, and often did. On several occasions the ice was littered with dozens of gloves and various forms of padding, which players had removed in order to better get in on the action. I frequently had to remind myself that I was actually at a hockey game and not the WWE on ice.
But the players weren’t the only ones ready to battle; anytime there was even an incline of a confrontation the crowd was immediately on its feet chanting “Fight, fight, fight!” It felt like junior high all over again.
Jason and I were seated on the second row directly adjacent to the penalty box, so we were in a prime location to catch all the cross-team banter. (The comments we heard will not be repeated here because they were deemed inappropriate for small children, left-handed monkeys, and your mom.) We were also in a perfect spot to hear all the crowd heckling directed at the opposing teammates unfortunate enough to end up in the penalty box (also not repeatable). All this rampaging seemed a bit over the top to me and I contemplated the possibility that I had somehow entered a parallel hick universe. What was with all these people? I seemed to be the only one in the arena that felt anything akin to sympathy for the players that got thrashed. (If you find my sensitivity laughable, you are not alone. Jason got a kick out of it too.) But while the fighting was a bit too brutal and testosterone fueled for my taste, I did enjoy the actual playing. The Grizzlies played a great fast-paced game and pulled off a landslide victory, with a final score of 5 to 2. This was the last game of their regular season but they clinched a spot in the playoffs, which will begin on the 10th. Jason and I plan on catching one of their playoff games. If you enjoy bloodthirsty crowds, mean slap-shots, padded men hitting each other at unpredictable intervals, or perhaps just padded men in general, then you might want to check out one of their playoff games as well.