Among the many things I know nothing about are computers, women, and hockey. Last night I was invited to an L.A. Kings hockey game where the other two things I know nothing about were nowhere in sight. A friend offered to teach me the sport so I figured, what the hell? It was a night out at the Staples Center and I needed more three-hold paper. The mighty Kings had lost 9 of 11 so getting tickets was not a problem. In fact, they said if we were running late, call, and they’d hold the game for us.
Big difference from a Laker crowd. Celebs for the Lakers include Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington. Here it’s actor, Larry Mann and Jaimie Farr. More Hollywood stars used to attend Kings games when Gretzky was playing for them. That was back at the Fabulous Forum. They would sit right on the glass in the seats actual fans could never afford. There was a lip protruding from the glass which these celebs thought was for putting their drinks on. They didn’t realize players would be crashing into it. Goldie Hawn and company were unceremoniously drenched. It was a beautiful thing.
Different dress code, too. Laker fans come all pimped out. Kings fans all wear jerseys. More than a few should also be wearing goalie masks. But they were loud and boisterous and unlike me, seemed to know what was going on.
I sat next to a lovely gentleman who had had seven Red Bulls. But he assured me that until nine he was okay. Meanwhile, he spent the last two periods doubled over with his hands covering his head. Now I know why the Kings are off to such a poor start. I suspect he is one of their scouts.
Two 17 minute intermissions made for a lot of beer sales. By the third period everyone was rowdy. A Shark player got hit in the kisser with a puck. As he staggered over to the bench fans were yelling, “Get back on the ice, you baby!” The NHL is the official sport of the American Dental Association.
The P.A. system at the Staples Center is the worst. It was like how the Peanuts characters used to hear their teacher. Of course it didn’t help that every hockey player has fifteen consonants in his name.
As a novice I had just as much fun during the intermissions. Fans were invited to send text messages that would be posted on the scoreboard so we tried to send cleverly veiled obscene ones. I’m guessing we weren’t the first. None got posted. But truthfully, who gives a shit about “Hi, Mom,” “Kings rule”, and “Jess, would you marry me? Alex”?
The game was good but not nearly as exciting as the human bowling event between the first and second periods. The only way to be eligible to play was to fail a breathalyzer test.
No major brawls which was disappointing. Although there was a lot of physical contact. A penalty is defined as something that maims a player for life. Usually that’s a two minute punishment.
What’s wrong with this picture? The Sharks actually have a player who’s Afro-American. Mike Grier. That’s even more astounding than a white guy in the NBA. (His dad, Bobby Grier, is a coach for the New England Patriots).
Hooked up after the game with the Sharks radio announcer, Dan Rusanowsky. Even the broadcasters have long unpronounceable names. Boy, you REALLY got to be a fan to listen to hockey on the radio. “Tverdovsky over to Kostopoulos, now to Visnovsky, intercepted by Nobokov.” It’s like a Russian novel book-on-tape.
One thing I do know about hockey, it’s wall-to-wall action, great fun. And when you get down to the last five minutes and the game is tied, it’s totally wild. The Kings won 4-2 and the human bowler knocked down four pins.