Friday, February 02, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Two: The First Sabres Game

(Editor's note: Jen is being added as an author, but Blogger's being difficult- here's her post, please ignore the fact that it says I wrote it)

Sitting down with Ritch at a sports bar in front of our own private flatscreen, it became pretty obvious that the Bruins were playing a different game than they had been all week, namely, one in which they appeared to have brushed up on the basic tenets of the sport before taking the ice. By the end of the first period, the Bruins were up by one, and I was confused; with all of the talk surrounding Buffalo’s innate awesomeness, I had expected them to maybe, perhaps, take possession of the puck at some point, but I’m an outsider here, and figured it was just a lack of expertise on my part.

After a second beer and my eleventh explanation of icing—my only idea as to why I am still unable to grasp the concept is that I was raped by a linesman as a child and have since repressed anything to do with zone violations—the Sabres came to, and I was back in the shittalking business. Tim Thomas did some neat trick in which he momentarily removed his arms from their sockets, and Ritch called garbage goal, but I assumed that was because he was losing. At one point Buffalo scored a goal so quickly after the faceoff that I wondered that maybe they’d just left it there from the last one? I’d have asked Ritch, but the discovery of a foot-long hair in his spinach dip had officially moved him to “man while he’s down” status, so I refrained.

Since my love of hockey fights and injuries is rooted in grainy movie and TV memories from the Cold War era, I had been worried that the general uptightedness of the new millennium had dulled the gore, but watching the replay footage of Andrew Alberts taking a puck to the eye on HD, I actually saw the individual capillaries bursting, and as it always does, technology allayed any fears. When the fight broke out, I felt my heart burst with joy at the exact moment that the ref kicked the helmet out of the way, and when Sturm got a stick in the face and blood hit the ice—so red! so clearly defined!-- I was riled up like it was the Thunderdome. Team victory, a fight, a grievous-ish injury, an unexpectedly long happy hour special, and a worthy receptacle for my trash talk right beside me? Happy friggin’ birthday to me.

I have to admit, it was more than a little heartbreaking to see the Bruins do such a sexy little dance for Ritch before blueballing him in the second and third periods, but hockey’s not a game of sympathetic condolences, and in the end, he had to know that choosing a team based solely on geographic proximity to his birthplace might not be such a hot idea next time; also, making a man cry in a sports bar is always a special treat.

Birthing status: Contractions


Alec said...

enjoy it now Jen, the playoffs are a whole new thing-

If the Sabres lose in the playoffs this year, the sorrow you feel should be documented and broadcasted to the world (namely, so I can enjoy it too).

Doug said...

Jen shit-talking her way through a sporting event?! I am stunned -- STUNNED -- by this revelation. Then again, I am a Sabres fan by long association, and did love the comment about the Bruins "ppeared to have brushed up on the basic tenets of the sport before taking the ice." Classic Jen. I look forward to her next brave installment, and can't wait for the "hockey novice watches classic hockey movies" segment. Just remember: Slap Shot was filmed in Starr Rink.