Well, there's been a lot of buzz both here and over at the Youtube site over the video of the facepainters I took at Monday's Islander's game.
To be fair, not all Islander fans are like this.
The vast majority were, loud, passionate, pissed off at the officiating (which they deserved to be, I think) and let us know that Buffalo fans weren't welcome in their building.
That is entirely appropriate behavior.
Walking the aisles for beers and waiting in the bathroom line, you expect to hear some boos, "go homes," "you sucks," and even a "fuck you" or two. Fair game, especially in the playoffs. When you start veering into personal insults, threats of violence and a lot of faggot-talk, you're crossing a line. And I gotta say, the guys who did cross the line that night crossed it with such aplomb, it was pretty clear that they weren't pushing any personal envelopes, they pretty much lived there. Was I asking for it by shoving a camera in their face?
But still, I was pretty sure I'd get a good show, and they delivered. In the year 2007, if you can't hold off from screaming the word "faggot" when a camera is pointed at you, you deserve whatever you get.
Just to let you in on their world a bit, those facepainters were dyed in the wool douchebags who smuggled cans of Sparks into the game. If you're not familiar with this beverage, it's a combination of caffeine, booze and sugar that's pretty much designed for the gentleman who says "Sure, an Orange Slice would be refreshing, but it doesn't really give me the boost I need to get into a fistfight with that parking meter. Are you looking at me, you homo?"
It came to a head in the second period, and there was a bit of a brawl with those guys that we thankfully missed, mainly because Jack was having a cigarette out in the smokers area. We were having a good conversation with a cool Islanders fan when a junkie looking motherfucker skulked up to me and slurred "Hey- areyoo a Buffalo fan? Can I ashk chew a questshun? Do you suck dick?" After his query, he stood before me wide-eyed, and swaying. As I was contemplating which of his questions to address first, especially seeing as the answers to all three were "no," the cool Isles fan we were talking to jumped in.
"Hey buddy- can you name one player on the Buffalo Sabres? Just one."
The guy looked at him, took a thoughtful pause of up to 8 seconds and decided on his response:
"Buffalo shucks cock."
Then he tried to bum a cigarette.
Either way, to even things up, I'm going back to game four tonight with Jack, and we will be sitting right behind the glass, which will give me an opportunity for a interesting experiment in Long Island anthropology. Will the fans be the same? Different? More polite but less passionate?
I guess what I'm saying is, tune in tomorrow for a Youtube video of Christie Brinkley throwing a beer down my back and screaming that I shouldn't suck any cock on the way back to the parking lot.
We'll see how it goes.
Jesus, I love playoff hockey.