Dispatches from the New Hockey Season
When my dad and I sat down in the stadium before the last Capitals game, the first thing I noted was that both teams were wearing the exact same colors. This lack of diversity in the professional sporting color pallette is a major annoyance. Last season, I went to a baseball game in which the two teams were wearing white and light gray, respectively. I rooted for the other team by mistake a few times.
The Capitals were playing the Panthers, who, in addition to wearing essentially the same uniform as the Capitals, are from Florida, where, if I’m correct, ice doesn’t even exist. I puzzled over that for a bit.
As far as watching hockey goes, I still don’t understand much of what they players are doing when they’re skating around or why they suddenly stop and congregate around the dots. But I’ve gotten into the fandom somewhat and it’s not without its amusements. For example, Ovi’s response when asked if he was wearing baseball pants at the Winter Classic jersey unveiling in Nationals Park: “Uh, yeah. We’re on a baseball field.”
I enjoy the stuff that is not the actual game. This season, the jumbotron isn’t flashing your standard head shots. Instead, soundless video of a player’s face blinking at you for several seconds plays on a loop. As if that spectator experience isn’t intense enough, their disembodied, staring, blinking eyes are simultaneously featured on the video strip item that runs around each level.
The jumbotron also releases plumes of smoke every time the Capitals score.
Was this hockey or … Quidditch?
My favorite parts of the game often happen before and after every period: the officials walking along the ice to get to and from their duty stations. The powers-that-be transform the Verizon Center to accommodate rock concerts and basketball games, yet they can’t seem to install a door on that side of the stadium. I bet someone just wants to see the suits clinging to the edge as they baby step around in their dress shoes.
I was disappointed not to see any real fighting break out during the game, though just before we left, an idiot wearing a medical boot and sitting behind us did hit my dad in the head with his foot. (He was ok.)