Last night, as I watched the Hawks beat the Maple Leafs from Section 308, I realized that the United Center is quickly becoming the new Wrigley Field (minus all the losing).
A Blackhawks game has become the place you bring you clients, your kids, or spend your 21st birthday “woo-ing” and asking everyone to buy you drinks.
With this in mind, I’d like to lay out a little instruction manual for all you new fans. They are simple little rules that will make the game more enjoyable for you, and the people around you who are actually there for the game.
1. Wait for a whistle : If this has been screamed angrily in your direction, this is the blog for you. You see, when you stand up while the play is going on, no one can see the action on the ice. There are many stoppages in play during a hockey game. Wait until there is one, then go pee for the 27th time. Also, when you know you are getting up, ask your friends what they want while SEATED. It will speed up the process, and you won’t be mindlessly standing in everyone’s sight line. You also don’t need to hi-five and hug all your friends as you slink to your seat. Chances are you’ve seen them before.
2. Don’t yell, “Shoot!” : This is typically yelled during a powerplay, while the home team is cycling the puck trying to get the best lane to shoot through. The Blackhawks know how to score goals. Have a little patience…and shut up.
3. Don’t yell, “Hit ’em!” : It doesn’t make a lot of sense to hit someone while you are carrying the puck. I know you came for the fights. The hits will come. Relax.
4. Purchase your jersey wisely : The Hawks are a really good young team. Please embrace a current player. Listen, you are far from the first person to realize that Clark Griswold wore a Hawks jersey in Christmas Vacation. It’s been done. Please don’t do it. Also, DA’ HAWKS, VAN HALEN, DETROIT SUCKS or anything with the jersey number “69′ is unacceptable. Oh, and if you haven’t seen a player play in your lifetime, his jersey probably isn’t the best for you.
5. Patrick Sharp wants nothing to do with you : He can’t see the t-shirt you’ve made with his name in puffy paint. He doesn’t see his number painted on your cheek. Even if he could…you don’t have a chance. Have you ever looked in to his eyes? It’s like the first time I heard the Beatles.
6. Neither does Patrick Kane : See #5
7. Don’t chant U-S-A when facing a Canadian team: I know the Maple Leafs are from Canada. I know the Blackhawks are from Chicago, which is in the US. 90% of the people playing on the ice are from Canada.
8. Don’t boo the Canadian National Anthem : If this is you just watch from your trailer, (and read #7 a few more times) OK? What’s not to like about Canada? Their affinity to bacon? Mountees? Rick Moranis? Who doesn’t enjoy a nice Old King Clancy in the morning? I know I do. Have you never experienced a maple dipped donut from Tim Horton’s? My friend…you haven’t lived.
9. Don’t chant “Detroit Sucks” if the Wings aren’t in the building : This was totally acceptable when the Hawks were awful. Now that they’re contenders, save the vitriol for the Wings. It makes us as a fan base look jealous and inadequate. If you’re at the UC, chances are the Hawks are winning. Enjoy it. Many of us weren’t able to for the last decade or so.
10. Don’t boo Cubs/Sox players : There is no excuse for Ryne Sandberg getting booed by Sox fans last night. The guy is a class act and a Hall of Famer. I would hope Cub fans wouldn’t boo Carlton Fisk. Please save your baseball hatred for the baseball season (unless it’s Milton Bradley).
I hope these little pointers help. Print them out and carry them with you. Actually, print two in case you spill some of your Jager Bomb on one of them . The ink will run and everyone around you will be screwed.
Thanks for reading and go Hawks!