So, last Thursday I was the lucky recipient of a free ticket to the Pens hockey game. My friend's dad got 4 tickets and she took me :) I haven't been to a Pens game since very early high school, and not to a hockey game since early college. I'm obviously used to football sporting events, since I've been to many many Steelers home games. Thus, there were a number of comparisons I was able to see between hockey and football that I thought I'd share!
1. Ice: Yes, the Penguins actually play on ice. Not sure who originally thought it would be a good idea to strap blades to their shoes, skate across frozen water and use a crooked stick to shoot rubberized plastic into a goofy net, but there you have it - hockey in a nutshell! It was very odd to be inside for an event (I really wanted them to open the roof!), and even stranger to be inside and still be cold!
2. Cup holders: There weren't any. What is that? Who can possibly balance a beer on their knees while jumping up to cheer for their team? I guess I'm not that talented. I suppose this has something to do with the fact that the Arena was built in the 1960s (although I know they had beer then) and didn't think to include them. I just hope that the new arena gives these the attention that they deserve!
3. Offsides: Okay, so there's offsides in football. I understand that rule, totally know what they mean when the referees call it. But there's also offsides in hockey. What the heck? I can't figure out this rule to save my life. My little cousin tried to explain it to me once, but despite his valiant efforts, I remain clueless. I know it was called once against us, and another time Sidney Crosby skated all the way back down into our territory for no reason that I could see before going back to aim for the opposing team's goal - I assume to avoid an offsides call? I think it has something do do with the blue lines...
4. Song Choice: There were waaay more songs played at the Pens game than there have been at any Steelers game I've gone to! Plus, who authorized polka as an acceptable music genre? I understand we're in Western Pennsylvania, but I'd rather see those eastern European roots come to fruition through delicious pierogies, and not through obnoxious music!! I actually felt like I was at a baseball game. There was a lot of visual stimuli happening the entire time.
5. Elvis: So, there was a guy sitting in front of me who was dressed as Elvis. He had on a white jumpsuit with gold sparklies, yellow-tinted glasses, sideburns, the whole works. And he was absolutely no fun. Now, if Elvis attended a Steelers game, he would be jumping around like a maniac, doing everything in his power to draw the attention of the cameras and make it on the jumbo-tron. The Pens Elvis just sat there. The camera guy actually was close by at the beginning of the game and had the camera trained on him, and still Elvis just sat. Seriously?? What's the point of dressing up if you're not going to have fun with it? Worse, I think he's a season ticket holder - some other attendees seemed to know him and were trying to get him to dance, but he wouldn't unless they bought him a beer (they didn't. I wouldn't have either).
6. Fights: So, I get that there are fights in hockey. And I get that fans love to see two big, burly guys pummel each other. But I don't get that the refs just stand and watch. What is that all about? I can appreciate that if they want to fight, they're going to fight. But for the refs to literally back away as soon as a duo starts to circle one another or pull of their gloves seems just a little to accepting to me. I couldn't get over how they let this keep happening.
So, my conclusion is that Steelers football will for sure remain my favorite sport. I understand the fans, the rules, the stadium much better than I'll probably ever appreciate the Civic Arena. I'm happy I got to see a Pens game, especially before they rip down the Arena to make way for the new one. The Pens wound up winning the game, thanks to a rally in the third period that was super exciting. And keep an eye out for my next post, when I talk about the pinnacle of a Steelers fan's game attendance - I got to spend Sunday's game in a Luxury Box Suite!!