Canadian Sports, or, How to Adopt at a Leafs Game


There are a lot of important things happening in the world today: OJ’s bond was doubled, Britney might be pregnant again, the after effects of Mitt Romney winning the Michigan primary, and Pacman has a problem (again).  Unfortunately, I haven’t been around to report these things to you, because clearly this is the first place to hear about important news of the world.  This is in part because for the first week of the year, I was in Canada, and now I am back in North Carolina.  And to answer your question, yes, it takes you an extra week to get used to normal society, once you’ve been in the frigid white north above us.

Part of my trip up north involved a Maple Leafs game with The Canadian (and yes, I realize that by now, at least in the NHL, that game is history).  The Leafs actually won, beating the Tampa Bay Lighting (threatening, I know) in a shootout.  Only my second NHL game and I already get to see a shootout! Yes!

But the shootout is not the real story.  The real story is the aura of Canadian-ness at this game.  The Canadian and I were lucky enough to get tickets, as a gift, for seats in the lower arena near the ice.  Unfortunately, this eliminates a lot of the Canadian-ness that can be found at NHL games.  Except for one case, this game lacked the color I found at the Hurricanes game I went to last year.  This case, is an exceptional one though.

The Canadian and I were seated next to the aisle on one side, and next to a man and his 5-6 year-old son on the other side.  The man wasn’t your corporate type, but seemed nice enough, even if were weren’t chatting him and his son up.  At some point during the first period, the kid managed to fall between two seats in the row in front of us, if that gives you any idea of how young he was.  In the second period, though, the father gets up, looks at The Canadian and myself and says, “Do you mind to watch him for me?” gesturing at his son, and getting out of the row before we can say no.  I’m absolutely serious.

The Canadian and myself are far from looking threatening or dangerous, but still, are you going to leave your kids with some twenty-something randoms you sat next to at an NHL game? I think not.  Needless to say, we watched the kid do what kids do at events longer than twenty minutes, which is to say, look around, pick at the seating and entertain himself.  As we kept an eye on him, because we are seemingly decent people, the time the father had been gone kept growing.  At one point I looked at The Canadian and said, “What are we going to do with him if the guy doesn’t come back?!”

Fortunately, the guy came back before the end of the period, albeit looking a little jumpy, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, this isn’t a typically Canadian thing to do, as far as I can tell, because our story was met with shock the next couple of days as we went to various events for a wedding we attended.  Still, I doubt that the same would happen at a ‘Canes game.

The worst part was that outside of the shootout, this was the most exciting thing that happened at the game (there was a lack of fights).  It illustrates just how riveting the NHL is.  Or rather, maybe the powers that be should start staging events like these at games in order to get people to stay?

Quote of the day: “Canada, it’s America’s hat.  It keeps us warm but it damn sure ain’t warm up there.”


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