Thursday, December 23, 2010

An evening at Verizon Center

The New Jersey Devils host the New York Islanders tonight at the Rock in a battle of the two worst teams in hockey.
No promises on coverage,because I have a chance to go into work early and in its own way,waiting for the game to end would be its own little Pay Per View.
PPV for this game might not be an option.

I just started this post and found out about both Jacques Lemaire taking the Devils head coaching job from John MacLean and the stupidity at Ohio State.
I plan on posts on these later or tomorrow at latest.

The Devils 5-1 pasting in Washington was the last straw for John MacLean,but it was my first trip to an NHL game.
I am not going to do a review of another poor performance in what proved to be the swan song for MacLean,but focus more on the evening itself,which proved to be interesting.

The trip from Hagerstown to the Verizon Center could not be easier.
A straight trip down I-70 (and its corollaries 270 and 370) to the nearest Metro stop and straight into the Verizon Center after a half block walk.
The trip isn't short,but it is easy enough..

I wasn't eating at the game either.The Verizon Center was one of just two arena/stadium sites to have a 100 percent failure rate in food vendor inspections and I wasn't about to pay an insane rate for a sandwich to get food poisoning from.
Besides,if I wanted to do that,I could just move back home with Mom and Dad and eat their food (Just kidding,Mom is an excellent cook).
Between the cost ( I am noted to be cheap on stadium food,except when at PNC Park) and that wonderful review from earlier this year-that was not happening considering my past experiences of multiple (and I seriously mean multiple) issues with food poisoning at home as a child/teenager.

I have been critical of Washington Capitals fans in the past for their lack of passion and I have at least revised that opinion of the live crowd.
The arena was loud and rocking for the contest with the teams 80th straight sellout and was the second loudest indoor event that I have ever attended.
The loudest? A column for another time.
I still reserve the right to wait and see how the place is without a superstar player and I still think that they benefit from playing in one of the two worst divisions in major pro sports (The NFC West in the NFL ranks right there this year).

Thanks to my friend Fern (Fern is a season ticket holder with the Caps and graciously allowed me her tickets for the evening despite my Devils fanhood),Ryan and I settled into our seats early and I was surprised how unwelcoming the crowd was towards visiting fans.
I suppose that I am used to baseball fans,where things are so much more laid back at games,but I was taken aback a bit.
I wasn't really directly spoken to until leaving the arena,but I heard quite a few negative comments toward Devils fans,although the Capitals employees seemed very nice and I suppose they could care less since the money spends the same in a sellout evening.
For the most part,I wasn't even spoken to by the fans sitting around me,which was surprising as I figured that I would at least hear that I was sitting in the wrong seats since they would know Fern,I didn't hear anything of the sort or anything else for that matter.

The Verizon Center (A VC abbreviation makes me think of the Viet Cong) has terrific sightlines with scoreboards at each end of the arena with a NHL board that never changes and maybe the best scoreboard around with a super screen that has to be seen to be believed. 

I originally was going to take Cherie to the game,but she had another engagement and took Ryan instead.
I am glad I did as the language was pretty bad.Those of you that know me know my talk can be salty at times to say the least,but this seemed a bit over the top even to me.
Perhaps the group behind us (The row I sat it cheered and acted just fine) was looking to provoke,but they seemed far from the type of fans that most teams look for in any case.
I don't slam Washington fans for that as one could find those types at any and all games,it seems rudeness is a growing phenomenon.
I think for the lovely Cherie,I'll stick to Hershey for her,although I would go back with few reservations.
Ryan and I talked as we left about one lesson that I learned "Don't go,when your team sucks".
Fair enough and the Devils are just that,although in my defense-I didn't figure that they were going to be this bad when I bought the tickets!

Thanks again to Fern for allowing me to check one box off my sports "to do" list and spend an overall cool evening with my son.

I am going to attempt to be back later with more on the return of Jacques Lemaire and this Ohio State issue with the NCAA...

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