We won, in case you’re a pinko commie and didn’t know that.
Have you ever been to a playoff game? I hadn’t until last night. It’s a different world, this post-season business, and that’s probably a good thing. If Buffalonians consciously decided to attend each and every regular season game maintaining the same fervor with which they attacked last night’s match, they would be dead from exhaustion and liver failure by Thanksgiving.
The air, the very spirit of the arena, is charged with a talkin’ proud aura. It doesn’t help Carolina that both teams are boringly girded in red, white, and black, but Louis tells me that there were probably only a handful of ‘Canes fans in the crowd anyway.
The energy began to peak nearly a quarter hour before the puck even dropped. I mean, hooting and cheering was constant from the parking ramp through to our seats starting well before that, but the crowd merged, becoming one frantic sound while the counter was just reaching 12 minutes to game time. I ordered a crack beer and joined the ranks. I think I scared Louis. Even this early, my mind and voicebox were giving each other nervous, what-have-we-gotten-ourselves-into glances.
I’m always amazed that tens of thousands of people can act in concert with each other during these things. Is the human mind given instruction in utero on what pitch one should yell “GASP-AAAWW!” when a shot is missed? If we could just get congress to take to their jobs with the same attention that hockey fans watch their favorite team, imagine how quickly things would get done. “And a motion is raised; it’s seconded by the representative from New Hampshire, AND IT’S PASSED! THE CROWD GOES WILD!”
Anyway, when the Sabres scored, noise went white. Levels reached such heights that they ceased being sounds perceived by the ear, but rather sonic vibrations felt by the most protected of internal organs. Minutes later, after high fives from strangers, and hugs from costumed mascots, the noise levels eased to the point where you realized you’d instinctively bleated right along with the rest of the crowd. Shouts turned to laughter, songs of praise, and hearty backslaps to neighbors who obviously worked just as hard in the stands as the most fatigued athlete on the ice.
A few notes:
- There was a big, greasy looking guy in front of us, so whenever we scored, Louis and I would say the goal was “HUUUUUGE, BUFFALO, ‘UUUUUUUUGE!”
- God, I love HSBC arena beer.
- I took a few camera pics, but they didn’t turn out. Do a google image search for “awesome” and I’m sure you’ll find some good ones of us. (Wow, did I just replace the age-old saying of “look ___ up in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of ___”?)