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A night at the Coliseum

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2004-05-03


I went to a hockey game the other night. The contest itself was like watching a slice of someone’s life: lots of missed opportunities, stumbles, falls, hits and questionable judgments by the men in charge. In the end though, Sean Venedam scored the game winning goal, ending 60 minutes of what I would call “pitcher’s duel” hockey: a tied score and not much domination by either team.

Watching this made me think what makes a sporting event worth going to isn’t so much the game itself, but the stuff that transpires. Sure, if you stay home to watch the Kentucky Derby, you have state of the art television technology at your disposal and a better seat than 99% of the people at the track, but you just aren’t there. You don’t see the mud fights in the infield. You don’t hear in person the throat-lump inducing sound of thousands of people singing “My Old Kentucky Home.” The roar of the crowd after the announcer says “and they’re off!” doesn’t come through the TV speakers quite like it does at Churchill Downs. On the other hand, you miss the puke that downing too many overpriced Mint Juleps produces.

So through the generosity of my brother, I went to a Komets playoff game. Some things never change, like the bad refereeing, the contests at intermission and the Twister doing his thing. However, advertising within the building, practically non-existent during the hockey games of my youth, has taken over the Memorial Coliseum. The ice was one big billboard, with 11 businesses and their logos painted on the surface. In the arena in every section were lighted signs. The only consolations were that the Wal-mart sign was the same size as the others, and it was located in Section Upper Nosebleed and hard to see where I was sitting; the other was the Coliseum was still the Coliseum and not the Atz’s Ice Cream Dome or Kelley Automotive Group Center.

The on ice action wasn’t bad. There were the ever-popular fights (minor skirmishes, not regular season brawlfests, because after all, these are the playoffs) lots of broken sticks (the Kalamazoo goalie slashed a Komet player so hard the goaltender’s stick broke) and one of the on ice officials getting blasted by a puck.

The people in my immediate vicinity truly seemed like they cared about the game and not the food and beverages available. Despite the non-stop smog of Eau de Pizza, I couldn’t see anyone eating a slice. Maybe if the low-carb fad continues into next fall, the concession stands will start selling sides of beef. I munched on my Atkins Endulge bar (no one paid me to mention that, by the way) I smuggled into the building and observed the battle waged before me. The people around me offered the usual comments and suggestions such as “pass, pass pass,” “hit ‘em!” and the ever-helpful “shoot it!” A few errant pucks left the ice, but one poor lady got nailed with a sheet of Plexiglas that had fallen out of its frame after an especially hard check. But she was okay, as were the Komets.

Meanwhile, tornadoes were skipping their way across the damp Indiana landscape a short driving distance away. We weren’t warned about it. But if we had, would we have cared? Storms are a dime a dozen this time of year. But falling plexiglas, a referee taken out by a puck and a goalie nailed with a slashing penalty? Damn the tornadoes, it’s hockey night in Fort Wayne!

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