Wear to Watch and What to Where: Road GamesApril 23, 2011
As you guys know, for home playoff games there is no question that I am watching from my seats at the Arena (season ticket group be damned.) But road games are a more delicate matter: should I go out in public and subject innocent strangers to my nervous energy and
cursing commentary or do I watch from the comfort of home, where at least I can yell at family members to pipe down without (usually) getting a beer spilled on me ? For the past few weeks, monumental decisions like this have consumed me, which would explain the unfolded laundry in my living room and the late fees I keep asking my credit card companies to waive. (If you talk to Visa or Gap, don’t tell them I moved back in February.)
For the road games in the Flyers series so far, I have gone both ways. (Don’t even, you dirty monkeys.) Before this year I had never watched a playoff game in a drinking establishment, but it’s come highly recommended by a number of other Sabres fans. Kate and I decided to venture out with some friends and fellow bloggers for Game 1. The company was great, the food was delicious, and the beers were plentiful, but for most of the game I wasn’t totally sold on this whole playoff bar experience. The scoreless tie that extended into the 3rd had me anxious and antsy, and being unable to pace the room or throw things at the multiple TVs was…limiting. My entire outlook changed in one moment however, as offensive juggernaut Patrick Kaleta (of all people!) scored the game’s only goal early in the final period. The eruption of loud cheers and jubilation in that bar gave me chills. It was like watching the game in a mini, more intimate HSBC Arena. As I tweeted immediately after Kaleta’s goal: “Watching the Sabres game in a bar with other fans suddenly became a lot more awesome.” I was hooked.
Game 2 was more of a family affair, as Thing 1 and Thing 2 and I watched the game at my parents, mostly because
they offered to feed us dinner we can never get enough quality time with them. The Sabres lost, which made this a TERRIBLE game. Let’s pretty much never speak of it or the experience of watching it, except for the two things that I learned that day:
1. I should not subject small children to the terror of watching a playoff game with me. I made my youngest nephew cry at least four times with my yelling. Either that or I need to toughen the hell out of that 1-year-old.
2. I now hate that DEVIL Danny Briere with the white hot intensity of a billion suns. In one of my earliest blog posts from November 2009 I wrote: “As you know, I think Chris Drury is the guy that dumped us, and Danny Briere is the guy that we dumped.” For years I have blathered on about how I still love LDB, and ultimately wish him well with his new (but slutty) girlfriend, the Flyers. All that pining was tossed out the window the moment my Sabres faced LDB in the playoffs, when hockey is for REAL intense and Danny showed himself to be the little spearing stinker he really is. Oh, it’s on, Danny.
Last night’s Game 5 was THE BEST road game viewing experience so far. My friend (and soon to be fellow blogger!) Sarah and I met up with a bunch of peeps from Twitter, some of whom I already knew and some of whom were friends I had just not met yet. The bar we chose was packed, and the atmosphere was Friday night festive. From the moment I walked in and my old bartender friend Connor bought me a drink I knew it was going to be good times. Maaaybe I lost a little faith right around the time the Sabres blew their comfortable 3 goal lead, and PERHAPS I even got a little pissy when that little taunting cheaterpants Danny Briere scored the tying goal and celebrated like a 5-year-old, but whatevs.
All that tension and anxiety melted away when our own little hero, Tyler Ennis put home Mike Weber’s rebound. We were all high-fiving, jumping, cheering, and hugging strangers (hence how they became friends so quickly). There is nothing like sharing in the collective joy of fellow fans, particularly after such a dramatic game. I would have never acknowledged this last night when I was in the throes of pure panic, but from the comfort of the winner’s seat, I can now say that the way the game ultimately played out was WAY better than if the Sabres had won 4-0. Afterward some friends and I went back to the HTH and basked in the glow of that unbelievable victory in my hot tub. If there’s something in the history of time and space that is better than your team winning a playoff game in OT and then going in a hot tub to celebrate, I am pretty sure that it is something inappropriate for me to blog about anyway.
And for now, I can turn my attention to other matters: Which lucky shirt I should wear to Game 6 tomorrow.