From Downtown

For it’s root root root for the Blackhawks! If they don’t win it’s a shame!

Everyone at Wrigley Field

2009 NHL Winter Classic

New podcast goes up today. This time I am blessed to be visited by Max Woghiren of The Mass Romantics and an unnamed new music project. You can find out some of The Mass Romantics at their myspace page. You can enjoy his work on Chasing Concordia here. As always you can find the podcast over on the sidebar.

I’m moving a little out of my ordinary realm today because it’s New Year’s Day and the third outdoor NHL game is on TV.  Most people enjoy things that make them feel nostalgic.  I only played “pond hockey” once as a kid. I couldn’t really skate so it lacked a lot of appeal for me though I did play street hockey all the time.  I enjoy the Winter Classic because of the atmosphere and the notion of old time sports.  Allow me to clarify.  When I saw the movie Semi-Pro I wasn’t very impressed by the film, but I loved the arena.  Old arenas, stadiums, and rinks have a character that is unique. It is defined by tradition, intimacy, passion, and a raw energy that generations of fans share.  I grew up attending football games at Ivor Wynne Stadium, a venue that has stood for decades.  Fans from top to bottom sit on bench seats with painted numbers that let you know where your general area is.  I attended a number of games at old Tiger Stadium and have yet to experience anything like it. We were sitting along the third base line, near left field. Our seats felt like they were hanging over the left fielder. It was a surreal and amazing experience, even if the Tigers were a lousy team at the time.  I also had the chance to walk on the field and experience what generations of ball players had.

I’m sure many people are glad that places like SkyDome and the Air Canada Centre exist.  It’s nice to watch a game in comfort with padded seats and enormous video screens. I will always remember a CFL playoff game when, as I was sitting virtually beside the score board in the North-West corner of Ivor Wynne, Paul Osbaldiston attempted a 51 yard field goal against Montreal.  He was kicking to the East endzone so from where we were seated we couldn’t possibly see if it was good or not.  The “video screen” in those days could only show a garbled live picture that could have been a kids cartoon. Fortunately, the roar from the fans in the endzone spread across the stadium and we knew that the Ti-Cats had won the game. Experiences like that, on a cold November day, are the product of circumstance, tradition, and location.

I have read articles lamenting the loss of the fan experience.  A time before large audio systems and screaming game hosts. When fans had to make noise on their own by understanding the game in front of them.  Maybe someday The Alder Fork will own its own minor sports team and play games in a Cow Palace, or Memorial Arena. That’d be great.

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One Response to “From Downtown”

  1. craigchurch Says:

    I agree, the decline of the last generation of buildings is certainly bittersweet. Fortunately, there are still lots gems/dumps with plenty of charm. College basketball/football facilities in the US always provide a great experience.

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