Hockey Season’s Back, So Where Are The Real Fans?

Every year it makes the summer drag on and time stop in July. It makes everything feel too hot, and it can make even the manliest man long for fall colors. Of course I’m talking about hockey mania.

Now I’m the first to admit that I am not among the seriously afflicted. Last night was the season opener with my beloved Dallas Stars playing my husband’s favorite team, the Colorado Avalanche. In a very un-hockey fan like manner, I didn’t plan my entire week around the event. I know, it’s shocking. I did occasionally flip over to view the score, but I actually watched South Park.

In my defense it was a brand new South Park where they were making fun of World of Warcraft addicts. And I love making fun of WoW junkies. So I was doubly compelled to watch that particular episode. And I did record the game. I know what you’re thinking. Any real hockey fan would have recorded the show and watched the game. Or I could have just waited ’til Comedy Central replayed that episode any one of the few million times that they’ll show it. But I work with a WoW nut, and I knew he’d be watching and I wanted to tease him. Hey, I’ve had to give up cigarettes, caffeine and cheese, and I only have one or two good vices left. I happen to thoroughly enjoy making fun of people, and it’s really such a small thing, so why not let me enjoy this one simple pleasure?

But I digress. I didn’t “watch” the game. Meaning I didn’t hold my breath between intermissions and leave the kids to fend for themselves while Marty Turco was on the ice. I know, this makes me sound like a horrible hockey fan. But I’m really not! I’m just not a good TV hockey fan.

I happen to think — and this is just my personal opinion, based on no real scientific fact — that there are three types of sports fans. I think that there’s a “live fan,” which is the kind of individual that is so gung-ho when they go to a sporting event that they paint their faces, bellies, or other body parts out of solidarity for their team. These are the folks that think the team actually needs their support to win. There are some in this category so convinced of this that they will leave a hospital emergency room for the game, promising to come back as soon as the game is over (in my defense, I wasn’t really that sick).

There’s also a “TV fan,” the kind that subscribes to Center Ice and makes sure to watch and record every game available. This type of fan will reschedule an anniversary dinner to watch a playoff game.

And the third kind of fan is the “REAL FAN.”

This is like a TV fan and a live fan mixed together and on steroids. I mean the kind of fan that attends home games, away games, and records the games to watch again later. Now there are situations where REAL FANS are mistaken for TV fans. I’m sure if we lived in Denver, my husband would be an Avalanche season ticket holder. But we live in Mississippi, and we’re not independently wealthy, so he watches and records every one of the Avs games and has learned to live with that.

While my husband is a REAL FAN, I am definitely not. I am a great live fan, and a pathetic TV fan. We are season ticket holders for our local CHL team, the Memphis RiverKings. I love going to the games. I cheer like crazy, I own jerseys, and I know the players’ stats better than my own PIN number. But when they’re out of town, I’m hardly a fan at all. My husband makes plans to listen to the game on the radio or a web cast, but not me. Occasionally I will listen, if I don’t already have plans, but I’m certainly not going to plan things around a web cast. I want to know the score and of course I want the team to do well, but not being there, it loses something. I need to be there with the team to really get in the game. Maybe it makes me less of a fan. I don’t know. I do know that I’m still a hockey fan, day or night, whether it’s January or June.

So while I may not eat, sleep and bleed hockey, I am very, VERY happy that October is finally here. I can almost smell the ice.

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