Friday night, the Capitals played the Colorado Avalanche, a team with a very bad record. Joe and I were looking forward to having a really fun evening, especially since the great game on Wednesday.
Alas, it was not to be, and not just because the Caps laid down on the ice and let the Avs skate all over them and lost 4-1. It was also because I kind of got into a battle of words with some drunken asshole who was there with a whole gaggle of kids.
Let me explain something for the non-hockey aficionados. There's a fan rule in hockey: "When the puck is in play, stay out of the way!" In other words, when the game is on, you don't get up and leave your seat or come back to your seat. You wait until play stops, so that you don't inconvenience other fans by making them get up and/or by blocking the view of the game. This rule is even announced before every period before and during the game.
Okay? Okay. Now, I like kids. I really do. I've even raised one, pretty damn successfully if I do say so myself. We have had kids sit next to us many times over the course of the season. There is a sweet little girl who sits in front of us with her folks; I adore her. Throughout the year, the parents who have shepherded the various clots of children have been very good at riding herd on them and ensuring that they followed the rule and didn't annoy the rest of the crowd.
Not this time. We sit two seats in from the aisle, which is on my right. Four boys -- probably around 9 -- sat next to me, on my left. They were part of a big group that took up several seats in several rows. They arrived in the middle of the first period and climbed over us into their seats. Then they all left to get snacks. Then they all came back, but not at the same time. Then they all left during intermission to get souvenirs, and got back after the period started. At the end of the second period, with 30 seconds left and DURING PLAY, they all tried to leave again. I woofed a little at them, telling them to please wait until the end of the period. They did, but they weren't very happy.
And then! They all did it AGAIN during the third period, AGAIN while play was on. And I woofed again, saying "Wait 'til play stops!" Well, evidently I pissed off one of the Dads, who was waiting on the steps for them.
"Hey! They paid for their tickets, just like you!"
(Um, really? Actually, I kind of think that someone else paid for their tickets, you know? Unless 9-year old boys have lots of money lately.)
And I stupidly -- yes, I admit it; stupidly -- hollered back.
"They need to wait until play stops!"
"It is stopped!" (Well yeah, at that point, play had stopped. Details, details.)
"Not when they got up!"
"When you gotta go, you gotta go!"
"They've gone a zillion times!!"
"Yeah well they paid for their tickets!" (Again, no. They did not. Their parents did.)
At this point I pulled out a real zinger. Let me tell you, this crack was one of my best.
"Oh, shut up!"
Okay, so I am not that great at zingers. But he then really bested me:
"No, you shut up!"
At which point the fella sitting next to Joe, who had been cool and friendly, yells at the asshole Dad:
"Great response, dude!"
Anyway, the kids got out and Dad took them down -- I have a feeling it was really Dad who had to "go" -- and when they came back (again with snacks!) none of us said anything.
The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't like being an asshole and I try hard not to be. But sometimes I just am, I guess.
Anyway. Cut to today's game, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a most hated rival of the Capitals. We took our seats, and I noticed that the fans in back of us and the fans beside us were all grown ups! YAY! And they were all Caps fans! YAY YAY!
Our pal who sits in front of us (the Dad of Little Miss Adorable) came up to take seat, grinned at me, and said, "Who are you gonna fight today?"
I had to laugh. It put the whole thing into perspective. Another guy sat right next to Joe with a kid, who was just great. This kid had a blast and was also very well behaved.
Of course, the fact that we beat the Penguins 5-2 was nice, too.
Very, very nice.