Hockey for beginners

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28/10/2010 by etiennefish

So first off I would like to say that I owe this blog many posts. MANY posts. Secondly I would like to say, that I currently have 19 posted in my ‘drafts’ section that were started and never finished. Shame on me. And thirdly/finally, I would like to say that It is my goal to make a big posting frenzy happen in the immediate future, although today will not be that day.

Today is about hockey.

So the other night, a number of friends and I were invited to a Geneva hockey match as it was a friend’s birthday, and hockey was what he wanted on his special day. I should point out that while a few of said friends are from Switzerland or Canada (more on that in a minute), the rest of us are from regions of the world where ice hockey is one of those sports that you know technically exists, but sort of in this misty, imaginary sort of way, not unlike the mythical unicorn. That being said, I’m sure you are now realising that the vast majority of us had/have no practical knowledge, per se, of the sport. We were, however, quite versed in all of the Mighty Ducks films, and so we therefore felt ourselves to be something akin to experts on the sport.

About 5 minutes into the match, we were grandly making pronouncements about why things were happening the way they were. The Canadians in the crowd, being the good Canadians that they were, and therefore fully abreast of all things hockey, kept shaking their heads at us and smirking (I can’t imagine why. Rude). 10 minutes into the match, we had run out of hockey pronouncements, and had therefore switched to judging the cheerleaders and their routines, which we knew infinitely more about due to Hollywood’s obsession with them. By the beginning of the 2nd period (I may have just asked an officemate what ‘quarters’ are called in hockey as there are only 3 of them [I also asked why they weren’t called ‘thirds,’ to which I was given another pitying head shake]) we started commenting on/judging the other people in the crowd and the choice of musical selections in the interludes (Think- A large selection of American hard rock  and country from before 1995. It was mildly painful). Soon after, we started asking questions. I learned a lot.

I actually quite enjoyed my hockey experience. There wasn’t as much on-rink violence as I was hoping for expecting, but it was actually pretty cool. Because of the speeds that the players can reach on their skates, it’s pretty fast-paced, and all that gliding around is really quite pretty (although I probably wouldn’t tell the players that) and hypnotic. Hockey is also, apparently, one of the only places in which the Swiss seem prepared to yell and scream and let loose (well, without the fear of a severe shushing, that is). I mean, I’m sure the volume was nowhere near the decibel level of a hockey match elsewhere in the world, but that is mostly to be expected, and I fully commend their efforts. Anyway, despite the fact that for most of us, our hockey experience was more about the beer, wine, and good conversation than the actual sport, our team won (‘our’ team because it was the Geneva team, and we do, in fact, live in Geneva) and everyone had a good time. I even learned a thing or two about hockey, even if the part I enjoyed most was the ‘match’ between the Geneva team’s mascots (a male and female eagle), and a couple of random sumo wrestlers. All in all, I’d definitely give it another go.

PS- I might be moving. Soon. Think Cote d’Ivoire, Pakistan, Spain or Portugal. There will be updates when I know more.

PPS- for the friends that were disappointed about the lack of violence at the match, we were oh so nicely given a facebook message the next day with this video (among others) to make up for it.

We were also sent videos to prove to us that Lausanne has an even more fun hockey crowd, and that we probably need to experience a match there. I agree.

Oh, and it’s possible that I also need to see this because who doesn’t love musicals about hockey?

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October 2010
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