Saturday, November 30, 2013

Great Moments In Crowds Versus Jerks, Hockey Edition

Not shown: Cam Ward getting heckled
It was the guy yelling on his way out the door that made tonight's game memorable.

The game itself, not so much. Cam Ward had stood on his head for a little over two periods when suddenly the roof caved in, and a 2-1 Hurricanes lead turned into a 5-2 deficit in a hurry. And after that last goal was methodically stuffed in behind a flailing, desperate Ward by Jaromir Jagr, as the crowd started filing out toward the PNC Arena parking lot, one guy stopped as he headed for the exits. 

He paused, turned, and then shouted at the distant ice "Ward, you suck". Then he turned again and was gone.

The reaction was immediate. Not from Cam Ward, mind you. He had other problems at the time, mainly a nonexistent defense and an ongoing onslaught by the New Jersey Devils, who seemed intent on going for the two point conversion. Besides, it takes some iron lungs indeed to shout something from section 308 that's going to be even the slightest bit audible down on the ice. No, this reaction came from the rest of the patrons in the somewhat sparsely populated upper deck, who heard what this guy said, and booed.


Not Cam Ward. The guy who clearly felt he had the stones to defy the hegemonic tyranny of Cam Ward's bad night and shout out a deeply unoriginal insult. And the other fans, who, presumably, have seen Ward in many, many other games in which he has played better than this (and in which the rest of the team, who seemed content to let the Devils practice their odd-man rush drills for most of the 3rd period), thought this guy was out of line, and rude, and unpleasant. One guy shouted back, "Yeah, but as soon as he has a good game, you're gonna love him again."

The miscreant, long gone, did not respond. But the crowd, even if the team didn't, did. And in a sports year where "fans" have cheered their own players' injuries, that's more interesting than just about anything that could have happened on the ice. 
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