Okay, you will need some background information for this one.
– I’m in Australia. We have a very small ice hockey league. The AIHL.
– Most people here do not own a jersey of their favourite AIHL team, because most are not quite that dedicated to dish out the $200 or so necessary. I mean, it’s cheaper to buy our favourite NHL team’s jersey. Which is daft.
– Many people attending an AIHL game will hence wear their favourite NHL jersey to the event.
I attended the ice hockey today. It was the local derby. Melbourne Ice versus Melbourne Mustangs. I’m an Ice fan, as were the friends I went with. I’ve been broke for a couple years, so I do not own an Ice jersey. I wore my Chicago Blackhawks jersey to the game. I’m a huge Blackhawks fan.
So we turned up and there was a gigantic queue down the street to get through the doors. As we headed down the line we passed all matter of different NHL jerseys. Even the nicest looking of people became merely an advocate for whatever team’s merch they were sporting. Unfair judgments were handed out like candy at Halloween. (I’m not American, I swear.)
It wasn’t until we approached the very back of the long queue that we witnessed two blokes wearing Blackhawks jerseys. I saw them and they saw me. The simultaneous head-nod in recognition came next. I felt these were good people. The very best that this line of people had to offer. I have no doubt they thought the same about me. Instantly.
We got to the door eventually and while we had pre-purchased tickets, the two Blackhawks fans had to join an extra queue to buy theirs. Well, it just so happened that two of our friends had to pull out last minute. So we had two spare tickets. I left our line briefly to tap one of the dudes on the shoulder.
“Hey mate, we’ve got two spare tickets. I want you to have them.”
Well, the looks on their faces were priceless. They were like kids at Christmas. They leaped out of the secondary line, and almost out of their skins as they joined us and entered the stadium.
We had a bit of a chat and got to know each other. Discussed mostly ice hockey, how well the Blackhawks are traveling, and how damn good Melbourne Ice were last season. Well, the last three seasons, really. As that’s how many Cups they’ve won in a row now.
Then we cheered as our Melbourne Ice won 7-2 in tremendous fashion.
And this is a prime example of how sports teams bring people together. It’s amazing the instant respect and comradeship formed between people who otherwise know absolutely nothing about one another. And will very likely never meet again. But for that brief period of time, you are the absolute best of friends. It’s seen all the time at sports events. And it’s fantastic. Just another thing to love about sports.
Thank you, sports.