Usherin…got my chips cashed in…

There are some places at certain times where you can get an interesting insight into the human condition, where you can study without being studied. Patrolling the aisles at the local professional lacrosse game the other night was one of those times. I’m a sports fan, but this one doesn’t do it for me. So, I guess that makes me a more attentive usher since the game isn’t distracting me (yeah, we’ll go with that for now.).

Look up in the aisle, it’s Usherman…able to leap tall drink spills in a single bound.

I knew this most recent game was going to be interesting to watch unfold. A promotion had autographed lacrosse balls for sale to raise monies for a worthy cause. A family appeared in my section where the grandfather produced the autographed ball and gave it to his granddaughter, a little moppet of maybe four years old. She accepted the ball and considered it for a moment, duly looked at the signature as her grandfather pointed out, thought for a moment and prompted tossed the ball down to the section beneath ours. This usher? I thought that was funny.

There was the t-shirt gun. I’m convinced it’s the hunt that gets folks going, not the actual trophy. This was confirmed to me as the Bandits‘ mascot brandished a t shirt gun that had some wallop, and turned a few folks near me into searching for “the precious.”

A recent balloon drop had me shaking my head as folks in the upper levels were jumping in the first row of the upper level to catch a balloon that had a coupon inside. Again, the prize was for something not so rare. It’s the hunt that is the thing. But I can’t walk in that first row without getting the proverbial willies.

So, I have to ask, the chance at a not rare souvenir something to take a foolish chance over? I think not, but people forget themselves, and that they are not alone, or at home, or the manners their parents carefully taught them.

It’s priorities, man. I remember a few years ago, my dad and I were heading to see some minor league baseball and there was a giveway that night, I believe a stadium replica in some fashion. One of those little desktop size statues that was produced with the same level of care and detail that the average 4 year old puts into their playdough houses. But again it was the hunt. Folks lined up around the block as there to be one admissions gate where the freebie was going to be distributed. This line snaked by plenty of other ways into the stadium. Dad and I looked at each then sought higher council, as seats, beer and grilled meat in tubular form was decidely more important.

So, yeah, I don’t get too jazzed with the fast food company blimp flies over ahead and drops coupons, because that isn’t worth putting the effort to, well, stand up for, let alone post up to keep somebody else from getting one.

But if that suits ya, have at it, as at least the cost of the seat didn’t rise with ya.

Well, this time


Enhanced by Zemanta

Stay or “Leaf”

Here’s a reason why some folks don’t like going to the stadium for a Bills game. If ever there was a reason to prove that it is sometimes better to be lucky than good, it’s this jamoke. Never understood the drink out of your skull mentality some folks seem to favor.

Don’t get me wrong, I like beer. It’s a good friend of mine, but when it shuts your brainpan down so far you do something so incredibly dumb like this flying wallenda wannabe, you might have sampled a few too many.

And speaking of high quaffing rates, the downtown hockey palace was aglow

20131115_170636 (1)

in anticipation of the return of a former star, a former coach to chart a new direction and the Toronto Maple Leafs. For a place that has been fairly quiet during a disappointing season, we’re lucky the joint didn’t achieve lift off as we got closer to puck drop. The place does get criticized for being atmosphere challenged at times and I think that reflects when things aren’t going ideally on the ice, because atmosphere was spilling out the door Friday eve. Had a largely entertaining time with the busloads of Leaf fans in my area of the rink.

I joked that it was a little like working Monday Night Football out at the Ralph with the Patriots in town, but the excitement was contagious and reminded one of why you do such things at times.


Even the press box was shiny.

And everybody stayed at their proper levels.

Gold on the Ceiling

I like the Black Keys a lot, but I worry the Buffalo Sabres‘ inconsistent offerings might be ruining a couple of the groups’ bigger hits. The Sabres take to the ice to the tune of “Lonely Boy” and goals are celebrated with “Gold on the Ceiling.” It’s like if the music isn’t update, fans won’t cheer as hard.

Only team with literally its own theme song, we’ve got to shoehorn more tunes in there because that’s what keeps the fans entertained. So, on Fan Appreciation Night,  to make up for Season Ticket Price increase afternoon, I got to hear from folks literally complaining that balloons weren’t going to get to their aisle. Is that really the most important thing? When one of the Sabres’ fetching p.r. interns came to get a seat holder to receive a jersey from a play at games’ end, that shut that up.

It was nice to close it out on a high note.

934888_10151365369932466_184817924_n“Yay, Me!”

It was nice for the game to end on that note, where fans and star goalie remembered the big picture and it was nothing but love and all.  T’was a nice vibe to end it on, as the days of working both jobs were starting to have quite the negative effect on the following day for me. I’m ready for the break. I don’t think the home team needs a massive over haul, but some things could stand to change. As Miller has been one of the most consistent Sabres this season, I sort of hate to see him potentially be out the door.

But as three days of NFL Draft coverage has reinforced, nobody knows nothing. Anybody who has spend anytime talking about what team picks what guy I think has forfeited his right to complain about weathermen.

But Sabres’ leadership, bring back the Sabredance!

I’m pretty sure…

…That a Tigers-Brewers World Series would have been fun for everybody but network execs at Fox. Nothing against this year’s finalists, but Tony LaRussa reminds me of a certain football coach in the New England area.

…That the Bills need to tighten the old defensive belt even faster than other concerns. For five out of their six games so far, the opposing offenses are practically running downhill. Otherwise, we are just having an exciting time, but ultimately reality might set in with a resounding thud.

…I would have liked to have been in the First Niagara Center for the Sabres’ actual home opener. That building often seemed a little soul-less, when things aren’t going well. But with anticipation high, the joint has a palpable soul. Despite the loss (the only one so far), it must have been buzzin in Pegulaville.

…that being a Mets fan might have done damage to my baseball acumen. My fantasy team had a firesale after the All-Star break, but it was fun to watch the Red Sox finish coming unspooled right around the time the Bills were doing you know what to the Patriots.

…that I don’t miss the NBA.

…worrying about one call during the Giants game is folly for Bills fans when there were other chances to make that argument moot.

…that I can’t watch Patriots vs. Cowboys match ups as they can’t both lose. Damn.

…I like Ryan Fitzpatrick gambling periodically though. Stuff will happen, but even Jim Kelly had some three interception days. The trick is bouncing back.

Ted Darling

With all the plaudits and concerns about Sabres‘ announcer Rick Jeanneret continuing his career, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t until the 9os that he was the main guy. He toiled mostly on CJRN Radio and took the Sabres’s main mike when Ted Darling called the games on television. Now I love RJ today, but with all the talk about about appreciating history of the team, I thought back to Darling, and the natural way that he knew that the puck went over the glass “went to a young fan from St. Catharines“. When the Sabres used to play Sunday night games, his call of the third period was often the last voice I heard coming from my clock radio.

RJ is a treasure, but Ted was pretty good too.


Idle Musings

Understanding less and less lately…..

Nothing like the opening pre-season football game on the NFL slate to remind you of the quality of a really good Canadian Football League game.

I’d love to report that I’m upset that the Bills dumped Lee Evans, but I’m not, stuff happens. His dad was a great tipper to us usher types, but I think of it more of Evans getting a chance to play for something, which the Bills probably won’t be doing this year. It does make you wonder what the plan is as you have to be a lot better for a fire sale. That said, they are at least dressing better. The new uniforms, while a blatant cash grab, are a darn sight better that the Division III threads of recent years. Hopefully Roscoe  and Boss Hogg will share with us what the ultimate plan be for catching them Duke boys.

That Aaron Maybin news, however, long overdue.

Speaking of which, I think I’d love a presidential campaign lock out. Let’s have nothing happen until the end of July next year, then they can all go (both democratic and republican candidate) go bonkers. Till then, this is all just a waste of time and money and a barrage of embarrassing photo ops.

The Iowa straw poll is pretty darned meaningless, but I am tired of the corndog picture with Michelle Bachmann, bet the corndog is too. It’s funny how GOP criticism of the president in 2007 and 2008 is now a strategy for them.

Just in case, I’m mislabled, I’m pretty disappointed in the President these days too, but the fantasy football roster the GOP has put together needs to come up with something other than bromides about the “president being a one termer” and “putting America back to work.” Both parties can come up a plan and neither one has the inclination, so it seems.

Why are the established restaurants in Elmwood and Allentown all knackered up about the small group of food trucks? Lloyd’s Taco Truck, The Whole Hog and the Rolling Buffalo are all providing good food and nobody has parked in front of another restaurant to steal customers. This controversy mystifies me. It does remind me back to when Starbucks was entering the Buffalo market and the folks at Cafe Aroma were apoplectic with rage until they realized that if you building something good, people will still keep coming. So, certain pizza, sub and take out joints should just keep doing what they are doing. You bake it and bake it well, people will come.

Inside Mike’s Mind

It’s a odd place to be sure, but while playing hall monitor at this evening’s professional hockey game, I had plenty of time to wander, observe and generally partake of some excellent people watching. It can be an added source of entertainment in addition to the event that actually is taking place.

It’s funny as I notice for each person at the event, some are actually there for what is taking place and there are almost as many there to be seen at the event. Some wait till the last possible second to look for their seat, thereby missing a good chunk of the first period.

I’m not going to lie, I enjoy beer, but not enough to spend most of the game running up and down the stairs to buy multiple oversized cans of the stuff. Given that seats ain’t cheap, I guess I’d want to get as much value for the dollars that I gots to pay.

It’s funny watching folks come down the stairs to head to concessions or whereever. Everybody, and I mean, everybody comes down, stops in a mini-pose and then proceeds. They stop and look around and then move along. Watch next time you in the high altitude regions.

The opposite of that are the people who come down a hallway and look up into a section trying to find a friend. You think these guys would call each other. I noticed one poor guy (in a Devils jersey) scanning my group, maybe for a familiar face, but chances are if there is a friend up there, you’d have his phone number, jerky!

The home team takes steps to instill a little hockey manners on the attendees. Most folks are pretty good about that. There are a few wisenheimers, who fate didn’t like as there was a ten minute stretch without a whistle and that made a few folks grumble. One guy was riding me about wanting to get to his seat and before I could say anything another fan told him he “should have pissed sooner.”

It cracks me up watching folks strategies at the end of the game. In tonight’s contest, it was basically there, but some folks leave their seats and start to head to the doors to “beat traffic.” Since they stop near my space and keep watching, I can’t help but wonder how much time they are saving. Folks are generally pretty good in leaving, but from the top most folks head to the escalators.

When we get cut loose, I just use the paths between the seats and get out in half the time talking, wait for it, the stairs.

Good things happen.

Blame Canada!

The World Juniors Hockey Tourney formally kicked off Sunday at the arena. I spent the day camped at sections 305-306 for the day.

And I’m glad I have the next day off. Overall, it was an entertaining experience.  One actual brawl between a quartet of ugly americans over seats was thankfully ended before anybody got hurt. It did take a little bit for my nerves to resume normal operations. This aging usher isn’t crazy about that sort of fun when I’m outnumbered by a bunch of guys hellbent on proving how tough they are. Thankfully for swift security response, I could employ my older brother’s floor hockey technique of avoiding the actual action, but looking busy at the same time.

That was to start my third game of the day, the eventual US victory over Finland. Understand, this is basically a big Canadian party and much of the crowd was left over from Canada’s win over Russia (that was the best game of the day.). The building was jammed and energized and felt like a hockey game. I got a feeling we were looking at the two best teams. The first game of the day was between Switzerland and Germany and was played to a roughly half full arena. Some of the crowd was actually there for that, others were there to check their sightlines for the Canadian/Russian battle at 4.

I don’t know if the Bills games had anything to do with it, or if the Fins aren’t a big name opponent, but it was a little off to see the USA playing in prime time on National television in both the US and Canada (and presumably Finland) and the place wasn’t entirely full. If you are in to hockey at all and have the post Christmas means, I’d recommend checking it out. For the same reason college basketball is more fun than the pros, these young bucks move. International rules means fewer offsides, no fights, arguments get broken up quick, so the game really does move along. And even the trash talk is mostly good natured, one of the canadian partisans invented the fried bologna/pretzel sandwich at the concession stand and stood eating that gastrointestinal miracle while explaining how if Finland beat the US, that would be good for the tourney. That bit of barstool philosophy was impossible to be an audience to without laughing.