SCENESCOPE: Special Pro Sports Spotlight; March 17, 1997

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SCENESCOPE: Special Pro Sports Spotlight; March 17, 1997
Sep 9, 2007, 23:13



Scenescope correspondent Oral B. decided to take a breather from the stale cigarette smoke-filled trenches of rock to attend a professional ice hockey game.  He filed this report.

Went to the San Jose Sharks/Detroit Red Wings game on Saturday.  Plotnick's in-laws have two pairs of season's tickets and whenever they can't go, he gets the kickdown.  We scalped one pair in the parking lot to a guy who claimed all he had was $45, as in “C'mon, man, my brother and I drove all the way from San Fran, and alls we got is $45.”  We were holding out for $50 and said sorry.  He told us to hold on a minute, ran over to his buddy, got some more money and came running back, putting the $45 plus $3.75 in assorted change into Danny's hand.  Danny said he appreciated the sadsack shortchange effort, so the deal was done.  We made a beeline inside, hit the concession stand and, per order of the Paunch Reinvestment Authority, promptly sunk the proceeds into Italian sausages, fries, and Pepsi's (the jumbo Budweisers would follow).  Even after the $10 parking fee, we still had yet to spend a dime of our own money.

Our seats were excellent, located on the lower level directly behind the Sharks goal.  Given the quality of this year's Shark's defense, we were guaranteed a view of the game's majority of shots-on-goal action.  Moments after settling in, the lights dimmed, a shrouded mass lowered from the rafters,  and the cloth lifted to reveal a giant shark head.  Smoke began to bellow from its gaping jaws, its eyes blinked red, the theme from Jaws began to play, and the Sharks skated through the mouth onto the ice.

The match quickly turned into a slugfest.  I was pleased to see that years-long NHL efforts to create a kinder, gentler hockey game had no visible effect on the evening's festivities.  A Shark committed an early slashing and the fouled Red Wing responded with some enthusiastic face punching.  The highly visible and vocal Detroit crowd contingent roared their approval.  As both teams jumped into the fray, a ref attempted to restrain a menacingly advancing Red Wing and was nearly thrown to one side.  The black and white color blind player was ejected faster than you can say “S.J. Sharkie”.  Despite the Shark's power play advantage (two Red Wings, one Shark in the penalty box), the Red Wings were able to score shortly thereafter, which did not bode well for the hometown boys.  The organist added his two cents worth with a stirring rendition of Elton John's classic “Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting”.

Meanwhile, Plotnick and I had been wondering if the guys we sold the tickets to would actually be sitting next to us.  As suspected, they did not. Instead, two jarhead weightlifter types showed up.  They wasted no time getting wasted and busting out the homemade sign supporting Detroit, much to the chagrin of the Sharks fans sitting behind them.  We opted not to ask them how much they paid for their tickets.

Back on the ice, the score was now 2-0 Detroit.  A deftly executed Red Wing high sticking resulted in the melee we'd all been waiting for.  Helmets and sticks flew, scattering all over the ice as the fisticuffs split into two separate dogpiles.  As the refs took minutes to sort out all the penalties, the funniest organ player in pro hockey, Dieter Ruhl, treated us to the 4 Non Blondes smash “What's Going On?”

Back in the stands, the blue-jacketed men of Guest Services got in on the act, issuing a warning to our not-so-friendly placard wavers.  Team mascot S.J. Sharkie made the rounds and tossed pizzas into the crowd.  Warning:  flying pies can cause extreme injury.  San Jose Arena assumes no responsibility for hot cheese burns. We had some scalp funds left, so I made the beer run.  When I got back, a heated exchange was taking place between the jarheads and the people behind them.  Jarhead #1 goes “I played hockey for years so shut the hell up!”.  As he put his sign down, he supposedly hit the head of the person in front of him.  After I sat back down, the elderly woman to my right handed a full order of deluxe nachos to her husband.  He fumbled the snap, dropping them onto his lap and the floor.  The more he wiped, the more he got hot nacho cheese all over his jacket sleeves, like a bright orange tar baby.  Guest Services came back and said to jarhead #1, “Sir, this man says you poked  him in the head.  Jarhead #2 looks at the accuser and goes, “Dude, you've got to grow more balls.”  Then he looks at the ushers and says “This fucker's lying.”  The family's within earshot are mortified.  Plotnick and I can't believe our luck.

Back on the ice, the refs managed to take back control of the game.   At the end of two periods, the score is 4-2 Detroit.  The Sharks are unable to do much but pass the puck.  The Red Wings have a 15 shots-on-goal advantage.

Period three:  the Sharks struggle to a 5-4 deficit.  With only 4 minutes left in the game, an usher pays a visit to our row and says to jarhead #1: “Sir, I saw you spit at the man in front of you, you'll have to leave.”  Jarhead: “Prove it.”  G.S.: “Sir, leave the arena now or with the police.”  Jarhead: “Call ‘em.”  Guest Service reinforcements arrive and the walkie talkie call to the cops is made.  At this point the jarheads get up and are summarily ejected.  The guy who was sitting to the left of them says to us, “I didn't see him spit.  An argument breaks out between several people in our immediate vicinity as to whether or not the guy actually expectorated.  Not unlike the OJ case, popular opinion was split according to which team the witnesses were supporting.  Neither Plotnick nor I saw him do it.  I think we would have heard/seen it if he had, but we remained silent, as ultimate culpability to the jarheads' presence in the section actually lay with us.

Final scores:  Red Wings 7, Sharks 4.  Guest Services 2, Military Weightlifters 0.  Concession Stand Honorable Mention for the French Fries.

Plotnick/Oral B. Rating:  4 Very Enthusiastic Thumbs Up...Way Up.

This piece originally appeared in Your Flesh #36.

Amused by the above? Then check out the regularly syndicated podcast, A NEST OF VIPERS, mediated by Danny Plotnick with regular guests like Oral B and others, cracking wise about the minutiae of life in general.

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