Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Maple Leafs

a post by Anna

Leafs Game
On January 2, 2005, I attended my first-ever live hockey game. The Pittsburg Penguins came to the Air Canada Center to play against our Toronto Maple Leafs.

Being an avid and devoted hockey and Leafs fan, I do not believe there are enough words in the English language to truly depict my reaction(s) to this live experience. I felt a sense of excitement, anticipation, appreciation, hope, curiosity, pleasure, exposure, and joy all at one time, not only before and after the event but especially during. My feelings caused me to constantly grin, clap my hands in delight, and stay wide-eyed through the whole three hours of the hockey game. I even told my friends and blogged to the world both before and after I attended the event, posting picture after picture of my experience. The reaction(s) that this event brought out of me was rare therefore anyone could observe how wound up I was about it.

I think the way I shaped this experience resulted from my reaction to it. I believe that my anticipation and open-mindedness to the experience shaped it to be as grand as or even better than I had expected. I was willing to not only be myself and do things that came naturally to me, but join in to the reactions of the crowd. I was excited, prepared, drawn, and focused to the event. Had I not done some or anyway of these things, the experience would have been dull and a waste of resources.

There is no doubt in my mind that this was a fantastic experience for me. It really caused me to appreciate everything that goes into an event like this. All the details such as security, food vendors, clothing, services, athletes, training, media, broadcasting, and video enabled me to see the big picture of it all. As a business major, I rarely am able to see so many points of a capitalistic industry and the countless number of its subdivisions all at once, however this experience allowed me to encounter this. In addition, I was also able to experience a true sense of unity. Although it was only for a brief three hours, it is rare to encounter such tight harmony amongst such a large number of people these days. Everywhere we look, and even in our churches we experience disunity but this experience reminded me that as humans, we should always be in a state of concord. Not only has this experience changed the way I see games on TV and has increased my love for the game, it has also reminded me to appreciate details, be grateful that I was able and had the resources to attend the event, and relate what I learned to different aspects of my life for growth and improvement.


Blogger blair said...

Two questions. I too have experienced the integrated unity of the Maple Leafs experience (I went on Thursday night to a game with my brother - Buffalo trounced the Laughs which suited me just fine) but wonder whether or not we should emulate this as the church.

The second question is related to the first. If we feel unified in our dedication to a team, is that a sad comment on our lives or an exciting fact to be exploited. Take Tie Domi as an example. At least in the game that I saw, the guy did nothing of value. He skated around, not all that fast, and didn't seem to be in the right place at the right time. He is in the millionaires club for doing very little. Is it good to feel unity around dedication to individuals like Domi? You could choose whatever hockey player you like, Domi is an easy target, but in the end we are feeling unified about something that has been manufactured and marketed to us to feel unified about. Marketers tell us we are part of Leafs Nation and so we begin to feel that way. Too cynical?

7:15 p.m., January 29, 2006  
Anonymous anna said...

In response to your first question, I believe we should emulate the "die-hard, fan even if we're on an 8 game losing streak and currently out of the play-offs" mentality of it. As Christians, should we not as well be totally sold out, and die-hard to Christianity, God, and the Gospel regardless of politics, imperfection, and hurt from the church? Cause really, we're on "the winning team"...but we don't always act like it.

And your second question, I think unity is choice. Often times like you stated, we are misdirected and misled. But ultimately, it's still our choice whether or not to be part of that team or group is it not? Therefore I think that although it is a sad comment on our lives, we should also turn it around and make good with it. Just as God can turn sin around to His glory, I also believe that we can turn this into something great. I dunno, I see so many non-Christian or non-religious examples of how the church should be run that it's almost discouraging. But also encouraging that I know that at least I can begin to make the effort to change that. Too optimistic?

1:05 a.m., January 30, 2006  
Blogger Melissa said...

I too find it interesting that we as Christians can get so excited about things ourside the church but rarely see/disply the same enthusiasm inside it, or in regards to Christian things. Of course Jesus' saving power is more to get excited about then a sports game. However the 'air' and feelings at a hockey game, concert, etc. can often be very manufactured but sounds, lights, and encouragment of others and in that case I do not think it should be emulated in the church. (not to say that sports fans excitement is not genuine...but you know)

2:37 p.m., January 31, 2006  
Blogger alexstreet said...

jealousy is all I feel right now Anna. I have been a die-hard fan for my whole life and have never come close to seeing a Leafs game myself. Money mostly being the reason. But be it a horribly over-priced event in which really the feeling of whether or not it was "good" rides a lot on if they lose or win, I would get out of whatever situation I was in and get down to the ACC for a game in a second, if given tickets. The beauty thing about Toronto, with the exception of people like Bertrand the Leaf hater, is that when you know someone else loves the Leafs, it's an instant bond. And if we're comparing hockey to Christianity, it's the same thing, when I see someone wearing a WWJD bracelet (best example I could think of) I feel a bond with that person. I was walking down the street wearing my Leaf jersey, and a guy was walking the opposite direction also wearing his jersey, we nodded and smiled at each other...and for that moment I knew that if I was in trouble for some reason, that guy would help me. Thank you Maple Leafs.

2:00 p.m., February 03, 2006  
Anonymous anna said...

Alex...thanks for your comment, it made me laugh. I guess we can be best friends now that you're a die-hard fan and we somehow share this incredible bond. And I hope "Bertrand the Leaf Hater" doesn't find offense to your comment =)

2:59 a.m., February 04, 2006  
Blogger blair said...

I don't know if I would go so far as saying Leaf hater but I can state for certainty that I'm not offended by others misguided loyalty to a franchise that hasn't won a Stanley Cup since the 60's. It isn't that I cheer against the Leafs in particular, I just cheer against anyone who is close enough in the standings that they make a difference to the Habs. Buffalo is so far away in the lead that it is better for them to get points than for the Leafs.

12:06 a.m., February 06, 2006  
Anonymous anna said...

HAHAHAHAHA yeah I think the rest of North America wonders why there are more devoted and dedicated Leafs fans when they don't even take the cup? Maybe more Torontonians love the game than in any other city and because it's hometown, that's who we cheer for? Or maybe Toronto has built the best franchise thus the most loyalty? Whatever the reason I think, from a business major perspective, that I or we can maybe learn from what Toronto has done in terms of marketing and consumer psychology. And we can probably forward these same concepts and somehow link them to the gospel. I don't's a thought.

Anyway lets just create an alliance and knock Tampa Bay and the Devils out so we can get all our Canadian teams into the playoffs.

1:15 a.m., February 06, 2006  

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