I don’t know about anyone else, but I hate getting to a game late! I mean, is there anything better than the feeling that one gets from the build up, excitement and pre-game hype?! The anticipation that leads up to the drop of the puck is half of the fun! What will happen next? Will this be another thrilling game and who will be the star? Will we leave the arena with thousands of fans chanting “Let’s Go Panthers!” – or on a more memorial note, after beating the Stanley Cup Champions and chanting “We beat the Blackhawks! (yeah, when you have a losing record, this is a special event!)” Most importantly, will we get the win and those much needed two points towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs?! As a Panther’s fan, these questions end up in disappointment more often than we’d like. However, something keeps drawing back dedicated Panther’s fans!
A few months ago, I got the chance to drag my friend and long-time, Chicago Blackhawk’s fan to a game with me. It was a weeknight and a less than capacity arena. Yet, right away, he made a comment “they know how to do it right.” Wait a minute. Was he serious? Time and time again, I have found myself watching teams like the Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Flyers playing to sell out crowds. I admire and also envy the excitement that comes from an arena full of passionate fans.
One of the most difficult things that I have had to accept as a fan of any South Florida team is that we are not known for sell out crowds and crazy fans…the Miami Heat…average crowd, until they go to (and win) the NBA Finals. The Florida Marlins made national news for their empty stands, not long after they won the World Series. Panthers? Same story.
However, despite the record, there’s something about being at a live game that makes it special. In fact, each week is special as the goal horns go off, smoke fills the air, the National Anthem is sung, and the Jumbo-tron lights up with a pre-game intro! All of this seems to get the adrenaline flowing and fans pumped up for one more game.
<video courtesy of Bill Murphy/murphonics youtube>
So, with only three more home games left in the regular season (and no chance of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs), I will look forward to those final three games…the atmosphere…the work that goes in to each game…and, the Jumbo-tron.
While we get caught up in the game itself, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that I want to take the time to recognize those who make every game a special experience.
Also, a special thanks to Bill Murphy for sharing the video and doing a great job with the in-arena, announcing!