NCHC Frozen Faceoff Champs UMD Bulldogs Victorious, Fan Experience Vicious
Congratulations to the UMD Men's Hockey Team, bringing the NCHC Frozen Four Trophy back to Duluth. Wow, I am certainly ignorant when it comes to attending hockey games outside of the Amsoil venue. I was fully expecting there to be a plethora of Bulldog fans at the NCHC Championship game at the Target Center on Saturday, instead the ratio was probably 4 to 1 and I ended up in a section I'll describe as a hostile environment.
I couldn't believe that Bulldog fans live only 2.5 hours and UND fans had to drive hours and hours to get to the Target Center and it was nothing but a sea of black and green. Our Bulldogs didn't let that affect their determination to come back to the Northland with the trophy.
I was fighting my own battle while watching the game with complete ignorance working in my favor. As luck would have it, my seat was right next to an overly zealous female UND fan. I tried to strike up a friendly conversation with her before the game and I got the nose up in the air while turning the head response. Ok, I get it, doesn't want to chat. Not my style, but I just accept people for who they are, unless they are ridiculously rude, mean or disrespectful. That totally describes the gal sitting next to me. Here's the funny part. I was the target of fan disrespect all around me, but my ignorance deflected that disrespect right back at them.
At one point when a UND athlete was called for a penalty a guy that was standing in a group just below where we were sitting turned around and flipped us the bird. He wasn't wearing anything that indicated that he was a UND fan so I thought his actions were meant for the UND fans around us. So, I laughed at his smiling face and pointed back at him thinking we were sharing the moment. Now I know why he had a confused look on his face when he shook his head and turned around.
Just to the right of us we there was a man that kept looking over at us with a goofy know-it-all-smile on his face. In the hallway there was a sponsored table that allowed you to make a sign to hold up during the game. Apparently, he had thought ahead because at one point I looked over and he was holding up his sign that read "UMD Bulldogs #10". Again, my ignorance kicked in and I thought he was holding it up for someone behind me to read. I glanced behind me to see if he was getting a rise out of a UND fan, turned back toward him laughing while holding up 3 fingers, thinking that I was correcting him and his error in where the Bulldogs were in the standings. Again, a confused look and soon they got up and moved or left.
Back to the woman sitting to my left. Every time we chanted "Let's Go Bulldogs" she would insert Souix in my ear and was making comments that included profanity so I moved down the two seats. When she returned for the beginning of the third period she had to squeeze past me to get to her seat. I was standing up and facing my husband who was in the next row behind me. My seat was folded up and I had both knees against the seat trying to be in as far as possible. When she walked by she made a point of pushing up against my back. I turned to her and said "Wow, how old are you?"
Fast forward to the end of the game, UND tied it up with just a little over 2 minutes left to play in the game. But, Bulldog Joey Anderson hit the net 50 seconds short of OT for the win! We were ecstatic yelling and jumping up and down for several minutes after the game. That's when I hear an extremely sarcastic "exscuuuuse me" from the gal to my left. I braced myself in case she was going to do something stupid because of her disappointment in their loss and said "of course" (ok, I added a little attitude when I said it).
I couldn't be more proud of our Bulldogs and look forward to their next game this Friday in Fargo, ND against Ohio State at 5:30. I'll be watching that one from my home where the only interference I'll have to deal with is the dog asking to be let out!