It would be so satisfying to have a voice recording of fans behind the visiting hockey team Saturday night at the Gwinnett Arena inside a little “applause” box to take with you in a confrontation you don’t want to deal with yourself – on your worst day, of course.
My favorite from Saturday’s hockey game was “Ay—ers, Ay-ers… You suck!”
In this case, Ayers was a pretty boy Charlotte Checkers player who let four pucks get in his net. After every point scored and every miss, our Gwinnett Gladiators’ fans (Gwinnett County is about 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta) would reassure him -– and it sounded like it was most of the pack -- he really did suck.
It made my friends and I laugh every time. There was no huge jumbotron telling fans what to yell. It’s not like basketball, when the mascot holds up the D- and fence sign to cue fans. The cheer must have started with one person, as if someone had signaled the wave, and everyone caught on.
The cheer continued even when the announcer reminded fans to watch their language and that there were children in the arena as well. It didn’t stop there. It was just too tempting when poor Ayers made an error. What an example of group think.
This is a team that plays dramatic scenes from Russell Crowe’s Gladiator on the big Tvs and has instant replay of the fights and special clips of highlight brawls of the season. See, the Gladiators’ big wheels know what their fans want!
I don’t know if all hockey is like this. But I loved it. I knew it was a little bit wrong to laugh and cheer on the profanity, but it was just too fun.
And the players are the scrappiest I’ve seen. In two fights, the referees stood aside while the players ripped off their helmets and traded punches. Are they really that angry? There were all kinds of tripping with the hockey sticks and slamming the other player against the wall while a Gladiator pulled a puck out from under him.
Kudos to the community/fan relations folks. They know how to entertain their fans without anything fancy and hold on to their fans. I’m going back for more.