The one about fan participation

I’ve said it once, and I’m sure I will say it again, but I love the fact that fans are not only allowed to express their feelings at a hockey game, it’s encouraged.  Between the (usually ineffective) goalie taunts, screaming “Ref You Suck” and fans holding signs expressing pleasure and often displeasure in plays on the ice or calls by the officials, hockey is full of fan participation.

I work in the theater business, and I see a lot of really good and a lot of really bad performances.  Lately, it seems there have been more of the latter.  I’ve thought about how in theater history, in the era of Shakespeare, for example, the groundlings, who were the audience members standing in front of the stage, would cheer and boo and even throw things at the actors onstage.  While I do not condone throwing anything on the ice, or even banging on the glass (one of the WORST habits that is condoned and encouraged at Checkers games!), I do think that yelling and taunting adds to the experience. And just as these reactions make a game more fun, I think it could make theater more fun, too.

There are MANY theater performances I wish had booing or taunting, in the hopes it would make them end faster!   I wonder how the management at my theater would feel if we had a sponsor donate posterboard for audience members to make signs for the actors, singers and dancers on stage?  What about a sign that says “Hey, Trumpet section, are you DEAF?” or maybe even better, “Hey Trumpet, YOU BLOW!” after they hit some particularly bad notes (and I can assure you, they do!) just like a “Hey Ref, are you blind” sign that one might see at a game.

I love making signs.  The funnier the better, though I keep mine clean.  I’ve been thinking about all of the possible inappropriate signs I could make at a Checkers game.   I remember when John Grahame was a goaltender in Raleigh (he’s in the AHL again, this time with the Lake Erie Monsters), he used to get lots of crazy signs from fans that put their phone number in huge writing for him to see.   And you know, Checkers netminder Justin Pogge and Grahame have something in common in that both have NASCAR-themed masks, and I believe both have scantily clad women painted on them.  Interesting similarity, I think.

But seriously, what is it about girls making signs for  Pogge, offering a variety of favors, or asking for his phone number?  Maybe it’s because they’ve seen the ad campaign he did for Bootlegger Jeans a few years ago?  A friend and I were joking about all of the possible signs girls could make for him… “I want to score with Pogge,” and other not-so-PG variations.  I can assure you, I will not be doing anything like that any time soon!

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3 thoughts on “The one about fan participation

  1. It seemed like this past Tuesday crowd, even though it was small, was really into the game. The final 2:30 while killing the penalty I saw more fans standing for a longer period that at most any point this season. It was great to see the reaction when the penalty was killed and when the final horn sounded. It seems that people are starting to catch on thanks to your encouragement

    • I couldn’t agree more! We have pretty amazing fans in Charlotte, especially for a first-year franchise. Sure, hockey has been in Charlotte for a long time, but not at this level, and it’s SO EXCITING! And there are a lot of people doing the encouraging, you included!!!!!

  2. You are such a cultured daughter!! This post reminds me of touring the museum with you in England and standing in the area where the groundlings stand….and I know that Shakespeare is a favorite of yours….who else would have a Shakespeare decorated bathroom! It also reminds me of when you made the sign for your favorite Suns players 25th birthday … including glitter …and it landed you an interview with him for the Randolph Junior High newspaper. Can’t wait to enjoy hockey with you again! Love, Mom (who really doesn’t appreciate the Checkmates)

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