"Rooting For Violence"...Read the entire article!
STEVEN KALAS: The yin and yang of rooting for violence
On impulse, my wife buys five discounted hockey tickets. She remembers how much she liked watching hockey in college, and she hopes to create a fun outing for our family.
I''m not a hockey fan. I haven''t watched an entire hockey game since the 1980 Winter Olympics. But I tend to love excellence in most any form, and any chance at quality time with my kids is a good thing, right?
So off we go.
I like the guy who dances during the timeouts, tossing Wrangler T-shirts to and fro. I love the energy he infuses. To boot, he''s a great dancer.
I don''t really get the mascot -- a chartreuse, mutant biped cow named The Duke. At least I think it''s a cow. But a hard-working mascot he is. And the kids love him.
And, for the record, the game couldn''t have been scripted to be any more exciting. Regulation ends in a tie. Overtime ends in a tie. The shootout ends in a tie. The home boys win in a sudden death shootout. Wow. The shootout is my favorite part. It is so pure. Skill on skill. Speed versus reflex. Beautiful to watch.
And that''s all I want to say about hockey. Because now I''d like to talk about culture and the psychology of violence.
I must have been asleep when we agreed that 6,700 people chanting "Ref, you suck" was a perfectly fine way to behave. Oh, don''t get me wrong. I can boo with anybody, and some things deserve booing. But "Ref, you suck" seems kinda personal and tawdry. I feel embarrassed for my children.
But about the time I work up a head of moral indignation, a hockey player from the visiting team comes out of the penalty box. "Alaska has returned to full strength," booms the PA announcer. "But they still suck," shout 6,700 people without missing a beat. And this time I laugh out loud. Hmm. Moral indignation erodes easily in this environment.
In the first period, play is hard and passionate. Opponents exchange baleful stares and jaw at each other. In the second period, things get hotter, and the refs have to break up a handful of low-budget, push-and-shove altercations. In the third period, things really escalate. Players seem to no longer care about the location of the puck. Now checking is elbow first and aimed at the head. Helmets and gloves fly. I lose count of the fights.
And much to my surprise, the fights start to get really interesting. Yeah boy. Punch him in the head. Rock ''n'' roll. Ref, you suck. Puck? What puck? I''m on my feet, heart thumping, eyes fixed on the blood and guts of five or six hockey players and three referees, punching and thrashing and writhing. Yippee! This guys-beating-the-snot-out-of-each-other-cuz-they-can thing really grows on you!
We win. (Oh, so now it''s we?) And the guy in front of me stands up and twirls his beer around and around. I have beer on my head. On my jacket. The woman two rows down is drenched. My children are splashed. I''m incensed. Shaking with outrage. A couple of people confront the idiot, and come to near blows. I head up the stairs for security, preferring that to having my children watch me carted off in handcuffs.
Three different ushers in maroon coats hear my tirade. Not one of them, it seems, can manage to locate security. I manage to find them myself, gathered in a little party behind a desk. And do I ever give them a piece of my mind. In turn, they take my name and phone number. Maybe they''ll give me a free Wranglers fan-proof hooded beer poncho.
And, of course, then it hits me. What a fool I am. I''ve just spent a couple of hours really enjoying watching guys on ice skates trying to dismember each other. In that same time frame, I became increasingly relaxed and even found humor in people shouting "You suck" to strangers in public. And now I''m expecting people to share my outrage about a punk with all the brains of a carp who pours beer on me and my children? Like he has done something wrong?
Like now I''m offended?
[:] [:] [:] [:] BIOGRAPHY [:] [:] [:] [:]
Besides being an award winning singer songwriter (four music CD''s are here on CD Baby!), Steven holds a Masters Degree in Theology with Post-Graduate Marriage/Family Therapy Supervision. He is experienced in adolescent development, divorce and remarriage, premarital counseling, couples, bereavement assessment and intervention, suicidology, crisis intervention, and religion & sexuality.
Steven serves in a capacity as trainer, teacher, and lecturer for a wide variety of religious groups around the nation. He provides lay pastoral care training, critical-incident debriefing, conflict resolution, and team building. Other topics include death & dying, suicide assessment & intervention, and reconciliation.
He''s currently a columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal. His book, HUMAN MATTERS will be released on January 2, 2008.
Steven is father to three sons: 16, 14, and (what was he thinking?) age 5! He,s a rabid Phoenix Suns fan, a crazed Green Bay Packer fan, a Beatlemaniac, and owns DVD recordings of every known work of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
"Steven Kalas Speaking Of Human Matters" is Produced by Steven Kalas and Stavros Entertainment in Las Vegas, Nevada
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