Winterhawks Hockey

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I went to a Portland Winterhawks game the other night, and aside from the horrible parking due to a Portland Trailblazers game taking place next door at the same time had a very good time. The home team won 4-3 after a sloppy start that saw the team trailing 2-1 at one point. There is obviously bad blood between Portland and the visiting Tri-City Americans as there were a lot of fights. The quality of play improved as the game progressed, and the number of fights declined until the end. With the Americans pulling their goalie the last two minutes were frenetic and the gloves dropped a few times, as they did at the final buzzer.

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The Winterhawks are a Western Hockey League team, basically the minor leagues for the NHL and has mostly high school kids playing for the teams. While it is obviously not pro caliber the games are usually very enjoyable and you have a chance of seeing a future NHL player on his way up

I used to be a huge sports fan and at different times have had season tickets to the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, and the San Jose Sharks. As my brother is wont to observe-“It’s obvious you are single.”

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Over the years that interest has faded a bit. In at least one case (49ers) its team ownership and the belief that things will not get better soon. However I think one of the main issues is that I grew up reading about sports in newspapers and it is not the same thing for me on the Internet.

Another of course is cost. It now is more expensive, by a factor of 2x, to park at a 49er game than a seat cost the first year I had my tickets. Food and beverages are sky high and it is increasingly hard to bring food into a stadium.  When I started going to Giants games at Candlestick you could sit in the bleachers for $2, so I have seen probably hundreds of games from that vantage point.

Time is also an issue in some cases.  For a pro football game you have to basically dedicate your entire day, if you are not there early no parking, long lines thru security and then the confusion of getting back on the road post game. The impact of television time outs on the pace of the game is very obvious live, when at home you can change loads in the laundry, fix a sandwich etc…

I am also a cord cutter and so do not get live sports on my television anymore. In some ways I miss it a lot and in others it’s amazing how much more free time I have.

Since moving to Portland I used to see the minor league baseball team the Beavers but lack of support and other issues lead to their departure. I have just not gotten into the Hops, the new minor league team in Beaverton. The town has the Timbers soccer team and I enjoy soccer but rarely go to their games for some reason. I don’t root for either of the major college teams in the state but do enjoy PSU football and now attend one or two a year.

Sadly one of the other issues is probably the fact that the friends that I grew up with, and who rooted for, or in some times against my teams, have spread to the four winds. While I have a fine group of friends now, it’s not quite the same. The inside jokes are gone. The years of building on the same jokes has no meaning to new friends and falls flat when you explain it to them.

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