I'm really not one of those guys who bitches about "bandwagon" fans--the more the merrier, I say, and let's all have fun. But last night I couldn't believe the two ladies sitting in front of us. All was well until the first whistle of the game--one of them turned to me (perhaps because I was with my 15-year-old daughter and look incredibly harmless) and asked, "why did he blow the whistle?" I said, "the Hawks were offsides." She said, "oh, thanks," with the same level of comprehension I would have if someone tried to explain Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to me in Flemish. A bit later, she turned and asked me about another whistle--"uh, that's icing," I said, praying that this wouldn't go on all night. My daughter put her rally towel in her mouth to keep from laughing hysterically. Sure enough, when the first penalty was assessed, she turned around--before she could ask, I said, "It's a penalty on the Hawks--our guy goes in the box for two minutes and the Flyers skate with an extra guy during that time." She said, and I quote, "wow!"
Fortunately, this seemed to be just enough information to satisfy her curiosity (thank God the two-line pass is now legal; I might still be there trying to explain it to her) and the second period elapsed without incident. As you can imagine, things were getting a little tense during the last five minutes of the third. I had my head in my hands during a stoppage in play, working on my breathing exercises, when she tapped me on the knee to ask, "why does Sharp have an 'A' on his jersey?" I was tempted to say "It stands for 'Any more questions and I'll throw you and your friend out of the 300 level" but I muttered "alternate captain."
Like I said, it's great that the Hawks are attracting fans, and these ladies were perfectly pleasant. But this was the 11th Stanley Cup Finals home game in my nearly 49 years on earth, and somehow, someone with absolutely no idea what was going on decided it would be fun to show up. If there's a game 5, and she's back, I'll just tell her to go ask that that bald guy who stands between the benches -- he may be the only person in the building with less of a clue.