My son and I have been going to hockey games for three years. He’s four!
Last year we had the moment of insight that the kid couldn’t actually see the game because he was too small. He never thought to say anything, and I never thought to ask. The poor kid went to something like 20+ games before we realized he wasn’t actually watching the game. No wonder he was bored!
One thing that always surprised me was why when the Sharks scored did he look terrified?
Last night I figured it out. A goal in a hockey game is like a random loud event to Nicholas. He has no idea why or how the goal got scored. The whole sequence appears random.
How did the least observant parent of the year figure this one out? Because Marleau scored on a break-a-way and Nicholas was standing and cheering. More importantly he was proud of the fact that he had raised his hands like everybody else at the same time! He was going: I raised my hands like everyone else…
The poor kid had been trying to figure out why all of these adults simultaneously stood up and cheered! And the reason he was freaked out was because it was like this room full that suddenly erupts – for no apparent reason – in a loud shout… I would be freaked out as well… And he was frustrated, I think, that he didn’t understand.
This is why baseball and soccer have such a broader following. A baseball game event is obvious. The ball is hit, the player runs. In soccer the pace is sufficiently slower that a neophyte fan can follow what happens. A hockey game, on the other hand, is a sequence of bounces, abrupt changes in motion followed by a goal and appears to inscrutable.
I think, maybe, now my kid is going to start enjoying the game.