September 16, 2003

Writers Gone Wild: Hockey Line Edition

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Sun Sports Writers Mike Pandolfini and Jon Auerbach have gotten hockey season tickets for the past three years. Here is an account of this year’s line, starting with Jon:

Friday, 2:15 p.m.: Arrival

I leave my last class and head over to the Lynah/Biotech Building area. A line of people extends the entire length of the side fence of Alumni Fields. Luckily, my friend Will and his brother Charles are near the front of the line. I stumble down to them; the people around me don’t appear happy that I am joining the line in front of them.

Apparently, there was some sort of “official” unofficial list of people who were there but got dispersed by the cops. The list nowhere to be seen, as some clever student grabbed it, jumped into a car, and sped away.

3:00 p.m.: Local Hockey Nut

The crowd is growing unruly, as people try to cut in line. We meet Ari Baum ’07, who seems to know the hockey team. They let him cut in line for some reason. He offers us “hockey literature” while we are waiting.

3:30 p.m.: Unofficial Line Police

A group of students tries to take control of the unofficial line. Some of them are wearing the Lynah Faithful shirts from last year, which makes them think they have authority over us. Note to self: if I show up next year with my Lynah Faithful shirt and wear pants, maybe people will be dumb enough to listen to me.

3:45 p.m.: The Holy Rope

It appears as if people are trying to put a rope up around the line. Cathy and Mike, the final two members of our group, arrive just in time, as it looks like the mob is starting to get violent. Mike sneaks under the rope, but Cathy is accosted, at which point Will starts screaming. I guess people will listen to whoever is loudest.

Some kid name Gabe, who appears to be the ringleader of the unofficial line police (or idiot brigade) tries to make a speech to everyone. Here is an excerpt:

“I wanna preface this again by saying that you do not have to listen to me, I’m a student just like you, my name is Gabe. This is Alex. Alex was generous enough to go down to the hardware store and buy 100 yards of rope.

I don’t care if it’s your friend. I don’t care if it’s my mother, whose name is Simone. If she crosses this rope, I want you to look her straight in the eye and say, ‘Simone, not on my watch.’ Hopefully now and forty-five minutes from now everyone will stay orderly and enforce the rope. Do not let anyone cross that line.”

I now feel a renewed patriotic duty to enforce the rope at all costs. God bless you, Gabe and Alex.

3:45 p.m.: Chaos

Now there is a yellow rope fencing in the unofficial line thanks to Gabe and his cronies. This just causes people to spread out more and make the line more chaotic. Anyone who comes anywhere near the rope is immediately screamed at. Another student starts screaming at a friend of mine further down the line because he is walking back and forth. My friend proceeds to ignore the idiot and walk back to his group.

4:00 p.m.: Um, yeah

The people in front of us start chanting, “Not on my watch! Not on my watch!” We laugh hysterically. It’s amazing how stupid people can get after only waiting on a line for a couple of hours. I think next year, there should be someone with a high-pressure hose to spray people if they start doing stupid things on the line.

4:45 p.m.: Finally

We move to the official line. The unofficial line now extends all the way around to Berman Field. Some of these people will obviously be turned away.

5:00 p.m.: Chillin’ with Ari

Mike and I have a nice chat with Ari about Cornell hockey. Here is a sample:

“I’ve been waiting 18 years to sit in Section B, I’ve been sitting across from Section B for 18 years. I’m a local, but I know more about this program than [expletive] all these people put together. I can name any player that’s every played here from the last 20 years. I’ve been waiting for this my entire life.”

Ari later had his line number canceled, as he missed the Saturday morning line check.

5:30 p.m.: OW!?

Mike gets struck in the head by a huge mat that the football coaching staff is trying to heave over the fence. Dave the Zamboni Driver walks by the line.

MIke’s Viewpoint

6:00 p.m.: Size matters

The grand troupe of adventurers (or nerds with nothing better to do than sit on a hockey line for 24 hours) finally made its way into the Ramin Room in the late afternoon. After taking advantage of the large amount of space available because we had the early line numbers 50-54, we nearly incited several brouhahas when things started to get crowded. Our group literally took up about 20 X 20 square feet of floor space. Fortunately, few were ready to start any real brouhahas due to the size of our group and the fact that hockey fans are friendly.

7:00 p.m.: Soccer

I decided to attend the nearby soccer game, considering that I do cover the team for the paper and all.

9:00 p.m.: A brouhaha to remember

After returning from the soccer game cold and hungry, I realized that there was no way that I was going to go a whole night without wings. Truly the brilliance of allowing one person to hold two line numbers showed through the circumstances. My good friend Will (who I like to call Dafoe, due to his uncanny similarities to actor Willem Dafoe) and I immediately drove to Wings Over Ithaca. Of course, our break from the line was not going to escape complaints from our other group members.

9:30 p.m.: Hunting for Chicken

Has anyone ever noticed that Wings Over Ithaca is in that shopping center in East Hill plaza? Well, I hadn’t. (Jon: “I told you this before you left.”) It took us about 30 minutes to find the place. Needless to say, a brouhaha was inevitable considering the amount of time we took getting wings.

10:00 p.m.: The Live Band

Whoever came up with the live band idea wasn’t really thinking about the negatives that come up when you mix loud live music and a large group of tired people already on the brink of brouhaha. When I returned from getting food, I noticed a band that hadn’t been there before making a good deal of ruckus. It’s not that its music was bad (really, no offense, whoever you were); it’s just that no one really seemed to want to hear it.

An anonymous source — whom I will only refer to as Line number 677 — argued coherently, “This band has been playing forever, and they suck.”

Note: The definition of coherently has been altered to “drunkenly” temporarily.

11:00 p.m.: I am not Matt Damon

No night with nothing to do is really the same without No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. As a self-proclaimed Hold ‘Em expert (also known in some circles as “the sucker”), I brought my chips and cards to the line expecting hours of rollicking booty-slapping fun (what?).

After thinking that I was really cool for a few minutes, Gene Nighman ’81 told us that we were allowed to go home. After everybody files out, some kid next to us starts jingling his keys for five minutes. We glare at him angrily. Since all our crap was on the floor already, the group decided that playing poker would be much more constructive than actually leaving and going to do something fun. Fifteen hands and three stacks of chips later, I realized what a mistake that was (Jon: “How about when I took all your money on two straight hands?”)

Saturday, 3:00 a.m.: Why smart people went home

Because they didn’t want t
o sleep on Astroturf.

8:00 a.m.: Homeward bound

Our shift was over. I headed home to fall asleep with massive back pain.

Archived article by Michael Pandolfini

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