The Rise and Fall of Momentary Barbarism

Nachmu made his way to the February 8 Buffalo Sabres game against Mordor’s Boston Bruins, bringing Nachmu the Lesser along. We had great seats, six rows up from the ice across from the benches.

I think within the first ten minutes of the game we had two goals and two fights. During the second fight, I felt barbarity rise in my heart as I stood and shouted for violent restitution for evil unavenged from last November. When the fight was over, satisfied I took my seat (by the way, I am never sitting in the 300s again. The extra few bucks buys exponential value), and I heard a clarion voice beside me, which made the barbarity settle and find its hidden recess.

She said, “I guess there are going to be many fights tonight.” “Yes,” I replied, “there’s a little energy in the building tonight.”

“I don’t like the fights,” she said, “I guess that makes me the anti-hockey fan.” I took my eyes off the ice and looked her. She was a lithe young lady, a young mother, with very light brown eyes to complement untreated long blonde hair and a visage reminiscent of a young and more petite Meryl Streep (I find Meryl Streep less beautiful than Audrey Hepburn and Mrs. Nachmu). “My children are so into the fights,” she added, “but I’m not. I think it’s unnecessarily violent.”

I pondered for a moment, and I said, “Really?”

“Yes, really,” she said, and turned away from me.

At the beginning of the second period, the crowd began booing some of the villains on Mordor’s team, and I took the opportunity to sound more civilized: “You may not like the fighting, but I don’t like the booing. Booing is low class. Fighting is acceptable behavior, but booing is downright rude.”

“At least you’re laughing,” she said, because I was.

“I thought you’d appreciate irony,” I said, feeling very clever.

“Indeed,” she said, “there is a level of politeness at a hockey game not at other games, no swearing and cursing.”

“Ah!” I exclaimed, prepared to relate my favorite hockey story, “The very same boys who, when skateboarding and playing roller blade hockey in the park behind our house during the summer, swear and curse with unfettered mouths, utter no such filth when they skate on the pond in the same place during the winter, playing hockey.”

“They do not desire to disrespect the game,” she said.

“It’s a strange game, hockey,” I said.

This time she laughed, saying, “Yet they’ll beat each other’s brains out as a necessary part of the game.”