Perspective is a hell of a concept. Each of us has a perspective that is built upon all of our preconceived notions and opinions. It’s what gives each of us our unique point of view. It’s the lens through which we look at the world. Let’s be honest, the world would be a much more boring place if everyone had the same perspective.
Since everyone has different ways of looking at things, we can watch the same event and interpret the experience in completely different ways. Why do you think people can watch American Idol, hear the same contestant sing the same song, yet disagree on whether it was good or not. We have different opinions, priorities, and even agendas. It’s like watching Republicans and Democrats argue about Health Care Reform. You know, except for the pompous douchebaggery that is associated with politics (Yes, douchebaggery is a word now). Different people have completely different opinions for the exact same legislation.
Some of you might be thinking, “Great, thanks a lot Matt—but where the hell is the hockey?” Well, if you re-read the beginning of this article, you’ll find that I’ve been talking about hockey for two paragraphs now. A great save for one side is a lucky save for the other. A strong check from one team is viewed as a dirty penalty from the other. Likewise, a penalty from one side is viewed as a dive from the other. And so on…
Lately, one of my guilty pleasures has been watching fans from different teams root for their teams during the game all around the internet. This idea is true gold when you’re watching one of these games and you’re COMPLETELY detached from the outcome. Between blogs, Twitter, open threads, and message boards, there is no shortage of opinions from any fan base during any game. And they’re all in real-time! When you don’t have a rooting interest, it’s great to be around people that are bringing the excitement like school girls at a Jonas Brothers concert. Thank you social media!
A perfect example was Tuesday night during the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes game. If I wasn’t aware of it before, I was certainly reminded very early in the game: I interact with a TON of Blackhawks and Coyotes fans. Even the lead up to the game I was watching how Blackhawks fans wanted a little redemption from last week’s shootout loss and Coyotes fans wanted to extend their 9-game winning streak. I should have known that things would get interesting.
Early in the game, the Coyotes scored a goal that was waived off because of goaltender interference. Coyotes fans were pissed, thought the refs were screwing them, and talked about how it should have been 1-0 for the rest of the period and through the intermission. Most of the Blackhawks fans thought it was the right call because a member of the Coyotes pushed a Blackhawks player into his own goaltender preventing him from being able to make the save. It was one play that we all saw at the same time, yet two COMPETELY different ideas of what happened. Maybe it was the deep dish pizza coma or heat from the sun.
Another play that received a lot of attention on the very same night was Anton Volchenkov’s borderline hit on Simon Gagne. Predictably, a few Flyers fans flew off the handle and were immediately calling for a suspension. Sure enough, I saw a Senators fan say that the play was clean and Gagne turned into the hit.
Like almost any other situation in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. It’s that all elusive gray area in our black or white world. Did Volchenkov deserve to be thrown out of the game and suspended? No. Was it a perfectly clean hit that didn’t deserve to be reviewed and/or analyzed? No. As an outsider, it was a play that is usually called as a two minute penalty for boarding—whether Gagne put himself in the vulnerable position or not.
Should Shane Doan’s goal have counted? (You should have seen me just shrug). If I were a Blackhawks fan I’d say that Niemi couldn’t play the puck and if I were a Coyotes fan I’d say that it was a normal hockey play. Honestly, it didn’t really move me either way—which means I was probably alright with it. That being said, if that play happens in the 3rd period, I would have been shocked if they called that. Surprising Fun Fact: There’s a double standard with NHL officials.
I learned years ago that watching other people and their perspectives was a GREAT way to learn. Going to college and living in the dorms, you’re thrust into an unknown environment with unknown people. There are people from different races, different cultures, and difference economic backgrounds. I learned more about people than I could have in any class. And it was more interesting than actually reading a text book.
Who knew that all I needed was to watch hockey?