Grab Your Keys! It’s the 3rd Period!

Have you ever sat in traffic coming home from a concert at the First Niagra (Post-Gazette, Coca-Cola) Pavillion? It’s horrendous getting out of that parking lot. I once went to a concert there that ended around 11 but I didn’t get home until 2. Without traffic? 45 minute drive.

I don’t know what is happening at Consol. There are different explanations but one thing I know for certain is that people are vacating this arena with 10 minutes left in the game (or more!) like the arena is about to get hit by a meteor.

Since the Pens began there ascent back to the top of the league a few years ago, going to a Pens game has become some sort of symbol of your status. It’s the “thing to do.” Corporate seats and ticket holders charging outrageous prices over face value.

Look at this:

$200 to sit in the upper bowl against the Senators?

That is insane for a regular season game.

I don’t know what is happening to the fan base. Leaving early has never been a conceivable option to me. No matter how bad a team in any sport is losing by or how large of  a lead they have, I can’t leave. It seems wrong. You support your team win or lose. They need you most when they lose.

Sports are completely unpredictable. Let’s take the game against Boston on January 10th of last season for example. The Pens were winning 2-0 with 4 minutes left in the 3rd period. I was like “awesome” and went down to the basement to start some laundry. When I came back, the Bruins had scored 3 times with a 4th on the way!

If you left the game, you missed it.

The people who panicked and fled the game on Tuesday night against the Avalanche missed James Neal and Kris Letang’s goals. The people who left early at the game on October 22 could have missed a possible hat trick for Jordan Staal. The same goes for those who left early against Dallas last Friday when James Neal came within inches of  scoring his first hat trick in a Pens uniform.

Quick! We didn't pre-pay at the garage!

If you are taking the time to go to a game, why not sit there and enjoy and get your money’s worth? I mean, chances are you spent half of your pay check to go between your ticket, parking, a new Pens shirt, nachos and beer. You know traffic is going to happen. It’s a fact of life and it’s expected for sporting events, concerts and the like. But why potentially ruin an incredible experience?

And truth be told, you’re pissing off the people around you who don’t want to miss the game because a flood of people are standing in front of them trying to escape sitting in the garage for an extra 5 minutes. You’re also doing a complete injustice to the folks at home who cannot afford to go and would relish every second of being at the game even if the Pens were down 11-2.

OMGZ!!! TRAFFIC!!!!

Think of the people who fled in the second period of game 5 of the playoffs last year. The Pens lost 8-2. I was listening the game on the radio while getting my hair done. I listened to every last second and watched my Twitter  feed on my phone. Updates from people who were sticking it out in what was apparently a seriously depleted fan population. But there were people outside across the street watching on lawnchairs and blankets on a screen in front of the old barn. And they would have killed to have been inside.

Stop taking this team for granted. Stick around. Have a beer. CHEER for the team and stop worrying about traffic. Being a hockey fan doesn’t make you special or give you some amazing life status. Being a hockey fan is about being a part of something special. It isn’t about you. It’s about being one of many and being bonded together by the love of one thing.

Stop leaving. And for the love of God, stop making out at games folks! (See this blog post for that story! Ugh!)

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5 responses to “Grab Your Keys! It’s the 3rd Period!

  1. My wife and I went to the game in 2010 when the pens were losing 5-4 to boston and billy g scored with 0.4 seconds left. People started flooding back in. We were incredulous at how many people had left. Also, I was outdoors during the triple overtime game against Ottawa in the playoffs the other year. I stayed until the bitter end and harrassed the people coming out. (I actually got about 5 whiteout tshirts from people leaving who didn’t give a crap.

  2. Yeah I’ve been to some awful sporting events in my life, but I’ve never left early. Just couldn’t do it. That’s saying something considering most of those games were Pirate games. I’ve never been to a blow out loss with the Pens, but I was at Game 1 and Game 2 of the playoffs last year. Game 1, not so much people trying to beat traffic. But game 2, people were fleeing in the second period! My mom and I stayed til the very end and cheered while people around us looked disgusted. We were just happy to be there! (Helped that I had a VERY good happy hour before the game though! Took the sting away.)

    Thanks for commenting :)

    • I’ve stayed at some terrible Pirates games too. This past summer I took my (then) 8 month old daughter to the third game against the Red Sox. She hated it. cried throughout the game; squirmed constantly; fell asleep during the 7th inning. And I still stayed until the end.

      Great blog! Check out mine over at http://www.goosespenaltybox.blogspot.com

      or find me on twitter @PenaltyBoxMan

  3. lol thanks. you’re already on my blog roll and I follow you on Twitter :P

    I only left one Pirate game early this summer. I was with my son. It was the Wednesday afternoon game in July. It was over 100 degrees out and humid as hell. My son has asthma. I had to get him home. Health of kid > than sports. If he was just whiny I woulda made him stick it out lol

  4. Honestly, I think it’s very disrespectful if you leave before the end of the game (only exception – if you or your child or whoever isn’t feeling too great…see above comment). You’re supposed to support the team whether they win or lose; it’s not about trying to beat the so-called “traffic” to the garage across from the Consol and save about 3.5 minutes. And really, what would you have rather been doing in those 3.5 minutes – trying to beat everyone down the escalators by Section 214 or watching James Neal try to get a hat trick? Uh-huh. Face it – you’re going to be stuck in traffic regardless. It’s Downtown. It’s poorly made in terms of traffic patterns and always will be. If you’re not willing to sit in traffic after the game, then save your money and let someone who actually WANTS to be at the game have your tickets. *waves*

    I would LOVE to be at each home game, but my finances (and sometimes my job) say otherwise. When I see these “fans” leave in the middle of the third period, my heart sinks. Don’t they realize that some people out there would love to be in their position?

    I really hate how going to Pens games is the popular thing to do anymore, also. I go for the game, I go for the food, I go for my friends – I go for the EXPERIENCE. There’s nothing like being right near the ice during warmups with a beer in one hand and a camera in the other, watching the players fly by while taking shots at the net. NOTHING. I don’t go there to “be seen.” And if you DO? Well…you need to reassess your priorities.

    Seriously, “fans?” Stop leaving early. You’re making the rest of the REAL fans look terrible. /soapbox

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