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:
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.
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.
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!)