6:58 p.m. on 12/14/13

“Peewee, Peewee, Peeweeeeeee…. let’s go Peeweeeeee,” sneered one of the guys down by the glass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was a group of them, most of them behaving appropriately but some of them making rude comments about, and directly to, the players on the visiting team.

It was nearly 7:00 p.m. and the second period of a college club hockey game. We had decided to attend because it was something new to do in our community. Our ice rink closed for several years and just recently reopened; in the past, our college club team played all of their games out-of-town at other ice arenas.

When we went in, we grabbed a seat, not knowing that the fans of the home team sat on one side, the supporters of the visiting team on another. Soon after we sat down, two women about my age climbed the bleachers and sat next to me.

“Are you from UNM?” asked the petite one with long dark hair, a wool coat, black knee-high boots.

“No, we’re from here.”

“Oh, were you at last night’s game?” These same two teams had played on Friday night, as well, at 10:00.

“No.”

“Well, you wouldn’t believe the way your fans acted last night. They were horrible! There was a huge group of college kids down on the glass, yelling all sorts of mean things. Everything they said had the F word. They were all drunk. Security didn’t do anything about it. We kept debating on whether to call the police.”

“Really? I’m sorry to hear that. That’s embarrassing.”

“They made your college look so bad. I have nothing good to say about this place, all because of them.”

Right then, I saw the college president, who I’ve gotten to know a little through Masters Swimming, climbing the bleachers. “Hmmm, interesting,” I told the woman, “there’s the college president. I wonder how these guys will behave tonight.”

“I don’t know. But our guys were afraid to come off the ice last night. They’ve been playing hockey all their lives and they said they’ve never been worried before like they were last night.”

The group was smaller than it had been the night before, only about ten or twelve of them, and they were, for the most part, no trouble. They did tease a UNM player who fell and hit the ice hard and couldn’t get up right away. “Wuss! You F-ing pussy! Get up!” Uncalled for. Embarrassing.

The woman next to me couldn’t contain herself. Up she stood, leaning forward, jabbing her finger in the 40-degree air. “Oh  yeah? Who’s the one out there? It’s not you! Let’s see you get out there! Come on, lace ’em up!”

A few of the guys turned around, surprised to see this tiny woman challenging them. One of them attempted to fight back, verbally, but soon realized he didn’t stand a chance, that she made a good point.

I suddenly realized that with this provocation and with what I’d heard about this group’s behavior from the night before and with the fact that we were sitting on the wrong side of the bleachers, that we could find ourselves in a bit of trouble. There was only one security person in the building and I doubted, with the rink just reopening, that he had any experience in dealing with unruly crowds.

The fans settled back down, but these two ladies, who, as it turned out, were mothers of players on the opposing team, kept one eye and one ear trained on them.

And then the Peewee taunting began. And the player who was being called Peewee, Number 5, just happened to be the son of that petite woman next to me.

The mom kept her cool, for a while, until the right moment. Until Peewee scored a goal.

“Hey, boys, what do you think about Peewee now? Peewee’s pretty damn good, isn’t he? Peewee’s my son and he just scored a goal! You catch that, boys?”

Only one of the guys turned around this time, the one who had been making the Peewee sneer. I took a breath and held it.

“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, Peewee’s alright, Peewee’s alright.” He smiled and gave his nod of approval.

And at that moment, instead of being embarrassed, I felt kind of proud of that college kid. He and his buddies had apparently made total asses of themselves the night before and had done a few things this evening to keep some of us wondering what might unfold by the time the game ended. But, right then, he made a good choice. He decided to defuse the situation. He was man enough to acknowledge and agree with Peewee’s mom–probably one of the biggest fans of the opposing team–in front of his peers and the entire crowd.

The mom met his eye, held it for a few seconds, smiled back. And the game went on. And there was no more trouble.

——————————————————————–

A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

https://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/a-moment-in-time-658-p-m-on-121413/

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. farfetchedfriends
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 13:33:47

    I won’t be writing about this one, either. Can you believe I was napping again? I think physical therapy 2 days in a row wiped me out.

    A hockey game sounds like fun!

    Reply

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