Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Catching Up - An Introduction of Sorts


Welcome to See Puck City's first post.

As many first blog posts go, this one will follow: the history behind this blog's existance and a little history about the blogger.  I was skimming the sides of another hockey blogger's site and something caught my eye.  She called for her readers, both Canadian and American, to send her the reasons why they love hockey.  I immediately opened up my email and spilled my story - my lack of interest in most sports in general, a brief introduction as only the Super Nintendo can provide, and a brilliant excuse for a birthday present.

I do hope to bring yet another take on the sport to the blogosphere, another personality for you to loath or enjoy (or be apathetic towards), another Nashville Predators fan reaching out to the public, whether it be down Broadway or up York Blvd., to let people know that we in the South love the sport despite not being born with it, that we in the South are hockey fanatics capable of decibles just as loud (if not moreso in tune) as those up North, and that we in the South can also have fun with something we do take so seriously.

That is the mission statement.  Now, as promised, where this blogger is coming from:

A little background: 27, male, Nashville native.  I didn't grow up in a sports-inclined environment; I grew up in a song-writing environment.  That's not to say I never played sports growing up.  I tried baseball when I was 8 and basketball when I was 11, but never got past that first year of truly caring about immersing myself in the sport.  I had purchased NHL's Stanley Cup Super Nintendo game that same year [1993] and grew to recognize the logos and names that were foreign to me before then, but the gameplay got old and, as most upcoming teenagers do with videogames, I moved on.  I wanted to write and play music, so that's what I did in my spare time. Went to a few high school football games on Friday nights because there was nothing else to do in the Southern suburbs of Nashville, but that was the extent of my "sporting" childhood.  I knew of major sporting leagues and most team names, I knew Nashville had a minor league hockey team called the Knights, I knew we were getting an NHL team, but it was just another name for me to add to the mental roster.

The college years [2000-2005] brought my attention to the local team, the Nashville Predators, because many of my friends (and friends of  friends) were in on it from the get-go; hockey was truly the one great sport to be experienced.  Half of the group make-up were transplants from the North, half just loved sports in general - football nuts at first (as the South goes), but paid full attention when the Preds came to town.  I would hear about how great the game was and read about how good (or in most cases, "resilient") the team play was in the City Paper.  I was paying attention, but still wasn't sold.

Until one day...

A friend of mine had a pair of Preds tickets for a game in March '06.  My birthday is on the 12th, so she invited me to check out a live Preds game in section 302 and called it her birthday gift to me.  Little did I know how life-changing her "gift" would be.  The tickets were in the nose-bleeds of the (then) Gaylord Entertainment Center.  This being my first major pro-sporting event outside of AA baseball games, I felt a dizzying effect as I walked up the steps of 302, looking back down at the ice. We got drinks and sat down as the lights went dim and the opening sequence on the scoreboard began. Rob Zombie screamed through the arena as images of the 2005-2006 Nashville Predators team flashed before my eyes in a way only Oliver Stone could appreciate. Then another short animation of a sabretooth tiger destroying his Central Division foes downtown. The lights came back up and the team was introduced by the booming voice of resident announcer Paul McCann. I vaguely knew what was going on on the ice thanks to my previous video game experience, but the on-ice action, the fights, the yelling that came from the neighboring section (The "Cellblock", Section 303), all of that created an energy that made me grin from ear to ear and had me trying to decipher what the neighboring fans were saying, so I could yell it out with them. The events on ice, the teamwork on ice, created a camaraderie felt within the arena.  I never understood the feeling that high school and college alumni get for their old home teams until I witnessed my first hockey game. The next day I looked into getting full season tickets and three months later, I did just that.  Shortly after, the hockey fans of Nashville came together to save the team and I was more than honored to be a part of the movement to keep the team, to keep the sport in Nashville.

Since that one game, I've been a full season ticket holder in Section 303, have converted many non-hockey friends into hockey fans (thanks to Center Ice and the EA games on a 50" plasma), created fliers and graphics for fans to print out and spread the word to increase sales, began following the city league teams and high school teams (the hockey club at my old high school began a couple of years after I graduated, but the sport has caught on so well that most Middle TN schools participate in the Middle TN high school ice hockey league) and am in the process of creating a new website/blog dedicated to the Predators, the teams affiliated with the Predators and Nashville hockey fans in general.

The speed, the skill, the action, the teamwork, the solidarity...that's what hockey is to me, and that's what keeps me going.


The Allstate Arena trip blog and pictures are in the works for later this evening.

I'll be attending a Social Media Club Nashville meeting later this evening to learn more about building a stronger online community of local hockey fans - I'll be wearing my custom-made black Nashville Gothic Pred-inspired  t-shirt if you'd like to say "hi". There are a handful of season ticket holders in the local goth/punk/industrial community!


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