So someone I work with scored some free tickets to the Guildford Flames vs Fife Flyers ice hockey match last week.
It was the first ice hockey game I’d been to in almost twenty years. In Guildford, anyway – when I lived up in Sheffield I went to see the Steelers play a few times, but I was never into them the way I was into the Flames.
When I was a teenager, I used to go to Flames matches almost every weekend. Back then, in the 90’s, they were a relatively new team, in one of the lower leagues, and the matches were amazing. There was a whole group of us from school who were kind of obsessed and had the trading cards and signed merchandise and all that from the players.
I found myself wondering if, twenty years on, the matches and the atmosphere were going to be as good as I remembered.
I shouldn’t have worried. It was fantastic.
It doesn’t really matter that the outcome was a loss to the Flyers – they played a really tactical, good game and I’m convinced the Flyers’ goalie is some kind of superhuman because honestly, I’ve never seen someone with reflexes like that. A colleague joked that the goalie was a giant cat, judging by the way he would pounce on the puck at times.
It was nice hanging out with my colleagues too, especially as it looks like I won’t be staying at my current place of employment much longer. It’s a temp contract anyway, but I was kind of hoping they’d find a permanent position for me. Still, such is life, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to hang out with some of them outside the office at this game.
Being at the game felt pretty much the same as it did back in the 90’s. There were some familiar faces (obviously older than I remember, but still there) and as usual a bunch of drummers – there have always been drummers at the games, getting the beat going for the chants, which are still the same. Which was nice, because I knew the words.
The only chant that seems to have fallen by the wayside is ‘you’re not very, you’re not very, you’re not very good’ and I wonder if that’s because it’s still reserved for teams Guildford fans truly loathe. We’re not in the same league as Bracknell anymore, so I’m wondering who our nemesis is in this league.
Of course, there’s only one way to remedy that.
Go to more games.
Which, of course, I’m going to have to now. It was so good to go again, and it was a real throwback to my teenage years. I enjoyed myself so much, shouted myself hoarse (everyone said I was rather quiet the next day at work – I literally had no voice) and found myself wondering why the hell it had taken me so long to get back to a Flames match.
Next time, I’ll go to a weekend game, not a midweek one – I want to see if the weekend atmosphere is different, and I assume there will be more people there.
And as a final note, the food at the Spectrum has improved massively in twenty-odd years. The hot dogs are so, so much better than I remember.
Are any of you into ice hockey, readers? Let me know who you support!