It’s Friday and I’m a supporter. Tonight, my favourite team plays a game and I don’t want to miss it out. I wake up early and since I don’t have a seasonal ticket I go to the office of the club where employees, accountants and secretaries are already working hard. One of the secretaries, very gentle informs me about ticketing… and once I have decided which one to buy, she prints it for me. Thanks.
As said, it’s early morning and since I have a day-off I decide to go to the bar of the ice rink for a coffee. The kind waitress brings me what I requested, and I spend my time reading the newspaper. A journalist interviewed a player a day before and wrote an article about the game that is scheduled for tonight at 7:45pm.
Then, I even surf for a while in Leading Sport where I find further game previews wrote by bloggers like us. We had to say this, guys 🙂
Time passes quickly, and in the hallway, I see a lot of people come and go. The sport director, the president and so on. Then the coach with his staff and the players. They’re all coming for the morning training session. Since I’m there, I decide to sit near some retiree that has as a passion, among other things, coming to follow his (our) favourite team. We exchange few words, it’s a very pleasant moment.
I wonder though: why do players arrive at 9am if the training session is scheduled at 10am? The answer to this question can be found “behind the scenes”. Where there are physioterapist that are trying to fix the players’ sore muscles. Where there is the the equipement team that is sharpening the skates of our Top Scorer. And where, luckily or not, we can’t go in.
It doesn’t matter. We take place in an empty seat. It’s 9:45 am. We can see workers cleaning the ice. They do it every day, countless times. In fact, they spend most of their lives at the ice rink. When it’s so darn hot like today, I say to myself: lucky them!
But let’s cut the chatter. It’s finally 10am and the training session begins. The coach consults with his staff – goalie coach, statistic guy, mental coach and so on… – and directs the session.
Many people think that being a professional hockey player is a dream work. And partially that is true. Way too often, however, we forget that only few can “make it”. And those that “made it”, made it because other than being talented they made so many sacrifices. And they still make them.
The fact remains that I’m enjoying as a child to see both the pucks going everywhere and the players following the coach’s instructions. The hour of training seems so short!
So much that it’s not even lunch time. So, since I’m already there, I go back to the bar for another coffee. I was even lucky, because I had the chance to meet the responsible for security, the one who also in collaboration with the police is doing all the possible to organize an event (the game) during which everybody can just have fun and feel safe.
It would be nice to stay longer but my stomach starts to complain. I’m hungry! And I will be hungry also later when I’m back to watch the game… my wish will be fulfilled thanks to the people that, in advance, prepare sandwiches. The suppliers come to the arena where then, with a lot of patience, there are guys that work hard to prepare the buvettes for the night.
I’d love to stay with them, but I can’t make it anymore. I need to go back home, and I also need to feed my cat. Shortly after I left, the trucks of television and radio arrive at the arena. Sound and video technicians, commentators… there are so many people at work so that later, late evening, people can relive the show. I didn’t cross them, but I know that when I come back at the arena shortly before the game they will be ready since a while.
But let’s get back to me. After lunch I can take my time. Today I’m on holiday. I go to the website of my club to search for some information about the players. The developer made a great work, and the photographer took great pictures too. It’s all so nice that I spend almost an hour in the website of my team!
It’s enough now. We mean, it’s my day off… I deserve some rest.
While I sleep though, at the ice rink there are so many people come and go. Especially children that have training sessions… they will be the heroes of tomorrow, and they can dream of becoming a professional also thanks to the money of the first team.
I thought to sleep some half-an-hour and instead it’s already 4pm. Time to prepare myself… how do I get to the arena: by car of by public transport? If I go by car, there will be several persons doing their best to make the traffic fluid but then I need to find a parking. If I go by bus, I can exchange few words with fellow fans – anyway, there is a driver driving the bus… – and, I can even drink few beers more without regret. I go for the second option!
I arrive at the arena at about 6pm. I’m among the first ones. On place, however, there are already the marketing and sponsoring guys. They’re working already in order to welcome the people that will follow the game in the VIP areas. In fact, their job seems to be a never ending one…
Frankly speaking, perhaps some fans aren’t happy that the club gave up on some sitting place in order to make space to the VIP areas. Yet, you can’t forget that the club can survive also thanks to the income from sponsors.
There are still almost two hours before the first puck drop. But the various responsible of music, animation, and light effect there are already at work, they will make the event even a better one.
Personally though, in a selfish and wrong way, I don’t think so much about that. And I go to the bar for a beer. Before that, however, I go to the toilet. It’s clean. Someone cleaned that for us.
Meanwhile my friends arrive and while we chat the press coordinator organized the press conference before the game with the journalists. The latter will provide us with all the latest news.
Anyway, with one thing and another, here is the key moment. The referee drops the first puck… and the game begins! The timekeepers manage the scoreboard, the players play, there are those who keep on working hard and finally there is us. Us that we can feel safe, because even if we didn’t feel well, we would be immediately helped by one of the many nurses and doctors that are at the arena. And us that, after 2 hours of show, we can celebrate the victory of our team!
What to do after the game? Ok, one more beer. The last one. Maybe even a fast pizza. Because before going back home, I want to go to the shop of the club to buy some gadgets. Gadgets that are prepared by companies that were able to turn the passion for a club into objects to sell.
That was my last stop. I go back home. I’m tired. Tired but happy. Besides, I can’t even complain considering that there is a driver that has to drive back home the visiting side and therefore has to hit the road for few hours in the dark…
Again though, I’m a selfish person. So, I fall asleep.
And I dream… I dream that more people realize that sport is not only something for a chosen few. It’s not a niche thing but a world that, other than gifting us with so many emotions, gives work to thousands of people.
I hope I can have another day like this soon. And I’m sorry for all those people that work in this environment called “sport” that I forgot to mention in this article. Including all the volunteers that thanks to their passion make this magic possible!
Now, obviously we’re talking about hockey here but the same article can be applied to each sport. Therefore, to all the athletes that because of all their sacrifices and their talent allow this fantastic “sport” world to exist… well, we can only say thank you!