Too Many Men

I’m going to guess a man was working the Kelly Rink scoreboard in Boston College’s Conte Forum on Friday night, when the BC men’s hockey team lost in overtime to Northeastern University. Only a man would think having “too many men” is a bad thing!

Starting lineup

After having gone to two Boston Bruins games this year, J and I decided to give college hockey a try. Boston College is within (healthy) walking distance of J’s house, so we figured a day-after-Thankgiving stroll to and from BC would be a good way to celebrate Black Friday on foot. Whereas NHL games are memorable for their drunken fans and on-ice fights, college hockey is much more staid. Not only are college referees more strict when it comes to controlling player roughhousing, the announcer at Friday night’s game reminded fans that they should uphold BC’s reputation by exhibiting proper sportsmanship. That and the absence of beer–Conte Forum is a dry arena–meant that a sober time was had by all.

BC rafters

Whereas J and I enthusiastically root for the Bruins, on Friday night my loyalties were divided. I have hanging on my office wall diplomas from both Boston College and Northeastern University: BC is where I got my Masters degree, and NU is where I got my PhD. So although J and I agreed to cheer for BC since its Chestnut Hill campus is closer to home than NU’s downtown Boston one, I found myself watching Friday night’s game without any rabid attachment to either team. When you watch a sober game with an attitude of “may the best team win,” you can enjoy good plays regardless of which team executes them.

Shot on goal

Because college hockey games are less rowdy–and significantly cheaper–than professional games, they attract a good number of families. Sitting next to me was a man shepherding a handful of boys; next to J was a man with his son. As much as I enjoy the pomp and festivity of professional sporting events, I realize that many fans can’t afford their high-class prices. Part of the appeal of a BC hockey game was the fact we could walk to and from the arena, but another big draw was the fact that on eBay, J bought tickets for our mid-level seats for what we would have spent on hotdogs alone at a Bruins game. We might be super-fans, but that doesn’t mean we’re super-rich.

Baldwin Eagle works the crowd

One great irony of Friday night’s game was the fact it was the first BC or Northeastern game of any kind I’d ever attended. Yes, I went to and graduated from both schools…but as a grad student at each, I didn’t have time to watch sporting events. And so as J and I approached the Boston College campus and tried to find Conte Forum, I had to admit the only time I’d been inside was when I’d lined up in cap and gown before marching at graduation. Extracurricular activities are a fun part of any undergraduate experience, but one of the shocks you experience when you enter grad school–and especially when you start teaching–is the realization that grown up grad students don’t typically have time for undergraduate games.

Dropping the puck

So perhaps Friday night was my chance to reclaim some of the grad school glory I missed the first time around. When I was a grad student and teaching fellow at Boston College, I had too many books and papers, not too many men, to occupy me; there wasn’t world enough nor time to play or watch games. And when I was a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University, I lived too far from campus–at times, a full state away–to take a leisurely Friday night stroll there and back.

Now that my student days are over and I’ll forever be an eagle/husky hybrid-alumna, I can enjoy rooting for either or both of my alma maters. Having too many men might be a bad thing, but you can never have too many allegiances.