December 31, 2008
If you've always sat in the cheap seats as we have, then you've literally looked down upon the sea of corporate ticket holders and privileged elite in the lower bowl. In Jersey, we called these people "the suits," mostly because that's what they wore at Madison Square Garden.
We know how much they pay for those seats, because those are the colors we automatically ignore on the arena seating chart (but are the first tickets we'll grab from a scalper during the first period, naturally). We know what perks they receive. We're even aware that the giveaways for free pizzas and burritos and T-shirts tend to favor the 100s more than they do the 400s.
All of this makes us bitter towards the lower bowl, and that bitterness grows by the row as you approach the glass. So we weren't surprised when Puck Daddy reader Justin sent this note over the weekend after the San Jose Sharks/St. Louis Blues game on Saturday:
"Saturday night at the Blues game, they gave away their $4,000 mortgage prize to guess who....some guy sitting in Row 1 on the Glass!!!!!!!!! Cause he really needs the help!!!!"
Please recall the Blues Fan Bailout Plan, in which one fan is selected in a random drawing to receive "home mortgage or rent payment (on the winner's principal residence) for four months, up to a maximum of Four Thousand Dollars ($4,000)."
Like Justin, our first reaction was scorn over the fact that the bailout wouldn't go to someone in the upper deck. That's until the Blues wrote a story about the most recent winner.
Daniel Adams, husband and father of one, has worked in construction for 14 years. From the Blues:
Several weeks ago, Daniel Adams had to decide whether to make his house payment or pay the gas bill. Of course, without the house, he wouldn't need gas, so he paid his mortgage and bought a few cheap electric heaters to keep himself and his family warm until his next paycheck arrived.
But thanks to the Blues Fan Bailout Plan, he'll be able to pay his gas bill just fine, at least for the next four months. "It's such a relief just to not have to worry about making that huge (house) payment," Adams said Sunday, just one day after winning four months of mortgage assistance from the Blues. "Our house is the largest payment we have. We've had to sacrifice a lot of things to make our house payment. No satellite TV, no cell phone, no internet. We just do what we've got to do."
Yeah, so we pretty much feel like giant jerk-weeds right about now.
(Ed. Note: Reading the comments, I realized I left out a very important fact from the Blues story: "Adams received tickets to Saturday’s game vs. San Jose as a holiday gift from his wife’s employer, who has season tickets on the glass." So it's not like he chose hockey tix over heating bills. Sorry about that.)
First, let's give the Blues some credit: In a season full of desperate gimmicks to fill seats in struggling markets -- hello, soon-to-be obese Coyotes fans -- St. Louis has devised one that's actually, you know, allowing a family to pay its heating bills. Which is slightly better than a magnetic calendar.
More importantly, for our fellow cheap-seaters: It's not all suits sitting near the glass. We're as guilty of this mindset as anyone. We need to remember that good hockey fans can be found in every row in every section, and that they can be just as loud and just as loaded as you are up in the nosebleeds. In fact, they're probably drunker, because they have access to better arena bars than we do.
So in the words of the late, great Les Bian in the Puck Daddy comments: Can't we all just get along? Well, except for that guy wearing Brooks Brothers who's on his cell phone during most the game. He needs a mascot popcorn shower, that one.