We brought the kids to see their first hockey game last night. Providence Bruins vs. Worcestor Sharks. We won – 8-3. We didn't stay for the whole thing – it was way past their bed times, and Julia, especially, was getting tired and cranky by the end of the second period.
Every year a huge bunch of Bill's middle school chorus students sing at one of the Bruins games. They've been doing this for a number of years now – I've lost count. Anyway, the kids assemble down in the basement or whatever it's called at the Dunkin Donuts Center (once upon a time it was merely the Civic Center, but that's changed) to run through their songs and line up, and then they are led onto a mat that's been rolled out onto the ice. They sing "God Bless America" and the National Anthem, and then they go join their family and friends to watch the game.
This year we brought Alex and Julia. We figured Julia was old enough to sit through all or most of a game and not require physical restraints. So first, we hung out with Bill and his students (about 120 of them) and the current student teacher working with Bill (whose name, coincidentally, is also Bill) as they all gathered.
The student dress code is rather formal – polished and professional looking. Boys wore white shirts, black pants, and ties. Girls wore white shirts and black skirts. This pre-game part is my favorite. All these middle school kids, looking sharp as a group in their black and white. They're so cute. The girls, most of them, stand around comparing skirts, shoes, hair and nail polish. The boys…they're the ones, for the most part, who look like they're playing dress-up. Awkward and a bit uncomfortable in their grown-up white oxfords…the ties – some clip-ons, some in need of re-tying.
All of them in various phases of transition from child to adolescent. By turns somber and giggly. But when it came time to sing, they were all attentive and focused.
Anyway. I took pictures (really?) and I've uploaded some (a very small percentage, actually) to flickr, so you can see them here.
But I had to share my absolute favorite one here.
After the singing, Bill joined Alex, Julia and I to watch the game. He'd asked his Bruins contact, John, for a couple of hats for the kids, and we ended up getting four - "two for the kids and two for Mom and Dad, all matching," John said as he handed them to me (Bill was off somewhere getting food). So we sat there, the four of us, slightly dorky but happy in our matching hats, watching the game.
Alex REALLY got into it. He was yelling and cheering…once he got the gist of what was going on. I explained it to him bit by bit. We're the Bruins, the other team is the Sharks. We're in the yellow and white; they're in the black. "What are we called, again?" The Bruins. When the Bruins scored their first goal, everyone around us was cheering and roaring and whistling – and I was startled to see that Alex was whistling, too. When did he learn to do that? And he was LOUD! Fingers shoved in his mouth, shrill, piercing sounds damaging my eardrums…
And then I watched him a bit. He had three fingers stuffed in his open mouth. And a loud, shrieking whistle-LIKE noise poured forth in frequent, quick blasts.
He wasn't whistling. He was…well, I don't even know what you'd call it, really. I guess it was akin to screaming, but the sound he'd created genuinely sounded like a whistle and not a scream. Whatever it was, it fit right in with the rest of the surrounding noise.
This picture was taken maybe after our third goal…we had the hats by then, and Bill had bought a big tub of popcorn for the kids. We scored – and Alex, our newly minted crazed hockey fan, mouth full of popcorn, was ecstatic.
I dare anyone to look at that and not smile.