Nathan's column: My brief history with hockey
Sometime Monday night a woman named Alyssa Nelson stood up and did the kind of thing people do all the time at a hockey game: Aluminum bottle of Bud Lite Lime clutched firmly in one hand, she pounded on the glass with her free hand and yelled at one player to punch another player.
I don’t know this because I’m a die hard Minnesota Wild fan. I didn’t see a minute of the game live. Most of my hockey experience comes from the NHL games I played in high school. I played a lot as the Hartford Whalers, which should give you an idea how long ago that was.
No, I know the story of Alyssa Nelson because in these social media-happy times, bellowing at a professional athlete to whoop another professional athlete’s posterior clears the bar for becoming, at least briefly, a celebrity. It probably clears it with room to spare.Presumably, it helped that Alyssa Nelson is an attractive young blonde Hooters waitress with a tendency to post pouty photos of herself on her Twitter feed.Oh, yeah. Twitter. Users of the social network tracked down Nelson’s account with the kind of speed that would make the NSA jealous. It’s @snowflakenelson, in case the news somehow still hasn’t gotten to you. She gained hundreds of followers in a matter of minutes. She received thousands of messages the night of the game. Some were requests for interviews. Others, because she is an attractive young Hooters waitress with a tendency to post pouty photos, were even less reputable. One man suggested they get married after the game. Another, who goes by the name @ChaseTopNotch, kept things much simpler: “love the boobies,” he wrote, clearly embracing Twitter’s 140-character limit.It’s a double-edged sword, getting famous on Twitter.This, by the way, is about as in-depth as my hockey coverage gets. Somehow I grew up in Minnesota without really understanding the sport. I have a high center of gravity and an utterly unremarkable sense of balance. It’s just not for me. Without cable TV at home, I couldn’t watch the games even if I wanted to.My most memorable hockey experience was also the last time I attended a professional hockey game. It was the year the Wild reached the conference finals. I went to the first game of the series on a first date.In retrospect, that was probably a mistake. She’d said she was a hockey fan, but an arena full of screaming fans waving white towels doesn’t exactly lend itself to a getting-to-know-you chat.The game was exciting. It went into overtime before the Wild lost. I don’t know if my date saw the end, though. She got up to use the bathroom at some point in the third quarter and never came back. I hope the zamboni didn’t get her.I’m mostly over it now. It makes it tough to go to another game, though. I’d hate to lose someone else.I might never totally get hockey. I might never go to another NHL game. But I do my best.A couple of months ago I drove to Rochester to take photos and provide live Twitter updates for the Farmington hockey team’s section final game against Lakeville North. I had fun, but the night ended with a lot of high school students tweeting angry things at me because I pointed out their entire student section could fit into a Toyota Corolla.What was I supposed to talk about? Neutral zone traps? The Internet says that’s a hockey term, but I’m not convinced it isn’t something that happened once on an episode of Star Trek.It wasn’t too bad, though. At least none of them talked about my boobies.