Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wanna go on a field trip? Val visits Math Hell--at a hockey game

Mr. Fun is smart.  Really smart.

Which begs the following question:  Why would someone so smart (Mr. Fun) ask someone else not as smart (Val) to be a fill-in stats taker at a professional hockey game? 

Someone who took algebra THREE times in high school.  (Actually, that isn't true.  I took algebra twice and pre-algebra-- affectionately called "Math for Dummies" in our home).  

Stats = numbers.  Numbers = Val's verson of hell.

But being the true and supportive wife I am, I went to help out Mr. Fun, head stats man for the Missouri Mavericks hockey team--whose team slogan is "Give them hell."  I guess there is a theme developing here.

We are Alaska folks and it is somehow in our blood that we know hockey and we have much stat-ing skill for the game.  That, and I have been watching Mr. Fun play, coach or stat hockey since we were 15 years old.  It is true.  I was a hockey cheerleader in 10th and 11th grade.  For those of you who are reading this and saying "No way!  Prove it"  I have the photographic proof.  See below. 

That is a wig that I found in the theater costume closet.  I just felt like wearing it.  My squad picture was sweet in the yearbook...wig and all.

But I am off track.

So, Friday night found me at the new Independence arena and this is my story.

My job was to track all the players on the visiting team.  It is called "Plus/Minus" and my job was to write down the player who came into the game.  If you have ever watched a hockey game, that is no small feat.  They shift individually and with no rhyme or reason (in Val world anyway.)  You HAVE to watch every minute of every shift because we take the data and if someone scores, they have to know which players are on the ice to have it count for or against their total season points record. 

I guess they can't trust the players.  "Uh, yeah, I was the dorkus on the ice that let that other stick-weilding fellow break-away with the puck while I was staring at the blond in section 103 row 23..."  I guess that is why I was there.  Keeping everyone honest, as it were.

Mr. Fun is the head man.  The Big Cheese of the stats men.  One of his jobs is to make the copies before the game in the special admin office. 

See how fun his copy space is?  I am the librarian for my church congregation, and I can tell you, that I think
it would definately make things a little more lively if I had a cooler next to my copy machine,
 in between the copier and filing cabinet of church music.   ESPECIALLY if we had what this cooler has in it. :)

We were in about the 4th non-exsistant floor of the arena. Like being the catwalk of a theater.  There was no comfy seats.  No stairs to the weird fourth floor.  So literally, we had to climb out on the arena roof to go down that little black path and climb over some weird wall thing to get into our catwalk space.  Who designed this piece of work?  What about when snow and ice are on there?  Did I mention that we had to wear dress clothes. 
 Hello, sports management people!  I am just some lady on your roof.
Anyone heard of a little thing called RISK MANAGEMENT?
Mr. Fun's tiny little space for 8-10 grown men

How smart is it to have an epileptic who is light sensitive on the edge of a 4 story catwalk?

We are so high up that we share the space with the automatic spotlight for the arena. 

It was fun to be at the game unit it started.  :)
That is when the number crunching began.

I didn't notice the face offs.

I didn't notice the plays.

I didn't even notice the score of the game until it ended.
Mavericks lost.  I can't remember by what .
I got distracted by my work...and by the fights.

Towards the end of the game, the boys got cranky.
So you know what happens when boys get cranky...
they fight.
After the fighting, they get dragged to time out.
Not much different then when The Boy was little.

So the game was pretty much a numbers nightmare.
For over 3 hours.
"Will it ever end?" I asked myself.
But alas!

I caught a break with 1 minute and 7 seconds left.
Cranky boys save the day! 

This is what the normal bench looks like
during a hockey game.  Remember they have five
other players on the ice already.
They have 19 players at each game.
This is what this game ended like.
There were only three on the ice.

For both teams.

I wish I could say that I was sad for them and their naughty ways.
But I wasn't.

The average number of penalty minutes given in a game is
between 20 and 30 minutes total.

During the big fights, they rip each other's gear off.
 No one was left to pick it up.
This game:  300 minutes.

This was lucky break for a statistically challenged girl like myself...
It is easy to track those guys coming onto the ice when it is
the same 4 players.
I think the Stats gods answered my desires that day...
even if it was the last 1:07 of the game.  :)