Yesterday evening (Saturday 2nd February), I attended my second ever Belfast Giants match. I’ll admit, I was looking forward to it, but I figured that at around the half way mark, I would get terribly bored and start re-playing an episode of Black Books in my head.
I do that, sometimes.
Anyway. The Giants were playing the Hull Stingrays, and I can’t tell you anything much more technical than that. I am hopeless at sports, and I don’t understand the rules to a single one; ice hockey is no exception, but boy oh boy, is that shit entertaining. I have never wanted to see blood more in my life – I egged on fights, I screamed at Canadians and I booed the opposition. For one glorious moment, I was nearly normal. I was a sports fan.
There was no blood on the ice (pity), but these men are vicious. They even needed three referees! Heavens.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening (even the parts I didn’t really understand), I have a few small, teeny observations. Which are meant to be funny and cute -I mean no ill will to the Giants at all, they seem perfectly delightful. I feel I have to say that…the fans seem devoted and passionate, and I don’t want to be pucked to death in the street.
First of all – why is the announcer American/Canadian? We are in Belfast! I want to hear someone with the broadest possible accent attempting to keep people entertained between periods! This foreigner cannot possibly be qualified to promote Tayto crisps and Fona-Cab!?
Speaking of foreigners…are any of the Belfast Giants actually from Northern Ireland? They’re all Canadian or American! Oh…wait…dammit. I actually just checked, and there are a number of local boys on the team. That’s what I get for pretending to know about sports. On the plus side, this makes me even more impressed with the team as a whole. Big up to my homies; Andrew Dickson (Ballymoney), Graeme Walton (Belfast) and Gareth Roberts (Belfast).
Side-note: I promise never to use the phrase ‘big up my homies’ ever again. I tried something new. It failed.
My third well-meaning observation is the large signs everywhere that say:
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PUCK.
This is great advice, but with one fatal flaw. The Belfast Giants have cheerleaders.
How do they expect us to watch the puck when there are young women shaking their pompoms at the edge of our peripheral vision? I am a straight woman and I found it a challenge. They’re hypnotizing. Hypno-toad. With boobs.
All-in-all, a bloody great night out, and surprisingly inexpensive. The ice hockey season runs from September to May (one of the many new things I learnt last night), and if you’ve never been before, I highly recommend that you go, and fully embrace the atmosphere.
Oh, by the way. We won!
Must. Make. Blogs. Happen.
I thought I might take a serious note. I’ll try and be reasonably brief, but something in the local news recently has really bothered me, and I was wondering whether or not it had annoyed anyone else.
In case you hadn’t gathered from an earlier blog, I live in Northern Ireland. Lisburn, to be precise. I used to really love my hometown. Every now and again, I still have a tendency to get a little bit defensive if anyone tries to talk it down. Mind you, these occasions are getting much, much rarer. The recent news that has annoyed me so much, regards John Lewis (the lovely department store) and Sprucefield (a shopping…area, just outside Lisburn city centre).
This development has been in the works for around nine years, and it has cropped up in the news in this time, so I’m pretty sure everyone was aware of it. Alas, it was not to be.
For god knows what reason, the genius Minister for the Environment has decided that, no, Sprucefield will be restricted to bulky goods, like furniture. I don’t understand, I truly don’t. It would seem, as a friend on Facebook suggested, that this Alex Attwood creature has forgotten that Northern Ireland exists outside of Belfast. Which, at this rate, it won’t. Lisburn is already dying on it’s feet – Bow Street is practically empty, Lisburn Square is an economical failure and the mall is filling it’s stores with cheap market stalls, peddling their cheap market wares.
John Lewis have said, many times, that they are not interested in putting a store in Belfast, and that they are more likely to put their development over the border. Or not at all. So, perhaps, the plan to have the store built closer to the ‘capital’ is not the motivation behind this ridiculous turn of events. I am becoming a conspiracy theorist in my old age, and suggested to family that, perhaps, another large, upscale store in that area (cough, M&S, cough) had put in a word to have these plans scuppered – but my clever boyfriend pointed out that a large, recognizable store could only be good for business, in attracting people over the border, and from all around the country.
So, that is my rant. This place is stagnating – there are people who really could’ve used those jobs (a store that size would have a crazy wide variety of positions available, something to suit all ranges), and the city desperately needed this extra pull; a reason to visit.
Maybe, just maybe, if we show our disdain for this situation, things might turn around, who knows? If you want my advice though, emigrate. I hear Canada is beautiful at this time of year.