USA! USA! US…C-plus!

(WECK 1230) — You know those neighbors to the North who have the reputation of being too polite?

USA fans were too polite for the Too Polite.

To the hockey fans rooting for the Yanks at HSBC Arena for Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime win over Finland: I love you, but I need more than that. I understand there was a Bills game and we haven’t had too many massive international tournaments in Buffalo, but we’re representing a country here!

When Canadians on a one-day pass stick around to cheer for Finland like Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri pulled all their children out of the same burning building, politeness goes out the window… and I’m not condoning the fans behind me who called Canuck fans “fags” after the Northerners were cheering uproariously when Finland scored their first goal of the night.

But, please, let’s get real: If these fans are going to show up for USA and cheer for the opposition, there are so many things to chant back at them:

– “Score  - board!   Score – board!” — Remember, we beat them in their building at the 2010 WJCs (even if they won Olympic gold).

– ” Bry -an Ad- ams!” Self-explanatory.

– ” John – nie Carl-son!” Game-winner in ’10 WJC.

If you don’t feel that, do what we attempted to do in the third period: steal US Soccer chants and move them to hockey. “Oh When The Yanks Go Marching In” is one of several very fun to sing numbers. This is all without mentioning how much fun we had changing the words of World War eras song “Over There” to “Over Here.”

Instead of party-fueled American singing, what we got was a lot of silence and less chant stamina than a 40-year veteran smoker. “USA! USA! USA! US… I’m tired.”

So here’s my question: Why are we so low on the patriotic scale in the United States? Why is it that Canadians belt their anthem out like it’s their job, even on the road, and we barely get a quarter of the crowd mumbling the words?

Now, here’s the fun part: I’d bet good money that the majority of you reading had the phrase “liberals” or “republicans” in your quick answer. Be better than that.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, in sports better than cheering for your country. I’ve been to the World Baseball Classic and a number of US Soccer matches and even the middling WBC match versus Canada had a better Yank crowd (and that was played in Toronto).

Again, I know we’re new here and we’ve been using that arena to root for a team that inspires about as much as a made-for-TV movie, but let’s grow into this by the time we’re in the knock-out phase. USA Hockey is watching and wondering if St. Paul could’ve been a better call-out for its supporters. Buffalo’s going to show well in eats, drinks and hospitality… it’s not rude to stop short in give Canada our theater, too.

It drove me nuts listening to the sounds of the rink rather than the aplomb that should be afforded a group of our nation’s best ice skaters. You don’t need to be shown a picture of a soldier holding up a Sabred flag to show some pride for America. Granted we seemed to get it straightened out by overtime, but if tonight wasn’t a lesson learned, I’m going to be very bummed at Team Patriotism.

We live in a country that’s given us a whole lot of awesome freedoms you can’t find most other places. That’s what we’re celebrating. You get that watching the Canadian fans cheer. It’s like they are saying, “We’re nice. We have funny comedians. We outrank you in health care by seven spots and celebrate the letter ‘U’ several more times over than you do. Plus, our blood is 50 percent maple syrup.”

As for the political side thing, if you lean toward the Tea Party swing of things, you should cheer loudly because you love your guns and Church. If you lean toward the hippie bent, cheer loudly because you’re allowed to attempt to ‘stick it to the man, man.’

As Ricky Stanzi so famously said, “If you don’t love it, leave it. USA, No. 1.”

Or something like that.

Other thoughts…

– I’m going to appreciate this tournament just for the right to cheer for Jerry D’Amigo for a few weeks before he goes back to being the next sparkplug of a Leafs forward for Sabres fans to despise.

– Ryan Bourque plays with grit, hustle and relentless effort. He’s property of the Rangers and son of Ray, so traditionally I wouldn’t root for him, but he’s a Yank this week and onward.

– Jack Campbell plays a mean goaltender. Glad he’s in the Western Conference.

– HSBC Arena cleaned up nice. Was very cool to see the 300 level decked out with extra and varied beer stands, food stuffs and souvenirs.

– USA Hockey is doing fans right by handing out decent-sized American flags and white towels with the USA Hockey flag on them.

– The music between every single whistle is brutal. The only thing worse is cutting off a song during one break only to start another one. We were belting out an organ-lead “God Bless America” pretty loudly only to have the organist switch to a second jam. Bush league.

Email: nickonweck@gmail.com

2 Responses to USA! USA! US…C-plus!

  1. Learn2Think says:

    On this note…

    Have you noticed that a Buffalo Crowd never chants the opposing goalie’s last name? (or first name…can you imagine trying to organize a Bryzgalov chant? yikes)

    Hopefully a new owner means someone will have the initiative to reinstate 3 things: Song 2, Tux and pucks, and a scantily clad ice cleaning crew

  2. [...] course compared to the earlier Team Canada game the crowd was subdued and the atmosphere left many people wanting. I was certainly in that category (and stood next to Nick while we talked about just that) but I [...]