|A Sensational Sport Provides a Phenomenal Night at the Sommet |
by Kyle Brantley
There isn’t another place in the state of Tennessee where so much intensity, emotion, and passion can be found than at the Sommet Center on the night of a Predators’ game. The experience for a fan at a Preds game is unbeatable.
More than any other sport, hockey games bring out the difference between watching a game on TV or watching a game in person. The action is so fast-paced that even the camera man struggles to keep up with the puck. But, if one is at the game, the plays unfold right before one’s eyes. Hockey games are the perfect environment to unleash the pent-up frustration and struggles of a long day at school or work. Fans incessantly taunt the other team and are constantly coming up with clever chants and traditions.
You really bond with your fellow fan. Even being total strangers, the spectators unite together for a greater cause: that of the team. When a rebound attempt glances off the post, thousands of people moan “awwwww”, all at once. When two shots are scored within a span of nineteen seconds, which was the case at the game I attended, shouts of joy resound throughout the center. Such jubilation and anguish are experienced with those that you will maybe only see once in your life; but, these are the moments that one remembers for a lifetime. And this pure and spontaneous exhilaration can not be felt through the distance of TV.
The majority of my fondest memories are ones where I was at a sporting event. Sure, I’ve seen greater plays and comebacks on T.V., but to actually see it and experience the bedlam that ensues is worth much more than the price of entrance.
Hockey is a sport with which many Southerners might not be very familiar, but all one has to do is attend one game to catch on to the rules. Hockey is an incredibly fast-paced and physical game. One hundred-mile-per-hour slap shots pummel the back of the net and a helpless victim is smashed against the boards…all in a night’s game. Players are never afraid to drop the gloves and duke it out to settle disputes
One has to realize, though, these athletes are physical phenoms. Not only do they have incredible hand-eye coordination, enabling them to shoot and pass without a moment’s hesitation, they have to glide upon the ice on skates to chase down the opponent. If anyone has ever tried to skate, you know it’s not the easiest task in the world. Imagine having to completely change directions in less than a second or having to fight someone on the ice! It’s simply unbelievable.
One of the greatest facets of the game experience is the entertainment. The Predators organization goes to great lengths to make sure the fan is never bored during intermissions or breaks in play. The Predators’ “Dancers and Goal Girls” redefine the word attractive and get the crowd pumped up. The Jumbotron over the center of the ice has five different types of display screens; the chances of a fan being shown on the monstrous screen are basically 1 in 5.7. The Predators show clips from movies and shows, with subject matter ranging from the likes of John Wayne to Michael Scott from The Office.
Furthermore, the Predators put together hilarious skits with their ever entertaining mascot Gnash. At the game I attended, the Preds faced off against the Calgary Flames. So, in one of the clips, Gnash teamed up with the Goodlettsville Fire Department to hose down some Flames fans. Also, in the middle of the game, Gnash with a fire extinguisher put out a campfire that a Flames fan was dancing around.
Most importantly, music is all around. Being right next door to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the expectations for music are pretty high; but, again, the Predators organization comes through in the clutch. During intermissions a band plays on the stage in the arena, always reminding the fans that Nashville is Music City.
The Predators Experience is unlike any other Nashville has to offer. Those who have not been blessed with the opportunity to attend a game should sprint downtown as quickly as possible and get on the walkways of the Sommet Center leading to the ice.
|The Predators Experience Is Memorable |
by Alex Apple
Everyone who thinks that he or she is not a fan of hockey must attend a Nashville Predators game to see the game of hockey in person.
I had the unforgettable experience of spending the evening at the Sommet Center as a student reporter at a home game against the Calgary Flames. There was an excellent pre-game meal for members of the media, which we luckily were asked to share, and then the very personable and attentive staff directed us to the press box where we watched the game.
The game was action-packed from beginning to end. The pre-game festivities surrounding and during the time when the players skated out were very exciting, and the level of excitement went up from there as the game progressed. The predators scored 2 goals in 19 seconds, which was the fourth fastest in team history, and there were several 5 on 3 power plays. Every time the home team scores a goal, a loud horn blares, and Tim McGraw’s song “I Like It, I Love It” is played on the Jumbotron, and the fans go crazy. The fans are very involved in the game, and all the fans seem to breathe and to exclaim at the same time. It is really unusual for a sporting event to see everyone in the audience so in sync. The brand new HD jumbotron is fabulous.
At each intermission, a band played, and there were several funny videos on the Jumbotron, as well as clips from movies, like Rocky, and television shows, like The Office. The best thing about the actual game is that the action is non-stop, so it is not like baseball or football, where there are pauses in the actions. The Predators also offer quite a few special nights, like “college night”, etc.
The staff at the game was very kind, and after the game we attended Barry Trotz’ post-game press conference, afterward touring the team’s offices. The Sommet Center is a remarkable venue, and I wish every young person in Nashville could attend a Predators game. “It stays with you.”