Seeing a game live has not transformed me into a hockey fan, and as ever I feel sad that I can't share the heightened emotions of the real fans as they watch. As with my apathy toward children and pets, I seem to be lacking certain common human instincts. Instead, I find myself analyzing the non-stop assault on the senses that occurs during the game; except when the players are actually playing, music blares from all sides, animation lights up the rink and the electronic billboards circling the stands, and propaganda films play on the scoreboard. Indeed, the hidden ringmaster exhorts the crowd to "GET LOUD" at various points during the game, and the crowds dutifully agree. I was reminded yet again how easy it is to manipulate crowds with words, images and sounds. We are so easily programmed, and I'm certainly not excepting myself; I just respond to different programming languages.
Part of me realizes this is all (relatively) harmless fun, but another part of me sees in this kind of event a more refined version of the old gladiatorial arena. I guess you can call this progress, though, as no one dies and the violence is punished rather than rewarded (textually; the subtext is something else again).
I'd never willingly pay to see a hockey game, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to see one simply so that I can better understand what moves other people.