Schrodinger’s Twitter

This week Paul Balm talks about Twitter updates & Tossing Teddies!

You’ve got to love an away game, especially if you win. That feeling of walking into someone else’s barn seems to bring out something in fans that home games don’t. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re all together in one block or that us versus all of them mentality I don’t know but some of the best laughs I’ve ever had at hockey games have been on the road.

But not everyone can get to away games for whatever reason which can cause problems. OK, in this day of webcasts it’s not as bad as it used to be. I remember the days when you had to wait until about 11.00 on a Sunday night before the scores appeared on Ceefax, that’s if you didn’t want to spend twenty minutes and three weeks wages on the ‘Panthers Hotline’ waiting for Gary Moran to tell you what he had for his tea, the weather in St. Petersburg, his favourite member of the Three Degrees and the best way to get to Watford before finally telling you what you actually wanted to know – the score. That, of course, is if the league provided the scores and Ceefax could be bothered, if not you’d got to wait until the next day to read all about it in the Post. You ended up as the ice hockey equivalent of Schrodinger’s Cat. You knew there were two possible outcomes (OK three, we had draws back then) but as you didn’t know which one had happened you were in a limbo where every situation was possible. It was torture – OK, it wasn’t really torture, it was mildly irritating but in this world where we’re used to information being almost instantly available to us the thought of having to go back to a situation like that feels you with dread.

I ended up in a similar situation last weekend. For a variety of reasons too boring to go into here I wasn’t able to get to either game at the weekend or view either game on a webcast. As a result I ended up having to rely on twitter updates from Panthers Hockey Live (I don’t trust anyone else).

Now, don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with this at all. The guys that do this provide a very valuable, useful and more importantly free service that we’ve all relied on from time to time. Some of the abuse they get for doing it amazes me but that’s the internet for you. But anyway I’m drifting away from the point I’m trying to make. The thing is watching it on Saturday and particularly Sunday night was that I felt like I was back in the 80s and 90s again waiting for that vital next piece of information. Take Lawrence’s penalty shot against the Blaze. The tweet appeared “Penalty Shot” and you’re back looking at the box with the cat in it again. Will he score or won’t he? Is that cat alive or dead? Until you know one way or another it could be either and endless possibilities are possible, we could score and put the game to bed, we could miss which causes a massive swing in momentum against us and we lose.

Then there’s the anticipation. You see the words penalty shot and your heart beats that little bit faster. It’s going to do that if you’re at the game or watching the webcast but without that visual input it’s probably worse. You have to compensate for not being able to see it by using your imagination. You might not know who’s taking it so you pick the player you’d most like to see go one on one with the netminder (I’d still pick PC Drouin, is that allowed?). You picture them circling round waiting for the referee’s signal. The ref gives them the nod and they pick the puck from the centre circle drifting left or right to try and get an angle on the netminder. Do they try and put a move on him? You don’t know so it’s down to your preference but there’s always a shot at the end.

And then you have to wait. You always have to wait. Waiting is the worst part. Your imagination always takes less time than reality so you’re left in the lurch hoping and praying, constantly refreshing in the hope you’ll read what you want. Sometimes you do, mostly, it seems, you don’t. That’s what being a fan is like. It’s part of the whole Twitter text experience in the same way that the last minute always lasts twice as long as any other minute particularly if there’s only a goal in it either way.

Again, I have to say I’ve got nothing but admiration for the people that do this. I couldn’t do it. I know, I’ve tried emailing someone score updates and I end up not knowing who scored, when they scored and missed half the stuff that was happening when I was trying to find out. It’s just that they don’t half put you through the ringer at times. Still at least Panthers don’t put opposing fans through that with their comprehensive webcast ser… oh wait!

As most people now know we’re having a teddy bear toss next Sunday. Now I could spend a paragraph or two going on about why Panthers are always late to the party for such things – Twitter, Instagram etc – but I won’t. There’s nothing wrong with any act of generosity and at this time of year I’m not about to make myself sound like Scrooge, except I probably am.

So here goes…
Why does it have to be after we score the first goal? Why can’t it be at the end of the game or in an interval. I’m just a bit worried that it could break the team’s momentum when it could so easily be done at a different time. OK, I admit, the chances are that it won’t but take the last time the Giants played in Nottingham, we scored a goal in the first minute and then struck again pretty much before they’d re-grouped. This is like giving the opposition a free time-out and it could be at a point where they need it. What if we’re two-nil down with a couple of minutes to go and we’re piling the pressure on, do we really want to see what could be the start of a change in the game interrupted by a load of airborne soft toys? Knowing our luck though we’ll only score when the game is dead and gone.
That’s not the only thing that concerns me. I wouldn’t want to sit in the first couple of rows – just think of all soft fluffy missiles that’ll be coming your way from those who can’t throw.
The big question about all this though is will Darryl Lloyd try and hide behind Adam Keefe when this happens the same way he usually does when anything else is thrown at him?

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