Savage Words: Poor choice of attire for an Augie hockey game

By: 
Tom A. Savage, Contributing writer

There are several benefits to being a sportswriter. 

There’s been more than one time over the last few decades when I was covering a game where I’ve stopped for a second, sat back in my chair in the press box or at the scorer’s table, and just muttered to myself: “Am I the luckiest guy in the world, or what?”

Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some long weekends covering games, and I’ve missed more than my share of family gatherings because I was covering a game, “working.”

But still, I was “working,” watching a baseball, football or basketball game, and I was getting paid for it. Like I said, lucky guy indeed.                  

I’m often asked if I get into games for free when I’m covering them. Well, yes, it is my job and I am indeed working. But that is certainly one of the benefits of being a sportswriter. I truly don’t remember the last time I paid to attend a sporting event.       

That was until Saturday, March 2 when I attended an Augustana vs. Alaska Fairbanks hockey game at the new Midco Arena on Augustana’s campus in central Sioux Falls. My daughter sang the National Anthem before the game, and I attended as a fan, paid for a ticket at the entrance, to watch her sing. 

But my walk up to the ticket entrance included an added experience, aided by my choice of attire earlier in the day on March 2.

I’m a USF grad, but I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter going to Augustana on a music scholarship. I never thought I’d wear anything with AUGUSTANA on the front, but when she received her music scholarship and was accepted to be a Viking, I gladly made the purchase of some blue and gold.

But on March 2, I started the day wearing one of my USF sweatshirts that I’ve had for years. I wore it all day and ran late to the start of the hockey game. I rushed through some gnarly Sioux Falls traffic, doing my best to make it in time for the Anthem.

As I walked up to the ticket entrance at Augie, the fella scanning tickets gave me the once-over with a look of both disappointment, and bewilderment. 

“Duuuude,” he said, as he pointed at my sweatshirt.

I looked down to see USF COUGARS on my chest, and I felt stupid, out-of-place, and more than a little embarrassed.

But, there wasn’t much I could do about it at that point. I scouted out a good site line to watch the Anthem. I stopped and asked one of the Augustana pep band members for some advice on where I should go. The trumpet player was helpful, pointed in the right direction, and ended our conversation with some advice.

“But really nowhere in here is a good spot with that sweatshirt,” he said with a chuckle.

He was right, and he wasn’t the only one who gave me a strange look as I shuffled through the crowd on the concourse that was a sea of Blue, Yellow, and Vikings apparel

But again, I knew there was nothing I could do about it, so I pressed on.

She sang, I beamed with pride, and I eventually took my seat in the awesome Midco Arena. If you didn’t get there this year, go. It’s quite a place.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire game experience from my seat in the stands, probably mostly because I was now out of the concourse and out of the masses who took notice of my purple and gray USF sweatshirt.

But about midway through the first period, I realized something that I thought could potentially put me in a truly uncomfortable position. Nearly every, single, time there was an interruption in game action on the ice, the monster jumbotron high above center ice showed fans sitting in their seats cheering, waving, dancing, screaming and jumping for joy when their faces appeared.

My heart sank. I knew it was only a matter of time before they showed my sorry butt sitting there in my USF sweatshirt. That sight would no doubt bring a full house of boos and embarrassment my way.           

I panicked. I really didn’t know what to do. My daughter was coming up to join us any minute, and I didn’t want to leave without seeing her.

So, I went into crisis mode. I folded my arms to cover the huge, purple USF on my chest. And I scowled. Scowled like a crazed homeless man who just wandered in from Grange Avenue.  

It seemed to work. The homeless, grumpy-looking guy with the USF sweatshirt never made the big screen. 

At the end of the first period, it was 1-0, and I wanted to stick around and watch the rest. After all, I paid to be there.

A quick trip to the men’s room during intermission solved my problem as I flipped my sweatshirt inside-out and I remained for the final two periods.

Crisis averted, barely. 

 

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