The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 2001 · Page 25
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 25

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 6, 2001
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Page 25
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SUNDAY MAY 6. 2001 THE SALIN/V JOURNAL ENGAGEMENTS / D2 SUPPORT GROUPS / D6 ALMANAC / D7 • LIFE STORIES ^ SUSAN SWARTZ Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat Fanatic goes over 3ie top Seeing as how it was the night Barry Bonds was'expect­ ed to hit his 500th home run, which he did and which turned PacBell Park into a jumping mass of towel-whipping, yelping fans, you woiild naturally expect some people to take it over the top. So when the man next to us started the evening with a bloodcurdling yell over the Giants' first score, we smiled his way Ah yes, yoimg male exclaiming over the thriU of the sport. Several animal howls later, the guy was becoming kind of a pain. He liked to yell long and hard, and he didn't like to sit. People called out, "down in front," and the woman next to him tried to get him to put a lid on it. But he chose to tell everyone in the F section that this was a flipping baseball game, and no one was going to flipping tell him what to do. When Bonds did his thing in the eighth inning, I expected the guy to start smashing heads in his delight. By then, he was beginning to be scary, and no one was making eye contact with him or his companion, who might have wanted to hide under the seats with the peanut shells. Alcohol might have been a factor in his vociferousness, but I didn't see him drinking any more than others. All I know is he kind of took the fun out of the night. The problem is I'm not sure if it was an over-reaction. I like enthusiastic, boisterous fans. You're supposed to go home a little bit hoarse. What offense, after all, had he really committed? Yelling too loud for our team? Still, we started out making small talk with him — "beautiful night, good game" — and ended up thinking here's a guy who is about to go off. You could see people change toward him as he turned more mad than madcap. Eyebrows went up from stranger to stranger along our row, like you might if you were stuck on an elevator with a bunch of people and suddenly notice the one in the corner who is sweating too much. 'Oh, lighten up!' We took the after-game ferry across San Francisco Bay and ditched the scary guy, but there were new ones in his place. A fairly sloshed group of five began calling out, "Any Dodger fans want to go in the water?" This is funny, yes? Or no? If you had just come from a Giants game attended by exuberant fans whose mood had been heightened by a record homer and other stimulants, would you worry about the safety of a Dodger fan taunted by a drunken group on a fast- moving boat? "Oh, lighten up," you might say But, look, this is 2001 when any stupid threat could become tomorrow's front-page headline: Fan drowns in the name of basebaU. I said something about athletic events being a place where certain people come to let off steam. But Eric, a sports fan who was on the same ferry, said he doesn't think the behavior we witnessed comes from baseball fever. Nor can we blame it on a bellyful of beer. We've commercialized vulgar, ignorant behavior, he said. We celebrate rudeness and encourage people to reveal their vilest sides. The dilemma is what happens if the scary man with the violent roar is at the next ball game? We share season tickets with a group. What if he does, too? I guess we'll ignore him as long as we can and then slip off to the standing-room-only section. That means the bully scores, but he loses some of his audience. Matt Pearson (left) and Rob Peters battle for a loose ball during a Sunday street hockey game recently at Roosevelt-Lincoln Middle School. Ten to 16 people gather regularly on Sundays to play. Boys will be •/ 'Let's face it. You can't be a grown-up whilejou're running aioundyelling and whacking a little ball with a stick." Rob Peters ^ street hockey player Photos by JUSTIN HAYWORTH /The Salina Journal Steve Arnold (center) takes a shot against goalie Brad Anderson during a Sunday afternoon street hockey game. The group plays from 2 to 4 p.m. weekly. Faithful face off as friendly foes By GARY DEIVIUTH The Salina Journal For a group of Salina men, Sunday is a sacred day Of course there's church in the morning. But at 2 p.m., it's time to gather in the courtyard of Roosevelt- Lincoln Middle School to practice another religion. The congregants include college professors, hospital workers, doctors, computer programmers, businessmen and students, ranging in age from 14 to 50. Each week, 10 to 18 of these true believers put on old jeans and T- shirts, strap on kneepads and eye protectors and proceed to chase a little plastic ball across a blacktop pavement with big hockey sticks. For two hours, these men — calm, collected and professional during the weekdays — become a ing heat or divine intervention. It's time to set aside civilized behavior and get in touch with the animal inside. Welcome to the sacred sanctuary of street hockey A gentlemen's pursuit Street hockey is a team sport similar to regular hockey, minus the skates, ice and bad attitude. Players run, block, pass, shoot and yell A rubberized ball instead of a puck is used in street hockey, but the sticks are pretty much the same. Andrew Arnold ward him as he gets a bead on a ball headed to- guards the goal. pack of screaming, whooping, laughing, cheering little boys who run, jump, twist, dive and swing with a single-minded obsession: Smack that ball between the goalie's legs and into the net. And they do it religiously every Sunday, whether through pouring rain, twisting wind, blowing snow, boil- ferociously, but it's mostly yells of encouragement to other players, even those on the opposing team. Despite the intense competition, the game is quite civil. Its main purpose is to allow participants to release pent-up energy and stress built up from the week. "We don't beat up on each other, even though we might accidentally get smacked in the legs with a hockey stick now and then," said Brad Anderson, 40, a sculptor and professor of art at Kansas Wesleyan University "Everyone uses this game as a release. After a while, it becomes addictive. I know if I miss a week, my anxiety level increases." See BOYS, Page D4 Matt Pearson runs down the court with the bail in an attempt to score a goal during a recent street hockey game in Salina. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BRET WALLACE, ASSISTANT EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbwallace@saljournal.com

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