From The Outside: Flames Fans

When I moved to Calgary, more than ten years ago, those who encouraged the Flames were losers. The team hadn’t won much since 1989 and was going nowhere. Their recent pleas to the government and the fans for more funding can attest to that.

Amazingly, this season, they’ve turned a complete 180. Captain Jarome Iginla is so hot he basically melts the ice, not to mention Miikka Kiprusoff, who could stop a bullet from getting in his net.

After making it into this year’s playoffs (which we were proud of from the get go) the Flames went on to defeat the Vancouver Canucks, the Detroit Redwings, and most recently the San Jose Sharks. Right now, they’re battling it out with the Tampa Bay Lighting in the Stanley Cup Playoff.

We’re ahead in the series, two games to one, with 4 more to go. The next game is at the Saddledome on Monday, May 31st (home), Game 5: Thursday, June 3rd (away), Game 6: Saturday, June 5th (home), and if it goes far enough, Game 7: Monday, June 7th (away). All games are at 6pm.

The support this underdog team has received from their hometown is incredible. Almost every vehicle is sporting a Flames flag either in/on their window or on their antenna. I’ve even seen some with spray paint professing their loyalty. I had my boyfriend pick me up a flag for my car, but I never received it as it made its way into his own collection (two flags and a sticky thing on the back window).

Even businesses are getting into the Flames spirit, offering great deals on game days. At the beginning of the playoff race Blaskin & Lane (not just tires), ran a promotion where they would give customers (who’d bought tires) their money back if the flames won the cup. After Calgary whooped San Jose, the promotion was cancelled.

After each game, downtown Calgary (17th Ave.) is the spot to be. Last Saturday’s game (Game 3, on the 29th) brought down over 40,000 people, including women brave enough to bare their breasts to the public. It’s definite that at least 35,000 of the fans were men just waiting for these girls to show their stuff.

When the flames won the Western Conference Final, in their 6th game against San Jose, I was up until at least 3am, waiting for the “ruckus” to die down. I heard horns, fireworks, sirens, even gun shots. It was unbelievable, since I live across the city from the Saddledome (and 17th Ave). I’m sure that the liquor stores are making a whole whack of cash on game nights.

All in all, my support goes to the Flames too, as much as I hate hockey and sports. See, it’s my opinion that athletes shouldn’t ask/accept as much money as they do, if they’re truly playing for the love of the game. We all know that next year the Stanley Cup Champions will need to be paid even more money than has been forked out this year, but hey, imagine the amount of money that the City will make when the Flames win the cup. My bet is on game six (final home game).

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