Hockey: Why the Best Show on Ice Is Also the Best Spectator Sport

Liam B@sportreport67Correspondent IIDecember 25, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 23:  Fans watch warm-ups before the game between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center on December 23, 2010 in Washington DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

America is a very unique sports nation.  We have many sports that are barely played outside of our borders, like football.

Basketball originated in the US and is the second most popular sport in many European countries.  Baseball, which did not originate in the US, is very popular in Japan and places in Central America and the Caribbean, like the Dominican Republic.  Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada by far, and the NHL has most of its teams based in the US.

These are all fun sports to watch on TV.  But when it comes down to going to a game, which one is the most fun and entertaining?

Basketball is nice, but if you look away for two seconds someone could hit a three or get a steal and slam dunk.  

Baseball is also fun, but the game can sometimes be too slow and it has no time limit, meaning it could literally go on for an entire day.  

Football is also a fun sport, with ravenous fans and lots of excitement.  Since there are much fewer football games than in any other sport, that makes each one extremely important.  

There is one sport that, in my opinion, is better to see live than any other: hockey.

The fast pace of the puck, the players skating beautifully across the ice surface and then smashing into each other along the boards.  There's nothing like the drunk guy (sometimes he's not, it's hard to tell) yelling, "Number 27, you look like a girl!" or "Hey, Thomas! Take off your dress and hit him!"

Hockey is the only sport that you can really appreciate how hard it is.  Anyone can shoot a basketball, hit a baseball, kick a soccer ball or throw a football with no prior experience.  

But how many people can control a puck while skating at such a fast speed while being expected to sacrifice your body to block shots and smash into people, and every once in a while either score or make a pass that allows this tiny puck to go past a goalkeeper (who pretty much covers the whole thing and can use his hands) into a tiny six-by-four net.  

Unlike soccer, you can go to a game knowing there will be at least one goal, even if you have to wait for a shootout.  Hockey is spaced out perfectly.  You come to the game and watch a 20 minute period, then have a break to get food.  

Then you watch another twenty minute period, and can have a break.  Then you watch the final period, and if the game is not settled, you have a break before the overtime and shootout periods.  There is always the added excitement of a puck being hit to you.

The fans are some of the most passionate in all of sports and will cheer their team on from start to finish.  Some of the fans (like Canadiens fans) treat hockey like a religion.  

Keep in mind, this is my opinion and I am 100 percent positive that people will disagree with me.  Also, this is about being at the game.  If I was just watching a game on TV I would prefer football for several reasons.  And I would rather go to a playoff game of any sport than a regular season hockey game. Feel free to disagree with me.  

Just think to yourself: What is the greatest spectator sport?