#13-10 – Babel’s Beer Barn hosts the fight fans.

It was fight night at the Babel Beer Barn last Saturday night. It was supposed to be a hockey game but these guys know what pleases their fans. While there was some testiness, the first period was just to let you know that they also know how to play hockey. They are good. They are one of the top contending teams of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

But, as already mentioned, they know what really pleases their fans. The fights came fast and furious during the second period. There was really no reason for the fights. You can blame it on young men’s testosterone if you like but the fans loved it. How the referees sorted out all the penalties was really the major mystery.

The truth is that watching young men go at each other with bare knuckles is stupid and disgusting. Hockey hardly needs that to sell tickets. Admittedly, the Babel fans seemed to love it but their level of civilization is in question.

Maybe that is why the Beer Barn is designed so badly. It is supposedly a place to drink beer but if you do, you are tinkering with trouble. First of all there are not enough washrooms. Where half the men go to pee, I would hate to ask. The line-ups at the washrooms between periods are staggering.

And speaking of staggering. Have you tried to negotiate the stairs in that place? There are no rails. You are taking your life in your hands if your seat is either high or low in the tiers of seating. You have to be cold sober to reach the last row of seats. Maybe the designer left it to God to look after the drunks.

While the Barn obviously holds a few thousand people for a hockey game, it really is an intimate place. My seat the other night was directly in front of the Rogers Cable broadcast booth. (Yes, it is Rogers that matters in Babel, not the local CTV-owned TV station that CTV says is supposed to matter.) I turned to the Rogers announcer after the first period and complimented him on his play-by-play announcing. I was particularly pleased that he had not once said “Holy Mackinaw.”

What bothered me about the Barn visit is that my daughter and I had brought Snake and the Corporal with us. Snake is playing non-contact hockey with other 12-year olds and the Corporal is an aspiring goalie with the 10-year olds. My grandsons hardly need to watch adults pummel each other with bare knuckles for the pleasure of the mob.

Next time I want to see hockey from the Beer Barn, I will do it from the comfort and safety of my living room and watch it on the local Rogers channel. (No high definition for us small markets but you can hardly have everything in Babel.)

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