A quick glance at section 331 in Bridgestone Arena would chill the heart of any French Revolution buff or Dickens scholar. Perched among the crowd of fans who were there to catch the matinee game between Columbus and Nashville were seventy men and women who were watching the game just as intently and stealing a glance every now and then to be sure of their needlework.
Seventy people, possibly more around the bowl who had not formally regiistered for the event were seated in Bridgestone with needles and yarn in hand. Before anyone declares extreme cognitive dissonance, I would like to remind you of this:
|I did not make this up. That is an actual book by big, scary football guy Rosey Grier. |
It should also be borne in mind that in her own way, Mme LeFarge was kind of a badass.
The event was The Second Annual Nashville Predators' Sticks n Stitch. the brainchild of Predators Fan Relations Coordinator Rebecca Swan and Knit and Crochet TN's Deborah Stillwell. The event drew seventy people to the conference room for an afternoon of knitting and hockey chatter before the game.
"My boss worked for the Florida Marlins and they used to do "Stitch and Pitch" events. We wanted to see if we could bring this over to hockey fans," said Ms. Swan "I was very surprised the first year. We had 135 people come for the first event and we didn’t expect that. The turnout this year has been great. I love that we can bring two very different interests together."
As the mother of a twenty-one year old who grew up playing goalie in the various youth leagues and the director of a burgeoning advocacy group that fosters education and charitable works with knitting and crocheting, putting together hockey and yarncraft seemed like a natural thing for co-creator Deborah Stillwell.
It's all for a good cause or two, or three or...
"Rebecca found us by doing a Google search. I run a group called "Knit and Crochet TN". We have approximately 600 people on our mailing list who answer the call whenever there is a need for knitted items. We provide caps for babies in neonatal units, hats for chemo patients, helmet liners and lap blankets for soldiers and scarves, blankets and other handmade comfort items for VA patients, hospice groups and Tennessee Special Olympics. The knitters and crocheters of our group are very giving and willing to step up when someone is in need. I'm very proud of them."
The group, which is a little over two years old, was a great fit for the Predators Foundation, who will be giving the knitted caps that were donated to this event to "Nurses For Newborns". In return for donating knitted items, participants were entered into drawings for a zamboni ride and tickets for lower bowl seats. There could only be two winners, but for many being with kindred spirits and the satisfaction of doing good and leaving the conference room with a great looking Sticks-n-Stitch bag to go to a Predators game was enough to make it a perfect afternoon.
While some participants admitted that they knit when watching at home, many bring projects with them to work on while they watch the game.
"I didn't know we had that option," said one participant. "I figured they'd take away our needles as weapons at the door."
Frankly, I figured they were looking for contraband food, but maybe they do check for weapons during Detroit and Chicago games.
Knit One, Slash Two...
Deborah Stillwell has her own ideas about the best way to promote next year's Knit-n-Stitch event. She would love to use a picture of Jordin Tootoo seated in a penalty box, kntting. She wasn't the only one who could imagine Tootoo or some of his teammates busy stitching. Given the nature of the event, I had to ask these fans which Predator they thought would be most likely to pick up a pair of needles or a hook. The most popular answer? Pekka Rinne. Here are their reasons for picking The Great Wall of Finland :
"He needs something soothing that will help him wind down."
"The goalies are the most dexterous players, I think. So yeah, Pekka would be the most likely to knit. Lindback might be a knitter, too."
"I'd say Pekka because he’s European."
"Being a goalie mom, I have to go with Pekka. The good thing about knitting and crocheting is that you can totally lose yourself into it but you need to focus at times to do something very intricate. As a goalie, you have to do that. Obviously when the action is at the other end, you can check things out and all. In most cases, his work is like a very involved lace knitting pattern where you have to stay totally focused and watch out for every little thing. So I vote for him"
Tied for second were J-P Dumont and Jordin Tootoo. The Sticks-n-Stitch crew had this to say about them:
"Tooto would do it. Hes from up north, Alaska, I think, and he has to make a lot of stuff for himself, so hes used to using his hands."
"It would have to be somebody with kids. JP maybe?"
"Tootoo maybe. He seems like a nice, all-around kind of guy. I'll bet he knits."
"Dumont seems like a family guy. I think he’d do it. He would probably knit socks. Every dad needs a nice pair of socks."
There were a few other ideas floating around the room as well:
"Sullivan's got great hands, I’ll bet he can knit."
"Jerred Smithson seems like a fun person. You know he has to be able to knit."
"Joel Ward is cool. He defintely knits."
"The new one. BoomBoom's kid. I vote for him."
"I'm a Martin Erat fan. The way he does shootouts, he can do anything as far as I'm concerned. He can knit. He can run for president. I'll vote for him."
There was also a single vote for Terry Crisp from one of the husbands who had come along to see what would happen at a hockey and knitting consortium. The man's wife rolled her eyes. "It would be fun to see if any of them knits," she said.
A few of the attendees were admittedly new fans and weren't sure if they could give an answer. One knitter said she was a fan and had her own ideas, but would only add, "If you find a knitter downstairs and he's single, give him my number!"
Predsnation, if you weren't there, you missed a great time with some fabulous new and long-time fans. There's always next year, just keep an eye on the Predators official website and remember that it usually takes place before a matinee game late in the season. In the meantime, you can brush up on your knitting and crocheting skills by hooking up with Knit and Crochet TN at their main website or by visiting their blog. They offer classes constantly at various locations all over the Nashville for all ages and all sizes of groups. The best part? Most classes are F-R-E-E. Who knows? You might just find out the scarves and hats you knit are the hit of the family gift exchange next holiday season.
Until then, this is Jas Faulkner, who will probably be picking up her needles again sometime in May or June. I'll see you at The Stone and The Plex and online at Facebook and Twitter.
story and pictures copyright 2011 Jas Faulkner