Central New Jersey--Fred Swindon admits he's a huge hockey fan. And when it comes to hockey he acknowledges it's not right to like two teams, but he grew up, and currently lives, near the ambiguous dividing line that separates the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas in central New Jersey. He says this only to reinforce his love for hockey.
"I am more a Flyers fan, but I cheer for the Devil's pretty hard, too," said Swindon. "But overall I'm just a huge hockey fan. I mean, huge."
The work-from-home computer programmer subscribes to the hockey package on cable, receives over twenty publications dedicated solely to the frozen game and takes photos of NHL arenas around the country during the puck-less summer months. Additionally, he writes a blog for the AHL (ZamboniandTinasWedding.net/ahl/-~&~?//) and follows more than five thousand hockey related accounts on Twitter.
The six pool sticks in his basement billiards room were made from old hockey sticks. One carefully preserved and lacquered cue still has a hockey blade at the thicker end, he claims it was Steve Yzerman's, the longtime former captain of the Detroit Red Wings. The balls on the felt table he says are made from the teeth of hockey players around the world that he purchased on EBay.
So, when it comes to watching football the Jersey-based hockey fan is not up to speed with all the offseason transactions and happenings of the game. He says he turns the game on Sundays to have something in the background.
Missing the first few Eagles games of the season, the "extremely casual NFL fan" tuned in for an early October matchup between the Eagles and the Redskins. A pass by the Washington quarterback Rex Grossman was broken up nicely by an Eagles cornerback in the first quarter.
"Asomugha with the stop!" shouted the announcer on television.
"When I first heard it I just thought it was a mistake. Then, the announcers said it a few more times during the remainder of the game. I was dumbfounded, literally. I couldn't believe they were paying tribute to the great Patrick Roy during a football game. 'Awesome Roy' this and 'awesome Roy' that. It was great," said a smiling Swindon. "He was a great player and deserves the recognition even during a football game."
Swindon was completely unaware that the Eagles had made a major signing in the lockout-shortened offseaon when they added coveted Raiders' free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha is pronounced ah-sem-wah. Said with some quickness and rhythm and it can sound a lot like awesome-wah (or, if you'r a crazy hockey fan). Incidentally, the French pronunciation of Roy is wah.
The die-hard hockey fan that he is automatically set his mind to hear awesome Roy. Patrick Roy is a Hall of Fame goalie that played for the Montreal Canadians from 1985-95 and for the Colorado Avalanche from 1995-2003. He won four Stanley Cups, two with each team, and captured the Venzina Trophy as the league's best netminder three times.
"It didn't make any sense, but when one is so focused on hockey ... it made perfect sense. I am blinded by hockey sometimes, or deafened, in this case."
Swindon didn't realize his mistake until the end of the season when he made a post on his blog thanking the Eagles and the network announcing team for honoring Patrick Roy throughout the season. Immediately the comments came pouring in and there was lots of embarrassment.
"Lot's of egg. A big 'ol chunk of scrambled egg. What can I say, I'm not that into football."