Skills to Develop
- Read an example of the descriptive rhetorical mode
As the coldness hits my face and I breathe in the invigorating air, I temporarily forget that I am at a sporting event. However, when I open my eyes and look around, I am reminded of all things Canadian. From the national anthem to the international players on the ice, all the sights and sounds of a hockey game come together like a big forkful of poutine.
First, the entrance turnstiles click and clank, and then a hallway of noise bombards me. All the fans’ voices coalesce in a chorus of sound, rising to a humming clamour. The occasional, “Programs, get your programs, here!” jumps out through the hum to get my attention. I navigate my way through the crowded walkways of the arena, moving to the right of some people, to the left of others, and I eventually find the section number where my seat is located. As I approach my seat, I hear the announcer’s voice echo around the arena, “Attention fans. In honour of our country, please stand for the singing of the national anthem.” His deep voice echoes around each angle of the arena, and every word is heard again and again. The crowd sings and hums “O Canada,” and I feel a surprising amount of national pride through the voices. I take my seat as the referee drops the puck, and the game begins.
Late in the second period of the game, I decide to find a concessions stand. The smell of hot dogs carries through the arena, down every aisle, and inside every concourse. They are always as unhealthy as possible, dripping in grease, while the buns are soft and always too small for the dog. The best way to wash down a hot dog is with a large pop, so I order both. Doing my best to balance the cold pop in one hand and the wrapped up dog in the other, I find the nearest condiments stand to load up my hot dog. A dollop of bright green relish and chopped onions, along with two squirts of the ketchup and mustard complete the dog. As I continue the balancing act between the loaded hot dog and pop back to my seat, a cheering fan bumps into my pop hand. The pop splashes out of the cup and all over my shirt, leaving me drenched. I make direct eye contact with the man who bumped into me and he looks me in the eye, looks at my shirt, tells me how sorry he is, and then I just shake my head and keep walking. “It’s all just part of the experience,” I tell myself.
Before I am able to get back to my seat, I hear the thud of someone hitting the glass, followed by an uproar from the crowd. Everyone is standing, clapping, and cheering. I missed a goal. I find my aisle and ask everyone to excuse me as I slip past them to my seat. “Excuse me. Excuse me. Thank you. Thank you. Sorry,” is all I can say as I inch past each fan. Halfway to my seat, I can hear discarded food wrappers crunch beneath my feet, and each step is marked with a pronounced crunch.
When I finally get to my seat, I realize it is the start of the intermission. I quickly eat my hot dog and wash it down with what is left of my pop. The organ starts playing and everyone begins to sing “We Will Rock You.” While singing the song, putting my arms around friends and family with me, I watch all the players taking the ice. It is wonderful to see the overwhelming amount of players on one team from around the world: Russia, the United States, Canada, and Finland. I cannot help but feel a bit of national pride at this realization. Seeing the international representation on the ice reminds me of the ways that Canadians, though from many different backgrounds and places, still come together under common ideals. For these reasons and for the whole experience in general, going to a National Hockey League game is the perfect way to glimpse a slice of Canadiana.