The precursor to this assignment was to create a mind map relating to winter. Several subgroups were chosen from this map - the one I will be using for this assignment is ice hockey.
I then read through the IDEO Bootleg and Ethnography Primer to better familiarize myself with the concept of ethnography. I brainstormed to come up with a few questions to get the interview process started.
1. Tell me about an experience you've had with ice hockey.
2. What about your experience could have been improved?
3. What did you especially enjoy about your experience?
4. Tell me about a time when you played ice hockey (if applicable).
I do not have an exact list of questions - I instead went with the flow of the interviews. One thing I was sure to keep in mind was to keep asking "why?" to get my interviewees to further expand on their thoughts.
Natalie P. is a student at the U with a love for the NHL. She sometimes goes to Wild games, but that is the extent of her ice hockey experience. Here are some of the key points I pulled from this interview:
- One time I was playing hockey for the first time, and I got hit in the face with a puck. So I never played again.
- The Xcel Center has comfy seats, but it was kind of cold so I have to keep my jacket on.
- It took a while to actually get into the game - the lines were pretty crowded, and it would have been nice to have more check-in spots.
- I'm bad at skating. I wish I was better, but ice skates are the devil. It hurts to fall!
Charlie D. is a middle aged avid hockey player. He plays in 2 different leagues twice a week, and he used to play for an amateur team. I pulled a few things from this interview that were interesting:
- I go through so many sticks. Spending $200-$300 per stick is pretty common, and one stick will usually last me about 10 games. The price adds up!
- Carrying the gear around is difficult. There is a lot of stuff that goes into that bag, and it won't fit unless I pack it perfectly. It's amazing how much space it takes up.
- The smell of locker rooms is pretty intense. I'm lucky to come out alive sometimes.
- It's not about the fans - it's about loving the sport and doing your best.
- No blood, no sweat, no tears, no game!
- I always had coloring things with me. I'd sit backwards on the benches so I would have a table to color on - truly obvious that I wasn't paying attention to the game.
- One time the goalie drank an energy drink before the game - it was actually an energy mix that one of the players made for him, but he did it wrong. He put the entire thing in instead of one scoop, so as a result the goalie was so hyped up that he would skate out to the half line waiting for the puck, and he actually took a slapshot once. We won that game!
- Atmosphere: cold and warm at the same time - they keep the whole place cold for the ice, but they have heaters where the people sit. My face would get boiling warm but my feet would be cold.
- We would make my brother put all his hockey gear in his basement because he staaaaaanky. Febreze doesn't work on that shit!
- They have a lot of hockey gear. Like, a lot. My brother is 6-foot something ridiculous, so he carries it well. But going to games I see little twerps carrying these bags 5x the size of themselves, and there's just a little standard duffel bag handle. I think to myself, can't there be an easier way?
I was unfortunately unable to observe ice hockey in person. However, I did catch a big portion of the Wild game on Saturday night against the Hurricanes. I attempted to watch the Gopher hockey game as well, but it was nowhere to be found on TV, sadly! Luckily I have been to many games, so I can pull from my memory observations of the people at such events. Here is a list of characteristics of people generally at hockey games:
- Extremely competitive - lots of yelling and shouting
- Cowbells - for some reason, there are people who love banging on cowbells during games
- A majority of the people there love chanting along with the student section (when they understand what is being chanted)
- Dressed in a jersey of some sort (if they don't own a jersey, they will wear anything that is the color of their team)
- People of all ages attend games
I was unable to engage in the activity of ice hockey at this time, as the outdoor rinks do not yet have ice. However, I will pull from past experiences. I grew up ice skating, and I honestly don't know when or how I learned. Hockey is a fast sport - you must always be on your guard and you must keep your head up at all times. You and the stick become one, as if it's an extension of yourself. Falling can be painful. Wearing loads of gear helps protect the players. It's a workout!
Areas for Improvement
1. Natalie is a hockey lover who wishes to be able to participate in the sport; however, she finds ice skating too difficult to master.
2. Darien is a girl who wishes her brother's hockey equipment took up less space and smelled better.
3. Charlie is an avid hockey player who wishes that hockey sticks did not break as easily and did not cost as much.