A longtime diehard Los Angeles sports fan is one who roots for the Dodgers or the Lakers. Unfortunately, neither team is fun to watch these days. Laker fans are trying to obliterate from memory one of the worst years in franchise history, while the Dodgers are currently in last place. Both teams, by the way, have the highest payroll in each of their respective leagues. At least the last time the Lakers won a title was three years ago in 2010, compared to a quarter of a century ago for Dodger fans.
Meanwhile, there are two professional sports teams in town who have won a championship in the past year: the Kings in hockey and the Galaxy in soccer.
Staples Center, home to the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings, is still in session due to the Kings, the sole occupant remaining in the playoff picture. I was fortunate enough to be in the crowd for the third game against the St. Louis Blues last Saturday and even more fortunate to share the experience with my son.
I have only been to two other professional playoff games in my entire life. The first one was the most significant. I was at the forum with my sister when the Lakers beat the Knicks in 1972 for their first Los Angeles Championship. And I took my son to a Dodger playoff game in 2009.
While I’m not a diehard hockey fan, it is a fast-paced, adrenaline rush of a sport. The only dull moments are the two intermissions between the periods. The crowd at a hockey game tends to be more knowledgeable and engaged than at a Dodger game. As a bonus, a lot of the thugs that populate Dodger Stadium these days are not present making going to a Kings game an enjoyable experience.
Though not normally one for crowds, I was excited to be among the masses around the whole Staples Center complex. It was a festive atmosphere in a positive way not full of drunken bozos.
So, if you are an L.A. sports fan, the Kings and the Galaxy -- going for a third straight title -- are the only teams that are championship-worthy. Interesting the similarities in both of those sports: goalies, low scoring, non-stop action. Now, if I only knew what “offsides” meant in hockey. Go, Kings, go!
Brian Crosby is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher. He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.