As much of my younger life revolved around sports, another one of favorite pastimes during the cold winter months was going down to the Civic Center to watch the Baltimore Clippers. The Clippers were a minor league Hockey team that had a small but rabid fan following. I used to enjoy going down on a Friday or Saturday evening, spending a few bucks for a ticket and sometimes a game did break out during a hockey fight. Unlike the spoiled and overpaid professional athletes of today where a sub .500 major league pitcher can command millions per year, most of these guys never made the big time and pretty much played for the love of the game.
The Civic Center, as it was called back then, was the kind of place that really wasn’t built for sporting events as some of the seats left you completely blind as you really couldn’t see what was going on in some areas of the rink, sort of like Memorial Stadium where if you had one of the seats under the upper deck, any fly ball was out of your range of sight and you didn’t know if a fly ball was going to be a home run or a routine fly out, you just had to follow the outfielders as you couldn’t see the ball.
Another thing I recall about going to the games was a guy that they called ‘Hollering Harry’ who had a set of lungs that would rival Pavarotti, although his was just volume and not quality. Every so often he would let out with a loud bellowing that would reverberate throughout the arena. All in all, I enjoyed those nights down at the Civic Center as I became quite enchanted with the sport and the team. I can still recall the chant every time they scored a goal….”Go you Baltimore Clippers, Go you Clippers from Baltimore, fight you Baltimore Clippers, face off fight for a Baltimore score, defensemen, forwards and goalies, will win without a doubt, for Baltimore and Maryland, every Clipper fan will shout, fight, fight, fight”.
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