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Tales from the PredsMobile: Special Musings in Smashville

By: Miranda Martin

There still hasn’t been much talk about the Predators in the PredsMobile recently.

 I believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that everyone has other things going on beyond hockey–the holiday season just ended, the Preds began the year on a west coast swing, THE TITANS ARE STILL IN THE PLAYOFFS (more on this later), etc. I haven’t been pressing people to try to talk about hockey. In fact, some people think that the alternate guitar pick logo on my doors are some sort of Pittsburgh Steelers alternate logo, which still perplexes me and makes me cringe. (Seriously. It’s happened more than once.)

 But there are two things that happened this week that I’d like to talk about, and they show just how special of a place Smashville is right now.

 From Driver to Passenger: My First Preds Game This Year

 Tuesday was the first Preds game that I’ve attended since the banner raising at the home opener. The home opener was a special, surreal moment, so it didn’t even feel like a regular season game–more of an extension of summertime, so this truly felt like my first game of the year. I opted to drive, donning my jersey, until close to faceoff then take a Lyft in myself. My last ride, I picked up a couple who were visiting from the Northeast. They thought it was super cool that I had decked out my car in Preds gear, then mentioned they were going to the game. They made sure to get the tickets because they wanted to hear the coveted “you suck” chants live.

 “We heard them during the Stanley Cup Finals, and we just had to hear it live,” one said from the backseat. I told them I hoped they’d hear it a dozen times. At least they got to hear it twice.

 With this only being my second game of the season, and last year only getting to go to four total games, going to the arena now gives me a great opportunity to actually take in my surroundings rather than go with the motions like I used to at games when I was a season ticket holder.

 Smashville, you are one fantastic place to be right now.

 The atmosphere on a Tuesday night hockey game in the middle of January had the intensity of playoff games of yester-years. The rally towels given out said “We Play Hockey LOUD,” and I think the fans lived up to that. I was overwhelmed with the amount of excitement for the game around me. I was sitting in a suite for the first time in my life, and the people in the suite tried to start a “Lets Go Preds” chant. The volume of the crowd never seemed to quiet down, but even people around me were going “it’s quieter than usual, let’s pump this crowd up!” I was surprised because it sounded perfectly loud to me. I will admit, I was worried because its mid-season, the Preds have lost a good chunk of recent games, and maybe the excitement of last year was dwindling down. I was so happy to be wrong, and the Preds fandom is growing stronger and stronger.

 It’s no wonder Preds games are the hottest ticket right now. I hope those passengers I had went home in gold last night. They told me they hadn’t had a team since the Hartford Whalers left, so I hope we won them over.

 Preds Fans, It’s Time To Titan Up and Stand with Them!

 I know, I know, this is Predneck Nation. We’re Preds fans. We’re hockey fans. Why the hell are we talking about football?!

 Because it’s a Preds bye week and our local football team needs that Bridgestone Arena atmosphere!

 The Tennessee Titans entered the playoffs for the first time in 9 years this year, . They had an incredibly surprising Wild Card victory against Kansas City last week, where it literally took Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota accidentally passing himself a deflected pass to score a touchdown. They shouldn’t have won, but they did–something I think Preds fans are familiar with.

 It has been incredible to me to see the support between the Titans and Preds organizations as of late. Of course, many remember the Titans offensive line coming to Preds playoff games last year, taking off their shirts and chugging beers with catfish.Titans linebacker Taylor Lewan even did a catfish gimmick with Jeremy Roenick on NBC sports. This year, the Titans had the Predators as their 12th Man for their home opener, where Roman Josi took the sword to the field as an unofficial ceremony to his not-yet-announced captaincy. Since the Titans “One Win and We’re In” campaign, Preds players have been wearing customized Titans jerseys in lieu of dress shirts to their games, including Tuesday night’s home game. T-Rac shadowed Gnash most of Tuesday’s home game–the last game in general before the Titans play against the Blackhaw–I mean, Patriots.

 When I first became a Preds fan was toward the end of the golden Titans years. There was quite a bit of animosity shown between the markets, like it was a competition for which team was the city’s darling. I guess that’s what happens when you start two pro sports franchises at the same time. Of course, the Titans were winning that competition by a longshot. They were the main topic of every media outlet, the most successful radio shows about Preds hockey were the post-game wrap up shows that lasted an hour at best, and, on several occasions, talking heads would say that Nashville didn’t need the Predators (and I hope they like their crow diet now.) It left a lot of Preds fans bitter, and, at least in my experience, talking football was like giving up hockey.

 The last several years, with the Titans mediocre records and the Preds making leaps and bounds toward being a Stanley Cup contender, the tides seemed to change a little bit more toward the Preds being “the” team. More sports shows started appearing that were just for hockey talk, the front page of the papers were covered in gold, and city signs said “Stand With Us! Go Preds” for miles and miles. After last year’s Stanley Cup run, Nashville was a hockey town, but the Titans stood in solidarity with the Preds through and through.

 We should do the same right now.

 There shouldn’t be a competition for who’s the most loved team, especially if we’re going to be adding another professional sports team in the next couple years with the unnamed MLS team. We should support our city and its teams especially during playoff runs, if anything because the playoffs are fun (and also terrifying.) I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t know much about football–that’s my momma’s territory as the diehard Titans fan in my family. But I know we’ve got a local team going into a game where they are major underdog–something I think a lot of  Preds fans can relate to. We have an entire week without Preds hockey–we might as well watch some football!

 Smashville is a special place to be right now. Let’s have some fun with it.

 Go Preds, and Go Titans!

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