All the Gall Things: Masks required at Ball Arena, but apparently punk cred is not

Nov 27, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche fans cheer following a goal against the Nashville Predators in the third period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I learned a long time ago that crapping on things people like will get you nowhere. At best, it won’t earn you any admirers and at worst you could have the woke, cancel culture mob that got Aaron Rodgers come for you. If you have a death wish, try saying you don’t like Taylor Swift. If you do, the Swiftwaffe will descend upon you like warrior angels in the Battle of Armageddon, keeping you from any moment of peace you may have enjoyed.

Let people enjoy things.

With that said, I can’t stand that people sing a Blink 182 song at Avalanche games.

Organic fan participation during a game, especially something unique to a particular arena, is what being a fan is all about. The IN-COM-PLETE chant at Mile High is one of the greatest there is. You can hear it on the tv broadcast and it drives fans of other teams bonkers. I enjoy clever things that fans come up with outside the team’s influence because it happens naturally and belongs to the diehards, not some corporate nonsense crammed down your throat by a marketing team.

It’s not like I don’t want something like this for the Ball Arena crowd, it’s just that particular group ruins it for me. So it’s with a heavy heart that I must give a big thumbs down to the singing of “All the Small Things” at Avs games.

What started out organically as a sing-a-long after the DJ played the track during breaks, grew into a phenomenon that people with a penchant for bad music lustfully engage in at every Avs home game. I hadn’t been to a game since this shoddy serenade began and I waited patiently for it this past Saturday during the Avs vivisectioning of the Preds. And I have to say it’s a nice moment if you don’t become physically ill hearing a song by Blink 182 like I do. It’s a decent arena-wide connection that everyone who attends games participates in, even if they have no idea what group they’re signing along to. But it’s like rooting for the Stars to beat the Wild for me: I can’t fully enjoy the game because I hate the players so much.

I get it. It’s purely a generational thing. But I didn’t get attacked by skinheads and dodged mace sprayed by cops at Aztlan Theater punk shows so these dorks could be considered (pop) punk. They rode the coattails of better bands of the era and somehow became household names. It’s complete revisionist history that they are credible because they catered to pre-teens who would have been listening to the Wiggles a few months prior. Blink 182 is the Mr. Pibb of pop punk bands: looks the part but when you open that can and take the first sip, you know something isn’t right.

The reason fans at Avs games like this is because they were 12 when the song came out and that nostalgia is the only thing driving their admiration of the song. It’s a legitimate reason, but if you like this music, you either had it beaten into your skull at a young age or are just a complete nerd (this had not been backed up by data…yet). People like the song and enjoy the aspect of singing it with 20,000 like-minded Avs fans on a given night. I get that. But do you feel good when Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” comes on at a sporting event? Probably not if you know Gary was convicted of sexually assaulting kids. It’s not quite the same, but my skin crawls when I hear both.

And then there’s the song itself. While it has an admittedly catchy chorus – a whole arena is compelled to sing along – there’s a reason for it. Tom DeLonge, the song’s author, said as much when he admitted they needed one more song that the record company could use for the radio. Let me repeat: FOR THE RADIO. Super punk rock, bud.

I know being in a band is all about writing songs people want to hear, but if you’re supposed to be considered even halfway a punk band, writing one filler song to specifically be picked up by commercial radio is really telling. It’s an arena rock song that has finally found a home some 20 years later.

England’s own Blur set out to make an arena rock song when they wrote “Song 2” (woo-hoo!) and even though it was done ironically, it ironically became an arena rock song. Any band would be thrilled to know that their song was being played in a setting like this, but Blink 182 wants it both ways by trying to be punk heroes while only achieving status as the punk equivalent to the Baha Men. I think if we just dispensed with the fact that Blink is supposed to have anything to do with being a punk band, I’d be fine with it. But history is written by the victors and Blink 182 certainly got to rewrite history on this one.

I don’t like the song for cultural reasons that are too steeped in 80’s/90’s punk lore to fully explain properly, but you are certainly free to enjoy it. I didn’t sing along on Saturday and I won’t do it the next time I walk the halls of Ball. Now I know how every Blues fan who hates Laura Branigan feels.

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