You can call it the Shawmut Center, FleetCenter, TD Banknorth Garden, TD Garden, Boston Garden, the Garden, the Gaaahden, or even the giant shoebox next to the Zakim Bridge. What you can't do though, is screw things up once you get there, which's why we put together this definitive guide to the do's and don'ts of [insert favorite Garden moniker here], just in time for Friday's C's home opener
DO: Eat and drink before you get there
Concession prices inside the Garden require you to get a second mortgage, and that’s just to look at a pretzel. Without salt. A ketchup packet costs $38.50. There are no water fountains inside (SERIOUSLY!!!), so even H2O is a premium controlled substance. Your best bet is to have dinner (street dog!) and some/many/alllll the pre-game libations before you get lost trying to find your seats
DON’T: Go if you’re afraid of escalators
They are everywhere and nowhere. To even the moderately initiated, it’s like entering an M.C. Escher fun-house mirror maze to navigate your way over the river and through the woods just to find the Loge. Annnnd, sorry, you’re in the Balcony. Or at least, you were until you somehow ended up back in North Station
DO: Bring every valid piece of identification you own. Plus multiple backups. And a note from your Senator.
The ID situation at the Garden is completely draconian. If you’re 21-25yrs old with an out-of-state license AND you want a beer (sooo needy), you might as well be a mutant zombie alien refugee from Planet 10 (also needy). It doesn’t get much better if you’re over 25. Basically, if you are not from the Bay State, you do not exist
DON’T: Bring a bag. Or anything, really.
Bags, backpacks, laptops, coolers, parcels (who carries parcels?), briefcases, and “like articles” (wristlets?) are taboo. So don’t plan on showing off your All Things Considered tote from the WGBH pledge drive. Emotional baggage is also unacceptable, Mr. Fragile. Other contraband is listed here.
DO: Support your home teams
This is your house of legends and you will sound your barbaric yawp for every Courtney Lee laser to the back of the net, every colossal Gerald Wallace dunk, every Kelly Olynyk whatever-it-is-he-does. The Garden is a fire-breathing dragon when it’s filled with the beautiful, ferocious roars of unbridled fandom. Deck yourself head-to-toe in every thread of Sox, Pats, C’s, and B’s paraphernalia you own. It’s mandatory. But leave that Bergeron jersey un-tucked for solidarity, as per the recently revised NHL Rule 9.5.
DON’T: Support any other teams
Boston fans are straight up rabid. They’ll let you know if they don’t like your stupid face, let alone your squad’s stupid colors. Consider yourself warned. The Hellmouth will open if you show up in Yankees gear. It doesn’t matter one puff of smoke from Red Auerbach’s cigar that you’re at the Garden and not Fenway. Pinstripes = verboten. You can wear a “Yankees SUCK” T-shirt though, or your autographed Norm Abram New Yankee Workshop hoodie (also from the WGBH pledge drive)
DO: Observe proper spectator etiquette and protocols
Wait for a break in the action to find a bathroom (difficult), buy beers (still difficult), or return to your seat after accomplishing neither. Ushers are tuned into this and they will sometimes hold you up before you stumble to and fro. And watch your @&%#ing language, dude. Little Billy doesn’t need to know what (censored), (censored), (censored), (censored), or (yikes… CLASSIFIED) means yet. He’ll find his old man’s Penthouse stash soon enough
DON'T: Forget to check out The Sports Museum
Bet you Larry’s golden locks that you did not know this existed. It’s on Levels 5 and 6. No, really. Keep looking. The Sports Museum is a grand collection of memorabilia and photos dedicated to the history and character (and characters) of Boston sports. Sit in Terry O’Reilly’s “home away from home” penalty box from the Lunch Pail A.C. days, genuflect in front of #33’s locker (while wearing these amazing socks with Larry Bird PRINTED ON THEM), and relive every single glorious championship moment. Open daily from 10a-4p, except during events and holidays.