Saturday night was grandson Beaux’s birthday, and he prevailed on his father to bring him and a friend up from Fresno to see the Warriors play the Oklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena. Naturally, Gail and I wanted to join them.
The Warriors had so far had 156 consecutive sold out games, so I had to hit StubHub for tickets. Two seats on the lower level in the same section as the rest of the family were available for a minor king’s ransom, and we were ready.
I know nothing about basketball. Every year in Gatlinburg my roommates come home from the evening game and watch “hoops” while I play bridge online with Gail. Here’s what I know happened at the game: lots of guys with serious pituitary problems ran around, made amazing passes, smooshed the ball into the net from near and far and leaned on each other much harder than I would have thought for a nominally non-contact sport. The Warriors were down at the start, then up a bunch, then tied with 3 minutes to go and finally won.
There was lots of entertainment besides the game. Because it was being televised, there were plenty of breaks to allow for the commercials, and the Warriors fill the time admirably for the fans in attendance. There were contests where fans could win cash, contests where a fan could win a new car. People came out with air guns shooting T-shirts into the stands–inexplicably including a dancing dwarf, which seems sadly un-PC. At half-time there was a Gospel singing choir.
Since I have nothing trenchant to say about how anyone played, I’ll talk about the people and sights.
This was the day before the Super Bowl, and the town was full of celebrities, the biggest of whom were Beyonce and Jay-Z. They had courtside seats, natch.
The blonde in the shades is Beyonce. The huge bald guy behind them who never let go of his phone, and had a wire in his left ear, was clearly security. The Mr. Miyagi lookalike in the yellow shirt was a stadium guy who was there to make sure everything went perfectly for the famous guests.
The auditorium is LOUD. 19,000 screaming fans can be deafening. I was pleased to see this couple were protecting their baby’s hearing from damage:
Stadium food is pretty good these days, not just hot dogs and beer. I saw this guy and wondered how he could get something to drink with both hands full.
Just walking around was strange. Many basketball fans played in high school or college, and there are a lot of exceptionally tall fans. It was just our luck that one of them was sitting right in front of us, and spent much of the time standing up. We had to look around him just to see the giant TV screen, he completely blocked out the court. His tattoos were unique, too.
We had a great time. The home team won, yet again. (Which crushed the grandson, who roots for Oklahoma for some reason). We got a good parking space and made it home quickly. I don’t think I’m going to become a big time fan, but at least I can say I’ve seen Steph Curry, Jay-Z, Beyonce and a dancing dwarf. Life is good.