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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Thing 4: Wizards' Game

Who is this blue man? The Wizards mascot?I'm not really a sport person. I don't know things about sports. I had never been to any basketball game at all (yes, even a college game, even when I was in college). So it was in the spirit of trying new things that I accepted the extra ticket to the Wizards' game when Good Friend David offered. He also doesn't know a thing about a sport, but he had gotten a couple of great tickets free through a work thing. They were seven rows back, behind the basket ("they're behind that goal-post-thing" to quote GFD).

We did a little pregame at Hooters, half a block from the Verizon center. Hooters is a chain and it doesn't bare mention here except to say that I have strange affinity for the place. We arrived at the game midway through the second quarter, armed with two drinks each, and settled into our seats just as there was a "free burrito" break where they were handing out free Chipotle burritos to random members of the arena audience. "FREE burritos? We're gonna like basketball games!"

The first thing we noticed is that the court is incredibly small in real life. It looks much smaller and much glossier in real life, the players look bigger against the background of such a small court. Second thing we noticed is that the game itself is kind of an afterthought. There are all kinds of giveaways, mascots running about (see the picture!), blimps and inflatable trucks on strings circulating around the top of the arena, people making baskets on trampolines during time outs and of course, the cheerleaders in their little shiny black underpants.

We spent most of the time engaged in the spectacle and less time watching the game. At the half time we were each given those inflatable sticks that make noise when you hit them together -- another distraction that we took to immediately, occasionally getting over-enthusiastic and hitting the folks in front of us in our vigor. They were not our biggest fans. Then we spent some time smiling and looking lovey and/or dancing, trying to get on the jumbo tron for the kiss cam/dance break. Then finally it was the last minute of the game, and we focused our attention on that.

The Wizards were playing the Hawks, and we had kept five or six points ahead throughout the course of the game until the last minute or so when the Hawks came up from behind and the Wizards were only one point ahead. Then they were one point behind and a time out was called. We were treated once again to the cheerleaders in their hot pants and knee-high boots. When the players returned to the court, everyone stood up and banged their noise makers together and hoped that the home team could make it back to the lead. And they did! The final score: 93 to 92, Wizards win!

My final evaluation: We had a great time, and it was fun to try something so new. I'm not sure I'd go on my own dime, but if anyone has any more free tickets out there, I'd be happy to take them off your hands. I mean, I do love free Chipotle burritos...