Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday Night at the Izod Center


It's no secret that my time with Sean (the one and only Son) is precious these days. I say this as I write from an empty house - and it has been so since yesterday. I don't mind being alone (and independent) but I hate it when Sean isn't around. The loneliness gets overwhelming.

Maybe that's a post for another time. It does, however, prove why Friday night was so priceless.

Sean is not the best sports spectator. He doesn't have that thing that I had at seven (and that was about the age that I can remember immersing myself in sports for good). He's not likely to sit and watch a game with me on TV (though he was great with the Super Bowl this past year until he went to sleep). Our previous trips to Yankee Stadium have left me frustrated; hoping I can at least make it to the seventh-inning stretch.

I know - all of you parents go through the same thing. I think my nieces and nephews were pretty good about it because I wasn't their parent.

So thanks to my bosses at the Business Talk Radio Network (via the YES Network), Sean and I were given two tickets to Friday night's Nets game at the Izod Center (nee Meadowlands Arena, Brendan Byrne Arena, Contentintal Airlines Arena) against the Miami Heat. Who else could I take but my buddy?

I was looking forward to seeing Dwayne Wade and Vince Carter, among others. Sean had no clue what he was going to see.

Our seats were amazing - 19th row, with the Heat bench facing us. Sean was mesmerized by the scene. He loved the pregame introductions (of course, the lights went off for a display when the Nets came on - everyone has to copy the Bulls of the Jordan years). The game was largely lost on him though. By the mid-point of the first quarter, the questions began:

- Is the game over?
- Why is everyone so excited? (A Nets player had just slammed one home)
- How many times are there? (quarters)

and, number one on the list?
- Can we get some popcorn/ice cream/something to drink/foam finger?

So being the good dad, I took him to get popcorn. Then came the ice cream at halftime - which meant missing half of the third quarter.

The good thing about the ice cream was that I could buy him a little plastic basketball bowl with a Nets logo. VoilĂ  ! Instant souvenir!

I didn't cave in on the foam finger, and I thought he was going to melt down when we didn't get a T-shirt thrown to us. I blame this guy...

Now I know what Sly Fox does with his free time.

Anyway, the game was overall a fun experience, and we did make it to the very end.

The Nets won 96-88. Carter just missed a triple-double and Wade had an "off" night with "only" 27 points. I enjoyed the game; Sean enjoyed the extra-curricular stuff. He liked the mascot, the dancers, the entertainment. The Nets get points for working hard to make the crowd feel comfortable. They really play it up with the kids (though Sean stood no chance of getting on the big screen due to the fact that I'm a jinx). He enjoyed walking around the arena after the game (everyone was allowed to linger due to a post-game concert by Yolanda Adams - no relation).

The rest of our pictures are here...including some of our beloved cat Fred.

I'll probably take him to the first Yankees-Cubs exhibition a week from Friday (!) but I must admit, it's not easy to be a sports-loving dad who almost never leaves his seat.

By the way, the Brooklyn thing with the Nets needs to happen, or the arena needs to be upgraded. There are just too many elements of the building that scream "1980's!"

A decent writeup of a the game is here, from Tom Canavan, who noted probably the most entertaining moment of the night:
Wade drew the biggest cheer of the game with 1:57 left in the third quarter when he one-handed an 85-footer off the backboard into the basket.
That was a wild scene, and very funny, as Carter and Wade laughed about it.

Traffic was very light as we left the arena, and I made the decision to take Route 3 east towards the Lincoln Tunnel. Figuring we had nowhere to be, I made a decision that pleased both of us - I drove us right through the tunnel into the heart of midtown Manhattan. Sean got to see Times Square at night, and that drive seemed to be the topper on his trip.

We got home at midnight, and he fell asleep in the car (thankfully). I heard him telling his mother about the day on Saturday. I guess that means the experience had an impact on him.

1 comment:

Nick" Sly" Fox said...

HAHA You caught me Rob! I am the "Sly Fox" on the weekends. I would, however, have given your son a t-shirt. Maybe even two.

It seems like you guys had a great time, and a great game to see. I've been to numerous Nets games and they really do get the crowd (kids included) into the game. It's always a fun experience.

~F.O.X~