Saturday, March 21, 2009

NBA Action, the Cheap Seats and Small Children: Surprisingly Fantastic!

The Nuggets and the "Sonics" engaged in battle.

Luke was really into the game...for about four minutes.

A year ago, my brother discovered a little known and very good secret. The Denver Nuggets will sell seats to their games for a severely discounted price on the day of the game rather than let those seats go empty. If you show up at noon to the Pepsi Center box office, they have a program called "Rocky's Den" that allows you to buy cheap seats for even cheaper. Usually tickets in the nosebleed section cost ten bucks each, which is hardly prohibitive, but if you show up at noon, the Nuggets will sell you that seat for only five bucks. Yes, you're sitting in the worst seats in the house, but that's where I sit more often than not anyway as I can't afford to drop several hundred bucks to sit court side. Kids under two don't need a ticket at all, so I was able to get my whole family in for last week's Nuggets vs. Sonics game for only fifteen bucks. (Yes, I am aware that the Sonics technically don't exist anymore and that they have moved to Hijack City, but I am following the Sports Guy's lead and am also unwilling to recognize the new team name due to the criminal way in which they were yanked from Seattle. He refers to them as "The Team That Shall Not Be Named," but I prefer to just call them the Sonics.)

Anyway, fifteen bucks is a price I could live with in case it turned out that my kids wanted to bolt after ten minutes and we couldn't get them to stay. I was pleased with how well they took to the NBA. Luke spent the first several minutes just staring at the game in disbelief as if he couldn't believe that the same game that Daddy watches on TV all the time was happening right before his eyes. Plus, if you've never been to an NBA game, they have a lot of superfluous action going on in addition to the game. Usually I despise all this excess, but that evening I was pleased that my kids were transfixed with something, so I was okay with it.

Going to an NBA game with two kids under age five definitely makes the experience different than going with the guys. I brought my camera to take pictures, and my daughter Ellie decided that it would be very fun to take pictures of her hands and feet. I took several pictures of her appendages before I decided that she no longer needed pictures of her extremities at an NBA game. I've never had a discussion with one of my buddies at a basketball game trying to persuade him that it would be best if I could stop taking pictures of his feet. This is a conversation that one only undertakes with a small child. Just to validate the taking all those pictures, here are a few for your enjoyment.

Yup, that's Ellie's foot.

You really haven't lived until you've had your appendages photographed at an NBA game.

Apparently, I was not the only person with small children who figured that the cheap seats were a good way to bring their little ones to an NBA game. I appeared to be sitting in the toddler zone, as there were little ones all over our section. This was another thing that might annoy me if I were there with my friends, but when you are there with your kiddos those children aren't potential annoyances, they are new friends. We shared our row with one other family who was attending with their little girl who was probably around two years old. Luke found her to be extremely interesting, and she was interested in Ellie. The three of them spent a good chunk of the second quarter walking up and down our aisle playing.

This is our aisle, and the tiny pink blur in the background is our new friend.

Ellie, Daddy, and another of our young, previously unknown friends behind us.

The evening actually went about as well as I could have hoped. My kids were angels pretty much the whole night. Ellie had a brief period in the third quarter where she started saying that she wanted to go home, but she responded very well to a little soothing, "The game isn't over yet," accompanied by an offer from Daddy to buy her Dippin Dots Ice Cream. Then once she saw Rocky the Mountain Lion (The Nuggets mascot) and heard his theme music, she was back into it, although, sadly he did not sink his traditional standing backwards half-court shot.
The Nuggets played very well for the most part and they beat the "Sonics" 112-99. I have included a brief Zapruder-quality video I took of a tiny portion of the game, and I am using it without any express written consent from the NBA (in fact, I don't even have implied oral consent), but I am feeling a bit saucy so I'm posting my video anyway. If the NBA's legal team comes after me, I will gladly take down my video as that would be kind of cool to be contacted by the NBA's lawyers regarding content on my humble little blog.

Anyway, I must say that I highly recommend the NBA to parents of small children. My kids loved the Nuggets game, and my wife and I even had a pretty good time ourselves. I'm not sure I'm ready to replace my buddies with my kids as my preferred game partners, but they handled themselves very well, and we had a great time. Ellie is even saying, "Go Nuggets!" So clearly I am raising them right.

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