Have you ever been to an NBA game and watched a couple of professional basketball teams duke it out? Even if you know nothing about basketball and aren’t a big sports fan, it’s a very engaging and entertaining experience. As part of the shared love of sports that my son, Matthew, and I enjoy, we attended a Toronto Raptors game this week. Now that was fun.
I will admit that I am too cheap to spend the big bucks and buy premium tickets to a sporting event. In part, it’s because I was spoiled early in my career working in sports media. I often got a press pass to baseball, hockey and basketball games. It is still painful for me to fork over any money to watch live sports. But really, I guess I’m just a bit stingy. Going to a game is great. Spending well over $100 per ticket to be at the game – I just can’t stomach that.
As a mega sports fan, Matthew begged me to take him to one Raptors game this season. I finally relented and bought us a couple of tickets using one of my favourite apps, SeatGeek. The prices are in US dollars, but there are many deals to be had if you are willing to do the research. I found a couple of decent seats for the February 26 game versus the Detroit Pistons, and I bought them.
That was months ago. This week the day finally arrived for us to go the game. I hadn’t been to a Raptors game in years and didn’t remember just how much fun being at a game could be. No doubt watching the game played by the most elite of athletes was thrilling. The running, jumping, tossing, shooting and dunking were incredible. The level of athleticism was to be admired.
Matthew and I are both basketball fans, and while we aren’t experts about the sport, we both have a fair amount of knowledge between us. He is a walking encyclopedia about the various players and their statistics and shared every minute detail he knows. The joy on his face as his favourite players hit 3-pointers, blocked shots and passed the ball was contagious.
But, an NBA game is not just about basketball. It’s also about putting on a show and entertaining the spectators. There’s music, a light show, live dancing (I will admit I could do without the scantily clad dancers), contests, giveaways and great food. Okay, the food is overpriced and for the most part greasy and disgusting, but it’s fun to eat junk food at a basketball game, don’t you think?
We watched an Under-11 Girls rep basketball team have a 5-minute scrimmage at centre court before the game. Fans tossed around a pair of giant blow-up dice below us as part of a contest. And Mike Weir was there, shooting basketballs into the stands with his golf club! It wasn’t just a game, it was a party.
The fans all around were fun and clearly enjoyed the game along with us. The rather intoxicated guy down our row actively cheered on the Raptors and booed the Pistons, using always colourful language. People danced and sang, drank a lot of beer and munched on a ton of snacks.
And the Raptors won. Big time. 123-94. It was a butt kicking. And we loved it. As a bonus, we got free pizza too (thanks to Pizza Pizza who offers a free slice of pizza if the Raptors score over 100 points and win). Matthew enjoyed his slice after school on Tuesday).
Next on Matthew’s list is a Leafs game. I’m definitely too cheap to buy tickets to one of those games. I need a fairy god mother for that. Luckily baseball is just around the corner.