Saturday, November 19, 2005

The World's Self-Proclaimed Most Famous Arena

Chan attended college at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Class of '97. When he found out their basketball team was in town for the "2005 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Benefitting the Jimmy V Foundation Early Season Four-Team Tournament," or whatever, he asked me if I wanted to go. I told him I was in if we got the ten-dollar seats. He agreed.

I've always thought of Madison Square Garden as a rather boring place. Any basketball/hockey arena is like that to me, though, the way they all kind of look the same, and how the court always has the same dimensions as every other court. In fact, as I ate my pretzel there tonight, it made me kind of sad that I was eating a food I associate with a baseball game and there was no baseball for miles around.

Tonight, my opinion of "The Garden," not to be confused with "The Garden," changed a little for the better, though. Maybe it was my angle on the court. Maybe it was the current strength of my glasses. Maybe it was the fact the Knicks were in Denver.

But it was definitely cool to see a basketball game for the first time in years.

Florida was playing Syracuse in the championship game. We got there early, and saw the second half of Wake Forest-Texas Tech, along with the two overtimes that followed it. Between games, the seats started filling with "Orange" fans. I guess "Orangemen" is out, much like "Redmen" has become "Red Storm." (If you don't follow college sports, it's not the Florida Oranges, although that would make sense. It's the Florida Gators. And Syracuse Orange.) When the teams were announced, Chan realized he was in the minority.

I immediately got a sense of arrogance from these Syracuse fans. Maybe it was just because there were more of them, but they just seemed like "We're here to see our team destroy whoever it is we're playing, and we're gonna act all psyched even though these November games don't mean shit, and we're gonna complain about every call that doesn't go our way."

From that alone, I determined that the ranked Orange were overconfident and overrated, and could be beaten by unranked Florida. So I was on Chan's side for the night.

And we rode that Gator to the promised land, cheering loudly as the Syracuse fans were putting their coats on with two minutes left.

It was fun. And I've never seen a team so excited to win a game so early in the season. Maybe it was the way they came into the big city, and beat the semi-home team as an underdog.

Saw four Sox fans. One right when we got into the Garden, which got me thinkin' about it. Then another right near us. Then a woman on our way out with a heavy, blue Sox jacket that said "Boston" across the front. Then a dude on the street. Only saw slightly more yankee gear than that tonight. But, as usual, all the Sox clothing looked worn and cozy, while the yankee merch was fresh from the (discount) rack and unpleasing to the eye with it's scary arachnid.

Jere, if you and Chan have a chance to see UCONN play in that building, which I think of as the Knick's building, being a Celtics fan at the time of prime Bird and his teamates all (Haven't been able to watch 'em since then, consistantly), check them out. They are quite good, both women and men, this year. That's what gets us through to baseball here in CT., UCONN B'ball.
No offense to your northern CT ways, Peter, but I've always been anti-UConn.

Having lived in CT from age 0 to 29, (except the couple of years at college in Nebraska), I know all about the Huskies. But my college teams are the HuskERs.

I remember UConn being extremely shitty throughout the eighties, and no one even really knowing they had a team. Then there was the Tate George shot in '90. That was exciting. I rooted for them the next game, when they were beaten in a similar dramatic fashion. The Laettner shot is the Jeter catch to Tate George's Pokey Reese catch. It gets shown all the time, while the other is never shown, despite the George one being better. (Also, my cousin used to babysit Scotty Burrell, the guy who threw the long bomb to Tate.)

Anyway, the next year, everyone started jumping on the UConn bandwagon, and I went right back to not caring, then drifted toward outright hating as they went on to consistent good-ness. Which I still can't believe.

Funny how if I'd just liked the team that represented my own state, I could have all these bonus championships under my belt. But I just could never grit my teeth and root for them.

Also, my dad hated them and kind of taught me that. Although he had liked them in the fifties or something. Also, he went to Fairfield and so they're my CT team. And my mom went to Central, so I also have a soft spot for them, too, and root for both to beat UConn whenever they get a shot at them, but they both always get beat pretty badly.
I understand that you didn't want to be one of those "jump on the bandwagon" schmucks. I was always on the bandwagon, no matter what was served. Have a great Saturday.
I think I understand you a little better after re-reading your post. If a team, say our Sox, suddenly developed consistantly winning ways, would you turn against them just because of it? I think the answer is obvious, but I'm not sure what it would be (not supposed to make sense).
You're a funny guy, W.

Post a Comment

If you're "anonymous," please leave a name, even if it's a fake one, for differentiation purposes.

If you're having trouble commenting, try signing in to whatever account you're using first, then come back here once you're signed in.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

My Photo
Location: Rhode Island, United States