Unfortunately, the game is seldom the thing
I’ve been quite lucky oh, these so many years, to have seen an awful lot of professional sports.
Basketball games, the odd hockey game, baseball games, football games, games of significance and games that have meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
I have seen full houses and half-empty arenas and it’s always struck me that pro sports teams treat the fans in the seats like they are, well, mindless dopes with the attention span of fleas.
And the NBA is, by a country mile, the worst offender.
It’s never really about the game, is it? It’s about the “entertainment experience” and the peripheral stuff, the noise, the distractions, the noise, the timeout antics, the noise, the stuff that really has nothing to do with the actual competition on the floor, ice or ersatz grass.
Baseball does stuff with dancers on the dugouts and stuffed animals roaming the stands.
Football has the dancing girls and the marching bands.
Hockey has the in-game host, and the contests and, in some arenas, I’m told, packs of roving dancers/cheerleaders.
Basketball? All of that, and more.
I guess – although I’m not entirely sure – that the patrons who fork over such big bucks to actually go to games want to be entertained constantly although watching them during the “contests” doesn’t prove that to be true.
Mostly – and I look quite often – they are talking to each other or staring off into space, anxious for, you know, the game to come back.
You can’t put that genie back in the bottle, we are never going to go back to the time when the play carried the night but I do wish we could put a halt to the escalation of the antics.
Every timeout, or stoppage in play, or pitching change cries out for something to happen. And I think what irks me more than anything else is the “scripted” nature of most games.
You know, first timeout of the fourth quarter we’re going to do this. First pitching change we’re going to do this. First TV timeout of the second period we’re going to do this.
If teams are going to bombard fans with ancillary stuff, at least have some sense of timing, know what the mood in the building is like, what place the game is in when it’s time to turn up the volume.
A little immediate creativity would go a long way, I think, to making a night feel more spontaneous, and perhaps engage those fans in a more meaningful manner.
Will it happen? No way. It’s too hard. And, besides, no one’s really complaining. Sadly.
A guy talking on a pay phone!
I didn’t know they still had ‘em, let alone had ones that work and if I had to make a call on one today, I swear I wouldn’t know how much money to put in.
Wonder what’s in store for the folks in the seats tonight?
Unsure, actually. No one’s really talking about intro videos or timeout shenanigans and I’m quite all right with that.
For sure, whatever ditty they use to do video to introduce the team will be foreign to me, I’ll expect some help, but other than that …
Here are three things I truly hope they don’t do:
The silly over-and-under game.
You know the one, they march some lucky fan to midcourt, put a playing card up on the ribbon boards around the arena and he or she has to guess whether the next one will be higher or lower.
Saps whatever energy there is right out of the building.
Yeah, we really want to see scared kids crawling to pleading moms and dads. Fun? Wow!
I see enough pucks as it is, thank you very much.
He’s big and strong, willing to play a role as a defensive specialist and I know Dwane Casey is quite interested in his potential.
But what’s going to kill Johnson’s playing time – and he knows it – are his turnovers. Ghastly, some of them; and far too frequent. He had four the other night in Cleveland – that seems to be about the norm for him – I think two were for travelling, one was where he bounced a pass off Andrea’s head and I can’t remember the other.
To him, a solution is easy:
Slow the hell down, or at least that’s what he was saying yesterday at practice:
“It starts here in practice, getting more shots up five-on-five, moving the ball during five-on-five, making the right play and making the right pass. Got a long ways to go but it’s close.
“I worked hard during the summer but I hadn’t played a real five-on-five game until the first Boston pre-season games; a couple more games in and things will start slowing down for me.”
I guess that’s the same for every young player – and Johnson is just in his third season and has only been a starter for less than half a season – but he’s got to be better.
Small forward is a bit of a black hole for this team, everyone knows it; it’s a job waiting to be claimed and if Johnson can cut down on his mistakes, the job is his.
He is a very good defender and looks like he could be a pretty good rebounder but he can’t be coughing up the ball as often as he has been.
Oh, you were wondering about what I would like to see in timeouts?
Not with Jack and Matt necessarily but the in-house karaoke I see in other arenas and stadiums is cool.
I know we haven’t come up with a song but there has to be one, right?
If all else fails, if you can’t get these guys …
Remember these guys …
You cannot get enough of his/her/its hijinks. You can’t.
The Chicken, I’m told, spent some time on the DL in the summer after a rather serious tumble during a road trip to China (can you imagine the look on the Shanghai doctor’s face when a big red dinosaur with a bum leg came in?) but he/she/it is back in shape.
The June Taylor Dancers
Why not, right?
First call for mail; there are weekend games and a road trip so I’m not sure what will get done when but I’m pretty sure some of you are just dying to say hi and get something off your chest, right?
Don’t forget, it’s a 6 p.m. start time tonight (those of us with deadlines thank you) and that means about a 5:50 p.m. start to the IGBT.
Come one, come all.