Sunday, December 28, 2008
Must be present to win
Stella and I discovered a new cheap place to park near the Bradley Center (and no, I'm NOT telling the world about this -- suffice to say that it's single digit, change back from a ten-spot find, and it's not in Tosa, either), and things looked promising. Everybody under 14 with paid admission got a pair of socks, socks that still smelled like they'd been screen printed that afternoon. We took our seats, inspected the socks, and watched the opening montage, which is a countdown to game time with a clever twist -- all the numbers are shots from numbered jerseys from past and present players. It's sort of a subliminal KAREEM way of reminding KAREEM people KAREEM that there were great KAREEM players and KAREEM moments in Bucks history. Then, if you needed to be reminded that most of that greatness went down in the 70s, it's all done to a prog-rock hit from that era, ELPs "Karn Evil 9" (which most people know as "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends....")
Back to 2008. The place is full: the weather is cooperating, people have to get out of the house, and Iverson is in town. They introduce the people who are going to render the anthem as "The Milwaukee Symphony" but somebody needs to be told that two french horns, a trumpet, a trombone and a pair of baritones does not constitute a "symphony." Good horn section, though, and they played it well. Only one question -- because these guys are top-tier, accomplished, symphony orchestra musicians, to be sure. You mean to tell me they still have to bring their sheet music to play the anthem, a song that most high school band nerds can play in their sleep? But still, what mattered was a good arrangement and flawless tone, and that they had.
OK, so tip off and the Bucks are off. It's a respectable game, especially since the last time I was in the Bradley Center to see Iverson play, it was a few years back, and Brian and I had these killer seats right behind the Philly 76ers press seats. We could hear the squeak of his shoes, and could feel the spray of sweat come off his head. We'd finally gotten respect for him as a player that night -- a night he'd broken his person record and scored some 50 odd points. So I was worried about what kind of damage he'd do to a Bucks team that is in a dangerously gray transitional phase right now. Not to worry -- they were keeping him in check, down to only 10 points by the half, and they're only down by 2 at the half.
Stella and I stuck around to watch the halftime show, but we probably should have taken the time to get the ice cream cones we waited until the 3rd quarter to get. This halftime show was Sem Cycle -- a pair of unicyclists who just didn't seem to be on their game. They rode around on unicycles and shot hoops, and couldn't make their shots! One of them gets on a cycle that extended to some 15 feet high, but then all he did was ride around on it. Stella and I -- who have seen things at halftime from the Red Panda Acrobat to the wonderful Jesse White Tumblers -- just looked at each other and said "HUH?"
We usually don't get a treat or anything during halftime or time outs because the lines are ridiculous, so we picked a lull in the 3rd quarter to go get a coupla waffle cones. For some reason, the line was ridiculous, and we were gone for quite a bit. We come back to our seats and that's when ridiculousness really set in -- the Bucks are down by 18. WHAT? How did this happen? What, we can't go get an ice cream and take a whiz without the Bucks blowing what was -- until we left -- a tight game?
"But I'm the good luck charm!" Stella said, in disbelief, as we both stared at the scoreboard. It was Bucks 53 when we went to get our cones, and it was Bucks 53 when we returned. WTH?
"Well, I guess you have to be actively in the seats, watching the game for your magic to work," I replied. Because, once we returned, Detroit didn't get much further ahead, and in fact, the Bucks actaully cut the lead to 10, which is what they ended up losing by. "Good luck charm must be present to win," I said, in a deep, Voice Of God tone usually reserved for that part of a contest commercial signifying the fine print. OK, next time, we'll get our treats at halftime or a timeout!
At least today was a picture perfect day to forget about all that, and go out to Red Arrow Park to take in some skating. Perfect temperature -- the rink held a good Zamboni-ing, the sun was out, the Starbucks seemed to have their A-list people working behind the counter, and we ran into friends while Sammy worked on his gliding skills and Stella perfected her arabesque. We took our lesson learned and instead of watching the Zamboni at break, we got ourselves some hot chocolate treats.
Final Bucks note -- there's a huge push to get Joe Alexander into the NBA All-Star break Slam Dunk competition. This would be cool for a variety of reasons, least of all being that apparently, he's a clever and funny guy, and this might be the ticket to some kind of celebrity that calls attention to him better than just playing "Hey Joe" every time he hits a shot.