Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fans in Philly

Creighton beat Cincinnati in the second game of the Albany-Duke doubleheader.  Many of the Albany faithful had left and we were able to move to a closer section of the stadium.  The vantage point from there was special, both on and off the court.  A number of Albany players, after showering and packing their uniforms for the last time, were sitting here and there. In our row, just a few seats to our right was the high scorer in the Duke game for the Danes.  He led the team not only in scoring, but in rebounding.  When he stood up, so did I. The fellow is no bigger than I am.  Behind us was his back-up a player who did not play much in the game. He, too, was no bigger than I am. We had arrived early enough to see the warmups for the game.  Duke looked like the varsity warming up, Albany the Freshmen team.  Still got within 12.

After Creighton prevailed in the exciting second game, the security folks had to empty the building because an hour later Georgetown-Florida Gulf Coast would begin the second double header of the day. We had been in the arena at this point for six and a half hours.  As we exited we heard several fans in blue saying "I need two" or just holding up two fingers. Creighton's faithful knew that now that they had won, they would be playing again on Sunday and, not being sufficiently optimistic initially, now needed tickets for the next round.  We must have heard  and seen five such persons.

Outside of the arena it was an interesting fan scene.  Thirteen thousand people leaving at the same time as the first of thirteen thousand fans were arriving for the second doubleheader.  The Wells Fargo Stadium where the games are played this weekend, is located next to both the Philadelphia Phillies baseball stadium, and the Philadelphia Eagles football stadium. One huge sports area--three testaments to the power and allure of sports in our society.  Near to each is a sports bar which many of those leaving, and those coming were visiting.  The bar itself was packed and you literally could not get in. There were assorted guards prohibiting entry. However, this did not stop the entrepreneurs.  It was freezing yesterday in Philadelphia, winter cold--Buffalo cold.  Nevertheless several outdoor locations were set up serving ice cold beer in the ice cold.  There was one, double the Cheers size rectangular bar, and two places where a person was, as fast as he could, keeping up with the demand for ice cold beer in the ice cold.

We took the subway back and took a break before readying ourselves for the eight night games that rounded out the thirty two games played on Thursday and Friday of March Madness.

Of the various fan scenes of the first part of the day that I am not likely to forget, one took place on the subway ride to the Albany game.  It was early, around 1045 for the 1215 Albany Duke tip off.  On the subway platform waiting for the train, were about two dozen fans clad in the purple and gold of Albany.  Instant camaraderie with strangers.  I start talking with one fellow who graduated 20 years after I did.  His wife is there as are his two children, neither more than ten years old. The younger of the two sits down and begins to regale us with his knowledge of Albany basketball trivia. He tells us that Duke will have to watch out, today.  The kid is so cute. Then his sister comes along and she has an Albany Great Dane tattoo painted on her cheek.  She too tells us about an infamous Albany Connecticut game which was played, no doubt, before this child had started kindergarten.

No comments:

Post a Comment