Monday, March 25, 2013

Florida Gulf Coast

We spent much of Saturday in Philadelphia contemplating how to, and whether to, secure tickets to the final doubleheader of the weekend. Florida Gulf Coast against San Diego State, and Duke vs. Creighton.

We had befriended two Creighton alums in our hotel lobby--neither of whom wore anything other than Creighton Blue all weekend--and they were urging us to attend the game against Duke.  One even went to the hotel clerk  asking if she had any tickets for us.  There were two sets available, but they were in nosebleed country and asking for 200 for the set.

Scalping is, essentially, legal nowadays.  Used to be that you could not resell tickets for more than they were worth.  Scalpers would buy tickets legally, and then for popular games, go out on the street and illegally sell them for whatever they could get.  Fenway Park was notorious for years, for this practice.  I can picture the guy who used to make his living buying a gazillion tickets and then selling them on the street before game time.

Very lucrative business. So, what happened was that it became a very legitimate lucrative business for those in suits.  You now can go on websites like Stub Hub and buy tickets the same way you could from Sammy the Scalper.  All legal.

So on Saturday we went on Stub Hub and other similar sites, looking for deals.  Before the game times were announced--the games were moved to late games from afternoon contests--and a weather report predicted snow on Sunday night/Monday--it was difficult to find anything remotely reasonable. Some fellow in the Philadelphia suburbs offered us a couple that were reasonable, but we had to drive out to the suburbs to get them.  I wondered if Tony Soprano might be joining him and we declined.  My nephew and a buddy of his joined us and we mused as we watched basketball games at sports viewing establishments about whether to spend the dough for some tickets.

Sunday morning came and we had resigned ourselves to doing Philadelphia sight seeing and heading back to watch Florida Gulf Coast on the tube.  We went to the Liberty Bell (truly inspirational), Independence Hall, assorted other historic sights, and then decided to move on.

We had camp friends whose son/nephew was getting married in Philadelphia and we went to the hotel where her family was staying.  This also, coincidentally, happened to be the hotel where the Creighton Blue Jays were staying.  It was a sea of turquoise in the hotel.  We, almost literally, bumped into the aunt of the bride and her husband--also a camp friend.  When they left to get dressed for the wedding, we went to the lobby restaurant and watched Ohio State edge Iowa State to the oohs and ahs from Creighton fans cheering for the neighboring Iowa team.

Something about sitting in a sports bar and seeing a sea of blue fans itching for  a game that wont be played for six or seven hours. When the coach of Creighton and his entourage left the hotel for the arena still a full six hours before game time, the loiterers in the lobby, literally, stood up and applauded them.

We spotted our hotel buddies at the team hotel. They wanted to be among their cronies and they again urged us to come and root for Creighton. "We need you." they said.  Not sure Creighton needed us, but we did want to see Florida Gulf Coast play in the early game, a team that had dazzled on Friday and were stealing the heart of the nation. A bunch of dunkers and drivers who nobody ever heard of putting a whupping on Georgetown.

I decided to take a shot and ask at the check-in desk if someone had given up any tickets.  "Check with the bell hop" she said.  So, I did, and there I hit paydirt.  The bellhop, Willie (I've changed his name) reached into his pocket and yanked out a bunch of tickets.  He offered them at a reasonable rate and I hesitated only because I was surprised.  Immediately, he came down twenty bucks.  He showed us where the seats were and they were practically on the court.  We gobbled the tickets.

We saw Florida Gulf Coast jump, jam, and slam as close as you can get to the court unless you are a cheerleader.  Amazing vantage point. Thank you Willie. Florida Gulf Coast beat San Diego State by 10.

We then, alas, watched the Duke Creighton game.  We found our hotel friends and one gave us a "Go Jays" sign for us to wave.  It did no good.  Duke beat Creighton to advance to the Sweet Sixteen with Florida Gulf Coast.

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