Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Indiana Fever Fever: Catch it!

(I'm late in writing this post, but my Fever fever has not died down yet.)

Thanks to Katie Vaas of the Indiana Fever, I was given two free passes to the July 5 Fever game in exchange for blogging about it. The plan was to take my oldest daughter to the game, let her see some positive female role models, watch some basketball, and knock out 500 words.

That's a no-brainer, I thought. I've always wanted to see a Fever game, but never wanted to spend the money. At least not until I told my wife, who reminded me that her folks would be in town on the 5th, and I couldn't just ditch everyone to take my oldest daughter to the game. So, I bought tickets for the rest of the family – so much for not wanting to spend money – and we went to the game on Saturday afternoon.

All I can say is this was the best $50 I ever spent. The cheapest tickets were $10, and were on the same level as the luxury suites. There literally was no bad seat in the house. The upper section was completely closed off, so you could actually see the players.

There were all sorts of activities before the game, fans were walking around and smiling, and it was just a nice place to be. I've been to two Pacers games, and the atmosphere and crowd mood were completely different. This was a great place to bring the family, including my two youngest.

We got to our seats – 6th row behind the Connecticut Sun, thank you very much, Katie – and the game started. I watched the game and scribbled down a few notes, in no particular order.

- Former Fever player Tamika Whitmore, who is now a Sun, was announced in the visitors' lineup. Everyone cheered for her and made her feel welcome. Now THAT'S class. She usually wears #91, but wore #00 that day. What's the significance?

- Male AND female dancers. Equal-opportunity eye candy for both men and women. No women-only Pacemates. Plus, one of the male dancers did a series of back flips down the entire length of the floor, and accidentally kicked a ref in the head on the last flip. Awesome.

- Tully Bevilacqua is a little scrapper. She was the smallest player on the court, but held her own against the other players . I saw her fighting for a loose ball against women who had 8 inches and 40 pounds on her, and winning. I wish she was playing for the US in the Olympics.

- Between plays, it was quiet enough that I could sort of hear the Sun coach talking to his players. I half expected him to turn around and ask us what we thought.

- We need more fans to show up at the games, especially in the seats on the ends of the floor. When the Sun were taking foul shots, Fever fans were waving their noodles like crazy, in hopes of distracting them. Unfortunately, 17 waving noodles does not a distraction make.

- Tamika Catchings committed her 5th foul with 2:05 remaining in the game, and the fans went nuts. At a Pacers game, the fans would have just mumbled a collective "meh."

- My two youngest kids loved the music during the time outs, and were dancing fiends whenever they had the chance. They danced even when there wasn't any music. They both said it was The Second Best Day ever. (The day before was The Best Day Ever.)

- Since everyone else in my family was in the cheap seats, we switched off after each quarter, so each of us could enjoy floor level seats. I'm sure the people sitting next to us in the 6th row thought we were doing something nefarious and underhanded.

All in all, a great day. The fans were great, the game was great, and the atmosphere was awesome. My wife asked me why I thought this was the case, when people just don't seem to get behind the Pacers with the same fever pitch.

"Because the Fever fans care about this team," I said. And now I do too.

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