Friday, January 30, 2009

ON The Parquet . . . Oh Yeah, There Was A Basketball Game, Too

A Moose Track

Your boy Moose had the experience of a lifetime yesterday. Like, take-your-breath-away, shiver-just-to-think-about-it, jaw-dropping type of experience. I don't mean to brag or anything. I don't mean to welcome hate or anything, but . . .

I was on the famous parquet floor last night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Yes, my first Celtics' game brought extreme good luck and incredible payoff. OK, here's the deal: The people who we bought the tickets from have season tickets, and if you have season tickets, you can request a spot or two to be at the "High Five Kids Tunnel".

Soak that in for a second. OK, I learned that I was going to do this not soon before we arrived at the Garden, it was a total surprise. And a total shock. The High Five Kids Tunnel are a buncha kids who line up next to the tunnel where the players come out, and they go down the lines out onto the court. So, I was a High Five Tunnel Kid. And yes, that is me with my complimentary "High Five Kid Tunnel" shirt.

We had orientation-type stuff first; they told us what we were doing, took some pictures, you know. Then, the woman who was working there, said, "OK, it's time to go out onto the court." My knees could barely hold my own weight, lemme tell you, I was excited, man. They led us in a line, and, we walked out onto the NBA court. You know how a lot of people say, "My jaw was dropped," And whatever? And sometimes it's just a figure of speech and stuff?

My jaw was really dropped. My mouth was hanging open. We walked out onto the court, the famous parquet floor, and we walked right across it. I walked very slow and all of that, the people had to keep telling me to walk, I was so awestruck. The free throw line, the three point line--it was all there. And real. Here are a few notes about the court itself.

You see the NBA court on TV, and it looks huge. I know it's silly that I think that and all, but in real life, it's just a basketball court. I mean, it seemed so special. It was so cool. But the size, nothing new. It was so cool to be on there, lemme tell you. Another thing: the rims were thick. I guess that's so that when Perk decides he wants to drop a thunderous dunk on somebody it won't break. But it looked hard to sink a hoop on those hoops. I walked back behind the three-point line, and it's pretty long. It was so cool to see that what we saw on TV, they were actually just real jumpers. I know it sounds silly to say that, but it was so human. And inhuman at the same time.

They had us line up for when the players were to come out, and I was still shivering and awestruck. On the other side of the court I saw Tom Heinsohn and Mike Gorman doing their stuff on TV, and I was just like, "This is the real deal," I spot Scot Pollard in a suit on the sideline talking to Michael Holley (local sportscaster here) and I get all excited and point him out to the kid next to me, who looked like he didn't give a damn. And, even from across the court, Pollard is TALL. The guy was the heaviest on the C's last year, it was just crazy.

Here are the lines that we were standing in. You can see me on the end facing the camera, I'm third to the end, looking at the JumboTron:

We stand in our lines anxiously, while getting some JumboTron love. Here's me on the big screen:

When I knew I was on-screen, I busted out the MJ moves. Gotta get famous one way: struttin' your stuff to a lotta people. Anyways, aside from my dancing expedition on the JumboTron (which was a joke, if you didn't catch it). By the way, you probably already knew this, but I'm the one with the mad scientist look.

OK, so while I'm crapping my pants seven times over in the middle of the court in anticipation and nervousness, they show something that takes the breath right outta my lungs on the JumboTron: The Celts getting all pumped up in the tunnel. I saw them standing there, jumping up and down, and I thought, "They're coming out here." And then they showed something up there that almost made me cackle like a maniac: They showed them running out. I was waiting for them to come, and I saw this on the screen:

I think you can kind of see what kind of emotion I was feeling. It was so nerve-wracking, so exciting, so suspenseful, so EVERYTHING to see them running out. And then, at the head of the line, I saw Ray Allen. He was running towards us, towards me, with the ball, as I had seen him do hundreds of times on TV. Nervous breakdown? Very close to it. It was incredible. All of the guys followed afterwards, and my jaw was hanging down to the ground. They didn't all high five us, but I made sure I hit their elbows or whatever for every one of them. They were intense, man. It was crazy. Video footage here.

You can see where I am; I'm in the same spot. OK, so after that thrilling experience, they let us hang around for layup lines for about five minutes. Here's everything that went through my mind on "paper" (Hursty with the tip for that one). First thing's first, I turn to my left and I see Mike Gorman, the Celtics' broadcaster along with Tommy, and I lean in and I say, "Mr. Gorman!" And he acknowledges me, and I say, "I watch you on TV every day there's a game, and I think you do a great job." He just smiled at me and said, "Thanks, buddy," While he extended a hand, which I took, and shook (rhyme!).

On to the players. First observation: Patrick O'Bryant is inhumanely large. O'Bryant is the sole 7-footer on the Celts, and he was just the biggest man I had ever seen in real life. Another thing: Big Baby is big. And I would know; I was close enough to see his Sheed bald spot. I was close enough to touch his bald spot. I didn't though, for fear of getting annihilated by his Big Baby-ness. And, Paul Pierce, the Captain? Humongous. Leon Powe? Ginormous. It was crazy to see all of these guys up close and personal. And, Bill Walker dunked right in front of my face. Crazy stuff. ******This is the part where questions are very welcome, and where I can answer them very clearly. Actually, questions are welcome very much throughout the whole thing. Please ask them.******

They had us circle the floor, and one of the guys working there started up a conversation about the NBA right now; he told me that he thought it'd come down to Cleveland and Boston. I testified that Orlando might have something to say about that, but I agreed with him. We talked for a few minutes after that as well. Nice guy.

We passed by the Kings warming up, and I swear, Shelden Williams really looks like that. Kevin Martin really has that weird release on his jumper. John Salmons' facial hair is not fake. Spencer Hawes is huge. It was crazy, to see all of those guys just come to life. It was amazing. We were escorted back through the tunnel to where we started. Wyc Grousbeck (CEO/Owner) walked right by me, and I was going to say something, but he was talking to someone. I joined my father to go up to our real seats, which were in the upper deck somewhere. I marveled at how awesome it was as well settled in, and player introductions began. Here's a video taken by yours truly of the sick ritual announcements and such.

After showing a montage of Boston beating the Lakers last year (sorry, B) including Pierce getting taken off, hitting back-to-back threes in game 2 (goosebumps) along with great music and all of that. Pierce crying. It was just great stuff, awesome to re-live. Great stuff. After the intros and all of that, it was time to go.

Garnett did his routine. He banged his head against the hoop while tying his shorts. He took the powder. He pumped his arms to the crowd. It was unreal. First time in the Garden. It was just amazing stuff. Here are some Garden shots that I took (with Zoom In on full scale):

Ahh, it was so much fun to be there among fellow Celtics' fans. It was great, something that I had never experienced before. Compared to the American Airlines Arena, it was very different. There was more of a buzz at the Garden, even for a game against the lowly Kings. It was awesome.

Another thing: There wasn't that much music. At the Heat games, they blared hip-hop all over the place, at the Garden they barely played any. Of course, there were a great deal of "De-fense" chants started up by the loudspeakers, and people were enthusiastic about following that. It was much more corporate in Miami, as if they were trying to attract fans with the venue rather than the game.

What a great transition! The game! OK, I don't remember a whole lot of it, but here's what I do remember. This is more of an I-want-to-share-my-experiences piece than a Game Notes piece. Salmons kept hitting the threes. RayRay got hot early. Pierce barely played. And Garnett . . . he has such a court presence live, you can just feel it. And it's true: He never stops talking. Who knows what he's saying? I'd do anything to mic him during a game.

OK, on to the rest of the game. Perkins is apparently colorblind. My guy got stopped up after an in-bounds pass, he turns around to pass it to a white shirt, and . . . a Celtic isn't in sight. The ref is. Bounces right off of him. Nice one, Perk. Perkins finished with 4 boards and 2 blocks, one of them was just sick.

Rondo begins to dominate. Yeah, Rajon! The dude should've been an all-star. Well, maybe not, but next year he will be, don't deny all of that. He finished with 24, 9 and 3, with a sick alley-oop Garnett tip-in. Garnett finished with 14, 8, 5, 1 and 1, pretty much what he's been doing lately.

Glen "Big Baby" Davis . . . is more athletic than you think. The dude can play! He looks like he couldn't, but he's quick and can really play basketball. It's more evident than if you watch it on TV. OK, sick play. Rondo, back door to Big Baby, Baby with a sick slam, hangs the rim for about three, four seconds . . . crowd gets all fired up . . . technical foul. Well, it was a great play anyways. Glen had a good game, finishing with 14 points, 3 boards, a block and a steal.

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! 8-9 from long range. The dude was on fire. He just couldn't miss a shot. Yeeeay, House! 28 points, career high, he just knew he could make every single shot, and that's all it took. The dude was just raining them all night, in 20 minutes spread out. I've loved having him on the Ceatles more and more since the season started.

For the Kings. Players who impressed me: John Salmons, Jason Thompson, Kevin Martin. First Salmons. He was hitting them from everywhere. Hand in his face, swish. The dude was on fire. The whole Kings' team was playing very, very well at the beginning, just sinking every jumper. Salmons was no exception. He finished with 22 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal.

Jason Thompson is a good rookie. Really all there is to it. The dude is athletic, not afraid to go up against the big boys full-fledged (he posted up on Garnett all night), and he was successful: 21 points, 11 boards, 4 assists. Do that for your whole career and you are Garnett, little buddy. The dude looked great.

And, Martin. The dude can shoot! His release is awkward, but he still has great backspin, still makes it. It's great to watch. I'd rather watch RayRay shoot, though, as most of us would. Martin finished with 18 points, 4 boards and 2 assists. He looked nice.

The arena was energetic all game. Oh yeah, there was this funny little thing on the JumboTron: They had pre-recorded themselves asking Rajon, Scallie and Sugar Ray how many of the Jackson Five they could name, and they had a fan guess which one of them would know it. They played the video of Scalabrine, and he only had 3/5. The dude was funny with it, too. Scallie is great. RayRay was next, he knew 4/5. Then they asked the dude who they were talking to how many he knew, and he knew them all, so that means he won, I guess. It was funny.

The game was great. The crowd was electric. I went on the court. I can't stop playing this night back in my head over and over again. Thanks for listening, everybody. Out for now . . . Oh yeah, one more thing . . . HIBACHI 2.0 DUDES, I WOULD LIKE THIS TO BE READ BY EVERYONE, PLEASE GET IT SOME GOOD SCREEN TIME. Thank you.



BET said...

Jumbotrons can hold a lot of ugly these days.

but good piece of work Madam Moose (j/k i am happy for you dude!!!).

BET said...

"They didn't all high five us, but I made sure I touched every one of them" This quote speaks for itself.

Moose said...

You are SO funny, BET . . . I knew what I was writing, I didn't mean it that way, but I knew you'd say something. Or Eboy. Thanks anyways, man.

BET said...

you did good moose. But if i went to a Bobcats game i would just run up on the Lady Cats (our cheerleading squad) i would make sure i 'touched everyone of them' too. Fuck the players.

AR said...

I will read this when I have a few days to spare.

AR said...

"I would make sure...i..fuck the players"-BETcats.

BET said...

"I will...have sex with this uncontrollably...when I have a few days to spare" AR to the Izzo

AR said...

"I will sex you uncontrollably for a few days if you have some loose change to spare"-BETcats.

Moose said...

Guys, please, keep this PG rated, at least. None of this. On topic about the article, aight?

the baconator said...

Damn, Moose. First off, from the looks of things y'all need a haircut, haha

Second, that sounds absolutely incredible. I think just walking on the parquet would be amazing enough. Oh, and screw the kid who didn't think seeing Scot Pollard was exciting. I don't care if he barely plays, he's still an NBA player. Major congrats for your experience

Moose said...

Thanks a lot, baconator. And yeh, I'm getting a haircut this week, don't worry about it.

BET said...

to end this "i would make sure...i...fuck...BETCAT" AR to the Izzo

jameyburke said...

You lucky bastard! Glad you had a good time-I knew you would. I got to sit courtside last year thx to my sister and it was just as exhilirating as you explain. Great pics, great writing. I will be going Thursday night if I have to spend my rent money. Keep up the good stuff guys-great site.

Karl the Marxist said...

Wow Moose, that's awesome, especially for your first time to the Garden. When I go to see games I'm always struck by how big the players are, even from way up high. It must have been ridiculous to see them up close. And as for the getting onto the Parquet, that's gotta be amazing just to see everything, just like you said. Anyway, good for you.

Moose said...

Thanks, dudes! And Karl--thanks a lot for stopping by, man.

Hursty said...

Good shit Moose. I looked at this while it was in drafts, so I'd already read it btw. Nice.
ps- why didn't you film the cheerleaders???? You zoom in on them, then end the clip!?!?! haha.

Roy said...

Hey Moose. Congrats on your Boston Garden experience. I'd feel the same way by simply standing on the parquet if ever I get that chance someday. It was indeed a great opportunity for you and not let that pass. Yeah, Pierce is one huge guy. :D

Moose said...

Thanks, guys. Sorry, Hursty....

jameyburke said...

Moose-Couple pics/clips from today's game at about Bynum going down..? Yikes!

-Gerard Himself- said...

Moose, what a story. I'm happy for you, man. Awesome.

Moose said...

Thanks, Gerard. And nice vids, James.

Eboy said...

Pretty cool story, my man.

Ryne Nelson said...

Sorry I'm late to this post, Moose. Really cool experience...But are you sure POB is taller that Garnett? Garnett's got to be at least 7-1, no?

Moose said...

Thanks, E and Ryne. Mr. Nelson, I couldn't actually get to see Garnett as well in that sense as I saw O'Bryant, so I just saw O'Bryant and was just freaked out. I didn't get that good of a look at Garnett. My main regret, really.

Hen said...

Wow Moose. I feel really excited for you. I think that the camera that you used was awful, but that's just me. I thought that they don't allow cameras in the Garden, unless you're the press. Do they?

Justin Walsh said...

I'm proud of you Moose. Congrats. Fresh seeing a picture of you up on the fuckin big screen

Moose said...

Thanks a lot, Justin. It was awesome, truly. And yes, they do Hen.

jameyburke said...

Pretty funny how the online editor of SLAM magazine doesn't know how tall the league's best 4 is. He is 6'11" Rynie.

Moose said...

Nah, Jamey, Ryne is just the opposite of what you thought: Of course he's LISTED at 6-11 (he knows that) but the whole thing is, Is Garnett really 7-0, 7-1? There is speculation that KG is 7-1, even confirmed by what Pierce thinks. We don't know for sure. It's my main regret about meeting Perk and Rondo; I should've asked. I'm going to find out someday.

Hursty said...

Jamey.... do you seriously think he's only 6'11? Wow.
Theres an interview floating around where he says that he's 215cm...which is almost 7'1. He just didn't want to be given the label of a '7footer who can do it all'.
Pau Gasol is 7foot and KG has a good inch on him- look at them in the Finals standing next to each-other if you have footage. KG is easily taller.
ps- this is a long winded way of saying that Moose is correct. Kinda.

Moose said...

Hursty, I think that Garnett doesn't want to be listed as 7-1 because he doesn't want to play center. But also, his humbility (I made up a new word!) might play a role, as you said.

B. Long said...

Great story Moose.

Moose said...

Thanks, B! Nice to finally see you in this section!

Anonymous said...

Great piece of work. You must be a great kid. - Uncle Bruce

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