I am a huge basketball fan. I watch a lot and I play as often as my ageing, decrepit body will allow. And like any responsible parent, I insist that my children like what I like or I withhold my approval and love.
I’m just kidding, you guys.
But I am hoping to pass my basketball enthusiasm on to my two boys before they decide that everything I like is lame. So I took them to Qudos Bank Arena to watch the Sydney Kings host the Illawarra Hawks for their very first professional basketball game.
For my part, the experience was vastly different from the last Sydney Kings game I went to eight years go. The atmosphere is a lot more lively and the quality of the basketball is much higher.
But while the seven-year-old seemed to be engaged and attempted to follow the game, the two-year-old seemed to be suffering from sensory overload. He was extremely excited, which was nice, but like a lot of two-year-olds going through the Terrible Twos, he was also a bit emotionally volatile. His mood could get quite dark without warning - and he’s still learning how to speak in full sentences.
Please keep this in mind as you read his thoughts about the game…
The boy is enjoying himself and my heart swells. There is nothing more rewarding for a parent than the smile of a child.
“Me hungee. Hungee hungee hungee...”
My son is always hungry, bless him. And if you know what’s good for you, you feed him right away. We got some fries.
“This crowd is incredibly diverse. Like us. Because we’re not white.”
I’m not sure I would have put it that way, but it’s a very astute observation, especially for a two-year-old. There were a lot of different kinds of people at this game, which was very refreshing.
“Did they just play Punjabi MC when the Indian guy scored?”
It’s true. They did play some Indian music when Indian-born big man Amritpal Singh scored, prompting a woman next to us to say, “That’s racist.”
Well, according to a Kings spokesperson, he was cool with it.
“Our game day production has discussed with Amritpal Singh and he is happy to have the music played,” she said. “We also play ‘Ole Ole’ when Brad Newley scores (he spent many years in Spain).”
So there you go.
I have to say, it was pretty inspiring for me and my boys, who have Indian heritage, to see an Indian guy out there. There was an Indian Canadian guy on the Sacramento Kings (no relation to these Kings, as far as I’m aware) – Gursimran “Sim” Bhullar – but I don’t know if he’s still in the league. So all of our hopes are pinned on Singh.
“Number 34 looks like Carlos Boozer! Hey Boozer! Hey!”
He did that for a good 10 minutes, trying to get number 34’s attention by calling him Carlos Boozer, a former NBA player. His actual name is Perry Ellis (and he's pretty good), but the boy wasn’t interested in facts by that point. And it’s important not to dampen any kind of enthusiasm at this age, based on what I’ve learned from the zero parenting books I’ve read.
By half time, the boy was having a great deal of fun, but he had truly become unhinged. He was particularly incensed by the gentleman who won an opportunity to shoot a few baskets for a prize. He was decidedly unsuccessful…
“Where did they find this clown?! Has he ever touched a basketball before? I could get the ball closer to the hoop and it weighs twice as much as me!”
I tried to get him to calm down but he was pretty amped up, getting in and out of his seat and biting his older brother’s head.
“There better not be any Hawks fans around here – or they’ve got a head-biting coming to them.”
We were lucky not to have been escorted out by security, frankly.
Thankfully, the game resumed…
“Number 15 is tearing us apart right now. Is anyone guarding him? Put me in coach. I’ll at least get a hand in his face.”
To be fair, the Kings were playing great defense. But Rotnei Clarke was having himself a game.
“Whatever happens tonight, these fries are #@$&% delicious! They can’t take that away from us!”
Again, I don’t know where he’s hearing this kind of language – Elmo? The Wiggles?
“Oh God they’re going to lose oh God shut it all down the dream is dead.”
My son got very dramatic when it was clear the Kings weren’t coming back. But when the game was over, he seemed to pull himself together…
“Ah bad luck boys! We’ll get ‘em next time! What a game! What a sport! A true metaphor for the ups and downs of life!”
Looks like the Sydney Kings have a new hardcore fan…
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If you want to experience this sort of excitement, watch the 2018 NBL Grand Final: Melbourne Utd v Adelaide 36ers Game 5 this Saturday at 6pm (AEDT) on SBS VICELAND.