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A Reminder of How Much This Lockout Sucks

August 22, 2011

Hello fair readers. We here at Hard hat Lunch pail apologize for the fact that the Yin Seeesters have dropped off the face of the earth these last two months. There’s been a little thing called the lockout that hasn’t exactly given us the inspiration to blog this summer. But rest assured, we are still here and keeping up with all things basketball as best we can without wanting to stab ourselves in the eyes and plug our ears to keep out the redundant and altogether frustrating CBA-talks.

The topic for today? What else but the rest Drew League vs. Goodman League game last Saturday? One half of the Yin Seesters along with a friend of ours, Yuh Wen aka YW, were able to score tickets [thanks to YW’s advanced planning]. We got to the venue about three hours early and by the time we arrived, which was around 3:30pm, there was already a line of people snaking out the door. The wait wasn’t so bad as YW and I reminisced about the past season and our mutual basketball fandoms [she’s a Nets/Wiz fan but has love for our Bulls] and expressed glee at how excited we were that this day was finally here.

We eventually made our way to the entrance and learned that tickets could also be bought at the door. YW and I looked at each other with ‘WTF’ faces as we thought the event was sold out and weren’t sure how they were going to regulate ticket sales but didn’t think much of it as we went in and looked for seats. Now, when I heard the event moved from a high school gym to a university gym, I thought, ‘okay, they probably wanted to fit more people, sell more tickets’ but as soon as we stepped foot inside, I could not believe how small that gym was. But I wasn’t complaining because that meant we would be super close to the court and players no matter where we sat but still, damn:

Seriously y'all, this was how tiny it was. (Photo Credit: Joyce)

We eventually found seats, which could probably be equated to sitting in the lower 100-level seats at a typical NBA game, and proceeded to talk about how awesome this was. On the sidelines, we already spotted John Wall and James Harden hanging out in street clothes and chatting with people. A fellow NBA follower who has gone to a few summer league games told me that this is how it usually is: everything and everyone is really chill, people go up to players and ask them to take picture and sign shit and the players don’t really seem to mind. And that’s exactly how it was. I wondered where security was, where the bodyguards and handlers were. But there didn’t appear to be any of that. YW and I thought about going down to meet them – I thought about asking them to sign my kicks – but we wimped out. I always get kind of weird about asking celebrities/movie stars/athletes/etc. to take pictures and sign things; it all just seems uber strange to me.

Wall and Harden hangin' out. Harden needs to give Wall some tips on growing a beard, no matter how great of a smile he has. Just sayin'. (Photo Credit: Joyce)

Anyway, we continued to ogle them from afar and take in the atmosphere, congratulating ourselves on our luck, and then KD appeared! YW and I proceeded to fawn over him and exclaim how adorable he is because well, it’s KD:

Waitaminute, is that a Philadelphia flyers cap? What in the....(Photo Credit: Joyce)

It was then that we received news from our friend Geoff, who was supposed to join us in the festivities, that they weren’t letting him into the venue, that it was ‘at capacity.’ We couldn’t believe it. Considering the fact that YW had bought tickets for us weeks in advance, it was ridiculous that they were letting people buy tickets at the door and allowing them in when those with tickets bought way in advance, weren’t being let in. Clearly whoever was running this thing did not do a very job of making sure people didn’t get screwed over.

After YW and I properly grumbled and complained on behalf of Geoff [who wrote a letter to Goodman Commish, Miles Rawl, which we will be posting shortly], we returned our focus to the game at hand. By now you’ve probably seen countless highlight videos and read a myriad of recaps to get a sense of what went down on Saturday: lots of dunking, very few set plays, tons of one-man breakaways, some fancy footwork, none of the players particularly interested in playing defense and some fantastical feats like KD making a close-to-half-court shot look like a piece of cake. All in all, it was about what you expected from a summer league game.

For a first-timer like myself, for most of the game, I couldn’t believe how close we were to the court. It’s not until you have the opportunity to sit so close do you realize what a difference it makes: being able to read players’ facial expressions, hear what they’re saying on the court, read body language, it all helps give you a clearer picture of the game. And little do you realize how fast the game actually is [and just how huge these dudes are in comparison to us mere mortals]. Last winter, when Joce and I sat a few rows back from the hoop at a Bulls vs. Wiz game, I couldn’t believe just how quickly everything moved. Don’t get me wrong, I knew basketball was a crazy fast game but seeing it that up close and personal put me in awe. Needless to say, I gained much more appreciation for referees and the difficult job they have to do in officiating a game where things happen in split seconds.

Some other thoughts I’m too lazy to put into paragraph form:

  • Harden and KD were goin’ at it for most of the game. Harden really got in KD’s grill and KD proceeded to block Harden a few times. I also saw KD shove Harden with a fair amount of force and throughout it alll, I couldn’t tell if they were just playing around or not. It was a little strange.
  • I thought I’d see DeMar DeRozan throw it down but he stayed relatively quiet. Unless he dunked and I just completely missed it [his new haircut was throwing me off, I’ll be honest] which is a total possibility.
  • John Wall did the ‘I’m gonna speed off with the ball toward the basket and then throw it away at the end because I don’t know what to do with it,’ something YW claims is a patented John Wall move and after watching him, I’m inclined to believe her.
  • Kevin Durant is tall.
  • And a few pictures –

I can't remember whose shoes these were but they were awesome. (Photo Credit: Joyce)

James Harden's amazing bright orange shoes. (Photo Credit: Joyce)

There was this adorable kid going from player to player, asking them to sign it. He had a ton of signatures on it when I saw him after the game! YW and I need a cute kid to tote around to games to ask players to sign stuff.....(Photo Credit: Joyce)

(Photo Credit: Joyce)

After the game was over, everyone swarmed KD, including YW and I. Aside from being creepers and taking pictures of him, that’s about as close as we got. We felt bad for the guy as he couldn’t get a moment to even breathe since everyone kept going after him. He even changed in front of everyone!:

Poor dude. (Photo Credit: Joyce)

I did manage to snap this gem though:

ADORBS. (Photo Credit: Joyce)

Honestly, just the fact that we were so close to him made me happy. I think I would have passed out [no, really] if I actually got to meet him. That is just too unreal to even imagine. It also reminded me of how much I want to work in the NBA. Sure I’m totally idealizing it and there’s something to be said about how working in an industry you’ve always enjoyed from the peripheral could potentially make you disillusioned with it. But I can’t ignore that great feeling of participating in something that I love so much. Who knows what will happen.

Overall, it was a good time and I’m so glad YW was on the ball and got the tickets. Supposedly there are rumors of a rematch in September in LA so the Drew League can redeem themselves, but we’ll see. For now, I’m still basking in the afterglow of the game before I come back down to reality and am faced with the real possibility of no actual NBA basketball for a season. It’s just too scary of a thought to even entertain.

P.S. Yin Seeester 1.0 couldn’t join us due to the fact that was she in LA for a wedding [psh, priorities Jocey, c’mon now].

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