Before we left for New Orleans, one of the things The Man did was purchase basketball tickets for 2 games to see the New Orleans Hornets.
The Man and I are big basketball fans and because we love New Orleans we also love their basketball team. We watch every game we can get up here in Canada. I won’t go into the lengths The Man has gone to in his attempts to view these games. I will say it is one of the best reasons to get him away from work. If there’s a game on he’s home early and on time to see the tipoff.
As you well know I just don’t do crowds well. They scare me. I don’t know why but it’s something that happened to my brain with my meltdown. That and claustrophobia. I wasn’t afraid of small spaces before I got sick – but now! Eeek!
But back to the basketball games.
The New Orleans Hornets play in the New Orleans Arena. It is a beautiful building located next to the Superdome. During Katrina’s aftermath it became the medical building for those in need inside the Superdome.
For our first game we trusted our handy GPS to take us to a parking lot across the street from the Superdome. Unsure of getting a parking spot and where we had to go, we arrived with a good 45 minutes to spare. After we parked we followed a few people up the ramps to the Superdome and walked around the building – staring into the dark building and thinking back to the images we had seen on TV. The hairs on my neck stood up every time we were near that building. So much trauma and heartbreak and death had happened inside and around it.
Thinking we would spend some time in a mall right beside the Superdome we strolled over and attempted to go inside. The doors were all locked. We later learned that this mall had been under water after the levees broke and the building that towered over the mall was hit by the section of roof that came off during Katrina. Feeling a little foolish we strolled back past the Superdome and over to the New Orleans Arena (everything was connected by walkways).
On the street below a band was entertaining the crowd and people were drinking and eating. The whole street was blocked off for the game. A small basketball game was going on between young kids while others shot hoops. We never expected anything like this and it made me forget my nervousness.
When the doors opened we followed the crowd in and The Man took everything they were handing out. Walking around the huge arena we finally found our seats up in the nosebleeds. We didn’t care - except for the steps that make you feel like you are going to fall backwards as you climb higher and higher…..I hate those.
The game was fantastic! Even though we weren’t sitting courtside – we could see everything clearly and it all felt really close. The crowds didn’t bother me at all. In fact I got right into waving my Hornets towel they had given us and cheering with the others. I know my happy face made The Man happy too. He gave up worrying about me and got into the game as well.
We had tickets to another game and at that one I asked The Man if we might be able to see the other two games that were being played while we were there. He got online and got tickets to both of those. I still say the basketball games were just about the best time I had during the holidays. They were nothing but fun!
The one thing that sticks out in my mind is a little event that occurred at the first game. We had the two end seats and next to us were two (white) guys. In my excitement I chatted with the gentleman next to me and asked him if he was local. I told him we were from Canada and this was our first game. He told me it was his too as his friend had talked him into joining him.
As the game progressed we both cheered and laughed – poking each other in the ribs and yelling ‘Hit It’ when a member of the team was trying to make a shot. During the third quarter a large (black) man was making his way past the people sitting right below us. He wore a Barack Obama t-shirt and ballcap. I got his attention and said “great shirt!” The Man gave him a thumbs up as well. My new acquaintance sitting next to me watched the entire transaction and then leaned away from me and turned in his seat so all I could see of him was his back. From then on he only talked to his friend and made sure there was plenty of space between us.
I looked at The Man and rolled my eyes and shook my head. He put his arm around me and hugged me hard – knowing I was appalled at what had just happened. For a brief moment I was saddened by it all and then I shrugged it off and laughed.
Each to his own.
When the games were over we had to walk past the Superdome again to get to our car. It was always shrouded in fog and I clutched The Man's hand and shivered as I felt the ghosts surround us.