Friday, April 20, 2012

Pathetic in The Palace

A couple weeks ago we visited a relative in Detroit, and while we were there we attended the Pistons game at the arena out the suburbs, The Palace, when they were playing the Wizards.

Yes, we were the three there.

Okay, there were more than just us, but as bad as the teams were there certainly were no shortage of empty seats.
Yes, this is during the game.
We were five rows from the floor. During time-outs the players standing blocked out the cheerleaders on the middle of the court. That close.

Anyway, to drum up excitement in the crowd the "cheer team" throws rolled-up t-shirts and little novelty basketballs into the stands. However, sometimes their arms weren't up to the task.

During a time-out in the first half a cheerleader stood before our section, waving the shirt. Many kids and others waved their arms to try to attract the prize be thrown their way, but the person saw our older relative  and clearly tossed it toward her. At least I figure so; there was no one else sitting in our row, so it seemed to be intended for her.

Again, we were only five rows up. Despite that, the pathetic throw didn't even come close, landing way down by some empty seat. A child ran up and retrieved it, which was fine with us. Still, at that range, the person could have just run it up and handed it to her and avoided the embarrassing toss.

Late in the game, during one of the many official stoppages, they brought out this Gatling gun like cannon for shooting plastic balls into the crowd (the "Ball Blaster"). And given that the little balls weighed virtually nothing (not unlike ping-pong balls, only about four times that size) that the cannon could shoot them to the upper deck of the arena suggests it had some serious oomph behind it (although once the momentum wore off in midair the balls dropped propelled only by regular gravity). I took out my phone to try to catch a photo of it, and got a meh one while it was pointed toward a different corner of the arena, and out of some modicum of sense of duty to photography (slight though it were) I kept trying to get a better shot as they repositioned the cannon around the court and fired off a stream of the orange-colored balls, then moved it and fired off more, but the slowness of my phone's camera focusing kept me from getting another.

And as I was lining up a shot I then noticed my wife, in the seat next to me, looking up, and then I tilted my head up and noticed that from across the arena the cannon had fired some balls in our direction and one was coming down right at us. It quickly became apparent that one ball was coming directly toward me. In the second I had from the instant I spotted it and realized it was dropping toward me I opened my hands to catch it, but still had my phone in my left hand. Without getting up or even shifting slightly I watched it descend and it came down right where my hands were and as it hit them I tried to pull it to my chest but it had backspin and just bounced off my hands and chest (not unlike how one might expect a large ping-pong ball would) and then dribbled down the steps of the aisle to the floor. For a split-second I thought of chasing it but then some kids closer ran after it, and I quickly realized: I am a 44-year-old man who didn't really care about getting some cheap plastic ball.

Still, had I just let it drop it would have landed directly in my lap. Literally it could not have been fired better if one were trying to hit me. And even if I hadn't been messing around with the phone's camera and had both hands to try to grasp it the odds are good I still would have flubbed it, given the backspin. However, there was that little part of me that felt like I blew an opportunity. Again, not that I gave a crap about the ball itself; it was merely that I may never be in such an opportune position at another sporting event where some souvenirs are being dispensed through the air thusly, and this one perfect shot I was not really ready to display some shred of skill at something as rudimentary as catching a ball. That hit my hands.

Lesson: Put down the camera, you idiot.

I didn't get the shot anyway.

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