Last week my delicate English sensibilities were tested. Because I went to a sport’s game.
I’ve been to a fair few sports events – baseball, football, tennis, rugby – but for some reason, the fans at the Knicks vs. the Trail Blazers basketball game on Wednesday were the roughest and the gruffest of them all.
I met up with a new friend, Lydia, for dinner before heading up to Madison Square Garden for the game. If you remember, I last went to MSG for the Westminster Dog Show (which is actually just around the corner again), and the venue is great – it’s really not too high, so even the cheap seats are good.
We avoided the $10 snacks and headed for our seats just as the game was starting. Straight away it was pretty clear that we’d found ourselves in a sea of mouthy, angry Knicks fans. The guy next to me was so livid at his own team’s players that for about half the game I thought he was a Portland fan.
I tried my best to block out the yelling and concentrate on the unfathomably giant men on the court. Unlike a lot of other U.S. sports, this one actually moves. You look away for ten seconds and the scoreboard can look vastly different when you look back. It keeps you on your toes – and Wednesday’s game didn’t disappoint. While the Knicks were largely behind the Blazers, they were always nipping at their heels and it was pretty hard to predict who was going to win.
Of course, the guys around us made it pretty clear that they hated everyone. There was booing when the other team made a good shot and cheering when they missed a penalty (I hate that – where are your manners, boys?), and plenty of F words directed at their own men. It was all a bit tiresome, to be honest. (I’m sure they felt the same about my continuous cheering for both sides.)
As well as creating giant men, the U.S. is pretty great at orchestrating the acts between the quarters. The moment the clock reached zero, the shimmying dancers, t-shirt guns and kiss cams came out. This turns the game into even more of a special event.
Oh, and there was an awkward proposal! The lucky lady didn’t look too happy about seeing her face stretched across a huge screen as thousands of us watched. She took a good minute to say yes.
Then it was back to the game. The Knicks fans’ hate reached a deafening din as they just couldn’t push into the lead, and the Blazers eventually took it 94-90, keeping us yelling right up until the end.
This was a great night out – and I particularly loved how central the venue was, unlike the baseball or U.S. Open, which require a lengthy subway ride. While I love a lazy baseball day, I also enjoyed how much more exhilarating this was. I just wished those negative Knicks fans woulda put a cork in it.