THE CHOICES YOU MAKE
A Two for One Offer
More than a month ago, we purchased tickets for the Django All-Stars gypsy jazz June 12th performance at 7 PM, at the local Kuumbwa Jazz Center. What we didn’t know back then, was that it would be on the same night that the Golden State Warriors would be trying to clinch the National Basketball Association title against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a game that would be televised beginning at 6:15 PM.
Since my enthusiasm for the Warriors had been waning primarily because of the infantile antics of their forward Draymond Green, I accepted the fact that I couldn’t attend both events.
Or could I?
We arrived at Kuumbwa around 6:20 PM, put our coats over two chairs, and then walked out the front door, turned left, and headed into the Poet and Patriot Pub some forty feet away. Bob, the pub’s heavy-set, 6’5” security man greeted us, and after we entered, we sat at a table near the door where a big-screen television set was tuned into the Warriors’ game. At 6:55 PM, with Cleveland leading by three points, we headed back to Kuumbwa for some jazz.
The jazz was not that enticing, and around 8 PM we quietly walked out between renditions. I suggested that since we were in downtown already let’s take a five-minute drive to the Kaiser Arena where the Santa Cruz Warriors play. I am on their mailing list and had received a notice that the arena would be open to Warrior fans. For $10 you could watch the game on a huge screen, and also receive a Warrior tee shirt. The moneys collected would be donated to the local Boys and Girls Clubs.
The game was already in the third quarter, so I convinced the two men guarding the door, that we should be allowed to enter at no cost, and they agreed. There were two hundred folding seats set up on the basketball floor, and about one-hundred-fifty fans were loudly enjoying the game. To the right was a table with Warriors merchandise, and I managed to talk the young lady in charge to give us a free tee shirt. Unfortunately the only ones available were bright yellow, XL size with the words ALL GOLD EVERYTHING FINALS 2017 emblazoned in faded grey type on the front. I had no idea what those words meant.
We sat in the second to the last row, and occasionally joined the raucous locals as they yelled and screamed whenever the Warriors scored, or the referees made a terrible call, or the 19,596 fans at the actual game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland jumped up from their seats.
One fan at the game might have remained seated for the entire game, regardless of the intensity of the action. He, or she, paid a record $133,000 including fees for two floor seats, that a loyal Warriors season-ticket holder had sold to them. You have to wonder if the price included two bright yellow tee shirts.
Another Two-for-One Dilemma
On April 1, 1985, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball championship was played between Georgetown and Villanova, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Georgetown with a 30-3 won loss record, was heavily favored over Villanova, 25-10.
I was living in dreary, culturally void Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, teaching at Central Michigan University. The Jewish faculty had invited the controversial, Austrian born psychoanalyst Bruno Bettleheim to campus. The evening of the NCAA championships, there was a reception for him at a faculty member’s home, and now I seemingly had to choose between Bruno and basketball.
The 81-year-old Bettelheim had written several books, and I had just finished reading his “Children of the Dream,” on raising children on a kibbutz, and wanted to discuss parts of the book with him. But I couldn’t talk with him and watch basketball at the same time.
Or could I?
While a cadre of admiring professors gathered around him in the living room, I found a television set in the den and turned it on to the exciting game. I drifted from Bruno to basketball, slipping in and out of both rooms, and although I couldn’t engage in a meaningful conversation with the self-esteemed man, I did enjoy the basketball game that ended with Villanova upsetting Georgetown 66 to 64 before 23,124 avid fans.
It seems that when there is a clash between culture and basketball, if there is any chance to do so, I will choose to follow the bouncing ball.