We found ourselves in Boston on New Year’s Day. The city was sleepy from the party the night before and the cold kept those who weren’t bundled up inside. With temperatures dropping to the minus teens, it became a race between doors and a constant search for indoor things to do.
Through our concierge, we found out about a basketball game between The Boston Celtics and The Washington Wizards. After a search online, we decided that we were hopeless at buying any tickets and went back down to the lobby to ask the concierge to assist booking them. They were expensive and made us hesitate, over $100 each, but were just happy it involved something indoors.
Disclaimer: I know absolutely squat about basketball other than the players are generally tall.
Arriving near-ish to TD Gardens by taxi, the basketball stadium and home turf for the Celtics, we hopped out into the cold and dashed towards the warmth of the indoors, slushing through snow. It was a Monday night, on the 2nd of January, we didn’t expect much of a crowd. The hustle of people and traffic though indicated otherwise as we made our way up the levels, through security and towards our nose bleed seats. The stadium held over 18 000 people that night.
When Rand is your currency, it always feels like you’re on the backfoot in the States. The game was no different sadly, with beers weighing in at a lot more than we had hoped to spend. With big beers and a bag of peanuts, we found our seats, stripped off the 100000 layers of clothing we had on and got comfy for we-didn’t-know-what.
The match seemed to start off pretty suddenly: there was a manic frenzy for the Celtics fans in their green gear who far outstripped the Wizards’ fans. Everybody seemed to be screaming the word ‘Rondo’ which we found utterly intriguing, figuring out later it was the name of a player. There were tons of people trying to score, lots of cheering from both teams’ fans, and utter confusion from our little South African selves looking at the scoreboard. Numbers seemed to explode on the giant central screens every few seconds without any apparent cause.
By far the most fascinating thing about the whole match had to half-time though. This is where Americans do so brilliantly well at putting on a show. The Celtics’ (very sexy) dancers paraded about under green lighting while an iPad bonanza was underway and the screen shouted things at the crowd. It was one of the truest moments of sport as cult that I’ve ever lived, and it was every bit as amazing as it sounds. All accompanied by beer and peanuts in their shells.
The game and all its parts lasted about three hours, and in retrospect was worth every dollar we spent on it. And it wasn’t about getting out of the cold in the end, it was about experiencing the camaraderie and flair that the match went down with. All this for a Monday night just after New Year. I can only imagine what a major play-off must be like…