I love basketball. I love deep threes, faster than fastbreaks, and of course, hardwood paroxysms, i.e. DUNKZZZZZ, son!!
I love seeing guys run past the entire opposing team.
I love seeing guys jump out of the gym.
I love poster sessions.
These are, of course, all blessings that I will never, ever receive. Jehovah, in His infinite wisdom, did not wish for me to ascend to Heaven so early in my life and so, miracle of miracles, He granted me a large behind and shoulders and then added minimal leaping ability. Down on the blocks versus basketball commoners, my funky post moves can (sometimes) take folks to church, but I’d trade my tuchus for 20 more inches on my vertical everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.
I’m sorry. That’s enough about my athletic gifts. I hope you are still smiling from the above highlights which showcase the amazing athleticism constantly on display in today’s NBA. I mean, Russell. . .Good. Lord.
Unfortunately, these type of plays do not reside in the women’s game (LOWER THE HOOP, SRSLY), which is why I was hesitant to ever watch a WNBA game live. I didn’t want to watch something devoid of fun, and the fun really starts above the hoop. However, SPG Moments had an option to redeem 500 SPG points for two tickets to a New York Liberty game at Madison Game Garden. The package specified suite access, event level seating and free food and drink, so I said “Why not?” and booked two. I didn’t exactly know what the seating was going to be like, but I figured lunch and a game for the points equivalent of $5-$10 was a fair deal.
Turns out I was wrong – it was much more than fair.
I picked up the tickets at the South Concierge, which is a semi-private area to the left of the main MSG entrance.
The security guard scanned our tickets and we took an escalator up one floor to a private elevator that took us down to the Event Level. We then had to show our tickets to another security guard who allowed us access to a hallway with 16 different suites numbered, well, 1-16. The walls were adorned with profiles of famous athletes and, while I couldn’t tell you the style, they were pleasingly visceral and brought back the memory of when John Starks dunked on the entire Chicago Bulls team.
Our suite was number 6, and as we walked in, we were greeted by our waitress/bartender/server, Seleeka. There were already 3 other guests in the suite, which was completely fine since the room was large and there were three couches and a table. The kosher food was laid out on the main table, while the other spead was on a side table. It wasn’t exactly Le Bernandin, but the chicken fingers were hot, the mustard was spicy, and the pasta and salad options were very fresh.
The other guests – two guys and one girl – were also into points and miles and so we had this funny conversation:
Me: “So, why are y’all here? Do you like the WNBA or are you here because it’s 500 points?”Steve: (laughing) “500 points.” He paused for a beat. “But I’ve been a New York Liberty fan my entire life.” Everyone, including Seleeka, cracked up and as we started talking more about our world, the suite shifted from being a place to eat and drink to a family room that happened to be at Madison Square Garden. Beer and wine were the only spirits provided, but they were both free. We had a couple drinks and than decided to head to the game to watch the fourth quarter, since it would probably be best to actually enjoy the game in person. If you’ve never sat close to the court, and I hadn’t until now, it’s impossible to appreciate elite basketball. It’s not kindergarten anymore – these girls are big, these girls are strong and these girls are fast and yes, tough guy, you will get packed if you come down the lane with that weak stuff. We were seated 6-7 rows up near midcourt and the game speed, in combination with the setting, served notice that this was a professional event. It was super fun to watch, even though the shooting wasn’t strong. For Liberty games, the upper deck is not open, concentrating all the fans and noise in the lower bowel. It got loud. The dance cam, of course, rocked since the kids in the stands were having a ball, but, worryingly, there was no Kiss Cam. Kiss Cam is probably the greatest invention for fans since the Wave, but I guess our host Jason wasn’t feeling the love that afternoon. I was, though. The seat was heavily padded and comfortable, I had a (free!) drink in my hand and I had made some new friends. Honestly, this might sound weird, but it felt like a summer pool party. The vibe was that relaxing. I didn’t see overly obnoxious or drunk fans, I didn’t care who won or lost and a lot of folks had their Sunday best on. It was just fun and I was kind of angry at myself for missing most of the game. We even got go on the court at the end. The Liberty won, thank goodness, and that pulled their record to. . .Yeah, no idea. Hey, as far as I know, they are undefeated and leading their division. I can’t wait to be loud and proud this Friday, cheering on my new favorite team. . . Ok, that’s not true either. But hey, and you can’t tell anyone this. Pinky swear. Alright. This might have been my favorite SPG redemption ever and I can’t wait to do this again. There. I said it. So will I watch a WNBA game on TV? Probably not. But, next time someone says something snarky about women hooping professionally, I’ll just say, “You know what? Go see a game live. Who knows, you might have a great time.” (Watch the whole thing, it’s hilarious.)