First NBA game:The Good, the bad, the very ugly! More on just the positives and game play in next article.

For anyone who loves the game of basketball and dreams of seeing their first NBA game-a cautionary tale.

I am writing to document me and my fiancee Steve’s first experience with the NBA and the Dallas Mavericks’ Organization. It was so much more than expected – in every aspect! To know a little about me and where I was coming from going into the game-I bought expensive seats & an expensive suite in a highly rated Dallas hotel close to the arena a month in advance.  So let’s remember who financially benefited from my visit-Dallas and the Mavericks-period! I brought tourism dollars with me and I spent some on the day of the game with the bulk set to spend that night & following day.  We were set to see the Galleria Mall, go to local restaurants, partake in the St. Paddy’s Day festivities and visit other shops. I didn’t know I would never get the chance to spend them as I had to be rushed home the next day!  I was elated! I just went into recovery from my latest bout with cancer (3 total) and was still dealing with complex neurological aftereffects-cranial pressure and nerve palsy. I was cleared to go as long as I rested when needed and avoided any unnecessary stress-something out of the ordinary. I was raised as a life long Celtics fan by my amazing father who sadly, did not live to see them or any NBA game due to lung cancer.  Two days prior to the game I was deeply affected by feelings of sadness because he was missing another milestone in my life and got cheated out of going himself.  One of my good friends and twitter followers Jason suggested that I take a picture of him with me and place it somewhere on my person or poster. After many well wishes from all my friends on twitter and at home, we set out on our journey.  I took one of my favorite pictures of him when healthy with my toddler son and taped it to the poster I made for the game.  I made the poster with one side saying “Team Sully #7″ and the other with my Dad’s picture nestled on it saying “Go Celtics #1″ with a shamrock on it.  We arrived at the hotel, unpacked & began to get ready for the game.  I was so excited, wearing my Jared Sullinger  jersey I was running around in circles and saying things like “I can’t believe this is finally happening!” It was my first game, first time to see my favorite team the Celtics and my favorite NBA player Sully, after all! As I varied between strutting and skipping, I was looking good and feeling like I was on cloud nine!  Needless to say, I turned heads and waved and shook hands with everyone I met! From the valet to the people in the elevator and lobby!  We arrived an hour early for the game only to find out that earlier they were signing things for fans. Would have been nice to know but oh well.  I was too excited to worry that I’d missed my chance to meet Sully.  I was fixing to see him play the game I love!

As soon as we found our seats, I did what I always do-I began to introduce myself to all those around me-Mavs and Celtics fans alike. I apologized in advance for my extremely high level of enthusiasm as I told them it was my first game and first time I have been allowed away from my doctors in four years! So much to celebrate! Mavs and Celtics  fans close to me even asked about the picture on my poster and I explained I was paying homage to my father. They were ALL so touched-fans all around said “Do what you need to girl-have fun-you deserve this!” Everyone was so friendly, I was thrilled-I’m a Texas girl after all and we ARE the Friendly State! And I’m the poster child for being sincerely friendly and nice-it’s just how I was raised.  After making sure my sign wouldn’t bother anyone, (it was half sized to be considerate) I snapped pictures and continued to just drink the whole experience in.  The playing floor was so much smaller than I’d imagined it.  There were many more empty seats than I’d imagined.  A C ‘s fan wearing a Rondo shirt asked me why I liked Sully so much.  I explained why citing his fight, his hustle, his rebounds and all the things he does that don’t make a stat sheet.  The fan gave me an energetic high five!

The pregame show was over and lights started flashing around-I was on my feet screaming with joy! The Celtics took the floor-my face broke out into an exuberant, irrepressible smile! I was struck by how much smaller the players were in person but so much more dynamic! I saw Rondo on the bench-impeccably dressed, of course! I’m snapping pictures and cheering and screaming and proudly waving my sign. The only one in my section.  We were seated 4 or 5 rows back from the VIP section-I could see everything so well! Kelly was shooting warming up and a bunch of us yelled “Kelly!” and he looked over to the section and smiled! Sweet kid! And he played well for us! Everyone was working hard-I even got to see Jeff Green make a mean basket! Of course, it was hard to watch it since it all happened so fast! And there was the fact that once Sully took the floor to play I couldn’t take my eyes off of him-I really wanted to commit to memory how he moved, played and fought hard under the basket! All the while screaming “Celtics! Sully! TeamSully” as loud as I could! I said I was there to “rep” my guys and I certainly lived up to my end of the deal! He did NOT disappoint me! I saw how he used his body to create space.  I saw how physically hard he worked playing the game! I saw him be nothing but Sully as he fought for rebounds and second chance points under the basket!  My beliefs were confirmed and my admiration for Sully and ALL our Celtics grew!

After the half,  we were down.  The whole section of Celtics fans joined me in constantly cheering them on. There was one bitter Mavs fan nearby yelling “Boston go home!” (I guess he came to see the Mavs walk around the court by themselves)  and “Sully get your fat ass off the court” etc.  I gave him a look and that was enough to stop the comments about Sully at least! But I expected that some fan would do something like that at the game so it really didn’t faze me. During the fourth quarter as we began to narrow the gap in the score, I had all eyes on the game.  Near the end of the fourth quarter when we were getting even closer, out of nowhere, the Mavs mascot “Champ” appeared next to the Celtics fans on the row in front of us.  He proceeded to punch the man in the Rondo jersey in the chest! It seemed playful at first but still made everyone around uncomfortable.  The fan put his hands up in an attempt to block the hits but they kept coming, harder now.  He said “Hey man, leave me alone I wanna watch the game” to no avail.  Other fans, M & C’s fans alike, were touching his arm and asking him to move and/or stop.  I was not involved other than looking at what was going on in front of me blocking my unobstructed view of the game.   I had my sign down by my legs trying to see better.  This is where things get really weird. Champ suddenly reaches behind and below to grab my sign.  It was out of my hands before there was time to react.  I saw him run down to the front of the section where nobody could reach him,  and hold up my sign-I see my father and son’s faces flash by and in horror realize that something terrible is about to happen.  I stood up, put my hands in a prayer pose, in obvious distress and  said “No! Please No! You don’t understand!” Everyone around me rose and begin to make stop signals with their hands and yell “NO! NO!”  Champ’s response is to turn my poster to the TeamSully side, so I now have no idea where my Dad’s picture is at, it’s all happening so fast and yet felt like slow motion.  Champ shakes the poster, at the crowd, at me, taunting me slowly with no way to get to him-not that my boo and others weren’t trying.  He always managed to stay out of reach. Nobody wanted anything other than my property back and to be left alone to watch the end of the game.  But we didn’t get that-not at all.  He holds up the poster higher & acts as though he’s going to rip it. This is when I could no longer speak through the tears rolling down my face and just mouthed “NO” over and over.  Champ threw back his head in laughter and ripped my belongings in pieces and threw them on the floor. The moment he threw it to the ground, he ran away and disappeared into the crowd-never to be seen again. Steve was left with the only sensible decision he could make-to protect me & support me.  He held me up physically & whispered repeatedly in my ear “hold on baby, don’t cry, don’t cry”.  I couldn’t have finished the game without him right beside me.  Meanwhile, Celtics fans around me scrambled to find and return to me the pieces of my poster.  They and the Mavs fans nearest to me began to drape their green St. Paddy’s Day beads around my neck as a show of respect and solidarity.  A Mavs fan there with his daughter (around 4-6yrs old) several seats  down from us had watched the whole thing and his daughter had buried her face in her hands and wept when Champ ripped my poster up.  I know this because her father stopped by me on the way out after the game, patted me on the shoulder and said how sorry he was and his daughter peered at me. I smiled and told her I would be OK.  She put her mouth up to her father and whispered to him.  His words “she said that the mean horsey ripped up your pretty picture and she doesn’t like him”.  He told me that he would never bring her there again and smiled at me one last time.  The stress caused me to become lightheaded and nearly faint twice.  I had unending headaches,  I was taken to guest services-every fan or worker I ran into wanted to know what was wrong and was very upset on my behalf.  Guest services called for Mavs management to come talk to me since Champ was nowhere to be found.  I would never get the chance to tell him face to face the pain, disrespect and fright he inflicted on me and those around me.  All I will say publicly at this point was that the Mavs organization does NOT condone the mascot laying hands on a fan or excessive taunting and destruction of personal property.  They were sincerely apologetic that this was my first impression of the NBA, Mavericks and Dallas.  When I told people around Dallas, I didn’t find one person who was supportive of any of that behavior and most were deeply shocked.  While waiting for a taxi to take us back to the hotel, I became weak and dizzy again, and told Steve things were starting to go grey.  I was frightened but unwilling to call an ambulance in a town I no longer felt welcomed or protected me.  Steve stayed at my side and helped me get to the ground as I slumped against the wall.  I cried all the way back to the hotel as I leaned against him.  I can’t repeat what he had to say about the guy.  Continued to cry up to and in hotel-every time I looked at the picture of my father  or my torn sign, I burst out crying again. It’s only been 3 days but I do NOT feel better, I continue to cry at times unexpectedly, avoid anything to do with the NBA as it upsets me right now, have severe headaches and other neurological symptoms.

Thoughts on this incident? It’s just a poster, right? It’s just a game, right? Champ didn’t know what type of person I was or what I had been through, right? I should expect trouble at an NBA game right? I’m mad because my team lost, right?  And of course, we were a big threat to the Mavs and their record therefore Champ needed to pump up the Mavs fans, right? WRONG-on every single count. Champ doesn’t NEED to know anything about me or my property to know it is unsportsmanlike and cruel to do what he did to me.  But thinking about what he is doing and the fact he doesn’t know anything about what that fan may be at the game for is something he should strongly turn over in his mind.  I should not expect trouble at an NBA game and if there is, NEVER from someone paid by the patrons to represent a team-The Dallas Mavericks. I wanted a win but didn’t expect it, I was purely there for the love of the game and to share a wonderful experience with my fiancee.  The Celtics posed no serious threat to the Mavs or their record.  There were an awful lot of empty seats in that arena so I wouldn’t think they would want the patrons who pay them harassed. A little friendly teasing or ribbing by the mascot is fine and fun.  But laying hands on fans and destroying personal property and this NBA fan’s excitement and dreams for a wonderful two day vacation is completely out of line and though it can be gotten over, not easily and not soon.  After I relayed my experiences to everyone at home and online who wanted to know “how it went”  it resulted in shock, anger, disbelief and several people telling me they will never go to a Dallas game where they or their loved ones must fear being harassed or harmed by a team Mascot.  I took one for the team for being an enthusiastic Celtics and Sully fan.  Well done Champ! Well done Mavericks organization!  Way to make an impression!

Lesson has been learned by me-has it been learned by the Mavs or Champ? Only your opinion and time will tell! Let your voice be heard!

Sincerely,

Cherie-an irrepressibly, unabashed, kind person, lover of all humans, Celtics and Sully fan!

 

Coming soon-1st NBA game-the Good, the bad &the very ugly!

I am still working on documenting my experience at my first NBA & Celtics game in Dallas Monday 3/17.   Things have come up that must be addressed before I can finish it. I also have quite a few pictures to post & a short film of the team, funny stories plus much more! Stay tuned sports fans! I will see you all tomorrow night-I need some time right now. Please check by tomorrow night; I should be able to post it then at the latest. It was amazing to see Sully play in person & he didn’t disappoint!  Thank you  Celtics Fans/ Celtics Family on twitter-you have all been beyond supportive & understanding! Thank you to my fiancée Steve who was my ROCK! Thanks also to my local family & friends who have been there for me at every turn. It is hard to explain in words what happened during the entire experience if you weren’t there to see it for yourself. Thus, I need time to think, compose myself & help you see it through my eyes & the eyes of the fans around me. Thank you for your patience,

Sincerely,

Cherie

What is going on with Sully’s finger?

As you may have noticed, Sully’s finger was still wrapped during the game vs Phoenix.  This is the finger he originally damaged in a game vs ThunderJared Sullinger The finger was causing Sully to wince & not play his usual fearless style of play.  Sully’s fans are wishing him well & hoping this will not be a longstanding problem for him!