I attended the official season opening Southern Illinois University Saluki basketball game last night with Johnathon and my father. I haven't been in the arena in quite a while, it was fun to visit the old Alma mater.
This was Johnathon's first game (that he remembers anyway) at the arena. My boss let me use his season tickets (nice padded chairs none the less) since he's out of town and unable to attend. Great seats - hope he's out of town for a few more games this season!!
I'd forgotten the energy in the arena, not only from the students in the dog pound but also the general public in attendance. I'm glad I dug out a maroon t-shirt to wear. I don't remember that many people wearing SIU apparel when I was in school. I really think 75% of the crowd was proudly promoting our team last night, which was cool to see that many supporting the team.
With this being Johnathon's first Saluki B'ball game it was somewhat comical to "watch" him. He was confused at the beginning of the game as to why EVERYONE was standing - I had to explain the tradition of standing until there's a Saluki basket. He loved clapping along with the prep band - he has a wide motion clap that uses most of his upper body - just after the game started he informed me that his arms were really hurting (no kidding!) - so I showed him how to do a 20 calorie burning clap instead of his 1000 calorie burning clap. Of course as soon as he got excited again he reverted back to his old clapping habits.
He found the cheerleaders and shakers confusing..."why so many" and "what are shakers". After one of the shakers dances he figured out what "shakers" are, let me tell you - they were shakin'!! Before the game the grey Saluki mascot was right next to our seats (he giggled) when it went by. As the game started he spotted the brown Saluki mascot - he got all excited and said "Hey that dog changes colors...that's cool, how does it do that!" I let him figure out on his own that there were two dogs.
He was super charged when he got to see his first real dunk and then again when they had a breakaway down the court and successfully completed a behind the back pass/dunk combo. The gentlemen sitting next to us got a kick out of watching his excitement. Johnathon's a sports FANATIC, the great thing about taking him to sporting events is that he's there to watch every last minute of the game - no if's, and's or but's about it. It's all about the sports! When people started to leave the arena with 3-4 minutes left in the game, he looked at me and stated (not asked) "we're staying until the game is over and the buzzer goes off". Never once will you hear him say, can we just go home now when sports are involved.
The Saluki's won the game last night 66-52!
It was their first game in the 2K Sports Classic, if they win tonight they'll get to play in NY City in a week. It was a good night at the arena.