Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Guess who has a post for us today, TDT readers. Ed Sharrer, the most frequently seen individual in all of downtown Tulsa. Why is he the most frequently seen individual in downtown Tulsa? Because he loves it there, that's why, and he's one of the most resourceful guys around if you're looking for something to do in the area. He'd also like you to know that he's an international man of mystery.
Take it away, Ed!
So let’s get this out of the way right up front: any event that involves a ball and keeping score, I’m there. Four out-of-shape, middle-aged guys playing doubles tennis at the neighborhood park? Sure, I’ll lean on the chain link fence for a few minutes.
Having said that, I’ve been to enough sporting events in my life to have my gameday expectations firmly set on “Realistic,” if not outright “Jaded.” So when I received an email from the Tulsa 66ers pro basketball front office touting a package that seemed too good to be true, I figured it was just that.
Here was the sweetheart deal: four premium seats, four hot dogs, four sodas, two popcorns… for $44.
Suffering from an acute case of March Madness and looming Tax Day Sadness, I decided to take management up on the offer. So on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, two good friends of mine, their adorable two-year-old son, and yours truly headed to the Convention Center to get our hoop on.
First, a few words about parking downtown. I’m cheap. So are my friends. The two-year-old? He’s not sayin’, but he doesn’t get an allowance yet. You do the math. Suffice to say, we’re bargain shoppers when it comes to parking. And guess what we paid to park this particular gameday?
Nada. Zip. Zilch.
See, here’s the trick: all those cursed parking meters lining the streets of downtown? Totally free after 5:00pm and all day on the weekends. No, really… read the fine print.
Keep that in mind for your next downtown event.
After an easy three-block stroll, we entered the arena and were greeted by the 66ers Dance Team. Guys, there are worse ways to be greeted. Just ask my two-year-old buddy. He was ooohed and aaahed, given high-fives AND a game program, and fawned over like the VIP he is. More on this later.
Tickets for “premium” seats claimed from Will Call, I set the dial firmly to “Jaded” as we went in search of our section. You know the drill – great deal, too good to be true… lovely view of the loading dock, right?
Um, how about mid-court, 12 rows from the floor? Stunned disbelief. (blink, blink)
During pre-game warm-ups, I glanced around the arena. I have fond memories of the place from watching countless TU basketball games there over the years. The memories aren’t so fond where the arena itself is concerned, mind you. The product on the court was always far better than the arena experience, even during the lean years of TU hoops. But on this day, the place looked better than I remembered it. Fresh paint, three new video boards, Kid’s Zone set up behind one of the baskets… it was pleasant.
I’ll skip the play-by-play and color commentary of the game, except to say that it’s a good thing the arena invested in top-quality rims. The 66ers threw down ferocious dunks with regularity. Watching elite athletes defy gravity never gets old.
Fast forward to chowtime, I mean… halftime. The highlight of any trip to the ballpark/stadium/arena, am I right? We exchanged food coupons for our promised hot dogs and sodas in no time flat. And Mr. Jaded, here, wasn’t expecting this… the hot dogs were hot. I mean, HOT. The fans mingling on the concourse probably thought I was part of the halftime entertainment as I juggled the franks all the way back to the seats.
I don’t know if you like hot dogs. I do. These were quite worthy. Ask my friend here.
Little Man is the perfect segue back to the Dance Team. First, the word “dance” in the squad’s name is appropriate. The girls have talent. And yes, they are an attractive group of young ladies (duh). But Job Number #1 for the Dance Team: being friendly ambassadors for the franchise, especially with the kiddos. They pose for pictures with the kids. They hand out schwag to the kids. They high-five every kid within arm’s length. They wave and smile at the kids. Mr. Two-Year-Old Stud Muffin played coy, but he loved the attention from all his new friends.
Anyways, we munched on bags of popcorn almost as big as pillow cases throughout the second half of a 66ers victory. Three pointers rained down. Dunks rattled the rafters. Opponents’ shots were not only blocked, but sent into the laps of fans in the third row. No, you can’t keep the ball… but that’s the only way the 66ers could’ve made the gameday experience any better. It was family fun at family-friendly prices.
By now, you might be thinking, “Great, Sharrer. You got a sweet deal. Thanks for rubbing it in. But what good does that do me?”
Well, this is your lucky weekend. The 66ers are playing their final two home games of the season at the Tulsa Convention Center this Friday and Saturday, April 2-3. Tip-off is 7:00pm. BOTH NIGHTS have been tabbed Fan Appreciation Nights, featuring the same $44 package goodness that made our foursome smile.
Want to feel Appreciated? Willing to risk becoming a Fan? Grab three friends and call the 66ers at 918-585-8444 or visit the Tulsa 66ers on the Web. I bet you’ll leave the arena saying, “Dunk you very much.”
Tulsa 66ers photo from the Web site for the NBA Development League. All other photos courtesy of Ed Sharrer.