|View of new scoreboard from club level|
After we ate, we stopped at the Allen War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana to pick up tickets for the minor hockey game that night we were planning to see as the Fort Wayne Komets were hosting the Toledo Walleye in an ECHL battle at 7:30PM. We knew we were going to get there near game time so we wanted to have our tickets so we could go right inside without wasting more time when we arrived.
After we bought the tickets, we drove 130 miles to Indianapolis to see the Pacers play the Memphis Grizzlies in an afternoon game that started at 3PM local time. I knew I was cutting it close to possibly see the whole game. With that being said, I wisely bought some cheap tickets on Stub Hub so I could have a hard ticket stub for my collection just in case we had to bolt out early so we could get back to Fort Wayne as soon as possible.
As we approached the vicinity of Indianapolis, it started snowing lightly. Thankfully it wasn't really sticking to the ground. We wound up parking for $5 in a parking lot that was right near Bankers Life Fieldhouse formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse which is the home of the Indiana Pacers. We dodged the snow flakes as we walked over to the arena around 2:15PM. Once we got into the arena, I went over to the radio broadcast booth which was located on the club level. Quite amazingly, I got to that area with relative ease. I was in a state of shock. I know people in the Midwest are a lot nicer than most parts of the country but I was still somewhat surprised that I didn't get a hard time like I usually do in other parts of the country.
I went to the visiting side where I patiently waited to see my pal Eric Hasseltine who does the play by play on the radio for the Grizzlies. While I waited for him, I got to talk to former NBA player and part time color commentator Elliot Perry who ironically took a picture of Eric and I at Madison Square Garden a few years ago. He did indeed remember me. Shortly thereafter, Eric showed up. We spoke briefly. He said to come back at halftime since he had to get ready to call the game. With that being said, I decided since it didn't look like they were going to have a huge crowd, I decided to sit near them. I lucked out big time as I turned out to be right. They announced a crowd of 14,979. As a result, I got to see the game from a great vantage point. I originally told Domish I would meet him upstairs where our seats were. I wrote him and I told him to come down to join me. He said he was content staying upstairs. So I stayed where I was and I enjoyed the game. I was very impressed with the huge scoreboard they installed before the season started.
As for the game we saw, the Pacers and Grizzlies we're tied at 19 after the first quarter. The Grizzlies went ahead 41-38 at the half.
During the intermission, fans who were selected from the crowd were hypnotized as part of the in house entertainment while the players were in their respective locker rooms.
I wound up seeing Eric Hasseltine and Elliot Perry aka "Socks" as we spoke about the first halftime which I thought was a horrible display of basketball. The shooting overall was awful. I told Elliot he should go out there and play. He told me he can't, his knees are shot. He was a 47% career shooter. He was humble about it, he said he shot a lot of lay ups. I remember him having a nice outside shot. Furthermore, I told him I hope the Grizzlies pull away and blow out the Pacers. He was in total agreement with me. I wanted to see the Grizzlies win and I knew I may have to leave early so that would have been a perfect scenario.
As for Eric, we got to catch since I saw him in the middle of November at the FedEx Forum when the King and I were in Memphis. He's been enjoying the good start the Grizzlies have gotten off to. For his sake, I hope they can keep it up. I told them I'll see them again when they come to NYC at the end of February. The Grizzlies play the Nets at the Barclays Center and the end of March when the Grizzlies play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
I want to personally thank Eric and Elliot for taking some of their precious time to talk with me. They appreciated my continued support for the Grizzlies who I've taken a liking to back in December 2006 when I first met Eric. He's such a great guy. He's been working for the Grizzlies since they moved to Memphis back in 2001.
As for the second half of the game, the Grizzlies padded their lead to double figures but they slacked off at the end of the third quarter which allowed the Pacers to get within seven, 67-60 after three quarters. I sensed the Grizzlies were in trouble. In the fourth quarter, the Pacers continued their comeback much to my chagrin. As the game wore on, the Pacers took the lead. I knew Domish who's a big hockey fan wanted to leave so with 1:04 left in the game and a time out was called we decided it was time to go. The Pacers led, 82-79 at that time. The Pacers wound up beating the Grizzlies, 88-83. I felt bad for Eric and Elliot as the Grizzlies let this one get away.
Stay tuned for the special post that I'm going to do that will recap our return to Fort Wayne as time was running out on 2012.
Thank you for reading and following.