the next few hours went by pretty fast. i worked on my 2-day programming project a little bit, my mother dropped by briefly to see the suit, i watched some television, i wrote some e-mails, i sent some instant messages, and before i knew it, it was almost 6pm. i got dressed and went to porter square station, where i was meeting julie, who caught the train from davis square. when the train arrived, julie poked out from one of the doors, and i raced to meet her, getting slightly crushed as the doors closed on me. we made it to north station, home of the fleet center, for a night of basketball, courtesy of some free premium seating tickets from julie's mother.
what is premium seating? well, you get to go in from a side door (security was still tight though, metal detecting wands, bag inspections), and where you sit, an attendant comes by and takes your order for you, no need to visit the concession stand (although there is an automatic 15% gratuity tacked on top of the bill). i had a $5.25 hot dog, a box of chicken fingers with barbecue sauce, and a $3 cup of coke. we actually sat in the wrong place (section 111 instead of 109), and quietly moved when i came back from the bathroom. julie had never been to the fleet center for a basketball game and was amazed by how much a spectacle it was, lots of flashing lights and gimmicks (jumbotron fan shots, t-shirt giveaways, a free at&t wireless kedrick brown trading card for everyone, audience participation events like the "make some noise" decibel meter), more like watching a show than an actual game.
the celtics were facing the miami heat, who a few years ago was a fearsome force to be reckoned with, but with the loss of alonzo mourning and a few other key players, it's just a mere shell of its formerly glorious self. their 13 loses out of their last 16 games was further proof of that. celtics were no better, having just snapped a 6 games losing streak and winning their last two games. the celtics are going to the playoffs (the old joke about the NBA is what team isn't? since the majority of the teams get in), but in a low position (6th seed) so no home court advantage. the heat however are not playoff bound. the game was kind of meaningless because with just a handful of games left in the regular season, the future has already been decided, so a victory or a loss wouldn't make much difference. still, for the celtics, these last few games are like practice, polishing themselves for the playoffs. for the heat, it truly was a meaningless game, and they played up to their low expectation.
going to the game is as much enjoying basketball as it's also about people watching. i go to take telephoto images of unsuspecting fans. a couple of celebrities: patrick riley, coach of the heat, at this point, people go to heat games not to see the players but to admire the legendary former coach of the lakers and his indestructible hair; also in the crowd, front row, was warren tolman (that bald guy!), former massachusetts democratic gubernatorial candidate, lost the primary to shannon o'brien. i don't have much love for tolman, i remembered his campaign was one of nasty attack ads, and they got nastier as polls showed him slowly losing any sort of hope of being the elected democratic gubernational candidate. julie and i figured out that to be on the jumbotron, you either have to be one of three things: a little kid, a muscleman, or a woman with large breasts who love to jump for the camera. a woman of that ilk got the loudest cheers when she appeared on the jumbotron on several occasions. we also got a kick out of celtics player "bimbo" coles and julie noticed no white guys on the team except for injured croatian player bruno sundov. julie also didn't know that what she calls the "scoreboard" is actually known as the jumbotron.
the final score was 90-62, celtics easily won. we sat and watched the people leave, before a security guard told us we had to leave as well. walking to charles station in the rain, i forgot i left my umbrella underneath my seat. we caught the outbound red line train, homeward bound.