I’ve never been much good at sports, and although I’ve rarely been to any live games, I sure like to watch them on TV - especially at the end of the season when the playoffs and championships occur.
So it was a nice surprise last week when my neighbor, who’s the announcer for the New Jersey Nets basketball team, offered me a ticket to a game; and not just any game, but one where they were playing against the Boston Celtics (my all-time favorite basketball team). I held that ticket like it was an invitation to a Royal Wedding; I had to take a subway and then a Port Authority (PATH) train to Newark, and then walk the block and a half to the Prudential Arena. There were lines of people out front, buying and eating hot dogs and hamburgers; and throngs of people in the arena buying more to eat and drink and wear, and then making their way to their seats. Wow: me and all these people – out at the game.
My neighbor started announcing and got the crowd all excited and into the event. There were the Net’s Dancers (cheerleaders), and the old and young Net’s Kids groups (who also danced), The Dunking Divas (hey – they’re just what the name says), two Net’s mascots (one tall, one short; I think they were supposed to be foxes or wolves), live on-air broadcasters, big screen graphics, and lots of noise and flashing lights. It was definitely more alive than the live TV broadcasts. Everyone was out at the game and into it.
The dancers danced and the divas dunked and all did amazing acrobatics, the mascots joined in; there were giveaways that I guess you had to be in the know to understand (the one where the mascot had a gun-like contraption that shot rolled up t-shirts high up into the cheap seats was pretty cool). All of these were intended to keep the live crowd focused and excited during breaks in the game – and they certainly did. I don’t remember being so aware of all these things when I watched games on TV.
The best part was being out of the house and there, in-person, at the game, able to see the live faces of the players. I could watch them as I chose, not having to rely on the camera guy’s chooses. I could see all the things that went on away from the ball (as they say). And that’s the great benefit of getting up and out, and attending anything and participating live and in real time. No TV production stuff to point me where the guy in the booth wanted me to go – nope, it was all where I wanted to go. And that’s the beauty of getting out and being there versus the made up glamor of television or the surfing nature of the web. Maybe that’s why I always hated sitcoms – that canned laughter never seemed genuine, and it often made me feel stupid if I didn’t find the laugh lines funny. But by being out at the game, I was a real live spectator, just like I am in real life. And real life is oh so much better than the pasteurized stuff we’re offered and fed by the media or the find on the internet. So the moral of this story is get up and go out, and do things live and in-person if you want to get the real experiences and benefits that the game of life has to offer.
My message this week is about the majesty of life and its ability to inspire us.
Scott Root is President and CEO of Astra Tech, Inc., a maker of dental implants.
Ever seen a bald eagle in the wild? While most people haven’t, nearly everyone can describe one. That’s because the white mane, colorful beak and giant wingspan of America’s national bird and symbol are firmly planted in our minds. But as with anything in life, seeing it for real is so much more impressive than looking at a picture. In this same vein, you should realize that others probably have a picture in their mind about you from things they may have read or heard about you. What do you suppose those pictures are like – and how do you compare in person? Are you more thoughtful and kind in person, are you more helpful and creative and wise than others may have expected? Will those who get to see you “in the flesh” come away with a greater awareness and respect than from what they’ve heard or read about you? They should, and you should always be aware of that. Because just like the bald eagle, whatever others have heard about you, they probably can’t really appreciate how much more you might be until they actually get to meet you.