Friday, April 14, 2006


We bought tickets to go see the Cavs through Liam's school a while ago. The tickets were a fundraiser for a mom who has cancer, and when the poster encouraging ticket sales was hanging up at the door where we go into the school, Liam could barely contain himself. "Mom...look...can we go see LeBron?" How could I resist? I've never been to a pro game before (I've done tons of high school hoops), and I thought he was at just the right age to enjoy going. So, we got three tickets, and last night was the big game.

The anticipation has been building since early in the week. Liam would ask what the date was, and then he'd do the math on how many days he had left until the game. He could hardly contain his excitement yesterday. By the time I got there, he was literally bouncing off everything. He was in the car, buckled, and ready to go with Cavs shirt on nearly the instant we told him it was time to leave.

The ride there took about 45 minutes or so, and traffic was fairly snarled by the time we got close to the stadium. Turns out there was also a home Indians game, so things were pretty wild. We finally got parking, and he skipped (the boy can skip now!) nearly the whole way to our seats. The tickets were fairly inexpensive, so I knew that likely meant nosebleed seats, and I wasn't wrong. There were only a few rows above ours to the very top of the stands. We were at about midcourt, so the view wasn't too bad, considering how high we were.

When we came in the arena, they were handing out rolled banners to everyone. They had two handles, and as the handles were pulled apart, the banner would unroll to reveal "GO CAVS!....GO CAVS!" This alone was a great source of entertainment. The introductions were loud and used pyrotechnics, and Liam's comment was that those belonged outside. We brought binoculars, and he used those to get a closer view of all the activity on court.

Once the game started, he really got into it. He cheered the whole game, hollering out DE-FENSE offbeat, clapping and screaming when the Cavs scored, and laughing at the antics of Moon Dog the mascot. The thing he found funniest? The cheerleaders. Apparently, scantily clad ladies dancing is very funny. I thought so, too. The guys around me, however, did not. They were talking about getting autographs and the such.

We didn't get to see LeBron play, as he was out with a sprained ankle, but we did see him in his bright yellow vest and tie sitting the bench. Despite LeBron being out, the game was pretty exciting with a come from behind victory. By the end of the 4th quarter, weariness was really getting to Liam, but he hung in there, cheering between big lion yawns. I did see other children who didn't make it to the end of the game and were sleeping agains their parents before the last shot was thrown.

The antics during the time outs and halftime were pretty entertaining. MoonDog was everywhere rallying the crowd. During halftime, they did a bowling thing were they set up large inflatable pins and used a giant slingshot to catapult Barney the purple dinosaur and then Moon Dog across the court and into the pins. They also showed a story about a boy with autism who was the manager of a high school basketball team. The boy was actually pretty highly functional considering his autism, and during the final game of the season, they let him dress and put him in for the last few minutes of the game. He sunk several 3-point shots and ended up being the highest scorer in the game. So they brought the whole team out, gave them all Cavs jerseys with their names on the back, and then let the autistic boy shoot some shots. He actually made several, and the crowd went wild for him. I can only imagine what an impact that made on him.

He fell asleep on the way home, as we knew he would, and this morning talked about all the fun he had. I didn't get to snap too many photos, but I did get these. I tried catching Liam with the huge grins he had for most of the time we were there, but every time I snapped a picture, I caught him not smiling.

Can we go now Daddy?

I see you...

What are those girls doing?

MoonDog catapulted across the court


Probably my favorite parts of the game: Liam laughing at the cheerleaders and seeing how much he enjoyed the game, the guys doing breakdancing during time outs (they had a guy who spun on his head for 2 minutes!! How he didn't fall over or puke when he was done was beyond me), bowling using Barney as the ball, the sweet autistic kid they honored during halftime, and the come from behind win.

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