The game was penciled in on our home calendar. March 29. The night Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns were coming to town to play the Sacramento Kings (yes, it’s a basketball team, not a hockey team, Dad) at what used to be ARCO Arena, now Power Balance Pavilion. There were more than a handful of reasons I wanted to go to the game, but the primary one was to see Steve Nash. In the flesh.
No, I’m not really a groupie. Steve Nash is the first – and probably only – basketball player I will ever have a crush on: Those pesky brown locks (curiously similar to my own), that soccer-player physique, darting here and there through defenders with the confidence of one who literally is at the top of his game. Of course, he’s about a foot taller than a soccer player.
In The Book of Basketball, Bill Simmons ranks Nash number 36 out of the 96 players in his Hall of Fame Pyramid. Nash is a legitimate athlete. Eighth in career assists… What girl doesn’t melt over a selfless guy? Please don’t tell me about his personal life. Let this tired and graying mama have her crush.
Hubby and I were overdue for a date night and although the prospect of the game was alluring we knew we couldn’t really afford it. Then somehow the stars aligned. Our babysitter was free on Tuesday nights. I figured out that I could make dinner at home and pack it up to eat in the car on the ride to the game. Hubby’s transit subsidy reimbursement check arrived in the mail.
It took only a few quick mouse clicks to secure tickets in the lower bowl at Power Balance (even upper bowl seats would have been acceptable in the small arena, hubby said). It had been 14 years since hubby, who grew up in this area, had been to a game there. It would be my first time. A lifelong fan, hubby had been grumpy about the Kings’ poor play and the prolonged discussions over whether or not, and eventually, how, the Kings would make their departure for Anaheim. He was glad now that the move seemed almost certain. Stem the heartache for good.
As soon as we sat down in our seats, the wood floorboards at our feet and Nash sinking threes in easy view, I knew we were in for a great time. We began the game rooting for Nash and the Suns. But the Kings gained confidence as the game minutes flew by. During warm ups it had looked like it would be another half-hearted outing for them. But no, the Kings realized that despite Nash’s best efforts they could win the game – and they did, 116-113. I was so caught up in the excitement I couldn’t bear to leave my seat to try to get Nash’s autograph on the chintzy Kings program, like I had planned.
The Kings fans embraced the unexpected win with the loving arms of a family welcoming home its lost pet. The guy in front of us videoed the entire last quarter of the game, he was so thrilled about the win. We chatted with the couple next to us who had traveled here from Lynchburg, Virginia expressly to see the Kings play at home before the team moves. Really.
As we walked back to our car clutching our free taco coupons like they were signed jerseys my husband and I even contemplated trying to make the Kings’ final game of the season against their nemesis, the Lakers, tonight. Our budget can’t take the beating. But it’s too bad Kings fever gripped us just when it least matters.
As for me and Nash, I think I’m gonna order a photo of him and mail it to the Suns PR department. Maybe Nash will have time to sign my picture now that the Suns season has ended. I’ll put it up in my sons’ room. It wouldn’t be proper for me to hang it over my night table.