Through the awesomeness of Twitter and facebook I found out about a sweet deal the Indiana Pacers were having. Last Friday, if you became a fan of the Pacers on facebook and RSVP'd to the March 1st game against the Denver Nuggets, you were eligible to receive 2 free tickets to the game. We've talked about going to a game before, but had yet to make good on that promise. So I became a fan and next thing I know I've scored 2 tickets to the game for free.
The Pacers have been an interesting roller coaster for me. I'm a hometown team kind of girl. I grew up around Indy, so I naturally root for Indiana teams. Growing up in a family that wasn't big on sports meant that I didn't have the opportunity to go to any games. But I like my sports, and so I keep up as I can. I followed the Pacers of the late '90s fanatically. Mike was a Cleveland Cavs fan, so it was even more fun to rub it in his face. It was the era of Reggie Miller, Jalen Rose and the Dunking Dutchman (Rik Smits, of course!). Boom, Baby!
By the time we moved back to Indy in 2006, it was a different kind of team. Reggie was long gone. The embarrassment of the Pacers-Pistons brawl was still too fresh. And then story after story of players getting themselves into "situations" off the court came rolling out. Buy tickets to a game? No thanks. I'll take my Colts, thank you very much.
In the last year and a half or so, things have started to change. Problem players have been dealt away. In the summer of 2007 the Pacers hired Jim Morris as a Special Advisor. He was formerly the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme. He spoke at our church that summer, and joked that turning the Pacers around would be a much more difficult proposition than running the world's largest humanitarian agency. The hard work seems to be paying off. The vibe coming from Conseco Fieldhouse has been really positive, so I was excited to see it for myself.
It was a girl's night out: just Elena and I went. As you can see, the Pacers weren't joking around with potential fans – our seats were really good:
The atmosphere is laid back and fun. There's a Pacers pep band, and my personal favorite – organ music – plays frequently throughout the game. I don't know if it was the location of our seats or the extra microphones courtside, but you really can hear the squeak of the sneakers, which is as it should be. And the Fieldhouse is just a fabulous venue on its own. How can you not love a place that sells Ritter's Frozen Custard? Elena chose less wisely (cotton candy), but she doesn't seem to regret her decision:
At the end of the game the mini-fans are encouraged to go down on the court and meet the Pacers mascot, Boomer. Elena was beside herself, as Boomer is a cat. And between Garfield and the Warriors books, she is a cat fanatic.
And did I mention that it was a fantastic game? Pacers won 100-94 in a game that was neck and neck from start to finish.
And so we are fans again. And we'll be back. Thanks, Pacers and facebook.