Thursday, May 10, 2007

Where Were The Kids?

I watched the Golden State Warriors on television last night. It was game 6 of the Warriors/Dallas Mavericks NBA playoff series. It was a ‘best of seven’ series, and the Warriors were up 3 games to 2. A win last night would propel them into the next round of the playoffs. The Mavericks were the unquestioned best team in the NBA. They had the best overall record, as well as having had a 17 game win streak during the season. Having the best record gave them the #1 seed. The Warriors, having had the worst record of all the teams in the Western division to make the playoffs, were the #8 seed. First round, the best plays the worst. And here they were, the worst about to eliminate the best. A true David and Goliah story. And yeah, the Warriors won to advance to the next round. Referring to the series, many expert commentators are calling it the greatest upset in basketball history. I watched 4 of the 6 games, and it was more fun, and more satisfying than any sports event I have ever witnessed. Especially last nights game. The crowd at Oracle Arena in Oakland was going absolutely wild for the entire game, beside themselves with joy and delirium. Besides the amazing basketball, it was part of what made the whole experience so much fun.

But I continue to come back to something that was missing in all of the excitement and celebration. The cameras were panning the crowd continually throughout the game to give the TV viewer a sense of the thrill of being there. I made note early on that I wasn’t seeing any kids in the crowd. I found it kind of disconcerting, and wondering what was up with that, as the game progressed, and with every camera shot of the people in the arena, I made it a point to look for kids in the crowd. I saw a total of three. Damn! I saw lots of celebrities, and thousands of adults between the ages of 25 and 50, but where were the kids? Of the three I did see, one was in the arms of Chris Mullin, the Executive Vice President of Operations for the Warriors. It was nice to see that the man who engineered this team, and who had so much riding on its failure or success, was being a father to his child at such a critical moment in his career. The other two kids were in the first row, courtside, seated (ironically) beside Snoop Dog and his inch thick gold braid necklace. Both these kids were lily white, so I can presume they were not his. Besides, the camera showed no interaction between him and the kids. I know Snoop has children, but where were they? Why were they not enjoying the game with dad? Not meaning to single out Snoop, where were the other kids? This was such an incredibly inspirational story it gave even me, an old weathered dog, such a tremendous sense of ‘anything being possible with heart and hard work’. But where were the kids?

I know, there were probably other kids in the arena. Just because I didn’t see them doesn’t mean they weren’t there. But impressions are important. And my impression was of an adult experience. I scanned all the photos in the two newspapers I read today. Not a child in any of them. Only adults. Adults whooping and hollering. Adults trying to touch the players during the celebration following the final buzzer. Adults giving each other ‘high fives’. Adults jumping up and down, hugging one another, laughing, and acting like . . . . . . . . . . . . . well, acting like . . . . . . . . . . KIDS.

But where were the kids?

Where were the fathers and sons? The fathers and daughters? The mothers and daughters? The mothers and sons? Where were the families?
Sure, the seats were expensive. But everything’s relative. If one can afford a seat for himself and his buddy, one can afford a seat for himself and his son. If one has season tickets, a block of two, three or four, why does he bring his business associates or drinking buddies instead of his kids? Sure, maybe the families were up in the nosebleed seats, beyond camera range, but I doubt it. I think it was adults up there too.

Parents used to bring their children to these games.
Parents used to bring their kids.