The second-to-last row of TD Garden’s upper deck wasn’t where I imagined I’d be watching my first live NBA game. I could barely hear the screeching noises or the ball bouncing from the court. From that far up, I felt disconnected from the game as the players looked more like action figures than professional athletes.
I tried to get into the game, cheering when the Boston Celtics scored and booing when the Atlanta Hawks’ Dwight Howard stepped onto the free-throw line. I couldn’t, however, get over the fact that I was so far from all the action. I wondered whether I’d rather be watching the game on TV.
Instead of being fixated with my seat at the game, I tried to turn my attention to what I thought would be my highlight of the night: food. My meal for the game—piping-hot crispy chicken tenders and skinny fries accompanied by a selection of dipping sauces—washed down with a fizzy cup of Coke.
With a full stomach, my mood began to change and I slowly started to enjoy the experience. The first two quarters of the game were neck and neck and the atmosphere inside the arena was electric.
While I don’t follow the NBA closely, I’ve always had an appreciation for professional sports. I grew up going to sporting events with my family and watching an NBA basketball game was something I had always wanted to do. During my summer vacations in Australia, I would wake up to the NBA Finals on TV and would watch it with my brother and grandpa. Now there I was, watching what is arguably the NBA’s most successful team ever, the Boston Celtics.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the friends I was sitting with noticed a few empty seats nearer to the court. Desperate to get a closer view, we made our way down several flights of stairs to the loge section of the stadium where all the good seats are and stood in the walkway looking out onto the court.
When I got there though, I didn’t have the guts to walk to an empty seat and sit down. What if the person came back to their seat to find me in it? I didn’t want to be kicked out of TD Garden at my first NBA game. So I just stood where I was, getting a little taste of what it’s like watching a game up close.
A little while later a lady walked up to where I was standing, and I noticed that she was looking at me and my friends in a peculiar way. I thought she was going to tell us that we couldn’t stand where we were.
The lady walked up to me and said, “Do you want to sit up close?” and handed me two tickets. It seemed like she and her husband were leaving. Before I could even say thank you, the couple walked away and I looked down at the tickets which said row one. I couldn’t believe my luck.
Without wasting any time, my friend and I confidently walked down the stand to the first row and took our seats right behind the Celtics bench. I could see the sweat dripping down the players arms and heard the Celtics coach yelling at his players. Up close I noticed how tall and athletic the players are and marvelled at how they shot the ball with such ease.
Toward the end of the fourth quarter, the Celtics were falling behind and frustrated fans began leaving the arena before the final buzzer. I happily stayed the entire time, taking pictures with my phone and sending them to my parents and brother on our WhatsApp chat. What started out as a slightly disappointing evening turned out to be a moment I will never forget—all thanks to one lady who wanted to do something nice for a couple of students. While the Celtics may have lost the game, it didn’t really matter. I certainly felt like a winner at the end of the night.
Featured Image by William Batchelor / Heights Editor